In Memoriam: Alejandro Garcia



Alejandro Garcia, a Member of the National Academy of Social Insurance since 1994, passed away in November 2023.

Dr. Garcia was Professor Emeritus at the Syracuse University School of Social Work. He taught gerontology, social policy, and human diversity courses for over 43 years, shaping Falk College’s School of Social Work and inspiring generations of students. At the time of his retirement in 2021, he held the Jocelyn Falk Endowed Professorship of Social Work.

He previously served as Chair of the Board of the National Hispanic Council on Aging and First Vice President of the Schuyler Center for Analysis and Advocacy (SCAA). He also served as Chair of AARP’s National Policy Council. He was a Fellow of the Gerontological Society of America.

He received many awards and honors, including the Distinguished Social Work Educator Award, and the Social Worker of the Year Award. The National Hispanic Council on Aging named the Alejandro Garcia Summer Internship on Hunger and Poverty Policy in his honor. The Social Work Division at California State University, Sacramento, named the Alejandro Garcia Excellence in Social Work Scholarship in his honor.

Dr. Garcia co-edited three books, including: Elderly Latinos: Issues and Solutions for the 21st Century (with Marta Sotomayor); HIV Affected and Vulnerable Youth Prevention Issues and Approaches (with Susan Taylor-Brown); and La Familia: Traditions and Realities (also with Marta Sotomayor).

He earned his Masters of Social Work (MSW) degree at Cal State Sacramento where, years later, he was honored as being the “Alumni of the Decades.” He received his Ph.D. in social welfare policy from Brandeis University’s Florence Heller School for Advanced Studies in Social Welfare, leading to one of the very first studies of the economic status of elder Chicanos and Chicanas, a dissertation entitled “The Contribution of Social Security to the Adequacy of Income of Elderly Mexican Americans.”

Academy Founding Board Member Eric Kingson stated:

“Most notably, a remarkably kind, generous and gregarious man, he loved spending time with family and friends, sharing his humor, laughter and broad knowledge of art, literature, Hispanic culture, Social Work, Syracuse and so much more. He was a dear friend and mentor to many, taking interest in a remarkable number of people’s lives and supporting and challenging those he cared about to be their best version of self. Deeply loved by many, he became more than a friend, but a family member.”

Donations in his memory may be made to the Syracuse Rescue Mission and the Syracuse University Alejandro Garcia Book Fund.

May he rest in peace.

–Bill Arnone, Chief Executive Officer

Posted on: December 5, 2023

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