The Tricentennial Commission officially has a new president and two new members. Cynthia Teniente-Matson, president of Texas A&M University-San Antonio, and former Northside Independent School District Superintendent John Folks were appointed as co-chairs, while Palo Alto College President Mike Flores took Matson’s place as the commission’s District 4 representative.

All three were sworn in during the commission’s meeting on Friday, and Matson was approved as president of the commission, which operates as a board for the local government corporation in charge of planning San Antonio’s year-long 300th anniversary celebration during 2018.

“I am humbled by the trust and confidence that Mayor Nirenberg, the City Council and the Tricentennial Commission have placed in me,” Matson stated in a news release. “San Antonio has a diverse and culturally rich history. I am confident that at the culmination of our tricentennial year, we will look back at the city-wide education, cultural events, festivities, and public projects and recognize they will have a positive impact for generations to come.”

Teniente-Matson and Folks replaced Robert Thrailkill, general manager at Hilton Palacio del Rio, and Katie Luber, the director or the San Antonio Museum of Art. Thrailkill and Luber were appointed to the commission by former Mayor Ivy Taylor.

The new Tricentennial website, which includes a more advanced events and volunteerism calendar, was presented to commission members. Many praised the design firm’s CEO, Sarah Helmy, who answered questions about current and future functionality of the site.

The commission also was briefed by Tom Payton, director of Trinity University Press, which is publishing the official Tricentennial book. The volume will include work from 64 contributors and 260 images.

At the direction of the commission, “we’ve arranged the book thematically rather than a history book chronologically,” Payton said. More than 80 percent of the book is completed, underway, or in planning. Some contributors have deadlines as late as mid-January, Payton said.

The website, event calendar, marketing, Tricentennial book, and other aspects of Tricentennial will be discussed in more depth by new and existing commission subcommittees, Matson said.

The commission’s next regularly scheduled meeting is set for Jan. 24, but the commission added a work session on Jan. 5 to talk specifically about the calendar, communications, and marketing, and social media strategies as well as another full meeting on Jan. 10.

Iris Dimmick

Senior Reporter Iris Dimmick covers public policy pertaining to social issues, ranging from affordable housing and economic disparity to policing reform and workforce development. Contact her at