Penn State Berks features first student soloist at spring commencement

Student soloist Malinda Garcia wearing olive green t-shirt.

Malinda Garcia

Credit: Samantha Bower

WYOMISSING, Pa. — For the first time in the college’s history, Penn State Berks will feature a student soloist at its spring commencement ceremony. Malinda Garcia has been selected to sing the Penn State Alma Mater and the National Anthem at the ceremony at 10 a.m., Saturday, May 4, at the Santander Arena in Reading.

Garcia, of Sanatoga, Pennsylvania, is a first-year student with 12 years of experience as a vocalist. She explained that she joined her school choir in second grade and that music is a big part of the Latino culture. She also credits her mother and grandmother, both of whom were performers, for supporting her interest in music. In fact, Garcia attended summer arts camp at the prestigious Belvoir Terrace in Lennox, Massachusetts, in her youth.

No stranger to performing, Garcia sang the National Anthem at a Philadelphia Phillies game last year. She has also performed at the Kimmel Center with the Holy Cross Regional Catholic School choir. In high school, she was part of the show choir and theater company that performed in Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. She has also performed with the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Peter and Paul Cantus Angelorum Cathedral Children’s Choir and has completed in various talent shows.

With the ultimate goal of becoming a film and theater director, Garcia worked as part of the tech crew for the Penn State Berks productions of “All in the Timing” and “Love Kills.”

She is currently directing a musical theater production of “Footloose” at the Jennersville YMCA, where she works as the coordinator for the arts and humanities and theater director.

When asked why she chose Penn State Berks, she said that it was because of the beautiful campus and close proximity to home. She joined the campus choir in her first semester. In addition, she is also the social media and public relations manager for the college’s Latinos United for Change student organization.