San Antonio – At a grand opening ceremony held Wednesday, June 5, the University of the Incarnate Word (UIW) officially dedicated the Bowden Eye Care and Health Center located at 2547 E. Commerce Street (corner of Walters and Commerce, two blocks north of St. Philip’s College).
Joining UIW President Dr. Louis J. Agnese, Jr., at the ceremony were Dr. Adena Williams Loston, president, St. Philip’s College, Rep. Ruth Jones McClendon, Texas State House of Representatives, District 12, Ivy R. Taylor, Councilwoman, City of San Antonio-District 2, Jackie Gorman, executive director, SAGE and many members of the UIW and San Antonio community.
The Eye Care and Health Center is named after community leader Artemisia Bowden. Bowden was born in Albany, Ga. and graduated from St. Augustine’s School in Raleigh, N.C. in 1900. After teaching for two years, she moved to San Antonio to be principal of St. Philip’s Industrial School, a school for black girls. By 1927, St. Philip’s had achieved private junior college status, with Bowden as president. The Great Depression wrought serious hardship on St. Philip’s but Bowden refused to let the school die. She campaigned to have the San Antonio Independent School District take it over. In 1942, they reluctantly incorporated it into the city’s junior college system, and Bowden continued to act as dean. In 1954, after 52 years as head of St. Philip’s, she retired. Bowden received a B.A. in 1935 from St. Augustine’s College. She was president of the San Antonio Metropolitan Council of Negro Women and was founder and president of the city’s Negro Business and Professional Women’s Club. In 1947, she was named to the Texas Commission on Interracial Relations. The National Council of Negro Women cited Bowden as one of the 10 most outstanding woman educators in the U.S. She died in San Antonio on August 18, 1969. This building and its services to the community are dedicated in Bowden’s memory and are a tribute to her legacy.
“This state-of-the art facility completes the inspiring legacy of so many of the great citizens and leaders of the great city San Antonio. Just as Ms. Bowden labored so long and hard to provide access to education for the underserved so we are present to provide the same motivating factors to the students of the Eastside who aspire to careers in the health professions,” said Dr. Andrew Buzzelli, dean Rosenberg School of Optometry. “Just as the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word gave so much as the first providers of health care to the San Antonio community, we now return to that same proud tradition as direct descendants of our very first community health care center of Santa Rosa in 1869. We truly have some great pioneers to mentor our success,”
This $8 million-dollar institute is a 30,000 square-foot modern public health care facility poised to serve the vision care needs of residents on the Eastside and surrounding areas. Patients will be served by licensed eye care doctors and interns from UIW’s Rosenberg School of Optometry. In addition to UIW funding, the City of San Antonio also invested in the project. Through the City’s Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone #11 (TIRZ 11), $1.2 million was allocated for this project and $1.6 million was allocated through the City’s Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), Section 108 Funds.
The need for this facility is critical as there is only one private optometry office located on the Eastside, a community of 120,000 residents. In addition, diseases that can destroy vision, such as diabetes and glaucoma, are overrepresented in the populations who form the majority of the Eastside and neighboring communities. The new Bowden Eye Care and Health Center will focus on access to eye care for vulnerable populations, particularly children, the elderly, and the uninsured. Patients will be accepted regardless of their ability—or inability—to pay.
CONTACT: Margaret Garcia, UIW associate director of public relations, (210) 829-6001, firstname.lastname@example.org