At the recent CEO Luncheon, the Honorable Lila Cockrell was honored with the Distinguished Leader Award, which The Chamber presents to individuals who have made a lasting and notable impact on San Antonio throughout their career.
Cockrell joins Phil Hardberger, Charlie Amato, Rosemary Kowalski, Arthur Emerson and Joe Krier, among others, who also have been presented with this esteemed recognition.
Cockrell began her career in public service in the Navy where she served in World War II. She was elected to the San Antonio City Council and served from 1963-1970 and from 1973-1975. In 1975, she became Mayor of the city for the first time.
"But as we all know, Lila’s work is never done. She returned and won the Mayor's race again eight years later," current San Antonio City Manager Sheryl Sculley said in her introduction.
As Mayor, Cockrell oversaw San Antonio’s move from at-large council seats to single member districts. This battle cemented her as a civic leader who was tough but fair-minded. Her administration is also credited with bringing the HemisFair Arena and Convention Center to downtown, as well as the world-famous River Walk.
Cockrell was a pioneer for diversity, as she pushed for more women and minority appointments to city boards and commissions. As Mayor, she hosted many dignitaries and celebrities including U.S. and Mexican presidents, princes, queens and five first ladies. Her community service is unmatched. Cockrell served on six state boards and commissions under four governors and received dozens of honors and awards for her impressive accomplishments in many areas of focus.
Since leaving office, Cockrell has remained devoted to San Antonio, most recently serving as President of the San Antonio Parks Foundation. Her name graces our newly-refurbished Lila Cockrell Theatre at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, and her efforts continue to bring beauty to our city.