St. Philip’s College honors military veteran, longtime community activist with tree dedication

Community college also celebrated completion of new state-of-the-art facilities

St. Philip’s College honored its founding president by hosting a day full of events, celebrating the past, present and future of the college.

SAN ANTONIO – St. Philip’s College honored its founding president on Thursday by hosting a day full of events, celebrating the college’s past, present and future.

Local leaders and neighbors celebrated the completion of their state-of-the-art facilities as well as a military veteran, who spent his days helping underserved communities.

The college held a ceremony dedicating an oak tree in honor of Col. (Retired) Roy Burley Sr.

“He had some strong relationships all over the community. Not just the East Side, but all throughout San Antonio. And this was his home. He just made it a better place while he was here on earth,” said Nan Burley Richie, Burley’s daughter.

The oak tree on St. Philips College once stood in Burley’s backyard.

“My father loved this tree on the property. He played here, baseball. He climbed the tree. He had big dreams,” Burley Richie said.

Burley’s family said giving back was part of his DNA. After retiring from the military, Burley focused on helping the underserved community.

“He also started Bexar County Opportunity Industrialization Center for job training and started the diabetes center and served on the board as chair of the Bexar County Hospital District. So, he wanted to make sure that his beloved East Side was well served, for all the people that were living here,” Burley Richie said.

Burley Richie couldn’t remember the details of the sale of the property where the Oak tree is, but said his father requested the tree not be removed from the property as a condition of the sale.

She said the tree is where he dreamed about his life.

During Legacy Day, the college also honored other community leaders and celebrated the completion of several different buildings.

Both a new health and wellness center along with a technology facility with different learning labs have been completed.

In May of 2017, Bexar County voters approved a general obligation bond and awarded the college $82 million to make improvements on current buildings and add new facilities.

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