May 18, 2017

Joseph L. Garcia Named Executive Vice President for Administration

Joseph L. Garcia
Joseph L. Garcia, a retired lieutenant colonel and 28-year veteran of the U.S. Air Force, has been named SUNY Empire State College's executive vice president for administration.

(SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – May 18, 2017) Joseph L. Garcia, a retired lieutenant colonel and 28-year veteran of the U.S. Air Force, has been named SUNY Empire State College's executive vice president for administration.

“Joseph Garcia’s personal and professional experience make him the right choice for such an important leadership position,” said Merodie A. Hancock, president of the college. “With an exemplary career as a CFO for multiple agencies, his leadership includes strategic planning, emergency management, distributed delivery and compliance, as well as recruiting, teaching and advising nontraditional students. As a successful leader and administrator of complex organizations, and as a nontraditional student himself, Joseph understands that leadership at the institutional and personal levels is all about commitment to the shared goals of the people you work with and those you serve. His remarkable depth and breadth of experience will have a significant positive impact on all aspects of how the college functions.”

The author of three books, Garcia currently serves as the vice president for finance and business and chief financial officer, and as a member of the president’s cabinet, at The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina, located in Charleston, S.C., at the rank of colonel.

"Higher education transformed my life for the better," said Garcia. "My primary goal is to ensure that SUNY Empire students can pursue their own dreams and transform their lives by completing their degrees. I am honored and grateful to President Hancock and the college’s search committee for their trust and confidence. I look forward to collaborating with students, faculty, staff and fellow administrators as we move SUNY Empire forward together."

In addition to the budget, Garcia will oversee the college’s offices of human resources, information technology, budget and finance, facilities, financial aid and student accounts, and collegewide project management functions.

He will assist the president in advocating for the college through state and federal legislative bodies, within the SUNY system and across other stakeholder groups.

Garcia’s selection is the result of a national search. He will begin his new role at SUNY Empire in mid July, relocate to the greater Saratoga Springs area, report directly to Hancock and serve as a member of her cabinet.

About Joseph L. Garcia

In addition to The Citadel, Garcia’s experience as CFO includes:

  • the Food Safety Inspection Service, a part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture
  • the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Gulf Coast Recovery Office, New Orleans, La.
  • the Air Force Aid Society, Washington, D.C.

During the middle of his military career, Garcia volunteered for a special-duty assignment at the Air Force Academy, where he built leadership curricula for upper-division cadets and taught a course on leadership as an adjunct professor in the Department of Behavioral Sciences.

As an academy regional director of admissions, his team was the most productive recruitment area for two consecutive years.

“On a volunteer basis, I advised the prior-enlisted and Hispanic extracurricular clubs, tutored at the learning center and served as an associate commander for a cadet squadron,” said Garcia. “I was hooked, and I knew that one day I would return to higher education.”

Garcia began his career in the Air Force in the enlisted ranks.

At that time he attended evening courses at a local community college and took on a part-time job to help support his family, a scenario similar to many of SUNY Empire's students and alumni.

He later graduated from a leading university with a business degree and earned a commission in the Air Force as an officer.

Garcia holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Business Administration from the University of Arizona, an MBA from the University of Central Oklahoma and an Executive Master's in Leadership from Georgetown University.

Garcia’s awards include:

  • Military Comptroller of the Year
  • the Department of Homeland Security’s Superior Mission Achievement Award
  • the Federal Woman’s Program’s Male Boss of the Year.

Garcia’s published books are:

  • “Leading in the Jungle: a fable of a chimp’s quest to lead like a gorilla,” (Abbott Press, 2014)
  • “Talk to the Hand: being a great leader is at your fingertips,” (CreateSpace,2012)
  • “The Leader’s Pyramid; balanced & consistent approach to leadership,” (Author House, 2010).

He and his wife Brenda are the grandparents of 13 grandchildren.

About SUNY Empire State College

Empire State College, the nontraditional, open college of the SUNY system yearly, educates nearly 19,000 students worldwide at eight international sites, more than 30  locations across the state of New York, online, as well as face to face and through a blend of both, at the associate, bachelor’s and master’s levels.

The average age of an undergraduate student at the college is 35 and graduate students’ average age is 40.

Most Empire State College students are working adults. Many are raising families and meeting civic commitments in the communities where they live, while studying part time.

In addition to awarding credit for prior college-level learning, the college pairs each undergraduate student with a faculty mentor who supports that student throughout his or her college career.

Working with their mentors, students design an individual degree program and engage in guided independent study and coursework on site, online or through a combination of both, which provides the flexibility for students to choose where, when and how to learn.

The college’s 78,000 alumni are active in their communities as entrepreneurs, politicians, business professionals, artists, nonprofit agency employees, teachers, veterans and active military, union members and more.

The college was first established in 1971 by the SUNY Board of Trustees with the encouragement of the late Ernest L. Boyer, chancellor of the SUNY system from 1970 to 1977. Boyer also served as United States commissioner of education during the administration of President Jimmy Carter and then as president of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

More information about the college is available at


Media contact: David Henahan, director of communications, SUNY Empire State College 

518-587-2100, ext. 2918 

518-321-7038, cell