Paid to Talk about Duke

Retired U.S. Army Major Randy Garcia raises money for Duke 

Randy Garcia with his daughter Anastasia, 11, and son Ryan, 4, ready to head to Tae Kwon Do class. Photo courtesy of Randy Garcia.

Name:Randy Garcia

Position: Assistant director for annual giving, Duke annual fund.

Years at Duke: 2  

What I do at Duke: I raise money for the Duke Annual Fund. I educate people about how Duke's endowment is smaller than our peer institutions and we need to raise millions of dollars each year to help run this institution. I have the pleasure of working closely each year with the people planning the 40th and 45th reunions, which means each year I work with a different group of alumni. 

How I got to Duke: I came to Duke as a student while I was in the army. I had joined the army when I was 17, and when I became an officer, the army wanted me to get a college education. I was stationed at Duke full time as a student from 1999 to 2001 and graduated at age 32 with a degree in sociology and a certificate in Markets and Management Studies. When I retired after 23 years in the army, I came back to this area so I could support my ex-wife in raising our daughter. I'm a fan of Duke and had volunteered a lot as an alum, so I applied for a job in development, and here I am. 

My dream job: The one I have. For so many years I supported Duke as a volunteer. Now I get paid to talk about Duke. 

A memorable moment at Duke: In 2011, the Duke Alumni Association honored me with a Forever Duke Award for my work as a volunteer. That was special.

My first ever job: I cut and seasoned cases of chicken as a prep cook for Popeyes Chicken & Biscuits. 

What I love about Duke:  Having been a student, an alumni, a volunteer and an employee, I can tell you that the best part of Duke is the people. This university attracts great people.

When I'm not at work I like to: Travel with my family. I have a two-year-old Ford Focus with 68,000 miles on it already. I also spend a lot of time at the gym and do Tai Kwon Do once or twice a week with my daughter.

A superpower I'd like to have: I hate traffic and I hate to wait, so I'd like to be able to transport myself from one place to the next like a genie. 

Something unique in my office: I enjoy learning about Duke history, so I collect a lot of Duke memorabilia. I have a 1925 Chanticleer, postcards of Duke Quad from the late 20s when the trees were still small, and even a piece of the Cameron Stadium wall from when they were renovating to put in air conditioning while I was a student at Duke.

Something most people don't know about me: I volunteered for about six years as a Sheriff's Deputy in Georgia. I was honored to be able to use my army Green Beret knowledge to help train a SWAT team.