San Antonio.- Most people recall a particular life-changing teacher, a teacher who inspired, pushed, and motivated. The list of students changed by the five professors from St. Philip’s College honored with emeritus status must go on for miles.
July 27 marked St. Philip’s largest emeritus ceremony as it honored Dr. Deborah Byrd, Dr. Laureen C. Cate, Isabel De Pedro, Dr. Janet A. Flores, and Ivie James “Jim” Klaeveman.
The term ‘emeritus’ means much more than a fancy Latin title. It honors retired or deceased individuals who retain their admirable academic rank after they have finished teaching.
Dr. Adena Williams Loston, St. Philip’s College President, commended the five professors’ dedication and spirit at the ceremony.
"Our five emeritus appointees shared a selfless passion for educating thousands of alumni who today are leaders contributing effectively in our society, from judges to business people," Loston praised.
Four of the five professors are recent retirees. Cate retired last August, Byrd and De Pedro retired last December, and Flores followed suit in January. Klaeveman (1942-2011), unfortunately, passed away after serving for roughly a third of the life of the 114 year old college. He was recognized with a posthumous professor emeritus appointment.
Those who knew him would say he died doing what he loved.
“Jim was an outstanding instructor who passed away on a day when he turned in his students’ final semester grades. In the tradition of his four colleagues and those who preceded him in our college’s emeritus ranks, Jim was truly dedicated to serving our students, profession and community,” Loston said.
All five of the honored professors were members of the Department of Communications and Learning. The professors took the values of this field to heart and instilled in students the importance of how to convey ideas. These lessons aren’t just scholarly ones but life lessons.
“It is through their outstanding teaching that thousands of students enhanced their abilities to communicate both orally and in writing, two of life’s most essential skills,” Loston commented.
For these professors, teaching and inspiring students was their calling. That calling doesn’t end with retirement. As each one accepted their honor, the word “passion” came up again and again.
“I still have a passion for education, students, and the St. Philip’s College family,” Byrd expressed.
“I have been delighted to follow my passion, and my motto is aspire to inspire,” Cate shared.
Flores expressed a similar sentiment.
“Nothing has been more rewarding than to see students being motivated and successful. It's been fantastic,” Flores warmly said.
But perhaps most remarkable about these five professors’ achievements is the record number developmental of at-risk students they helped graduate.
“I have reached thousands and thousands of students… to start them off to enter the workplace and to become good teachers,” Cate said.
This feat is truly one that deserves to be honored, and the professors’ new emeritus rank is just one way that St. Philip’s, students, and the community showed their appreciation.