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Copyright (c) 2011 HIGHER EDUCATION COUNCIL OF SAN ANTONIO. All rights reserved.



In 1974, a group of local college and university administrators began to meet regularly, but informally, to talk about collaboration and the state of higher education in San Antonio.  Modeling their group after the Inter-University Council of Dallas, they formed the Higher Education Council of San Antonio, signing articles of incorporation in January of 1975.  Dr. Duncan Wimpress, president of Trinity University at the time, was the first chairperson of HECSA.  He told the San Antonio Express-News that San Antonio has a “powerful concentration of educational, research and cultural institutions” to be promoted and developed.

The charter members of HECSA were, as they were known then, Trinity University, Oblate College of the Southwest, Incarnate Word College, Our Lady of the Lake College, St. Mary’s University, San Antonio Union Junior College District (made up of San Antonio College and St. Philip’s College), the University of Texas at San Antonio and the University of Texas Health Science Center.

Originally, HECSA grouped its membership into two categories, regular and associate members.  Associate members had a link to higher education but were not, strictly speaking, San Antonio educational institutions.  The original associate members were the Community College of the Air Force, Southwest Research Institute, Southwest Foundation for Research and Education, the U.S. Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine, Witte Museum, Marion Koogler McNay Art Institute, and the National Autonomous University of Mexico.

HECSA did away with the two classes of membership in 2006.  All institutions hold equal membership.

In March of 1975, HECSA collaborated with the San Antonio Economic Development Foundation and the Greater San Antonio Chamber of Commerce to produce a brochure to use with prospective businesses considering relocation to San Antonio and persons moving to the city who requested college information.  The brochure noted that enrollment in San Antonio’s institutions of higher education was 44,000, or about six percent of the population of San Antonio.  The combined annual operating budget of all HECSA member institutions was about $80 million in 1975.

Early on, the HECSA members discussed the kind of projects they wanted to participate in to advance higher education in San Antonio.  Minutes from an early HECSA meeting offered the following possibilities: 

  • Combine to offer international student orientation

  • Conduct major higher education symposia

  • Participate in inter-library projects

  • Promote engineering programs

  • Work together to recruit more minority students

  • Establish a cable tv link/inter-connection between all higher education institutions with public service announcements and common advertising

The cable tv idea resonated with HECSA members.  Now known as “inTV,” The Education Channel serves cable customers in the San Antonio area with educational programming. Programs include distance learning courses offered by colleges and universities, original programming from universities and K-12 schools as well as arts, news, weather and information and calendar information for all the HECSA member institutions.  inTV can be found on Time Warner Cable channel 98 and Grande Cable channel 21.  More information about inTV and a schedule of programs can be found here.

HECSA commissioned an updated economic impact brochure in 2004.  Enrollment city-wide had grown to 101,171 and the economic impact of higher education institutions on San Antonio was $2.2 billion, representing three percent of the local economy.

Collaborating with business and industry for economic development is a new focus for HECSA.  In 2010, HECSA participated with the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, State Representative Joaquin Castro and the Alamo Colleges in the Higher Education Regional Economic Development meeting, where higher education presidents and local business/industry leaders met to discuss how to better collaborate for the good of San Antonio.   A task force of HECSA members was subsequently convened to advance the discussion and collaboration.