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JSU Launches Spanish-Language Web Service

Graciela Garcia

25 August 2004 — With the help of a JSU student from El Salvador, Jacksonville State University is now offering  a Web site — — for some of Alabama's more than 75,000 Spanish-speaking residents who need academic and other information about the university.

Graciela Garcia, an International House student and granddaughter of Julio Adalberto Rivera, president of El Salvador from 1962 to 1967, serves as the News Bureau's Spanish translator. She also volunteers as a contact person for Spanish-speaking parents, prospective students, and others who may feel more comfortable making initial contact at JSU in Spanish. She can be reached at 256-782-7658 or at

Ms. Garcia is assisting JSU during a key time of shifting demographics. According to the US Census Bureau and the Birmingham Business Journal, much of Alabama's Hispanic growth is in central and northeast Alabama, with larger concentrations in Birmingham, Albertville, and Fort Payne.

The new Web site is similar to the university's newswire ( but carries information of particular interest to Spanish-speaking residents of northeast Alabama, such as stories about job skills training and special workshops offered at JSU and online.

Ms. Garcia says the translating work fits perfectly with her academic pursuits in business. She enrolled at JSU following a recommendation from her American high school principal in El Salvador, JSU alumnus Matthew Blake, who told her about JSU's International House (IH).

She said she found the family-like atmosphere of the International House to be exactly what she wanted. In fact, a sudden illness just after she arrived at JSU two years ago put that friendly atmosphere to the test more than she ever dreamed. She became ill, and IH Director John J. Ketterer and his wife Ivania took Ms. Garcia into their home for two weeks until she had gall bladder surgery. After she moved back to the International House, the students pitched in to provide care.

"I was scared and felt very sick," said Ms. Garcia. "Everybody was so helpful then.  But that's JSU, friendly and helpful, especially when you need it most."

Ms. Garcia's good health has returned, and she has a busy life at JSU. In addition to pursuing degrees in finance and literature, she works part time at the International House.   She looks forward to representing JSU to the Hispanic community with the same warmth and friendliness that she has received.

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