DR. HECTOR P. GARCIA: A Life of Service
Dr. Garcia graduated from the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston School of Medicine in 1940. His accomplishments include:
- In 1948, Dr. Garcia organized the American G.I. Forum first to improve veteran benefits and enhance medical attention, but then also to address educational and vocational training, housing, public education, poll taxation, voter registration, hospitalization and employment.
- In 1968, President Johnson made Dr. Garcia the first Mexican-American to serve on the United States Commission on Civil Rights.
- President Carter named him as a member of the U.S. Circuit Judge Nominating Commission for the Western Fifth Circuit Panel.
Dr. Garcia was the first Mexican-American ambassador to the United Nations.
- He was the first Mexican-American to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest award a civilian can receive, in 1984, presented by President Ronald Reagan.
- In 1985, Yale University endowed a chair in his name.
- In 1990, Pope John Paul II inducted Dr. Garcia into the Equestrian Order of Pope Gregory the Great, the highest honor a lay person may receive from the Catholic Church.
- President Clinton, who became acquainted with Dr. Garcia while registering voters in the Rio Grande Valley in 1972, called him a national hero. “Dr. Garcia fought for half a century for civil and educational rights of Mexican-Americans.”
Governor George W. Bush acknowledged Dr. Garcia as a “true Texas legend.”
Dr. Hector Garcia was a Mexican-American physician who exemplified the spirit of the seminar named in his honor.