After 18 months of serving the Colorado College campus, Pat Cunningham will be stepping down as Safety Director March 15 to accept a similar position at Belmont University in Nashville, TN.
In his time at CC, Cunningham has been credited with a multitude of successful investigations and initiatives—from the arrest of the Loomis “Peeping Tom” to the development of the Tiger Watch program.
Serving in Cunningham’s place as Director will be the newly hired and former Associate Director, Roy Garcia.
A desire to be closer to home and family, along with working at his alma mater, were cited as Cunningham’s main reasons for returning to Nashville. Cunningham graduated from Belmont University in 1988. He was requested to attend Belmont mid-year due to the retirement of the former Security Director Terry White.
Garcia, who was brought on as Associate Director this past January, has over 30 years of law enforcement experience and roughly 15 years in higher education. After retiring from Illinois State Police, centralized in Chicago, he went on to work as Director of Security at Aurora University.
“I love these kids,” Garcia said. “I really enjoy this. This is what keeps me young and really involved with higher education. One of my first goals here was to recruit some of the students to be involved like I had back home.”
In the short time Garcia has worked on the CC grounds, his colleagues suggest he has “hit the ground running” in the new position.
“It was his focus on engaging the students in service,” Cunningham said. “That is what we’re looking for. I think Roy came ready. He is one of those people that walks in the door and starts thinking of opportunities.”
In early October, Campus Safety began the search for a candidate to fill the position of associate director. Originally, Garcia was to take over operations and student engagement while Cunningham remained Director. With Garcia’s promotion to Director, the search continues for a candidate to fill the associate position.
“If anything, he’ll build on past initiatives and add others,” Cunningham said. “You may see Tiger Patrol expanded even more, along with other initiatives he has in mind.”
Cunningham received a call from Belmont asking him to join their staff roughly the same time Garcia was hired.
“Totally a surprise,” Garcia said. “One of the questions they asked me in my interview is, ‘How is it going to feel to you, being second in command?’ And my answer was, ‘Isn’t it a great feeling? But I’m a team player, and whatever the team needs, I’ll do it.’”
Both Cunningham’s decision to return home and the hiring of Garcia fell together within a window of two months.
“Belmont was just coincidental timing, and good timing,” Cunningham said. “I always think things happen for a reason. Roy [Garcia] is here for a reason.”