St. Philip’s College president recognized by White House, hopes to bring opportunities for Black Americans

Dr. Adena Williams Loston spoke to KSAT 12 about her career and new role

SAN ANTONIO – After years of working in different educational roles, the president of St. Philip’s College was recognized by the White House and will work on bringing more educational and economic opportunities for Black Americans.

Dr. Adena Williams Loston recently spoke to KSAT 12 and explained how her life experiences and journey has prepared her for this new role.

“Every job I ever held until I arrived at Sam Philip’s College, I was either the first Black or the only Black in that position,” Loston said.

Loston broke barriers in her career at not only higher education institutions, but even at NASA, where she served as a director of education.

“I was the first, I served as the highest ranking African American female in the agency at NASA,” Loston said.

The educational trailblazer now has another accomplishment to add to her wall and a memorable story to share.

“We were sworn in by Vice President Kamala Harris and then they asked us to just have a seat and so, we sat back down and a person whispered in my ear, the president is coming,” Loston said.

On October 26, 2023, Loston was appointed by U.S. President Joe Biden to the White House Initiative on Advancing Educational Equity, Excellence and Economic Opportunity for Black Americans.

“It’s an opportunity of a lifetime,” Loston said.

Loston feels fully prepared for the new role.

“I know and understand the circumstances when you don’t have access or you have limited access or are being marginalized,” Loston said.

Loston went on to share some of her experiences.

“I’m from Mississippi. I’m from the segregated South. Every time I entered a public building, I entered through the back door. I was not engaged in an integrated academic setting until I went to graduate school,” Loston said.

Her father also played a big role in her life.

“My father being the first black self-employed master plumber. Daddy charged people according to the way they talked to his children,” Loston said.

As Loston serves on the committee for post secondary and career education, she hopes to give voice to what’s happening in San Antonio.

“We know that access is an issue. We know that affordability is an issue. We know that we virtually sometimes have to case manage every student because when they’re coming to us, education is but one of the competing priorities in their lives. And so we have to be prepared to address homelessness, hunger, food insecurity, a parenting student,” Loston said.

Loston looks forward to diving into the issues and knows her father, who also accomplished a lot in his life, is celebrating her.

“I just know that Daddy would be immensely proud, immensely proud,” Loston said.

About the Authors

Tiffany Huertas is a reporter for KSAT 12 known for her in-depth storytelling and her involvement with the community.

Luis Cienfuegos is a photographer at KSAT 12.

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