Renovated Language Center to honor John Garcia, Jr.

Colorado State University - Pueblo renovated Language Center to honor John Garcia, Jr.
 
PUEBLO – A newly renovated Language Center on the Colorado State University-Pueblo campus next fall will bear the name of the brother of President Joseph Garcia thanks to a donation and naming request by the family.
 
The John L. Garcia, Jr. Language Center will offer a place for students to improve their foreign language skills in a social setting. The planned renovation of academic space will update and convert the existing Foreign Languages Lab into the John L. Garcia Jr. Language Center to support students enrolled in languages programs and their connection to the diverse Pueblo community. A dedication of the Center will be held in August.

“The gift from the Garcia family serves both to honor my brother’s life and talents and to send a message to others that they, too, can leave a legacy through similar naming opportunities that can benefit students and communities alike,” said President Garcia.  

The proposed renovation will transform the existing space from an outdated and drab classroom environment into a full-functioning and inviting “café” atmosphere. The current space in Psychology 147 encompasses 591 square feet and houses 12 computer workstations. Through the CSU-Pueblo Foundation, the University received a gift by the Garcia family, including President Garcia, which covered 50 percent of the project’s cost. Additional funding for the project came from other generous private donors.

The oldest of five children, John Garcia Jr. was a recognized artist and amateur historian. He passed away unexpectedly on Nov. 30, 2007. After receiving a commercial art degree and an Air Force commission from Northern Arizona University, he drew and wrote comics, novels, magazines, and television ads. His client base spanned the spectrum from the Smithsonian to small businesses. He was a ghost artist for syndicated comic strips, including Beetle Bailey and Maggie and Jiggs, and even illustrated several Spiderman comic books.

John had a passion for history and enjoyed writing and illustrating old west tales of New Mexico. He was a master of film and historical trivia and was a stickler for historical accuracy in his artwork. A sampling of his work will be displayed in the new Language Center. Additional work may be viewed on his website, http://www.garciagrafix.com/

On campuses across the country, language centers have become social and academic places of gathering that transport visitors to a place where they can “live” the target language through many experiences, according to Alegria Ribadeneira, assistant professor of foreign languages.
Ribadeneira said when the renovation is complete in August, students, faculty/staff, and community members will be invited to a series of activities that will foster language learning in a social forum. Activities will include:
 
1. Language-themed evenings
2. Slide presentations by students who have traveled abroad.
3. Student project shows
4. Foreign film screenings
5. Poetry readings / Story telling / Music presentations / Game time
6. Presentations by international students
7. Presentations by foreign language speakers from the community
8. Student award ceremonies
9. Grammar club
10. Tutoring / studying
11. Foreign language faculty development workshops
12. Summer Language Camps

For additional information on the Language Center, contact Ribadeneira at Alegria.ribandeneira@colostate-pueblo.edu or 719-549-2887. Individuals interested in similar naming opportunities at CSU-Pueblo may call the CSU-Pueblo Foundation at 719-549-2380.