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Dr. Juliet V Garcia

September 27, 2022

MAKE WAY! Today we are celebrating Dr. Juliet V Garcia, the first woman President of UT at Rio Grande Valley and Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient. In fact, Dr. Garcia is the first Hispanic woman to ever serve as a college president in American history. 

Dr. Garcia was born and raised in Brownsville, Tx. She studied at Texas Southmost College, Texas State, and received her BA and MA from the University of Houston. She would go on to earn her PhD from UT Austin. 

Over the course of her 30-year career, she would transform TSC, a community college, into UT at Brownsville, now renamed UT at Rio Grande Valley. She was appointed TSC’s president in 1986 after spending time as a faculty member, working her way up to a Dean’s position. She served UT at Brownsville as their president until 2014, when she stepped down. 

Dr. Garcia has this to say about her mission as a higher education professional, “My job was always to thrust open doors of opportunity for students to learn, compete, and succeed in the classics, chess, physics, or the performing arts. We did this by building a campus that unapologetically honors our cultural and environmental heritage, and then by filling it up with brilliant faculty and dedicated staff.” 

She received the Presidential Medal of Freedom this past summer for her work at the community college level and her continued service to educating the next generation.

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