For 70 years, Ernest "Cookie" Garcia '50 has connected generations of Jesuit Tigers with his generosity and enthusiasm for the school.
On Tuesday (Dec. 11) at a special ceremony, Garcia's gift for bridging together people across generations was formally recognized with – appropriately enough – the blessing and dedication of Garcia Bridge.
The bridge crosses the pond from Gonzmart Hall to Hyer Family Park, Jesuit's baseball stadium. It was rebuilt this fall as part of Phase I of Jesuit's Campus Master Plan, which was supported by the school's $50 million 'For Greater Glory' campaign.
With Garcia and a few dozen family and friends on hand, the beautiful bridge was blessed and dedicated by Fr. Richard C. Hermes, S.J. (see a photo slideshow and video below). The ceremony came right after morning Convocation, at which Garcia was recognized in front of the Jesuit student body.
"Cookie Garcia is one of the most giving persons I know," Fr. Hermes said. "Chances are, if you have been fortunate to have a conversation with him, even in the briefest of occasions, you understand too that it likely resulted in a gift from him."
Garcia has been a kind, ubiquitous presence at Jesuit for decades, sharing his time, talent, and treasure with the school while attending dozens of events annually and regularly providing needed items for Jesuit clubs and teams.
A 5-sport letterwinner in high school, Garcia helped Jesuit to its first-ever State Championship of any kind, the 1950 basketball title. He later played tennis at Loyola New Orleans and is in that school's Hall of Fame. In 2014-15, Garcia was honored as Jesuit's Alumnus of the Year.
A plaque embedded in a rock at the north end of Garcia Bridge says:
THIS BRIDGE IS DEDICATED IN HONOR OF
ERNEST L. "COOKIE" GARCIA
FROM THE CLASS OF 1950
IN GRATITUDE FOR HIS LOYALTY
AND SPIRIT OF GENEROSITY TO JESUIT HIGH SCHOOL
Please see below a photo slideshow from Tuesday's ceremony, and below that is a video of the ceremony: