The Paisano benefits from $800,000 gift

Diane Abdo

The Paisano Educational Trust, publisher of The Paisano newspaper and Paisano Plus magazine, has established the Phelan Family Scholarship endowment fund in the memory of James William Phelan and Agnes Cryer Phelan. The Phelans were long-time San Antonio residents dedicated to the support of higher education.

The endowment was made possible by a $800,000 gift that Agnes Phelan bequeathed in March 2019 to The Paisano Educational Trust, a 501(c)3 IRS nonprofit entity. The Trust’s mission is to provide scholarships for UTSA student journalists, as well as to provide hands-on experience for the next generation of professional writers and entrepreneurs.

The gift was announced at the Oct. 26 event, “Remembering the Past, Celebrating the Future,” which also highlighted the accomplishments of Paisano alumni. The endowment will enable the Trust to continue financial support for UTSA students.

The Paisano is the only independent college newspaper in Texas and one of only a dozen in the nation. In 1981, the student newspaper published its first issue and established a bi-weekly publication schedule. In 1992, the newspaper matured into a weekly publication distributed on UTSA’s Main, Downtown and Institute of Texan Cultures campuses.

Today, The Paisano is published weekly in print and online. Its companion publication, The Paisano Plus magazine, is produced quarterly, and Paisano news is communicated through social media platforms as well. A student editorial board makes all editorial and operational decisions.

The Paisano Media Arts Center, a 3,000-square-foot complex across from UTSA’s Main Campus, is the home base for the publication’s operations. A two-year capital campaign produced the funding for the construction of this complex, which was completed in 2014. Funders included The Charlene and Red McCombs Family Foundation, The Mays Family Foundation, Roger Trevino and Twang Partner, Ltd. and members of the local community.

The Paisano has won numerous awards from Columbia Scholastic Press for journalism excellence and has been featured on national radio and in local publications, including Texas Monthly and the San Antonio Express-News. Paisano alumni have established careers in a variety of fields: journalism, law, human resources, technical writing, accounting, public relations, education and management.