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The Council for Independent Colleges and Universities (CICU), an advocacy organization for institutions in New York State, included a St. Lawrence graduate in its Alumni Hall of Distinction recently.

Carlos Garcia '82, an associate in the New York Department of Education's Office of Higher Education, was among the graduates of independent colleges honored at this year's event, which also marked the 30th anniversary of the state's Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) and 35th anniversary of its Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP).

At the event, held in Albany, New York, three generations of alumni from the state's independent schools spoke in favor of the programs, noting their assistance in the graduates' pursuit of higher education.

A CICU press release stated, "These alumni are representative of the more than 3.6 million state residents who have been able to attend college with assistance from New York state student aid programs. Seven New Yorkers, including a fourth-year medical student with two children, entrepreneurs, attorneys and public servants are in Albany to discuss the effect TAP and/or HEOP has had on their lives."

Garcia, a recipient of TAP and HEOP assistance as an undergraduate, earned his degree in sociology. At CICU's event, he stated, "The very existence of the Higher Education Opportunity Program made my future possible. I have a passion for advocating for the disenfranchised in our society; it is important to be able to articulate their problems and develop solutions for them."

Garcia has worked in higher education and state education adminsitration since graduating from St. Lawrence. Among the responsibilities of his current position is oversight of the 42 Collegiate Science and Technology Entry Programs (C-STEP) in New York State, helping disadvantaged students enter science, mathematics, technical and licensed professions. He has had an impact on tens of thousands of students working to enter challenging careers. St. Lawrence is among the schools participating in C-STEP.

Individuals chosen for the Alumni Hall of Distinction by CICU were featured in a supplement to The Legislative Gazette and will be part of a display in the Legislative Office Building in Albany, the state capitol.

Posted: March 4, 2004