CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – The Dr. Hector P. Garcia Memorial Foundation has pledged an additional $50,000 to Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi for the Dr. Hector P. Garcia Scholarship Endowment. Mariella Jimenez, a freshman education major, has been selected to receive the scholarship. Jimenez, who is the first in her family to graduate from high school and attend college, will receive $5,000 a year for four years.
“Every time I walk through the Hector P. Garcia Plaza on campus for the next four years of my education, I will be looking at the man who made my dreams possible,” said Jimenez. “I feel a lot of relief that I won’t have to burden my family with the cost of my education since I have three other siblings.”
Dr. Hector P. Garcia ranks among the most prolific figures in Mexican American history. He was an immigrant and a proud Texan, a physician and a soldier, an activist and an advisor to several presidents. After serving in World War II, he founded the American GI Forum, the veterans’ advocacy group that evolved into a powerful and effective force for civil rights.
Jimenez plans to use her degree to become a math teacher. Thanks to the scholarship, Jimenez says she will be able to work less hours at her part-time job, allowing her to focus more on her schoolwork.
“My parents are immigrants from Mexico, just like Dr. Garcia,” said Jimenez, in an emotional speech. “They came to this country to offer us a better life. They are the best parents I could have ever asked for. I am so proud of them. And I hope they are proud of me.”
The University held a public signing for the endowment pledge on Sept. 20, which is Hector P. Garcia’s State Holiday. Cecilia Garcia Akers, daughter of the civil rights champion, attended on behalf of the Dr. Hector P. Garcia Memorial Foundation. During the event, she spoke about her father’s humble beginnings and the sacrifices he made for both his family and for marginalized Hispanics across the country.
“Looking back on my father’s life, we can take inspiration knowing that just one person can make a huge difference,” said Garcia Akers. “My father’s wishes were that everyone receives the highest level of education possible. This additional scholarship pledge is a new beginning for my father’s legacy.”
Since its inception in 1996, the Dr. Hector P. Garcia Scholarship Endowment has been supported by continued donations from the Garcia Memorial Foundation.“A&M-Corpus Christi is honored to be a part of the Dr. Hector P. Garcia story and to share his legacy with others. Students like Mariella are part of that legacy,” said Dr. Kelly Quintanilla, President and CEO of Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. “This scholarship ensures that Dr. Garcia’s impact will be felt for generations to come.”