Alumni Awards

Colonel W.T. Bondurant, Sr. Distinguished Humanitarian Award

The Colonel W.T. Bondurant, Sr. Distinguished Humanitarian Award is presented each year by the San Antonio Academy Alumni Council to honor a person who exemplifies the school’s most cherished values: honesty; respect; pride in achievement and service to others. Since 1977, the Alumni Council has honored individuals who exemplify the humanitarian qualities exhibited by Colonel Bondurant, Sr., who served as The Academy’s Head of School from 1927 to 1943 and as a leader in the San Antonio community.

Past Recipients

1977 Astronaut David Scott, ’45

1978 Ambassador Anne L. Armstrong

1979 Walter W. McAllister, Sr.

1980 H. Ross Perot, Jr.

1981 Major General William P. Acker

1982 Tom C. Frost ’41

1983 Mary Etta McGimsey

1986 Marcus Thurman Barrett, Jr.

1987 Brigadier General David Lee “Tex” Hill ’28

1988 Brigadier General Robert F. McDermott

1989 Colonel William T. Bondurant, Jr. ’39

1990 Mary Nan West and Scott Petty, Sr.

1991 B. J. McCombs

1992 Betty Biedenharn

1993 Donald B. Harrell and Charles H. Noble ’43

1994 Dr. Burton Grossman

1995 The John E. Newman, Sr. Family

1996 Dela White

1997 Dr. Ronald K. Calgaard

1998 Rosemary E. Kowalski

1999 Thomas R. Semmes ’56

2001 Belton Kleberg Johnson ’43

2002 Dr. James Willerson ’53

2004 Kit Goldsbury ’57

2006 Bartell Zachry

2007 Betty Stieren Kelso

2008 Congressman Lamar Smith ’61

2009 Samuel Barshop

2010 Edith McAllister

2012 Dr. Ricardo Romo

2013 Harvey Van Cliburn

2014 Dennert O. Ware

2015 Patricia Galt Steves

2016 Judge Polly Jackson Spencer

2017 Shannon Sedgwick Davis 

2018 Scott Petty, Jr. 

Col. W.T. Bondurant, Jr. Oratorical Award

An annual competition sponsored by the English Department, the W.T. Bondurant, Jr. Oratorical Award is presented to a seventh or eighth grade cadet who composes and delivers the best speech judged by the Alumni Council. The winner will present his speech during Chapel in front of students, parents, faculty, staff and special guests.

Past Recipients

2019 - Richard Cage

2018 - Connor Davis 

2017 - Roan Erwin 

2016 - Jack Osterhage 

2015 - John Howard Hassmann 

2014 - Andrew Hieger 

2013 - Joe McGrath

2012 - Cooper Noble

2011 - Dustin Brownlow

2010 - Dillon Wagner

2009 - Parker Brown

2008 - Anthony Kayruz

2007 - David Rochelle

2006 - Joseph Labatt

2005 - Warren Spencer

2004 - Gibson Gunn

2003- Anson Howard

Distinguished Alumni Award

The Col. W.T. Bondurant, Jr. Distinguished Alumnus Award was created in 2007 to honor SAA Alumni who exemplify The Academy’s values of be honest, be kind, be the best you can be.

Past Recipients  

2018 Dr. Guillermo Rocha '79

2017 Phillip Leggett '67 

2016 Mark Johnson '60

2015 Dr. Arturo Bonilla '76

2014 Judge Richard Price '76

2013 Charles H. Noble, Jr. '43 & Edward H. Austin, Jr. '55

2012 Dr. Light T. Cummins '29

2011 John H. White, Jr. '61

2010 John E. Newman '61

2009 Blair Labatt '61 & John Steen '63

 2008 Tom Frost '41  & Jesse H. Oppenheimer '31 

2007 Brigadier General David Lee "Tex" Hill  '28 (posthumous)  & Colonel W.T. Bondurant, Jr. '39

Honorary Alumnus

The Alumni Council bestowed the title of Honorary Alumnus to John Webster, Drew Kennedy, Barry Bradley and Luisa Bolen for their years of service and dedication to San Antonio Academy and its students. In addition to receiving a special plaque at the Alumni/8th grade luncheon, each were presented a diploma from San Antonio Academy during Commencement.

