Garcia's focus on success rate of minority students

Filed under: One on One |

* Name: Joseph A. Garcia

* Organization: Pikes Peak Community College

* Position: President

* Hometown: None-military bases all over the country

* How long have you lived in Colorado Springs: 21 years

* Education: BS, Business, CU Boulder; Juris Doctor, Harvard Law School; Programs, but not degrees at Oxford University and JFK School of Government, Harvard University

* A few words about your company: PPCC is the second largest community college in Colorado, serving approximately 16,000 students each year in over 100 academic and vocational programs at three main campuses in El Paso County.

* Recent accomplishments: Completed the construction of two new Child Development Centers at north and south campus; Acquisition and renovation of Downtown Studio Campus; Named President of the Year 2003, by State Student Advisory Council; Recognized by NAACP as Higher Education Administrator of the Year, October 2004

* Biggest career break: Getting out of the practice of law and into public service through appointment by Gov. Romer to position of executive director, Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies.

* The toughest part of your job: Having to lay off employees who have served the college well as a result of recent cuts to state general fund allocation. Those cuts have hurt individuals and our ability to support our educational mission.

* Someone you admire: The thousands of intelligent and committed people who are willing to take leadership positions in non-profit organizations throughout our country.

* About your family: My beautiful and intelligent wife, Claire Garcia, is an English professor and chairwoman of the American Cultural Studies program at Colorado College, and the mother of my four children.

* Something else you’d like to accomplish: Personally, I want to learn to fly a small plane and to ride a bike across the country. Professionally, I’d like to help improve the success rate of minority high school and college students.

* How your business will change in the next decade: A greater share of our classes will be offered online, rather than in traditional classroom settings. We will continue to serve students with the greatest financial needs and the greatest educational needs, but we will need to do so with fewer and fewer state dollars. Private support for public colleges will be increasingly important to our ability to serve our traditional student population.

* What book are you currently reading? “The Failures of Integration: How Race and Class Are Undermining the American Dream,” by Sheryll Cashin

* What is the one thing you would change about Colorado Springs? I would like to see it become more diverse and tolerant of different political perspectives.