San Antonio College prepares next generation of funeral directors with first mortuary on campus

SAN ANTONIO – Opening a mortuary on a college campus has never been done, but it’s been the goal for Mary Mena, the mortuary science program coordinator at San Antonio College for more than a decade.

“That idea started about 16 years ago, actually. And here it is, 16 years later that we have our own funeral home,” Mena said, standing inside the facility on Ashby Street.

SAC already has two programs, a funeral director certification and an associate in science mortuary. About 20-25 students complete the programs each year.

The new idea is to give students a full scope of how to help families through the arrangements of a loved one, from embalmment to the paperwork required, to the selection of a casket and urn.

“We appreciate that we’re given this opportunity and the students really appreciate that they’re given this opportunity. And I think the other thing that we really, really stress is that this is someone’s loved one and they have entrusted them to us. And that’s something we take really serious,” she said.

Jennifer Floyd, the SAC Mortuary funeral director, says in a time when a shortage of funeral directors is predicted over the next five years, the ability to prepare the next generation will be important.

“We are more focused on learning, and less being profitable. Our goal is to ensure that our students leave with the best experience possible. And, in order to do that, we have to make sure we give them the best equipment. So that’s what it’s about. We’re not focused on turning a profit,” she said.

The mortuary opened for business on June 3, 2024.

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