SAN ANTONIO (May 17, 2019)—At 121-year-old St. Philip’s College, 105-year-old Gertha Murphy is considered a special person on the timeline.
Murphy is the granddaughter of a former U.S. slave and a 1936 alumna of a college that was originated in 1898 for the daughters of former U.S. slaves.
She went far with her degree, and she is also an A-plus inspiration to students, hard workers and activists of all ages.
In addition to graduating from St. Philip’s College, Murphy worked in civil service for 27 years and became an alumna of Incarnate Word University when she was 60 and graduated in 1980 with a degree in early education.
A fixture at SPC homecoming events for her status and her achievements, St. Philip’s College ceremonially honors Murphy in real-time on May 20 at noon in the Artemisia Bowden Alumni Center on the third floor of the college’s G. J. Sutton Learning Center at 1801 Martin Luther King Drive.
The RSVP-to-attend event features complimentary admission and parking. Email RSVPs to email@example.com or voicemail to (210) 486-2887 this weekend. The event that starts at noon will start slowing down at about 1 p.m., when guests and media can talk with Murphy from 1-1:15 p.m.
Murphy received her first college degree when she graduated from the 121-year-old college in 1936 and is currently 105 years of age. She has seen every one of the college’s presidents and is aware that she is the oldest living alumna of the oldest college in the Alamo College’s District system—the first system to earn the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award. The event will be part of ongoing SPC efforts to express “Our Win is Your Win” to the community it serves.
Murphy was in the news in 2017 as a guest during San Antonio Housing Authority’s ribbon cutting ceremonies in celebration of the first phase of East Meadows, a $41.7 million development containing 215 apartments that is successfully nearing completion. Through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Choice Neighborhoods Initiative, the Wheatley Courts became a part of a community-wide revitalization effort started in 2012 to transform the Eastside of San Antonio into a viable and sustainable mixed-income neighborhood. St. Philip’s College is the original educational partner in the project and Murphy is among college alumni who were former residents of the Spartan original property that served generations from the start of tenant operations in 1941 until it was vacated in 2014 and demolished in 2015. East Meadows’ first phase, a $41.7 million development containing 215 apartments, was built where the old Wheatley Courts public housing complex of more than 400 units existed at 906 N. Mittman St. near the St. Philip’s College campus for 65 years. The new development is a step toward transforming the surrounding neighborhood into a new master-planned, safe, sustainable, energy-efficient, mixed-income community, with a fairer share of the area’s higher-quality schools, health care, transportation, and access to jobs. The area is now among the top ten fasted gentrifying properties in the nation. According to a 2017 news report, 103 year old Gerta Murphy lived at Wheatley Courts until the mid-1950s. “When they opened Wheatley Courts, it was so exciting. As soon as I got a job, I moved out. I hope they take good care of it because they are beautiful,” Murphy told reporters at the time.
Marsha Hall is the assistant to Dr. Adena Williams Loston who is the president of the college that honors Murphy on May 20.
“She went back to college and started a new career teaching Pre-K for Harlandale ISD for six years. That’s a testament to her capacity to serve. She moves and does what she wants to do at 105. She is a powerhouse,” said Hall.
According to articles by San Antonio Express-News writer Vincent Davis, “Murphy is among a select, but growing, group of people worldwide — they have celebrated their 100th birthday. The offspring of parents born in the 1800s, they have witnessed the world evolve from horse-drawn buggies to rockets soaring in space to pocket-size computers called smartphones…. Murphy’s mother was 107 when she died; two aunts were 94 and 101. “Longevity is given by the Lord, it’s up to him to determine how long you’re going to live,” Murphy says. “He’s looking down on me and blessing me.” “
Murphy also enjoys virtual and physical lifestyles, and would fit in as an online student at the college today if she so chose.
This lifestyle was once described in an archival San Antonio Express News report, “Murphy does geriatric aerobics twice a week at the YMCA. She shops at the grocery store, cooks for herself, eats chicken, fish and many vegetables. In her spare time, she sends emails, and she has a Facebook account… “If you settle into getting old and start shrinking back and not trying to learn things, you stop growing,” Murphy says.
Archival Image courtesy SPC)
City Seeks Applicants For SA: Ready To Work Advisory Board
The City of San Antonio is accepting applications for the SA: Ready to Work Advisory Board.
In November, San Antonio voters overwhelmingly approved SA: Ready to Work, a training and education initiative to assist San Antonio residents impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. Last week, City Council approved the creation of a nine-member SA: Ready to Work Advisory Board to provide feedback on program objectives.
“During the campaign this fall, voters asked how this initiative would incorporate diverse community feedback and remain aligned with business and resident needs. The timely creation of this board establishes a transparent and inclusive process from the start as City Council considers the various policies associated with this workforce and training initiative,” said Mayor Ron Nirenberg. “I encourage employers, participants and stakeholder organizations interested in playing a role in this important initiative to apply to serve.”
This Board will consist of representatives from four local employers with in-demand occupations, two current/previous participants in the City of San Antonio workforce development programs, one trade or labor organization, one community organization, and one workforce training provider. In additional, two City Council members appointed by the Mayor will serve as liaisons to this Advisory Board.
