MDC Professor and North Campus Food Pantry Founder Named a TIAA Difference Maker 100

Miami, Oct. 17, 2018 – Miami Dade College (MDC) North Campus Professor Sarah Garman has been named a TIAA Difference Maker 100, celebrating extraordinary individuals across the country who have made significant contributions to their communities.

When Prof. Sarah Garman realized some students had to choose between buying textbooks or groceries, she helped found MDC’s first student-run food pantry in 2013 at the North Campus. Stocked with donations from faculty, students and staff, the pantry continues to thrive. So far this year, the pantry has distributed more than 23,500 food and hygiene products and serves more than 200 students per month. The model has been so successful that MDC now has food pantries at other campuses.

To meet the growing demand at the North Campus, Garman organizes an annual High Tea Party fundraiser. Various departments purchase tables to decorate and compete for titles such as Most Beautiful and Most Creative. Everyone pitches in, cooking and baking for the event.

“It has become the signature event at the campus,” Prof. Garman said. “This year we sold out — more than 40 tables and we raised over $4,500. The pantry and High Tea has really brought the campus together for a good cause — the best cause — our students.”

The daughter of two MDC professors, Prof. Garman has been teaching at MDC for more than 20 years. Last year she was named an MDC Endowed Teaching Chair for the third time. An associate professor, senior in the Department of Arts and Philosophy at North Campus, Garman employs technology, collaborative learning and a love of service to encourage students to become lifelong learners and engaged citizens.

The Difference Maker 100 program launched this year as part of TIAA’s centennial to recognize the positive impact nonprofit employees have on the world. Individuals were invited to submit their own story or nominate others for consideration. The final Difference Maker 100 Honorees were selected by a panel of judges based on their impact, creativity, perseverance and motive. TIAA will recognize each of the 100 honorees with a $10,000 donation in their name to the nonprofit organization they support, totaling $1 million in contributions.

About TIAA
With an award-winning1 track record for consistent investment performance, TIAA ( is the leading provider of financial services in the academic, research, medical, cultural and government fields. TIAA has $1 trillion in assets under management (as of 6/30/2018) and offers a wide range of financial solutions, including investing, banking, advice and education, and retirement services.