Stuart Garcia

  • Born

    9 October, 1962, St. David's Hospital, Austin, Texas to Hannah Eleanora (Nora) Larsen Garcia of Oxfordshire, England and Manuel Nicanor (Ronnie) Garcia of Austin, Texas
    By Kay McAnally
  • St. Stephen's Episcopal School

    Austin, Texas
    Stuart attended St. Stephen's for Junior High and High School.
    Mark Bauman
    Stuart at lower right.
    Mark Bauman
  • Trip to the Middle East

    The first time I crossed the Israeli border into Lebanon, I was terrified. Stuart and I had taken a trip to the beach at Rosh HaNikra, with a Belgian friend from Kibbutz Ga'aton. On a whim, Stuart decided that he wanted to talk to some of the Israeli military guys manning the border post. Before I knew it, Stuart had convinced an Israeli Colonel to let us cross into Lebanon without a visa, which was not at all part of the plan for the day. We had a total of about $27 between the three of us, no passports, and nothing but bathing suits, towels and sandals. The Belgian and I thought Stuart was crazy. But as soon as the offer was made, Stuart insisted that it would be insane not to go. So the three of us took the bus to the ancient city of Tyre, and had an amazing series of adventures, which in some ways continue to this day. All of this happened just months after Stuart had finally come out of the closet with family and childhood friends. Growing up gay in Texas in the 1970's -- and coming out to everyone in the early 80's -- required incredible courage. Stuart had that in spades. His friendship inspires me to live more bravely than I ever would have without him.
  • Graduated from Columbia

    By Steven Waldman
  • Left this world

    Austin, Texas
    Stuart’s Ascension
    As witnessed by his sister, Kay Garcia McAnally

    Lots of people think their brother was special and my brother Stuart certainly was. But it was more than that. There was an air of spiritual magic about him. Magic in his coming, magic in his being, magic in his going.

    I was 16 and a junior in high school when he was born. Because he came to my mother later in life some people speculated that he might have been my son rather than my brother. I would have been proud to be his mother and there’s no doubt that our relationship was more like that of a mother and son than a brother and sister because of our age difference. He was the most extraordinary person I have ever known and our very special relationship was sparked the first time I held him in my arms.

    When Stuart came home from hospital I was allowed to carry him into our home. He was so alert I decided to take him on a home tour. As I walked from room to room pointing out the features, what started as a ripple of emotional insight became a tidal wave that swept over me, determined the course of my life and the connection forged between a fairly typical teenager and an awesome infant.

    As we walked through the house I realized with growing intensity that this little baby was very special and that I must protect him. From another place came an equally powerful and sudden gut-wrenching sense of loss. I understood simultaneously that he was here for a purpose, that he was a child with a mission but that he would not be with me for long. Once the mission was completed he would be gone – back to whatever star he came from.

    I was angry. I told God with all the power I could muster that He could not have him. He was in my care and I would fight to protect him with every fiber of my being. I was dedicated to his survival and that commitment set my life on a course that lasted through all our time together.

    Stuart accompanied me just about any place I could take him. We went shopping, errand running and he even came on dates with me and my boyfriends until I left for college. I remember telling one of my friends, when Stuart was three years old, that I thought he might be a little “different”. He wasn’t effeminate but he wasn’t at all like other male children. Instead of joining the other boys in his kindergarten class in toppling classmates’ castles made of blocks, he comforted the children whose works of art were knocked down by the other boys. He preferred music, art and reading to sports and shoot-outs. His kindness, good looks and creativity allowed him to make friends easily.

    At three years of age Stuart was able to read the morning newspaper to my father at the breakfast table. When he stumbled over big words the little boy figured out their sounds phonetically until he could say them. Sometimes my father would assist him with correct inflexions and explain the meanings of the words. Intellectually, Stuart was gifted. Emotionally, though, he was still a little boy. Conversations with Stuart were conducted on an adult level so it was hard to remember that he was just a baby and we often expected too much from him.

    Our mother, a pre-school teacher, saw that her son needed intellectual challenges to keep him interested in his studies. There was no program in Austin, Texas, for children like Stuart. He had been lucky that he had been able to attend excellent schools until 6th grade and that his teachers, who delighted in seeing their student excel, gave him special attention. But when Stuart got to seventh grade “bussing” children to schools out of their neighborhoods had started in Austin as an attempt to integrate the public schools. Stuart’s new school was one of the roughest in Austin. When he got to Baker Jr. High he was unprepared for the culture he found there.

