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St. Philip's College Library

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SPC Celebrates Black…

St. Philip’s College celebrates Black History Month with book announcement, lecture series
Left to right: Dr. Maria H. Ferrier, Dr. Marie P. Thurston and Dr. Adena W. Loston

SPC Celebrates Black History Month

St. Philip’s College kicked off Black History Month today (Feb. 5) with an opening ceremony at the campus to announce the activities for the month and formally unveil the recently published book titled St. Philip’s College: A Point of Pride on San Antonio’s Eastside written by Dr. Marie Pannell Thurston, the coordinator Oral History for St. Philip’s College.

The book is the first in a series Texas A&M-San Antonio (TAMU-SA) is sponsoring through Texas A&M University Press called Peoples and Cultures of Texas. St. Philip’s College President Dr. Adena Williams Loston was joined by Dr. Maria Hernandez Ferrier, the president of TAMU-SA, for the formal announcement during today’s ceremony. The inaugural publication tells the story of the nation’s only college to be federally designated as both a Historically Black College and a Hispanic-serving Institution, and marks the 115th anniversary of the founding of St. Philip’s College.

“This month has special significance and what a better time to announce the publication of a book that captures the untold stories of so many whose contributions molded our community and this institution of higher education into what it is today,” said Dr. Loston. “We hope that everyone will take the time to experience the stories told in this historical book. We are very fortunate to have a partner like President Maria Hernandez Ferrier and Texas A&M-San Antonio to recognize and share the history of St. Philip’s College and San Antonio’s Eastside.”

The book announcement was preempted with guest speaker Bishop David Copeland, pastor of New Creation Christian Fellowship and the 2013 MLK Commission Chair. The ceremony also highlighted the events that will take place at the campus during the month of February to include an art exhibit featuring works by Howard Rhoder, a lecture series featuring Remember the Titans’ Herman Boone, a youth concert and the ever-popular Soul Food Fest. The complete calendar of events for St. Philip’s College can be found online at

About Dr. Marie Pannell Thurston

Marie Pannell Thurston has not always been an accomplished author. Born in Lynchburg, Virg., her parents were unable to attend school beyond the fifth grade, but they emphasized to their children the importance of achieving higher education. Throughout her life, she remained active in her church and served on many community boards, receiving numerous awards for her contributions. Following her husband’s retirement from the military in the late-1990s and raising four accomplished daughters, they settled in San Antonio. At the age of 71 years, Thurston received her Ph.D. in Education, with a concentration in Organizational Leadership, from the University of the Incarnate Word. Today, at 81 years of age, Dr. Thurston’s first book, St. Philip’s College: A Point of Pride on San Antonio’s Eastside, was published by Texas A&M University Press. She has been the coordinator Oral History for St. Philip’s College since 2002.

About Bishop David M. Copeland

Bishop David M. Copeland is a native of Buffalo, New York and currently serves as Senior Pastor of New Creation Christian Fellowship of San Antonio, Texas. He was called to the ministry and licensed as a minister in 1969 and ordained in 1974. He and his wife, The Reverend Dr. Claudette A. Copeland, have been married for 35 years. They were high school sweethearts. Together, they founded New Creation after serving seven years in the United States Air Force Chaplaincy. The Copeland’s were the first active duty African American couple in the United States Air Force Chaplaincy.

About Howard Rhoder

Howard Rhoder is a self-taught artist and native of Edna, Texas. His realistic representation moves from inviting landscapes to scenes of people with a story to tell. His choice to create in oils brings it all together. He attended school at Victoria College, San Antonio College and the South School of Arts and Crafts. He has a degree in Two Dimensional Art from St. Philip’s College.

About Herman Boone

In 1971, racial tensions ran high in Alexandria, Virg., as three schools were integrated to form T.C. Williams High School. In a story captured by the monumentally popular Disney film Remember the Titans, Herman Boone—portrayed by Academy Award-winning actor Denzel Washington—faced the challenge of a lifetime in uniting black and white players from previously rival schools in the newly-created Titan football team. Coach Boone is retired but continues to motivate and inspire audiences with his presentations on respect, teamwork and community involvement.

About St. Philip’s:

Bishop James Steptoe Johnston of the St. Philip’s Episcopal Church of the West Texas Diocese founded St. Philip’s College in 1898. Today, St. Philip’s College, a member of the Alamo Colleges, is a multi-campus institution and serves a semester enrollment of more than 10,000 credit and more than 8,000 continuing education students. St. Philip’s College is a Historically Black College and Hispanic Serving Institution and is the only college in the nation that carries this dual designation. As “A Point of Pride in the Community,” St. Philip’s College is among the oldest and most diverse community colleges in the United States.


Rebecca M. Villarreal, SPC-Public Relations
(210) 486-2851 or by email