J. Bruce Bugg Jr., former chairman of the Bexar County Performing Arts Center Foundation. Credit: Iris Dimmick / San Antonio Report

Bexar County Performing Arts Foundation Co-Founder J. Bruce Bugg Jr. has stepped down from his position as chairman of the board. Sam Dawson, CEO of Pape-Dawson Engineers and foundation director, was selected to take over as chairman of the foundation, which owns and operates the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts.

“Last December, I told the Tobin Center Board I would serve one more term as Chairman, and step down at the December 2016 Tobin Center Board meeting,” Bugg stated in a news release. “That’s when I recommended Sam Dawson be elected Chairman-Elect. So, I’m glad to turn the reins over to Sam, who will do a fabulous job in leading the Tobin Center into the future.”

A prominent Republican businessman who serves on the Texas Transportation Commission and on the boards of several financial institutions, Bugg has served as chair since he, Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff, and then-Mayor Phil Hardberger formed the private foundation in 2007 to bring the idea of a new, state-of-the-art performing arts center to life.

The $203 million Tobin Center, was funded by the County with a $100 million bond allocation as well as private dollars raised by the foundation and the Tobin Endowment, for which Bugg remains chairman and trustee. Under his leadership, the Tobin Endowment ran a $15 million challenge grant initiative to support the Tobin’s capital campaign. The Tobin opened in September 2014.

Samuel Dawson of Pape-Dawson Engineers.
Pape-Dawson Engineers CEO Sam Dawson

“It’s an honor to move into this position, and I will do my best to follow Bruce in this leadership role,” Dawson stated. “Our task now is to build on what has already been established in terms of performance quality, support for local performing arts organizations, and economic strength.”

Tobin, City, and County officials celebrated the “missing link” to the venue’s continued success on Monday with a groundbreaking ceremony for the new, 521-space Tobin parking garage. The garage was made possible by $5 million grants from both the City and County; the Tobin borrowed the remaining $7 million will recoup it through parking fees.

According to a news release, Dawson has served on a number of local and regional boards and chambers, including San Antonio Chamber of Commerce, Chancellor’s Council for the University of Texas System, President’s Development Board of the University of Texas at Austin, Board of Trustees of the Witte Museum, Rotary Club of San Antonio, and San Antonio Mobility Coalition.

San Antonio Report Staff

This article was assembled by various members of the San Antonio Report staff.