SPC Welcomes the Father of the Engineering Program at St. Philip’s College

October 1, 2018

Public Information Officer


In 2012, five St. Philip's College alumni---Francesca Cantu, Patricia Parker Mariscal, Erica R. Flores, Carolina Perales Calvo and Lindsey Kay Jackson---graduated after completing two full years of study with support from the college’s $13,000 National Science Foundation Scholarship. From 2009-2012, the scholarships were paid to outstanding students through a monthly stipend for the first and second years, totaling $13,000 for school and living expenses, and allowing serious students of science to focus on science while they supported their families.

The scholarship remains the largest-ever monetary award for STEM study in the 120-year-old college's history, and these alumni were among the first students to attend the college’s STEM Lecture Series.

An outstanding faculty alumnus who originated both the scholarship and the lecture series returns to the college, not so ironically as the first presenter for the 2018 STEM Lecture Series. 

All are welcome to learn with “The Father of the Engineering Program at St. Philip’s College”---engineer and St. Philip’s College Associate Professor Emeritus Herb Pennick---during his free St. Philip's College STEM Lecture Series presentation Oct. 19 at noon in the Heritage Room of the college's Campus Center building at 1801 Martin Luther King Drive, site of the original presentations organized by Pennick a few years back.

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Lectures are traditionally presented twice per year by the Presidential Scholars Project within the Mathematics Department at St. Philip's College. Originally funded in part by the National Science Foundation HBCU–UP Project GeNex Grant that Pennick led, the lecture series today still offers opportunities for students or visitors to listen to, ask questions of, and interact with outstanding professionals working, accomplishing and inspiring in STEM areas.

Pennick recalls that when active, the $13,000 scholarship was paid to each selected student through a monthly stipend for the first and second years, totaling $13,000 for school and living expenses–––this included in–state conferences, field trips and professional workshops. The scholarship contract also included the loan of a laptop that was owned by the student when the student graduated or completed 66 credit hours in two years, Pennick explained. The original grant spanned two years and targeted a diverse student population that included full-time and part-time students, recent high school graduates and non-traditional students, males and females, Anglo-, Tribal-, African-, Asian, and Hispanic-Americans, and physically challenged students.

“A $13,000 scholarship over two years is a sizable scholarship for a community college student,” Pennick told a reporter when the scholarship was introduced. “These scholarships allow science students to focus on science.” 

A true education pioneer, Pennick served on the 2009 Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board advisory committee that developed the curriculum for a statewide mechanical engineering transfer compact that became the template for engineering programs in the community colleges of Texas. The compact allowed community college students to transfer to four year colleges in order to embark on the next academic step required to rise in the demanding-but-rewarding engineering profession.  

A free pre-lecture lunch is provided in the Heritage Room at 11 .m. for this project. For details on the lecture, contact mathematics faculty member Jessica Lopez at jlopez@alamo.edu, 210-486-2530.

About Herb Pennick: Herb Pennick is a west side San Antonio native and Fox Tech High school graduate. He has been married 50 years to Gennethel Pennick.  They have two adult daughters, Anissa Pennick and Adrienne Blocker (husband Tyrone) and one grandson, Collin Blocker. Herb holds a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics from Texas A & I University, Kingsville Texas, and a Master Science in Engineering Science from St. Mary's University, San Antonio Texas. He has also done extensive graduate work in Mathematics at Texas A & I, St. Mary's and at UTSA.  He is a past member of Texas Community College Teachers Association (TCCTA) and the Mathematical Association of America (MAA) and a Life Member of The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME).

Mr. Pennick started his service to St. Philip's College as an Adjunct faculty member in the Fall of 1990 and served in that capacity until coming on fulltime for the Fall semester 2002.  During his tenure at St. Philip's, Herb served on college and District level committees and subcommittees, taught college level and developmental Math courses, served as Principal Investigator for the National Science Foundation (NSF) S-STEM Presidential Scholars Project Grant and the NSF HBCU-UP Project GeNex Grant, and served on an NSF panel, in Washington D.C., that evaluated S-STEM proposals. Also, Herb served as a member of the 2009 Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board advisory committee that developed the curriculum for "The Statewide Mechanical Engineering Transfer Compact ", which became a template for the Engineering programs in Texas Community Colleges.  He Initiated and implemented the St. Philip's College Engineering Program, served as Engineering Coordinator of that program and as St. Philip's College Member on the District Engineering Discipline Team. In support of the NSF grants and the Engineering and Science programs at St. Philip's, Mr. Pennick started, developed, and coordinated the Fall and Spring STEM Lecture Series.  He also took STEM scholars to local professional meetings and technical lectures, provided grant funding for and accompanied STEM students to The American Society of Mechanical Engineers International conference in Houston and provided grant funding for STEM Club students to tour NASA Johnson Space Center in the Houston area. (SOURCE: STEM Lecture Series Committee)

Prior to joining St. Philip's College fulltime, Herb ran his own consulting company and also worked at Southwest Research Institute as a Research Mathematician and Senior Research Engineer and had worked more than thirty years in contract research and development. His responsibilities and duties included mathematical modeling and analyses of various engineered systems, technical and financial management of projects, technical proposal writing and project cost estimating; making presentations to sponsors and at technical meetings and workshops. He has authored or co-authored more than 40 technical reports and published papers.