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Vassar Welcomes New CIS Chief Garcia: ‘We’re going to build on our strengths’

Carlos Garcia has spent the past decade and a half in Lower Manhattan, earning bachelor’s and masters degrees from New York University and launching his career there in various high-tech capacities. This spring, Garcia left the city to take the top tech job at Vassar. President Elizabeth Bradley named him the college’s Chief Information Officer and Vice President of Computing and Information Services.

Carlos Garcia, Chief Information Officer and Vice President of Computing and Information Services.

Garcia, who was serving as Assistant Vice President of Technical Operations at NYU’s Department of Public Safety when he took the Vassar job, says the most important word in his new, rather lengthy title is the last one. “First and foremost, CIS is a service organization, and I plan to focus on the service aspect of the job,” he says. 

At the same time, Garcia says he envisions a “renewed CIS that provides enhanced technology leadership” for the college.  He believes Vassar is fortunate to already have a committed group of bright, experienced technologists in CIS.  “We’ve got great people, and we’re going to build on our strengths to better integrate into the campus and be more transparent to the Vassar community,” he says. 

To achieve that goal, Garcia’s said he decided his first order of business has been to take a “listening tour,” of the campus. He is spending the summer asking faculty, staff, and administrators how his office can serve them better, and he plans to meet with students when they return to campus next month. “I want to hear about people’s experiences with technology at Vassar, what’s going on in their world, and how they think CIS can enable great experiences for our faculty and students,” he says. “All of that has to be balanced with securing the future of Vassar by staying on top of IT compliance and security issues.”

When asked why he made the move to Vassar, Garcia says that an intellectually stimulating community was a must when considering new opportunities. “The campus culture here is not only about the highest standards of academic excellence, but it’s also about blazing trails – that’s essential to me.”  About the job itself, he says “the CIO role here is a great blend of two issues I’ve found very rewarding to work on throughout my career – enriching the campus experience for both students and faculty, and keeping the institution positioned to navigate and lead within the increasing complexity and dynamism of our world.” 

Garcia said he knew something about Vassar’s keen, progressive culture even before he applied for the job here. “We have close friends who are Vassar grads, and they are some of the most intellectually challenging people I know,” he said. “So I knew, even before my first visit, that there were important things happening here.”

A conservationist and avid outdoorsman, Garcia says he’s looking forward to enjoying all the many outdoor activities Vassar and the Hudson Valley have to offer, together with his wife, Alanna, and their two young daughters.