In Memoriam: Sophía García-Robles

To: UCSC Community

From:  Ann Draper, Financial Aid Director

Sophia Garcia-Robles.jpeg

It is with profound sadness that I announce the death of Sophía García-Robles on November 5, as a result of injuries sustained while vacationing in New Mexico. 

Sophia touched many lives during her 27-year career at UC Santa Cruz. She served as financial aid adviser, mentor and advocate for many UCSC students.  Prior to joining the Financial Aid and Scholarship Office staff, she was employed at Stevenson College.  She also volunteered for well over ten years as a Residential Preceptor at Merrill College and College Eight. 

A natural leader, Sophía was charismatic, powerful, genuine and enormously generous.   She dedicated her life to the education and well-being of others and to fighting hunger and poverty.  At UC Santa Cruz, Sophía was responsible for training staff in the Financial Aid and Scholarship Office as well as for serving as an adviser for students.  She was involved in the Chicano/Latino and American Indian communities; she served as a tireless advocate for AB 540 students; was a generous contributor to the UC Santa Cruz Food Pantry and to the Educational Opportunity Program Lending Library.

In the larger community, Sophía was an active member of the Santa Cruz Indian Council and helped organize the annual Red Road Pow Wow.  She regularly volunteered for El Teatro Campesino and for the Santa Fe Indian Market.  Each year she helped cook holiday meals at the Santa Cruz Vets Hall or at local kitchens in Santa Cruz and Watsonville shelters.  She was a financial contributor and former board member of the Santa Cruz Women’s Health Center. Sophia recently found a home for her powerful and enchanting singing voice as a member of the Santa Cruz Missionary Baptist Church Chorale.

Born and raised in Borger, Texas, Sophía served as a volunteer there for Reach Out (a precursor to Head Start). She also worked for the national VISTA program in Chicago and later for the Art Institute of Chicago, San José State University and Alameda County Social Service Agency.

A graduate of San José State University, she studied Social Science and Anthropology — earning a B.A., with Great Distinction.

Sophia's parents — Octaviano ‘Pete’ and Concepción “Connie” García — preceded her in death. Sophía is survived by her beloved siblings, Olivia, Danny, Junior and Yvonne; her brother-in-laws Ron and Larry and sister in-law Kathy; several nieces, nephews, tías, tíos, cousins, several godchildren, and comadres; and countless loving friends.

Please join me in extending condolences to Sophía's family, friends and communities.  A rosary mass will be held in Borger, Texas at St. John’s Church, on November 18 at 6:30 p.m.  A funeral mass will be held on November 19 at 10:30 a.m.

A local community ceremony will be announced at a later date.  In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the UC Santa Cruz's Food Pantry and EOP Lending Library, in Sophía’s memory.  Tax deductible contributions may be made to the UC Santa Cruz Foundation.  Mail contributions: Care of the UC Santa Cruz Financial Aid and Scholarship Office, 205 Hahn Student Services, Santa Cruz, CA 95064.  Include a memo which states the purpose of the contribution as follows: “Sophía García-Robles for Food Pantry” or “Sophía García-Robles for Lending Library.”