Friends and family united Oct. 15 to remember Greg Garcia, whose advocacy paved the creation of A&M-San Antonio.
Garcia died Oct. 4 at the age of 79. A rosary and funeral mass was held at St. Matthew Catholic Church Oct. 15.
Garcia was the former assistant vice chancellor for Governmental Affairs for the Texas A&M University System. He also served as a campaign manager for the late Sen. Frank Madla Jr., who led the effort of bringing a four-year university to San Antonio’s Southside.
Madla called Garcia “the real Father of Texas A&M on the Southside” in his diary, which is on display at the Bexar County Archives Building inside the Presidio Gallery, where A&M-San Antonio showcases its special collections and archives.
Garcia, a San Antonio native, was directly associated with Texas A&M University for over 45 years. Maroon coats, dresses and A&M ties were worn in honor of his memory. He was an Aggie who graduated from A&M in 1962 with a B.A. in business.
University President Cynthia Teniente-Matson said she appreciated Garcia teaching and sharing the legacy of how the campus was developed.
“Greg worked in the entire A&M system. I know he was helpful for Texas A&M Laredo, Corpus Christi, Kingsville and of course A&M-San Antonio started as a system center of A&M Kingsville, and Greg was involved in that and helped initiate some of that so his legacy is broad and his memories will be long, and his impact will be felt for decades to come. He truly is a legacy and legend in our community,” she said.
Matson said what she loved the most about Garcia was “always inviting me to football games and showing me the spirit of his tailgate, and helping to keep the A&M spirit alive. He’s truly the pride of Aggieland.”
The Garcia family invited family and friends to attend a reception after the service at Aggie Park, home of the San Antonio A&M Club. The reception showcased personal A&M items Garcia collected over the years, and people gathered to remember the legacy he left behind.
Eric Matheu, San Antonio A&M Club board member, said one of the primary responsibilities at the San Antonio A&M Club is to provide scholarships for future Aggies living in Bexar County.
“Always seeing him here (A&M Club). Great guy, his upbeat attitude, always smiling, very friendly person,” he said. “Honestly I wish I had the time to get to know him better.”
People at the reception talked about forever remembering Garcia for his contributions and affiliation with the university system.
Elaine Mendoza, chairwoman of the Texas A&M University System board of regents, said her fondest memory of Garcia is his commitment and drive to support every student at A&M-San Antonio, College Station and the whole system.
“He kept pushing forward for his love for A&M and the system, his love for giving students the opportunity to reach their dreams and get a college degree, so I’ll never forget that fighting spirit that he had, always pushing forward for his mission of education for the students,” she said.
She said he worked hard for the system, he was a champion and nothing ever stopped him.
“We miss him terribly; no one will ever replace Greg Garcia, and we’re really going to miss him,” she said.
The Garcia family asked for any memorial contributions to be sent to the Texas A&M University Corps of Cadets and Central Catholic High School where Garcia attended.
“It’s a somber day,” Matson said, “but I’m happy to see so many people celebrating his memories and so many telling wonderful stories about his selflessness and sacrifices and commitments to the A&M system, to A&M San Antonio and ensuring that our great campus was founded and created. He has impacted so many people. His memories will live through others.”