NMJC Icon Joe Garcia Retires
7/21/2010 1:03:41 a.m. - Hobbs, NM. After 25 years of service at New Mexico Junior College, Jose C. “Joe” Garcia, Professor of Sociology, has retired. Having enjoyed a lifetime of interesting jobs, such as Franciscan friar, Air Force chaplain, interpreter, and police sergeant, Joe found his final calling in higher education, where he evolved into one of NMJC’s most popular and beloved professors.
Teaching capacity classes every semester both in the classroom and via Interactive Television, Joe became well known for sharing invaluable lessons about people and life in his own inimitable style. He earned the respect and gratitude of thousands of students over the years, and some even choke back tears as they tell personal stories of how Joe convinced them to finish their education or helped them pay for their tuition or books when they couldn’t. Named an "Outstanding Instructor" at NMJC in 2006, Joe was honored statewide in that year’s fall issue of La Herencia magazine.
While he undoubtedly holds a special place in the hearts of students, Joe also holds a special place in history. As the first single male in the state of New Mexico to adopt children who were not related to him, in 1971 Joe successfully adopted two young brothers who had been branded “retarded.” With the same attentive compassion he displayed in the classroom, Joe proved doctors and educators wrong when he helped the boys overcome the physical, mental, and cultural barriers that had set them apart. But Joe wasn’t done; throughout the years, he and the boys voted to adopt into the family several other boys in need of the same guidance and acceptance. Today, Joe proudly relates how his boys graduated from high school, attended college, served in the military, and raised families of their own. (To read more, go to www.nmjc.edu/whatishappening/focusonfaces.asp?featureid=469.)
According to President Steve McCleery, Joe’s influence reached thousands of students through the years, including his own daughters. “Joe touched a lot of lives through a lot of years, but most importantly for me, he’s the professor who kept my kids in school,” said McCleery. “Joe Garcia’s reputation is world-wide, simply because his dedication to students has always been phenomenal.”
On Thursday, July 15, Joe Garcia was formally named Professor Emeritus by the New Mexico Junior College Board.