Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi is proud to honor the legacy of Dr. Hector P. Garcia (1914-1996), a Corpus Christi physician and champion of Mexican-American civil rights, through the collection of his papers and with a statue on campus.
The University’s Mary and Jeff Bell Library exhibits several of his letters and photos as part of its special collections. Garcia’s papers, donated in 1990, represent one of the most valuable resources in existence on the Mexican-American experience during the last half of the 20th Century. They contain voluminous archives dealing with the American GI Forum, which he founded in 1948 to organize veterans to fight for educational and medical benefits. It includes letters to and from Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson.
The papers of Dr. Hector P. Garcia will soon be easier to view from around the world as part of a processing and digitization project. Click here to learn more.
The collection was featured on C-SPAN’s American History TV in 2015. See a clip here.
The Hector P. Garcia Plaza, dedicated in 1996, serves as a gathering spot and inspires students with a statue of Dr. Garcia and fountain.
In his shadow, students can study and socialize, as well as reflect on Dr. Garcia’s life of service, reflected in his saying, “Education is our freedom, and freedom should be everybody’s business,” which is inscribed on the base of the statue.
The University community celebrates Dr. Garcia in September, during Hispanic History Month and on the official state holiday, established in 2009.
Members of the ROTC Islander Battalion started a new tradition in 2016 for uniformed members to salute the statue of Dr. Garcia in recognition of his military service and work with veterans when they are passing by or stopping in for a break at the plaza.
Students also have a good luck tradition of touching his foot for luck before tests.
The University is excited that the Dr. Hector P. Garcia Memorial Foundation is in the process of raising funds to establish the Dr. Hector P. Garcia Memorial Exhibit at the Bell library. Click here to see a possible scenario of the memorial exhibit.
The foundation also supports student scholarships in Dr. Garcia’s name.
Stop by campus to see the statue or schedule a visit to see the collection. Call 361.825.4500 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.