    Seeing a new kid in the school hallway, one of the gangs wasted no time in mugging him, roughing him up, taking his watch and lunch money. My parents wanted to remove him immediately. But Stuart refused to go. Quitting wasn’t on his radar and he wanted to learn form the kids at Baker. Typical of Stuart, he developed a win-win strategy to cope with the problem.

    My brother was a smallish eleven year old. He realized the leader of the tough guys was a large 15 year old who was being held back because he had failed several grades and could not read and write. A deal was made which later grew into a friendship. Stuart would teach him to read and write and in turn would be protected. Stuart made sure the young man passed 8th grade and in turn got some worry-free street cred. The young man learned to respect brainpower.

    Seeing such a need for challenging schools for gifted kids, our mother went to work to create gifted school program and together with another teacher introduced the program to the Austin schools. The next year Stuart attended St. Stephens School – a private school where my mother became a board member. Best of all, his life long best friend, Mark Bowman attended school there, too and the two matured into fine young leaders.

    When Stuart was 12, I came home from college one time to find my mother sitting alone in the kitchen crying. My mother was a strong woman – she never cried. She dried her tears when she saw me and pretended nothing was wrong, but her red eyes betrayed her. She was miserable. She said she felt she had nothing left to offer her son – he had outgrown her. He was smarter than she. We talked for a while before she accepted that all twelve year-old children need mothering – no matter how smart they may be.

    My parents had a rocky marriage and a year later it was really starting to unravel.
    My sister and I had homes of our own by then. The tension in the family home was awful, and Stuart was being pulled apart by our parents’ broken spirits. They both loved him very much and he took advantage of their devotion to him and convinced them that he should go to Spain for a year or two to study Spanish. He left home as an exchange student and stayed with the Cunill family in Barcelona for two years.

    When my parents told me they had given Stuart permission to study in Spain I felt sick. There was no way I could protect him while he was so far away from home. To survive worrying about him in his absence some things had to change for me. I convinced myself that my feelings of fear for Stuart were unfounded. I apologized to God for thinking that I had to protect my brother from Him; he was a loving God, after all, who only wanted the best for all his children. He would care for my brother and keep him safer than I ever could. Consciously, I handed him back to God for safekeeping.

    Stuart loved the Cunill’s and he became their 8th child – an adopted but well loved family member. While he was living with them the family often made trips to ski in Andorra and to visit with their friend who was the president of that small country. The politician’s wife found Stuart to be a promising young man and taught him to ski and to speak Catalan fluently. Stuart was sorry to leave his adopted family and the country he had learned to love so much. By the time he came home my parents were divorced. Stuart lived with our Mom and went back to High School. By then finances had taken a turn for the worst as a result of the divorce and Stuart would need to find a scholarship to attend University. Fortunately, he had no problem finding several.

    Stuart was offered places at top State and Ivy League universities. He chose Columbia in New York where he majored in Journalism and met kindred spirits and talented friends – people who would contribute much to Stuart’s life and to the world. My young brother became a community leader in New York, an activist and a graduate of Columbia University where he had been president of his class and served in the University Senate. He spoke five languages fluently and, while he was a student, worked as a language interpreter at Columbia for visiting dignitaries. As young journalists, he and his friend Mark traveled to the Far East to gather information and report what they found. Often what they reported was not same story we read in the American Press.

    Stuart was focused on service to humanity and dedicated to equality for all. He traveled to Nicaragua to help with that nation’s first democratic vote and to work with the Catholic Church and the Maryknoll Sisters to monitor the election polling stations and tally results. He led student protests against Apartheid, served in soup kitchens, cared for the needy. Stuart gave a whole lifetime of service to people everywhere in his short twenty-three years on earth. In short, he was an amazing human being.

    Since he was a little boy, Stuart and I had a Christmas Eve tradition. After filling his Christmas stocking I would crawl in bed with him and we would talk deep into the night until we both fell asleep. The next morning we would go into the living room to see what Santa had brought. The Christmas when Stuart was twenty was when he told me he was Gay. I was not surprised and his sexual preference made no difference to me but I was concerned that his life would be tougher as a Gay man than a “straight” one – and I told him how I felt. Half laughingly I asked him if he could please change his mind. He didn’t see the humor and said, “Kay, do you think anyone in his right mind would CHOOSE to be gay? Of course I can’t change my mind and I know a Gay life is tougher – but this is not a choice. It’s who I am! Stuart contracted AIDS a year later, one of the first in New York to have the deadly disease.