2009 - John Webster, the previous Head of School, was honored for his 25 (now 32) years of service and dedication to The Academy.  

2011 "Prof." Drew Kennedy, Associate Head of SAA, pictured with Tom Bondurant '63 was honored for his 40 years of service and dedication to The Academy. 

2012 Faculty member, Barry Bradley, pictured with Brian Steward '79 was honored for his 35 years of service and dedication to The Academy.  

2015  Faculty member, Sra. Luisa Bolen, pictured with Joseph Shields '05 and Lex Stuart '05 was honored for her 26 years of service and dedication to The Academy. 

The Bondurant Legacy

Dr. William Walton Bondurant-Dr. WW Bondurant, a young professor of Greek and Latin at Austin College, purchased The Seeley School in 1906. Professor Bondurant added new faculty and continued to raise the academic standards of the school, and added a junior school to ensure that boys were well prepared for the rigors of the high school which Dr. Bondurant re-named “San Antonio Academy.”

Colonel W.T. Bondurant, Sr.
In 1919, after WWI, Americans were very aware of the need for early military training. Professor W.W.Bondurant called upon his nephew Lieutenant William Thomas Bondurant, who had served in the U.S. Army Air Corps in France and had studied French at The Sorbonne University in Paris, to “join him amid the bluebonnets and rattlesnakes” ushering in the first military program at SAA. While leading the cadet corps, Lt. Bondurant also taught history, English and military science.

Future years saw the merger of San Antonio Academy’s senior department and Texas Military Institute. In 1926 Professor Bondurant (also known as Dr. Bondurant in recognition of an honorary Doctor of Literature degree given to him in 1924 by Austin College) became the Chairman of the Board at SAA and TMI and the newly-promoted Lieutenant Colonel Bondurant became president of the two Boards. 

Colonel W.T Bondurant, Jr. '39
In 1949 another Bondurant joined the faculty as a math teacher. Lieutenant Bondurant’s son, Professor William Thomas Bondurant, Jr. was a 1939 alumnus of SAA, and went on to graduate from Hampden-Sydney in Virginia and serve in the U.S. Navy. “Colonel B,” as his students lovingly called him, ultimately went on to lead San Antonio Academy as its Headmaster until 1985, and then served as Headmaster Emeritus following his retirement. Colonel Bondurant’s passing in 2009 closed the Bondurant chapter, which has left an indelible mark on San Antonio Academy.

Col. WT Bondurant Jr. quote: "The joy is watching these little guys come in kinder and then, years later, watching them walk across the stage and graduate…and just knowing that you were a part of it. Great teaching is love. Love is that which gaineth love."

Col. W.T. Bondurant Jr. Tribute

In Loving Memory of Colonel W.T. Bondurant, Jr. 

August 24, 1926 - June 12, 2009 

“The joy is watching these little boys come in as kindergarteners and first graders, and then years later watching them walk across the stage and just knowing that you were a part of it. Great teaching is love. If they know that you love them they work for you and you struggle for them. Great teaching is love. Love is that which gaineth love.” - Colonel W.T. Bondurant, Jr. 



Excerpts from John Webster's Eulogy to Colonel Bondurant: (Read eulogy in its entirety)

"Some of Col. Bondurant’s earliest memories as a child are in the dining hall of San Antonio Academy, where his father started teaching in 1920. In those days, The Academy had a boarding program, and if you worked for The Academy, boarding was a way of life; it was 24/7.

