May 31, 2018 7:00 AM
Joe Garcia - WICHE

Joe Garcia
Joe Garcia assumed the presidency of the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE) on June 2016. Garcia left his dual role as Colorado lieutenant governor and executive director of the state’s Department of Higher Education and will be the seventh president of WICHE since its founding 62 years ago.

Before his inauguration as lieutenant governor in 2011 and re-election in 2015, Garcia was president of Colorado State University-Pueblo. During his four-year tenure there, he helped the institution overcome financial difficulties and stagnant enrollment, and enhanced its reputation through aggressive marketing and nontraditional solutions. Previously, he was president of Colorado’s second-largest community college, Pikes Peak Community College, overseeing three campuses serving more than 16,000 students a year.

Garcia, who earned a business degree from the University of Colorado and a juris doctorate from Harvard Law School, began his career in 1983 with Holme Roberts & Owen, where he went on to become the first Hispanic partner in the 100-year history of the storied Denver law firm. In 1993, he joined former Gov. Roy Romer’s cabinet as executive director of the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies, a position he held until his appointment in 1999 as the U.S. Department of Housing and Development’s regional director for the Rocky Mountain states.

Throughout his career, Garcia has been actively involved as a board member for numerous civic, educational, and cultural nonprofit organizations, including the YMCAs of Pueblo, Colorado Springs, and Denver; Pikes Peak Legal Aid; economic development agencies in Pueblo and Colorado Springs; the Colorado Housing and Finance Authority; Pikes Peak Child Nursery Centers; and the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities. He served nine years on the WICHE Commission and was its chair in 2012.

The Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education is a regional organization created by the Western Regional Education Compact and adopted in the 1950s by Western states. WICHE was created to facilitate resource sharing among the higher education systems of the West. It implements a number of activities to accomplish its objectives.

WICHE is located in Boulder, CO. WICHE is governed by three gubernatorially appointed commissioners from each member. Each member commits to support WICHE's basic operations through annual dues established by the full commission.  Members include 15 Western states and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

Joe Garcia will be introduced by Steve Shogan.