Hall Hammond has raised well over $2 million for Alamo Colleges since 2010, resulting in countless students receiving scholarships and, in turn, changing the trajectory of their lives and the future of their families.
In recognition of Hammond’s years of distinguished service and support of Alamo Colleges students and the Alamo Colleges Foundation, on Nov. 17, 2021, the board unanimously voted to confer upon Hammond the title of board member emeritus. Mike Beldon, board chairman emeritus, presented Hammond with the Alamo Colleges Foundation Board Member Emeritus medal, honoring him for exceptional service and dedication over more than a decade.
Hammond’s commitment to the students of Alamo Colleges resulted from a chance encounter with Roberto Zárate, the District 5 trustee, in 2010. That introduction led to in-person visits to each of the colleges, where Hammond remembers being immediately impressed with the students, the faculty, and administrators who welcomed him. He understood and embraced the unique value proposition offered by the five colleges within the Alamo Colleges District. Hammond wanted to help. Later that year, he was invited to serve on the Alamo Colleges Foundation board of directors.
Hammond’s early impression of excellence at Alamo Colleges has grown: “One thing that makes me most zealous in fundraising is knowing that incredible people at every level support our students — the board of trustees, the chancellor, college presidents, and a remarkable faculty. The proof of it can be seen in San Antonio College’s recent win of the 2021 Aspen Award as the best community college in the nation! When you go to these colleges, the facilities are incredible, the students are excited, and it’s just such a wonderful experience!”
Upon joining the board, Hammond embraced the foundation’s mission “to strengthen the Alamo Colleges’ capacity to empower for success the diverse communities served by each of the Alamo Colleges.” He immediately set about the business of friend-raising and fundraising. Hammond, who had briefly been an English teacher before becoming a widely respected San Antonio jeweler, made his earliest commitment to raise funding for tutors at the Writing Center at San Antonio College. Soon, he looked for other avenues to help students achieve their dream of a college education.
At foundation board meetings early in his tenure, Hammond listened to repeated reports that there were always more qualified scholarship applicants than scholarships available. The idea of qualified applicants being left empty-handed kept nagging at him. He wondered, “Who were those well-qualified students left empty-handed, and what was the impact on their lives of not getting a scholarship? Who is left in the waiting line? A kid just out of high school, a young mother, or maybe a 40-year-old husband and father wanting to change occupations?”
These questions nagged at him during his early years of service on the Alamo Colleges Foundation Board. And now, more than a decade later, Hammond has introduced Alamo Colleges to new friends and has raised well over $2 million, resulting in countless students achieving their dreams of a better future.
And he has, over the years, learned answers to some of those nagging questions. Hammond has met, personally congratulated, and listened to the stories of many scholarship recipients. He reads their aspirations in letters of thanks and says that he feels deep gratitude for having an opportunity to play a small role in helping each scholarship recipient work to achieve a better future.
“Often in my life, people have been generous to me. I’ve had so many breaks in my life. So many things have gone my way. I knew the right people, or whatever. Somewhere along the line, I said I want to give back. That’s what I’d really like to do — live a life of gratitude. To me, that also means giving. Some people who have the capacity to give just don’t give.”
During the recent recognition event, Alamo Colleges Foundation Chairwoman Pamela Bain talked about how Hammond embodies the spirit of service.
“He has been a long-term super fundraiser,” she said. “Because of his willingness to connect with people, Hall’s unquenchable thirst to help students has only increased over the years. Hall has more than earned the emeritus status — he wrote the book on it!”
Echoing Bain’s comments, Alamo Colleges District board of trustees Chairman Dr. Gene Sprague said, “We are honored by this incredible legacy that has allowed so many students to pursue their dreams of higher education.”
Alamo Colleges Chancellor Mike Flores said that in the brief time since 2019 when Hammond and wife Pat established a scholarship fund in their name, they invited dozens of friends and colleagues to support to join them. The result is that 426 students have already benefited from the Hall and Pat Hammond Scholarship fund.
“Let me repeat, Hall’s personal outreach has directly impacted 426 lives, just since 2019,” Flores said. “… The fund is currently at over $215,000, and the numbers keep growing. And you can be a part of this!”
Hammond also invites others to participate in this giving legacy.
“There is a real need for scholarships. Scholarships will change lives,” he said. “Twenty-five to 30% of our scholarships goes to people who are the first in their families to go to college. We keep seeing that again and again and again. It’s not necessarily that the scholarship was what got them there, but it helped. It kept them going. I’d say a third to half of them wouldn’t even be going to school if they didn’t get that scholarship. Five hundred dollars can make the difference.
“That is what made me want to start the Hall and Pat Hammond Scholarship Fund. When your name is on it, friends and other supporters know that you have skin in the game.”