The 2018 Veterans Day Experience at SPC

October 24, 2018

Public Information Officer


As St. Philip’s College student veterans and the faculty members who are aware of their status each look forward to classes on the first Monday after Veteran's Day, the minds of a few are filled with a mix of patriotism and reflection at the college where students, employees, alumni and guests observe Veterans Day in Military City U.S.A. twice---on Monday, Nov. 12---with ceremonies at the multi-campus college’s 1801 Martin Luther King Drive and 800 Quintana Road locations. 

Faculty member Brenda Clark's Computer Maintenance Technology classes which teach networking systems across the internet include many veterans from Military City U.S.A., and their classes take place near one of the ceremonial sites, most recently for a 9-11 ceremony.

"We were in class that morning, and I thought, guys, let's just go out and do this. They were so appreciative. No one had asked them to do something like this. If any of those veterans are on campus in my class on November 12, we will attend the ceremony as well," said Clark.

“One of my honor society students, David LaBoy, is a vet who will be leaving us when he graduates in December. He did his practicum in computer maintenance technology under a veteran at Southside Independent School District. He was a completely transformed student after that experience. He went in with long hair and the whole 70s look. I didn’t know him when he came back with short hair. He is ready—for the workplace. Education was a transformational experience for me as well. So I can understand David’s transformation---and I was very pleased with his results,” said Clark. 

Through such experiences, St. Philip's College students who are veterans accumulate many memorable, amazing journeys, and Nov. 12 will be no exception.

In addition to Clark’s students, some of the college’s alumni, faculty and current students have been on amazing journeys as uniformed and civilian service members in the community of veterans being recognized and recalled on Veterans Day. 