I’m looking now at a photograph of Col. Bondurant, age 10 or 11, clad in his full Academy uniform, and he’s standing at the side of his father, Colonel Sr. Everybody I’ve met tells me that the minute you met Colonel Sr., you respected him. He commanded your respect, the same as Colonel Bondurant, Jr. Colonel Bondurant, Sr. is impeccably attired in a white linen suit, with a stylish fedora. But what stands out in the picture is the look on the face of Colonel’s father. He’s proud of his son and he loves his son, and that shows through. When I think of the Bondurant family, those three traits emerge: love, pride and respect. There’s a strong sense of honor about this family.

Rather than share with you my own words, I’d like to read excerpts from a few of the hundreds of letters that have come in through the 24 years I’ve been here."

Scott: “Colonel B, always with a bow tie and always an amazingly positive influence. You made a difference in my life, Sir.”

Gary: “I first met Colonel Bondurant years ago while reporting a news story for KENS TV. His demeanor, statuesque persona and charming character made a lasting impression. Through the years I’ve realized that Colonel was a symbol of leadership to be emulated by all the boys who attend San Antonio Academy.”
Wallace: “There were teachers at The Academy that you liked, teachers that you feared, and teachers you liked to take advantage of, but you respected Colonel Bondurant. He never demanded your respect – he earned it. Over the years Colonel Bondurant has improved and enriched the lives of thousands and thousands of boys from South Texas and all around the world.”

Brett: “I was in the third grade; I was new. About 30 minutes before Chapel, Colonel Bondurant called me into his office and helped me get my uniform together. He spent several minutes shining my shoes. It was a spit shine and they were perfect. Of course, I would spend the rest of my life trying to get my shoes just as perfect as he did in a few minutes. But the biggest thing that happened in those few minutes was how Colonel Bondurant, headmaster and the leader of my world at that time, was a servant, and showed a third grader at the bottom of the ladder how to start preparing for the day and every day that would follow. Colonel, thank you for showing me what it means to be a servant, a leader and a father.”

Van: “I count you as a blessing in my life, Colonel. I recall fondly your warmth, your kind smile, your warm personality, your firm discipline when it was needed, your encouraging arm around my shoulder and your no-nonsense looks when I was about to get into mischief. Perhaps my favorite memory of you, Colonel Bondurant, is simply that of a friend. What a friend you were to me in difficult years! My mother was seriously ill and my brother-in-law lost his life tragically. In those hard months you were a constant source of comfort, challenge and inspiration. I owe you a debt of gratitude that I can never fully repay.”

David: “I’m sitting here at my desk in Baghdad, Iraq. Sir, I think back to my first day at The Academy in the fall of 1984. I was very intimidated. I had issues with hyperactivity, and I was so scared as I walked up those stairs into the office. The first person I met was you. You immediately made the fear go away with the calmness and kindness in your voice, and started me on a journey that I still cherish today. And the journey is this: you had the amazing ability to make people see the best in themselves and strive to be the best they can be. You taught me confidence and kindness, compassion and so many other values that I hold dear to this day. Sir, your name is held in such regard that it will be spoken in reverence at The Academy forever. That is the legacy you have created through your example.”

Brian: “Colonel Bondurant was a strong father figure for all of us through our formative years. He symbolized certain moral and ethical absolutes.”

Susan (an Academy mom): “You set a standard of excellence that touched the life of my son in behavior, good manners, lasting friendships, love of country and reverence for God. Thank you for making a difference in the life of my son, Kevin.”

Light: “You are the living embodiment of the values that are The Academy.”

Col. W.T. Bondurant, Jr. Notable Academy Moments

October 2007:  On behalf of the Alumni Council, Colonel W.T. Bondurant, Jr. '39, is the first alumnus to receive the "Distinguished Alumni Award" from former SAA Alumni Council President, Brett Joiner '85. In background: Colonel's wife Kay, and Brian Steward '79.

August 2002: Colonel W. T. Bondurant, Jr. '39 receives the Lifetime Achievement Award during the "Ford Salute to Education" ceremony.

Fall 2001: Colonel W.T. Bondurant, Jr. '39 with son, Tom Bondurant '63, officially open the new Bondurant Library by cutting the ceremonial ribbon.