This college rejoices 90th anniversary

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Performances and speeches will span nine decades; alumnus, former TV anchor, will emcee.

Tress-Marie Landa

The oldest public two-year college in Texas, University Junior College, now known as San Antonio College, opened its doors Sept. 21, 1925, and has been a staple of education in the city ever since.

To celebrate the 90th anniversary, a showcase is 7-8:30 p.m. Nov. 18 in the auditorium of McAllister Fine Arts Center.

Doors will open at 6:30 p.m., and seating is on a first-come, first-serve basis.

The event is free and open to the community, although organizers encourage guests to RSVP through

It is one of several key events scheduled throughout the 2015-16 academic school year to commemorate the anniversary.

“San Antonio College is proud of its 90-year history, and we are thrilled to be able to celebrate this important milestone,” said Vanessa Torres, public relations director and coordinator of the event.

The emcee will be Michael “Mike” Valdes, a former student at this college who worked for 20 years at KABB-TV until leaving his position as chief anchorman in 2014.

Valdes reminisced about his time at this college during a Nov. 10 phone interview.

“I was there from ’92-’93 in the radio, television, film program and it was a tremendous time,” he said.

Valdes said Sarah Lucero, anchor for KENS-TV, and George Hamilton, producer and radio personality at 99.5 KISS, were also in the RTF program at that time.

“A lot of us went on to have successful careers; it was quite a little group we had,” he said.

While working on his associate degree at this college, Valdes was also studying at the University of Texas at San Antonio for a bachelor’s degree in philosophy.

His philosophy degree helped him learn how to interact with people from different backgrounds and with different ideas, he said.

“I’ve always told people, ‘If you want to be in this field, don’t major in journalism,’ because you can learn this process,” he said of basic reporting. “What you can’t learn is being a forward-thinking person. Don’t get bogged down in the process, and ideology.”

Valdes said, “I am a writer at heart. But unfortunately between school part-time at SAC, full-time at UTSA, bartending at night and interning at KSAT, I never got to write for The Ranger.”

Looking back, Valdes is grateful for the skills he acquired at this college, which he later applied to his career.

“When I pass by, I see students walking to class and I think, ‘Gosh that was me,’ and that what I learned at SAC was fantastic,” he said.

“At that time there was a shortage of supplies, shortage of things that you could do, so you had to be creative,” he said. “When you have everything handed to you, you fall back on ‘Oh, we have that, it’ll be easy.” As opposed to when I would shoot a video, I was literally just taking sheets of paper and covering the lens — we didn’t have Photoshop,” he said with a laugh.

Since becoming an alumnus of this college, Valdes has participated in several events. Valdes recently attended an event for veterans hosted by the public relations office, and Torres and President Robert Vela invited him to be the emcee for the 90th anniversary showcase, he said.

“It makes me very proud to do this, 90 years is impressive and I don’t think there is one single person I know that’s lived in San Antonio that hasn’t stepped onto SAC’s campus at least once. It has a lot of history, and cities need places like this,” Valdes said. “I imagine I’ll share some personal stories, and we’ll have a good time.”

Since leaving KABB, Valdes has been enjoying time with his family and started up his own production company last month, he said.

The event also will feature performances from the college’s jazz band and speech team as well as a few surprise guests, Torres said.

Jolinda Ramsey, speech coordinator and coach, said the team has quite a show in store.

“Our goal is highlighting student life events at SAC in recent times. Some in the past, but more in the present,” she said.

Ramsey said the speech team’s performance will be more like a skit and will entail careers that students have chosen after graduation.

The American Sign Language Glee Club and ASL alumni’s Gleek Club will perform together.

Julie Razuri, co-director and ASL professor, said the ASL Glee Club is composed of 18 students currently enrolled in her class SLNG 1206, Interpreting and Artistic Texts. ASL Professor John Cage co-teaches the class.

“For the celebration, we have put together pieces of songs ranging from the 1920s to 2015 to show the progression of music through the decades that SAC has been open for,” Razuri said.

The ASL Gleek Club is composed of about 50 alumni, she said.

“The showcase will be a fun, one-night-only event with various acts, performances and surprise guests. Although I can’t give away all of our secrets, I can tell you that it will be highly entertaining, and you won’t want to miss it,” Torres said.

For more information, call Torres at 210-486-0883 or email at

Related article: Professor reflects on this college’s growth


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