By Neven Jones and Kathya Anguiano
Community leader and social activist William “Bill” Rashall Sinkin died Monday at the age of 100. He attended this college in 1930-32, when it was less than a decade old and called San Antonio Junior College at the German-English School campus on south Alamo Street.
Sinkin was proud of being a former student of this college and became a very supportive friend, not only to the staff but to the college as well, President Robert Zeigler said Tuesday.
“I would just like to say that I and everyone at SAC appreciate his contributions to the campus and how he cared enough to support us with his presence and showed value to the college,” Zeigler said.
For 1993-94, the banker was named Outstanding Former Student and as part of the college’s 75th anniversary celebration, he was honored by the Alumni Association as one of 75 Outstanding Alumni.
Sinkin was president of many student organizations and a charter member and president of Phi Theta Kappa-Beta Nu Chapter, a two-year international honor society. He earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration in 1934 from University of Texas in Austin.
Despite resistance from his white customers, Sinkin employed African-Americans at Texas Bank on W.W. White Road on the city’s far East Side and providing small loans that launched or encouraged growth in black-owned businesses.
“Bill was a leader in the business world,” ex-Mayor Lila Cockrell said.
Sinkin, along with this college’s first Outstanding Former Student, Rep. Henry B. Gonzalez, was one of the founders and the first president of the city’s world fair, HemisFair ’68, developed on downtown land across Alamo Street from the campus he attended.
The John H. Wood Jr. Federal Courthouse was built as the U.S. pavilion. The Institute of Texan Cultures was developed to showcase the state of Texas for the world’s fair.
“He was a great guy to work with,” Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff said. “I will most definitely miss seeing him. He was a great person, in particular to the environment.”
Sinkin, known for his signature bow tie, focused the last 30 years of his life on energy. He hosted one of San Antonio’s first major solar installations on the rooftop of Texas Bank in the 1980s. He founded Solar San Antonio in 1999 and launched the Metropolitan Partnership for Energy in 2003, which became Build San Antonio Green in 2008.
“San Antonio has lost a very dedicated civic leader and one who will always be remembered,” Cockrell said.
A funeral service is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. today at Temple Beth-el, 211 Belknap Place. In lieu of flowers, donations are requested to Solar San Antonio, 118 Broadway, Suite 621, San Antonio TX 78205.