    As my brother lay dying in his hospital bed, my mother, my sister, and Stuart’s friend Father Bernard Lynch and I gathered around him. Stuart was in a coma but we wouldn’t leave him. After several nights vigil we were exhausted and all fell asleep at our various posts stationed around his room. I was sitting in a chair at Stuart’s bedside with my hand on his arm and head resting on his bed, next to his chest. Suddenly, I snapped awake. Something was different – I could feel it physically. My first thought was to check my brother’ breathing. I opened my eyes.

    Surrounding Stuart’s body, like someone had drawn an outline around it with a pen, was a tiny line of shimmering electric gold. Slowly, it started to grow and became more intense. When it was about an inch high around his body I woke up the others and asked if they could see it. But they could not.

    The electric gold line shimmered and expanded until, at about three inches high, it evolved into small golden arches. The arches expanded until they reached about eight to ten inches above their golden base and then dissolved into hues of lavender, then bright purple, then dark purple. As the lights were dancing around him, I described the phenomenon to the others in the room who were looking where I was pointing but they couldn’t see what was happening. I knew instinctively I was watching Stuart’s spirit leave his body. The shimmering colors started to dissipate into lighted dust particles at about two feet above my brother’s bed and at 3 feet the tiny lights had completely disappeared. The whole phenomenon lasted about two or three minutes. His body died nearly two days after his spirit had left it.

    For the first few years after Stuart’s death I thought about his ascension almost everyday. Some days I doubted what I saw and told myself I had made up the event to sooth my grieving mind. Then one day, while accompanying my husband to a television production meeting in Edinburgh, I joined him to meet an associate, Chris George.

    Before he was television set designer, Chris had served as a Monk in Tibet for several years learning Transcendental Meditation. He left the monastery to teach TM to people everywhere as part of his spiritual mission. Chris was late for our breakfast meeting but made no apologies. He was smiling – he looked “at peace” as he sat down at our table. He explained that he was delayed because he had witnessed an amazing event that he had heard about from his Buddhist brothers but had never seen for himself.

    A dog had been run over on the road outside his hotel and he had rushed to give the poor creature comfort as it died. As he cradled the dog’s head in his hands a yellow glow surrounded the body of the dog, which then turned into golden arches and eventually changed into purple and then dissipated into the air. He explained that he had witnessed the dog’s spirit leave its body.

    Although I thanked the Lord for allowing me to witness my brother’s spirit leaving his body, my anger towards God was huge. I had retired from my post as Stuart’s protector, in good faith, and God took him while I thought Stuart was in His care. No matter how often I have tried to rationalize Stuart’s death, the struggle to forgive God for taking him has never gone away.

    It is hard for me to see anything positive in Stuart’s early death. I think of all the lives he touched in the short time he was with us and wonder how much more he could have done to improve the world if had he been allowed to stay. They say that time heals but in my case it has not. The wound caused by Stuart being ripped away from me is as open now as it was all those years ago.

    The only thing even remotely positive is this. Stuart’s death brought my husband Conor into my life. He made a documentary about Fr. Bernard Lynch and, in it told part of Stuart’s story. We met on the first anniversary of Stuart’s passing and now, 28 years later, I often think bringing Conor and me together was Stuart’s way of taking care of me.

    There are very few days I do not think of him and on the days I miss him most is when a dove visits my backyard and know that the peaceful, vibrant soul of my brother, is missing me too.

    Mark Bauman
    Will share this with my girls tonight. Both of them have been hearing my Stuart stories every day since they were born. Love you, Kay.
  • Stuart Garcia Memorial Scholarship Established

    A group of Stuart's friends raised money for a scholarship, with tremendous support from the school administration. A resolution of the University Senate endorsed the idea.

