Lisa Garcia wins 2023 Spirit of Acuto Alumni Award

Jun 28, 2023
Lisa Garcia and family at the 2023 Alumni Awards and Beata Benefactors Banquet.
Lisa Garcia and family at the 2023 Alumni Awards and Beata Benefactors Banquet.

Lisa Garcia, a 2008 biology graduate, is the recipient of the 2023 Spirit of Acuto Alumni Award.

Heading into Christmas break, Garcia was stressed with everything that typically goes on at the end of a semester.

“At that time, I was kind of feeling a little disheartened, so when I got the award, I was shocked. It was a really nice pick-me-up to feel appreciated,” she said.

Garcia was one of four alumni recognized at the Alumni Awards and Beata Benefactors Banquet on Tuesday, April 18. The Alumni Awards are given out annually to alumni who are nominated by members of the community.

Lisa Garcia '08
Lisa Garcia ’08

Garcia was nominated for the award by her colleague Susan Orsbon. Orsbon originally nominated her for the Leon A. McNeill Alumni Achievement Award, stating that the amount of work and schooling Garcia has accomplished, solidified her this award. But ultimately, The Spirit of Acuto award seemed to be just as good of a fit.

The Spirit of Acuto Award honors alumni and friends who, as a reflection of their association with Newman, have been a driving force, using their talent and training at critical junctures to move a vision to reality.

“The passion that drives her to constantly improve her own skills drives her to pass that knowledge and passion on to students, making her an obvious candidate as an alumna who has achieved outstanding success in her personal and professional life,” said Orsbon.

Video: 2023 Newman University Spirit of Acuto Alumni Award – Lisa Garcia

The Dugan-Gorges Conference Center, where the awards banquet was held, holds many special memories for Garcia, including her wedding reception. She got to accept her award with her husband and son while also reminiscing on times past.

Garcia has worked as a clinical anatomy professor at Wichita State University for 16 years. While there she has worked with more than 200 cadavers. The cadavers are one of her favorite parts of the job.

“The reason I love the cadavers is because everything is hands-on. You have these interactions and it is not something you get from a 3D picture or a computer program. You get to pull on muscles and watch fingers move and watch things be real,” says Garcia.

Small class sizes from Newman played a part in Garcia’s desire to teach small classes. She uses this as a way to get to know each and every student.

Garcia was a theater minor while at Newman and improv is a vital part of teaching that she continues to use.

“With improv, you have to be able to think on your feet, and I like to make people laugh. If I have a student that has a question, I can stop what I am doing and then be able to go back into lecturing once I have answered the question,” says Garcia.

Garcia was recently featured on an episode of The Newman Bond podcast. She talked about her passion for gaming and how it correlates with her love of teaching.

Video: Lisa Garcia – 2023 Spirit of Acuto Award

“A lot of times (in the cadaver lab) I will have my students on dissection tank teams where there’s five people working on a cadaver donor,” Garcia said in the podcast episode. “It’s similar to what you would run with a raid in games. I tell my students, ‘I’m not going to run your group —you have to figure out how to.’ If you have one person who doesn’t want to dissect, they can still be helpful by reading the directions or grabbing a model.”

Garcia started tutoring while at Newman and it allowed her own grades to improve even more. However, she did not always have stellar grades. She likes to tell her students that it is okay to fail, but it is what you do after that that matters.

One of the vital rules Garcia follows is that education needs to be fun. She believes that this allows students to remember the curriculum better. She teaches for the real world and not a test. Which in turn makes her a harder class, but she believes produces a better outcome.

“Tying it to a story helps them remember it more. Tying it to something they have experienced makes it more real-world. That is what they will take further with them,” Garcia said.

Video: Lisa Garcia (Team Building Through Gaming) – The Newman Bond

Stay connected

Newman University Alumni Relations brings graduates together and supports one another. Banded by thousands of Newman graduates, Alumni Relations is active in the continued success and spiritual wellness of all alumni.