This year’s Circle of Pride winner is Lisa Leal-Garcia. The Student Engagement and Retention coordinator was nominated based on her hard work especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This award is given to an employee who went above and beyond in their responsibilities and job-related duties.

“I am humbled and surprised to receive the Circle of Pride Award,” Leal-Garcia said. “It is so nice to be recognized by my peers for my efforts on campus.”

Leal-Garcia’s role as coordinator of Student Engagement and Retention involves working on student conduct cases. Leal-Garcia works with students with possible conduct violations to make sure each student is given his or her due process. If students are found responsible for their misconduct, Leal-Garcia works with those students to create an appropriate learning outcome.

In addition to her regular duties as the coordinator of Student Engagement, Leal-Garcia took on new responsibilities within the Student Retention office during the pandemic. Leal-Garcia also managed the Viking Food Pantry, which has helped to distribute over 11,000 pounds of food to students. Leal-Garcia also successfully onboarded and trained a new employee at the Viking Food Pantry.

“I am so proud to be part of an institution like Del Mar that offers so many opportunities to our community to gain an education and change our students’ lives forever,” Leal-Garcia said.

The Circle of Pride Award was first created in 2009 to honor Johnny L. Hoodye, a groundskeeper at Del Mar College. Hoodye passed away in January 2009. Hoodye was known for sharing kind words and a smile with anyone he came into contact with on campus, as well as his hard work and dedication to his job in the Physical Facilities Department.

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