    The University Senate resolution read:

    December 19 1986


    WHEREAS, Stuart Garcia, a 1984 graduate of Columbia College and a distinguished member of the University Senate, in which he served on the Executive Committee, the Committee on Student Affairs, Commission on Aid Policy from 1982-84, died on July 18, 1986, and,

    WHEREAS, during his years at Columbia, he was strongly committed to serving others, a value that Columbia strives to promote and instill in its students, by fighting hard to ensure that Columbia remains open to students of all economic levels, aiding the area’s hungry and homeless, and leading efforts to formulate a just University investmebt policy, and,

    WHEREAS, Stuart Garcia, died of AIDS, and,

    WHEREAS, he exhibited tremendous courage in the last year of his life, maintaining a determined dignity, despite physical deterioration and daunting odds against survival, and

    WHEREAS, the University Senate believes that, for the contributions he made to Columbia and for the courage he showed in battling a disease afflicting so many young people, he should be remembered by future generations of Columbians, and,

    WHEREAS, his friends, family and Columbia college have established a scholarship fund in his name,

    THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the University Senate proudly endorses these efforts to memorialize Stuart Garcia
    By Steven Waldman
  • Maria Cabildo named first Stuart Garcia Scholar

    Urban Studies major, CC '89. Maria Cabildo has spent her career promoting and advancing socially and economically just community development on the Eastside of Los Angeles, the community where she was born and raised. (Linked in -- )
    By Steven Waldman
  • Thadeus Grimes-Gruczka

    Philosophy major, CC '90.
    By Steven Waldman
  • Lorinda Robertson

    East Asian Studies major, CC '95
    By Steven Waldman
  • Marta Baca

    By Steven Waldman
  • Kevin Cassady

    Middle Eastern, South Asian & African Studies major, CC '93.
    By Steven Waldman
  • Daniel Chiplock

    Anthropology major, CC '94.

    "Daniel P. Chiplock, a partner in our New York office, focuses his practice on securities, financial, consumer, and mass tort cases.

    Daniel has played an active role in most of the firm’s financial cases over the last fifteen years, including the McKesson, Qwest, Bank of America, Tyco, Broadcom, Brooks, and Merck actions, in which he represented both large public pension funds and mutual funds that sustained investment losses in the hundreds of millions of dollars as a result of corporate misconduct.

    More recently, Daniel has been heavily involved in the firm’s representation of public pension and ERISA funds against State Street and Bank of New York Mellon (“BNYM”) concerning the banks’ alleged practice of overcharging custodial clients for foreign currency exchange transactions. Lieff Cabraser is one of three firms charged with managing the daily activities and litigation strategy amongst plaintiffs’ counsel in the BNYM litigation (which was consolidated into a multi-district proceedings in which multiple civil and governmental actions were coordinated). Daniel has been the principal attorney at Lieff Cabraser responsible for managing the BNYM litigation, which recently settled on a global basis for $504 million.

    Daniel’s prior work in the personal injury and mass torts practice areas includes representing patients who suffered heart attacks or strokes, and the families of loved ones who died, after having being prescribed the arthritis and pain medication Vioxx. He also successfully represented clients who suffered life-threatening injuries as a result of ingesting the Fen-Phen diet drug combination. Daniel has also represented New York consumers overcharged as a result of deceptive trade practices by Microsoft Corporation, as well as banking customers who have been victimized by the practice of numerous national banks of reordering check payments in order to charge excessive overdraft fees.

    On a pro bono basis, as part of Trial Lawyers Care (a project of the American Association for Justice), Daniel represented an injured firefighter and a hotel worker in appeal hearings before the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund, enabling his clients to recover more than $1 million for injuries sustained at Ground Zero. In one case, Daniel’s advocacy resulted in an award more than 50 times greater than that which was determined prior to his involvement.

    Daniel currently serves as Secretary for the National Association of Shareholder and Consumer Attorneys (NASCAT). Prior to that, he served as Amicus Committee Chair, and in that capacity submitted amicus briefs to the U.S. Supreme Court and other appellate courts on important current cases impacting access to the courts by investors and consumers. He is an active member of numerous other professional organizations, including Public Justice, the American Association for Justice, and the American Constitution Society for Law & Policy."
    By Steven Waldman
  • Irene Oria

    History major, CC '96.

    "Irene has over 15 years of experience in complex commercial business litigation in federal and state courts and arbitration tribunals with a focus in recent years on Securities, Financial Services and Insurance Litigation, including nationwide class and multi-district litigation. She has tried numerous jury and non-jury cases.

    Irene has experience representing domestic and international public and private companies in contract-related and business tort disputes; employment-related disputes including employment discrimination matters; product liability disputes; insurance coverage disputes; professional negligence disputes; corporate governance disputes and counseling; SEC and other state and federal regulatory investigations; white collar matters including civil and criminal RICO actions; defense of securities fraud actions alleging violations of state and federal securities laws; and defense of antitrust litigation. In particular, She also has experience representing banks and other leading financial services companies in complex commercial litigation involving the financial services business, including contract and tort litigation and actions alleging violations of consumer protection laws. Irene routinely defends clients in matters related to the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practice Act (FDUTPA) and the Florida Securities and Investor Protection Act.

    Prior to joining Stroock, Irene served as an Assistant United States Attorney in the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida. During her tenure at the United States Justice Department, Irene defended the interests of the United States in civil suits filed in the U.S. District Courts alleging statutory torts, constitutional torts, violations of civil rights and employment discrimination/harassment/retaliation laws, and a myriad of other claims."
    By Steven Waldman
  • Angelique Jewell

    Latin American Studies major, CC '98.
    By Steven Waldman
  • Sharon Walton

    Psychology major, CC '02.
    By Steven Waldman
  • Sara Batterton

    Political Science major, CC '01.

    Chief Operating Offficer, Uncommon Schools.
    By Steven Waldman
  • Natassia Rozario

    Political Science major, CC '04.

    "Natassia Rozario currently serves as Associate Counsel and Associate Director of Policy and Advocacy at the Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers. In this role, she works with local, state, and national partners to promote evidence based healthcare policies and programs that provide good quality and efficient healthcare for vulnerable populations. At the state level, she helps manage the Good Care Collaborative, a joint initiative among diverse healthcare stakeholders committed to ensuring better care at lower costs for all New Jersey Medicaid beneficiaries. Prior to joining the Coalition, Natassia served as a Fulbright-Nehru research fellow in India, a legal intern for the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Health, a William J. Clinton Service fellow in India, and a research associate at the Center for Medicine as a Profession at Columbia University. Natassia has a JD cum laude from American University, where she was awarded a Public Interest Public Service Scholarship; a MPH from Johns Hopkins, where she concentrated in biostatistics and epidemiology; and a BA from Columbia University, where she majored in political science. She is a member of the New York and New Jersey Bar Associations."
    By Steven Waldman
  • Janet Sanchez

    Spanish Language and Literature major, CC '03.
    By Steven Waldman
  • Erica Crane

    Psychology major, CC '09.

    Education-focused changemaker determined to support young people in doing more than they think possible; Start up school growth hacker; Passionate leader of extraordinary teachers.
    By Steven Waldman
  • Joshua Lipsky '08

    Political Science major, CC '08.

    Policy Advisor & Speechwriter to the Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy & Public Affairs, Richard Stengel.
    Josh Lipsky
    I can't full express the difference this scholarship has made in my career and my life. Stuart's generosity allowed me to go to Columbia. I had an incredible four years in Morningside. Right after I graduated a friend from the Columbia Democrats asked me to join the Obama campaign. I signed up - instead of going to law school. That decision led to amazing opportunities from working in the White House to traveling around the world. The ripples of what Stuart did are hard to fully capture. I will continue to dedicate my career to public service, in part as a thank your to Stuart.
  • Madeleine Jensen

    Biochemistry major, CC '12.

    I am an alumna of Columbia College (2012) and a PhD candidate in Molecular and Cell Biology at UC Berkeley as an NSF Graduate Research Fellow. My thesis research in Dr. Susan Marqusee's lab focuses on quantitatively analyzing the biophysical properties of proteins in complex, heterogeneous environments. During my PhD, I have also enjoyed teaching, and I am interested in curriculum development and undergraduate education in the sciences.
    Kay McAnally
    Hello Madeleine,
    My name is Kay Garcia McAnally - I am Stuart Garcia's sister. Thank you for writing your wonderful update on Stuart's Lifepost. He would be so proud of you and it gives me great comfort to know that his memorial fund has helped you and, in turn has contributed to our world community. On behalf of Stuart's family, "Well done!"
    Madeleine Jensen
    I am very thankful for the support of this scholarship! I will always cherish my time at Columbia College and am grateful for the opportunities that education and community have given me. I could not have attended Columbia without the generous financial support I received.
  • Jessica Redmond '13

    Art History and Visual Arts major, CC '13.
    By Steven Waldman
  • Camille Richardson

    Anthropology major, CC ' 15.

    Analyst, Morgan Stanley.
    Business and Digital Strategy Intern, Key Me.
    Intern, the White House.
    By Steven Waldman
  • Nicole Allicock

    Linguistics major, CC '18.
    By Steven Waldman