Meet North Hennepin’s New President Rolando Garcia
On Rolando Garcia’s initial visit to North Hennepin Community College, he quickly discovered the campus is a melting pot.
“What I found out when I come up here to interview absolutely blew me away,” Garcia said. “The amount of diversity in this area – Brooklyn Park, Brooklyn Center. When you walk this campus, it’s mesmerizing.”
North Hennepin’s new president wants the college to be a valuable part of the community. His mission statement is simple.
“Transforming lives through compassion and education,” Garcia said. “That’s what I feel personally. That’s what I think this college does.”
Garcia grew up in south Florida and comes from humble beginnings. One of his early jobs was at Miami-Dade College. Garcia helped immigrant students acclimate to the U.S. and overcome language barriers.
“It was an amazing opportunity for me to do something for them that nobody had been able to do for me while growing up,” Garcia said.
Garcia’s career path has taken him to Virginia and back to the Miami-Ft. Lauderdale area. Eventually he became president of the the south campus at Broward College.
“It’s been a whirlwind ride,” Garcia said.
Because of COVID 19, Garcia knows this is a unique time. Distance learning has become the new norm. When are students returning to campus? Garcia says the pandemic road map at North Hennepin will be science-based.
“We’re going to use the best information possible,” Garcia said. “From the experts to make decisions that are going to protect our students and the faculty.”
Garcia is also very cognizant of the George Floyd tragedy. Finding ways to make racial progress is one of Garcia’s goals.
“North Hennepin Community College was selected for a program to look at racial healing and dealing with inequities,” Garcia said.
Just getting to the Twin Cities was a journey for Garcia and his family. They rented an RV and left south Florida in late May, getting to Minnesota in early June.