Hector and Catalina Garcia’s Posthumous $1M Gift Establishes Scholarships for Undergraduate and Graduate Students

by | Oct 17, 2022 | Awards and Achievements

San José State University Advancement is pleased to announce two new scholarships to benefit Spartans with financial need who have demonstrated commitment to the Hispanic community through community service, leadership and activism.

Catalina and Hector Garcia established scholarships to benefit Spartans invested in supporting Latinx and Hispanic communities. Photo courtesy of Dolly Ares.

The scholarships are the result of a $1,050,000 posthumous gift from the late Hector Garcia-Manzanedo, professor emeritus of social work at San José State, and his wife, the recently deceased Catalina Garcia, ’83 BFA, ’85 MA Art. The bequest, or gift made as part of the Garcia Family Trust, created two endowed scholarships — one for graduate students and one for undergraduates.

“Both Cata and Hector were immigrants to this country. They came from Mexico with nothing; they became citizens, got degrees and Hector taught at San José State,” said Dolly Ares, longtime friend of the Garcias and trustee of the Garcia Family Trust. 

“They were grateful for the transformational experiences they had at San José State, so they felt they should give back to the community, especially to Hispanic students who might have a need to support their education and pursue their career goals.”

Considered one of the first medical anthropologists in Mexico, Garcia-Manzanedo conducted research and taught health personnel on cultural factors related to health and disease. Hired by San José State’s School of Social Work in 1974, he taught social anthropology and public health for 20 years. Though he and Catalina met and married in Mexico, they both were very engaged in Spartan life — Garcia-Manzanedo as a professor and Garcia as a student and alumna. An accomplished painter, Catalina completed more than 100 paintings throughout her career.

Together they traveled often to Latin America, where Garcia-Manzanedo consulted for the Pan American Health Organization, conducting research and teaching. He was also employed by the Ministry of Health of Mexico and the Organization of American States, where he developed public health programs in Mexico, Costa Rica, Jamaica, Guatemala, Brazil, Panama and elsewhere in Latin America.

The Garcias remained active and engaged in their academic, social and cultural circles well into retirement. After retiring in 1993, Garcia-Manzanedo often offered seminars and courses in medical anthropology in Mexico City. He served on several boards of directors of various community and voluntary agencies across Santa Clara County prior to his death in 2003.

“It is my delight that the College of Graduate Studies is able to help advance Hector and Catalina Garcia’s vision to support SJSU graduate students who are committed to leadership, service and activism for the benefit of the Hispanic community,” said Marc d’Alarcao, dean of SJSU’s College of Graduate Studies. 

“This scholarship will provide substantial financial support for talented grad students who are seeking their credential, master’s degree or doctorate, and who are making a real difference for the Latinx community through their research and service. For some of these students, the Garcia scholarship will make the key difference in allowing them to finish their degree.”

Patrick Day, vice president of student affairs, agreed.

“This scholarship provides the resources needed for undergraduates to be more immersed in critical parts of the student experience,” he said. “This could allow them to work less, making it possible for them to take advantage of internship opportunities, get involved in student organizations and leadership development, and participate in community service engagement experiences.

“Their generosity will continue the Garcias’ legacy and contribute to undergraduate student experience for generations to come.”

Eligible Spartans will have the chance to apply for the Dr. Hector and Catalina Garcia Endowed Scholarships starting next spring for the 2023-2024 academic year.

Learn more about opportunities to give to SJSU.