  • St. Philip's College is home of both one of the first Military Order of the Purple Heart colleges programs in the state and iconic inventor St. Philip's College Professor Emeritus Dr. William C. Davis, who is a Purple Heart recipient for service in the line of duty during the Korean War. With a science building named in his honor, Davis still maintains an office on the campus of the Military Order of the Purple Heart program college.
  • The year 2018 marks the tenth anniversary graduation year of 2008 kinesiology program alumnus and Cibolo native Allen Cherry, III. As an Air Force senior airman in 2016, Cherry completed a year of leadership after earning three of the highest recognitions and responsibilities a military service member can receive for leadership, performance, involvement and achievement---the Air Force Association 2015 USAF Outstanding Airmen of the Year award.
  • Nationally regarded educator Daniel Leija (1985) met with President Barrack Obama as Texas’ member of the nation's 61st State Teachers of the Year cohort, promoting the college with the support of the oldest, most prestigious national honors program which focuses public attention on excellence in teaching. He was the Texas Education Agency's 2011Texas Elementary Teacher of the Year, and in addition to supporting the troops-to-teachers movement in America, has been a guest at college homecoming programs in the past. 
  • Retired Soldier and current sociology student Angelia Jacobs has provided exemplary corporate leadership and corporate team building services in her capacity as the college's Student Government President and as an Alamo Colleges District Alternate Student Trustee in the era when St. Philip’s College experienced record graduation rates and earned the elite Governor’s Award for Performance Excellence.
  • St. Philip’s College’s second recipient of the $15,000 The Whataburger Scholarship---endowed through the Texas Business Hall of Fame Foundation by Tom Dobson, owner of Whataburger---is a community college-degreed scholar and member of San Antonio’s startup and corporate government communities. Harry Staley, Jr., is an alumnus of the Texas Business Hall of Fame scholarships program that was part of his illustrious St. Philip’s College experience, and he is a valued Department of the Army civilian in a business intelligence branch in Military City U.S.A.
  • The first former service member to enroll and first to graduate from the college’s Licensed Vocational Nurse to Registered Nurse/Military to RN Mobility Program is Navy veteran and 2018 alumnus Sam Pentowski. He is also an EMT saving lives in San Antonio. St. Philip's College was a stop on the pioneering alumnus' journey to becoming a nurse who works on a commercial ship that could be conducting business anywhere on the high seas of the Earth. Realistically envisioning the day he becomes a medical officer on a ship, Pentowski studied in the emergency room environment of the St. Philip's College Dr. Frank Bryant, Jr., Patient Simulation Center and Nursing Laboratories twice a week. At some points in those weeks of study, working in the Tier 1 Trauma environment at University Hospital was a treasured activity. And on other days of the week this summer, Pentowski served the Westside of San Antonio as a crew member on 13-hour shifts with Superior Care Ambulance in Military City U.S.A.
  • One late St. Philip's College faculty member left a great legacy of service to her country and her industry before passing just before the start of the fall 2019 class season. The former faculty member is Dr. Clara Beatrice Wallace, retired Air Force colonel (1936-2018). Wallace was commissioned into the Air Force as a second lieutenant during the Cold War, in 1961. The 1959 alumna of Prairie View A&M University's College of Nursing received her bachelor of science in nursing, passed state boards, and worked as a nursing instructor at the university before joining the Air Force. Wallace did not enter her profession expecting to become the Pentagon’s consultant to the U.S. Surgeon General, but that is one of her notable acts of public service on the way to teaching students at St. Philip’s College. Her military duties and titles ranged from flight nurse and to Military Consultant to the Surgeon General, according to her obituary. One of many standout images of Wallace in the photo gallery of her online obituary includes Wallace on duty amid the grime, glam and truly dangerous spy games of the Berlin Wall, an iconic image that could have been the inspiration for the many good and patriotic characters of the 2017 action film Atomic Blonde. Wallace earned a master’s in nursing from The University of Washington (1967), and was a veteran of such military campaigns as the Vietnam War and Operation Desert Storm/Shield before retiring from the Air Force in in 1992 after 30 years of military service.
  • When Ralph Edward Weaver retired from service with the 120-year-old college in 1986, he and his spouse---late faculty member Dolly Weaver---were both awarded Professor Emeritus status. "This was the first time the College had awarded this status to any Vocational Teacher." according to Weaver's October 2018 online obituary. He passed Oct. 10, according to the obituary from Hurley Funeral Home in Lytle. Prior to the Weaver era at St. Philip's College, Ralph Weaver served as an Airman in the Army Air Corps in WWII. In post-war life, the Weaver family ran a custom upholstery and drapery business in Harlingen before moving to San Antonio. The Weavers both first made college history as the parents of four former college programs. While Ralph Weaver started the college's upholstery, furniture refinishing and tailoring departments, Dolly Weaver started the college's interior decorating department, responsible for the formal educations of many entrepreneurs who went on to start and run successful businesses in the contract interior design and furniture-making sectors.

All are welcome to attend the following two St. Philip’s College Veterans Day ceremonies on Nov. 12:

  • Wreath laying begins at 9 a.m. at the SPC Memorial to Community College Education for Veterans at 1801 Martin Luther King Drive, followed by a short walk to a ceremonial program in the college’s Turbon Student Center with remarks from retired Army Maj. Luis Flores
  • Veterans Day ceremonial program begins at 1 p.m. in Building 1 of the college’s Southwest Campus at 800 Quintana Road in Port San Antonio and includes remarks from retired Army Maj. Luis Flores 

For details on the two events, contact Veronica Griego, the college’s senior coordinator of student success in its Veterans Service Office, at 210-486-2540,

CAPTION: An archival image of the 2018 9-11 observance ceremony at St. Philip’s College where faculty member Brenda Clark's computer maintenance technology students were flattered when encouraged to join and be honored is but one reminder that St. Philip’s College students, employees, alumni and guests observe Veterans Day in Military City U.S.A. twice---on Monday, Nov. 12---with ceremonies at the multi-campus college’s 1801 Martin Luther King Drive and 800 Quintana Road locations. (SPC Observance Image courtesy Brenda Clark)