Dr. Juliet Garcia: Creating Next Generation Leaders
Story By: Lorenzo Almanza
In 2016, the Pew Research Center reported that 3.6 million Latinos were enrolled in U.S. public and private colleges. This was seen as a huge stride for the Latino Community, who in 1999 only had 1.3 million students enrolled. One individual who has been trying to not only enroll but graduate and impact Latino students is Dr. Juliet Garcia, a former Senior Advisor to the Chancellor of the UT System and now a professor at The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.
One thing that distinguishes Dr. Garcia from other women is the difference she made and continues to make in the Latino education field. During her time as President at the University of Texas in Brownsville – Texas Southmost College (UTB-TSC), the school made drastic strides.
“I began as a member of the faculty, eventually became an academic dean and then was chosen to become its president,” Dr. Garcia said. “I served for 28 years as a president and had the privilege of being named the first Latina in the United States to be named as a university president.”
The University of Texas System utters how the former UTB-TSC president helped prosper the university’s population and graduation rate by nearly double in size.
Prosperity seemed to be the norm for Dr. Garcia. In 2009, Time Magazine recognized Dr. Garcia as one of the 10 Best College Presidents. In its report, Time described how UTB-TSC was the result of an amazing partnership between a 65-year-old community college and the University of Texas System.
The Texas Women’s Hall of Fame reported that Dr. Garcia’s jointed UTB and Texas Southmost College (TSC) in hopes of bringing together various resources, improving education and eliminating any kind of problems for students in the Lower Rio Grande Valley that might have prevented future students from going to college.
The Texas Women Hall of Fame 2000 Inductee entered the education spectrum due to the fact that her family struggled to get her and her younger siblings into an education past high school. Both of her parents excelled while in high school, but because they graduated during the Great Depression, neither had the opportunity to attend college.
“It has always deeply concerned me that many others, just like my parents, never had the opportunity to go to college. Not because they didn’t want to, but because universities were simply out of their reach,” Dr. Garcia said. “I wanted to change that.”
The Endowment Scholarship Fund gives Dr. Garcia a solvency for former and future students. The program conjoins exceptional high school students with college courses in hope of graduate school deeming in their rearview mirror.
Last year, Dr. Garcia assisted The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) in innovating the UTRGV School of Medicine for students to further their education.
“There are many university programs aimed at nurturing next-generation leaders both at UTRGV and The University of Texas System,” Dr. Garcia said. “I intend to teach, nurture and challenge next generation leaders.”
Dr. Garcia is devoted to turning Latino student dreams into a reality.
“In just one generation in my family, there are now doctors, pharmacists, lawyers, teachers, an engineer, nurses and one university president. Si, se puede!”