SPC Honors a Saint with Legacy Day dedication on Aug. 18

August 15, 2022

SPC Marketing & Strategic Communications

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(NOTE: Saint Artemisia Bowden was a member of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and founder/first president of the Bowden Chapter Business and Professional Women. Inc.)

St. Philip’s College will host six ceremonies in one day, including an oak tree dedication in honor of the late Col. Roy W. Burley, Sr., unveiling of Saint Philip’s Way and the ribbon cutting on four new buildings.

At. 8 a.m., St. Philip’s College will open the Saint Artemisia Bowden Building.

Saint Artemisia Bowden, the college’s founding president, was named a saint by the Episcopal Church in 2015. Her feast day is celebrated every Aug. 18 nationwide. This year, she will be honored with the naming of a building at the college she served for 52 years.

St. Philip’s Episcopal Church was founded in 1895, followed by the founding in 1898 of a small school located in La Villita (downtown San Antonio). The curriculum was focused on leadership and marketable skills. Its students were African American girls – the daughters and granddaughters of Emancipated slaves, who learned to sew, cook and care for the sick.

It was one of two institutions founded by the church in San Antonio. The other is West Texas Military Academy, now Texas Military Institute or TMI Episcopal.

Bowden, a Georgia native, was the daughter of Milas and Mary Bowden. She graduated from St. Augustine’s Collegiate School (now St. Augustine’s University) in Raleigh, N.C. – a historically black college.

In 1902, Episcopal Bishop James Steptoe Johnston, the son of former slaveholders, invited 23-year old Artemisia Bowden, the daughter of former slaves, to San Antonio to take a job at the head of a school.

She was charged to grow the school. When diocesan support for the church school dried up during the Great Depression, Bowden toured the U.S. as a lecturer, led student choir tours, bartered vegetables and chickens, and sacrificed her own salary to keep the doors open.

Miss Bowden was a graduate student at Columbia University School of Social Work in New York City, and received honorary degrees from HBCUs in Texas: Wiley College in Marshall and Tillotson College (now Huston-Tillotson University) in Austin.

The impact she left on San Antonio is evident decades after her death in 1969. Her likeness appears in community art installations, paintings, quilts and murals. Artemisia Bowden Academy (SAISD school), the University of the Incarnate Word Bowden Eye Care and Health Institute and St. Philip’s College Bowden Building, Bowden Alumni Center, Artemisia’s and now Saint Artemisia Bowden Building were named in her honor.

The 25,000-square-foot, two-story building doubles the footprint for the Business Information Solutions Department, Corporate and Entrepreneurial Training Center, and the Microsoft Testing Center for Microsoft Office Specialists. A new cyber range gives faculty the flexibility to mimic cyber scenarios in a variety of industries, preparing students for many IT career pathways.

Programming supports the high demand for cybersecurity graduates to fill positions in San Antonio, the nation’s second-largest cyber hub, and supports the college’s plans to offer a Bachelor of Applied Technology degree in Cybersecurity in the future. The building will support 800 students and includes classrooms, computer labs, and the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Center, where student volunteers support the community by providing no-cost tax assistance.

Other Legacy Day events are:

Oak Tree Dedication in Honor of Col. Roy W. Burley, 7:30 a.m.
Ribbon Cutting for Clarence W. Norris Building, 9 a.m.
Ribbon Cutting for William A. Hudgins Health and Wellness Building, 10 a.m.
Unveiling of Saint Philips Way, 11:15 a.m.
Ribbon Cutting for Tourism, Hospitality and Culinary Arts Building, 11:30 a.m.

For more information about Legacy Day, visit alamo.edu/spc/legacy-day.

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