Marinella Garcia-Murillo ’10 (Alumna)
By University Communications
Wednesday, 07 24 2019
Marinella Garcia-Murrillo ’10 is no stranger to fighting for what she believes in. She has been an advocate and an activist for most of her life. She is active in union activities in the American Federal of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations, or AFL-CIO. She is also a member of SATX Indivisible and Texas TOP. Most recently, she was involved in the city council and mayoral race.
Her most personal causes, however, are those that help to honor her parents. Her father was a Vietnam veteran, and she and her family have been focused on efforts to recognize and honor Vietnam-era veterans. And after her mother’s passing, Marinella became interested in becoming an ombudsman, which in this case are people who advocate for residents in nursing homes and assisted living facilities, and who help protect quality of care for them.
A self-described Air Force brat, she was born in Italy. Her father served two tours in the Vietnam War and her family traveled all over.
Garcia-Murrillo settled down in San Antonio where she worked for housing and urban development. When she was ready to pursue her bachelor’s degree, she wanted to find an institution that would be accommodating of her challenges as a nontraditional student. With a family and constantly traveling for work, she wanted her instructors to have an awareness and understanding of her situation. After attending a few local colleges, she did not feel like they were a good fit. Not until she experienced A&M- San Antonio did she feel the institution might be the right fit for her.
As Garcia-Murrillo described it, “There were other universities that I had looked into, and had tested them out if you will,” adding, “But they didn’t click. Now out here, it did click.”
Many of her instructors worked in multiple capacities themselves, which made Garcia-Murrillo feel as though they could relate to working students who had families. She appreciated that when she had to travel for her job she could make arrangements with her instructors to alter her schedule and submit assignments. She also really liked the engaging classes and having respectful debates with her instructors.
“I didn’t want to just go to a classroom and listen to them talk for two hours or three hours,” Garcia-Murrillo explained. “I like to talk and I could practice my speaking skills there.”
Garcia-Murrillo ultimately earned her Bachelor of Applied Science degree at A&M-San Antonio. Her fondest memories of A&M- SA were making lifelong friendships and walking across the stage during graduation.
She has come to be a proud leader of an A&M- SA family. Her daughter is applying to enter graduate school to work on a master’s degree in education. She also said her grandson anticipates completing his bachelor’s degree in kinesiology in fall 2019.
“The sky’s the limit,” Garcia-Murrillo said. “I think the school is a sleeping giant, and it will be the magnet to bring other opportunities here.”
Now retired, and inspired by her grandson who was very active in soccer, Marinella said she would love to officiate soccer. Her love for sports has already had her officiate basketball, softball and football. She played intramural tennis for a long time.
Garcia-Murrillo said she also hopes to travel back to Italy to visit relatives and experiencing more of Europe.
Coming out of retirement to continue to advocate for causes is not out of the question for Garcia-Murrillo. “I still have plenty of vitality and energy, and advocacy and activism left in me.”