Professor of Latino/Latina Studies Velia Garcia passed away Sept. 11 at the age of 70. She was a native Californian with deep roots in the San Francisco Bay Area. Garcia taught at SF State from 1986 to 2010 and was chair of Latina/Latino Studies (formerly Raza Studies) from 1999 to 2008. The courses she taught included Chicana/Chicano studies, comparative ethnic studies, social inequality and race, and crime and social justice. Garcia enriched the department’s academic program by introducing a variety of innovative courses in these areas that drew large student followings. She was a highly regarded classroom teacher, mentor and stalwart advocate of Latino and Latina students on campus and issues related to community empowerment. She also played an active role in the politics of the Pescadero community in which she lived, by serving on its city council for many years, staunchly supporting community organizations such as Puente, a youth and local community resource in Pescadero. Her community activism helped bring major positive changes to the local school system for Mexican migrant students. Professor Garcia's final wish was that there be no public service or memorial in her honor.
Professor Emeritus of Biology Hal Markowitz passed away Sept. 13 at the age of 79. Markowitz remained active in his work until a few weeks before his death and retained his enthusiasm until the end. He was key to the Biology Department’s efforts in animal behavior, and an international leader in the enrichment of the environment for zoo animals. Markowitz is survived by his wife Krista, son Tim and daughter Jenny -- all of whom are accomplished professionals in their own right -- as well as a legion of successful students.