Applications for the Advisory Board positions can be found at the City of San Antonio’s Board and Commissions website (https://www.sanantonio.gov/Clerk/Legislative/BoardsCommissions#13319780-apply-for-a-board). Applications will be reviewed for eligibility beginning in mid-January and forward to City Council for review and potential appointment. Potential applicants are asked to consider that no appointed members of this Advisory Board may have direct relationships with entities that contract with the City for implementation of the SA Ready to Work program.
SA: Ready to Work will be tax supported through a 1/8th cent sales tax. This education and workforce program would begin serving San Antonio residents in fall 2021 and extend through December 2025. Each year of the initiative, up to 10,000 residents will be served with a total of up to 40,000 residents served over the four years.
Open Call: Calling All Artists
The City of San Antonio’s Department of Arts & Culture’s Public Art Division is seeking applicants for the 2021 Public Art Pre-Qualified List for Artists and Support Services.
The Pre-Qualified List works as a roster of emerging and experienced individuals and organizations who are pre-qualified by City Council to work on designing, building, and promoting future projects within the Department of Arts & Culture’s Public Art Program.
We are seeking professional qualifications from area, state, national, and international artists and arts organizations as well as individuals and businesses that provide support services including, but not limited to, consulting, curating, writing, project management, art history, art handling and shipping, art appraising, restoring and conserving art, art fabrication and installation, photo and video documentation, graphic and web-based design, and technical design.
· Deadline to Apply: January 18, 2021 at 4:30 p.m. CT
· Optional Virtual Informational Workshop: December 8, 2020 at 5:30 p.m. CT.
All Open Call details and application instructions can be found at http://www.sanantonio.gov/arts/open
Applying for the Pre-Qualified List allows applicants to be selected for future projects, inclusion does not guarantee selection for a public art contract.
CPS Energy Makes Move to New Headquarters on McCullough
The boxes are packed, the moving trucks are here, and the first CPS Energy employees are officially moving to the utility’s new headquarters at 500 McCullough Avenue. While we will dearly miss our old home on Navarro Street, our big move signals a new era for us and the community we’ve loyally served for 160 years.
The old CPS Energy headquarters on Navarro Street are comprised of buildings that are 92 and 52 years old, respectively. The age of these buildings continually required escalating operating and maintenance costs to keep them safe and secure. Their sale will offset the cost of our new home and help us save money each year going forward. Once sold, the older buildings can be redeveloped by the next owner.
“The building is…attractive, but it’s affordable,” said Frank Almaraz, Chief Administrative and Business Development Officer, in an interview that took place on Sept. 11, 2020 with News 4 San Antonio’s Jaie Avila. “We focused very, very much on making sure that we were spending these dollars in the most prudent way possible. We think it’s going to be a fantastic place for us to base our operations out of. We are a 24/7/365 business that supports our community. In this time of COVID, everything’s just gotten a little more complicated, but we know one day we will welcome our customers to our facility and they will see that we have done the right thing for the community.”
Our new home will be more energy efficient and cost-effective. It is 60% more efficient that our older headquarters and we paid special attention to things like using recycled wood to create tables and fixtures, as well as having fewer offices that would block natural sunlight.
“Our customers are going to be better served with this new building with the lower cost that it takes to maintain it,” said Frank. “It’s 60 percent less energy intensive. With an [older building], everything is more expensive from an efficiency standpoint, but even just maintaining the exterior, it’s gotten so cost-burdensome that really the only responsible thing to do is to consolidate our employees into something that’s going to last us for many more decades [to come] and be more cost-effective.”
Once it is safe to return to the office, nearly 1,200 of CPS Energy’s 3,100 total employees will work at the new McCullough building, which will serve as a modest yet attractive addition to the Broadway corridor downtown and the downtown skyline. The total cost of the building will come in at $212 million, which is less than the company’s original budget allocation of $215 million. Significant care was taken to ensure that every monetary decision, even down to each piece of furniture in the building, was made with discretion and with the community in mind.
“The cost of furnishings is a small fraction of the total amount of the project itself,” said Frank. “We are taking over as much of the furniture that has an existing useful life in our current facilities…[but] it really is time for a refresh.”
Expenditures to our competitively selected furniture vendor represent only 3.4% of the total project costs. ($7.3 million for furniture / $212.0 million for the total spend = 3.4%).
From the very beginning when the project formally began in 2017, CPS Energy obtained public input to come up with three key principles in making our decision for our future headquarters selection:
- Stay in the downtown area,
- Ensure the cost of the new headquarters would not drive an increase in customer rates, and
- Take the opportunity to spur economic development in the selected area of downtown.
“We watched every penny as though it was our own,” said Frank. “We know that, in the end, these are the dollars of our community and we were careful to only spend money that was cost-effective and prudent. I’m very comfortable with what the big team of people, who analyzed this to every penny, have produced and I think that we’ve been very, very reasonable.”
We are confident that, in the years to come, the new McCullough building will serve as a beacon to our community.
For additional information about CPS Energy’s new headquarters on McCullough, read this informational fact sheet.