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Always working with a smile: Mr. Gonzalez and all he does for Gonzaga

Mr.+Gonzalez+standing+out+on+Eye+Street
Mr. Gonzalez standing out on Eye Street

For many students at Gonzaga, they think there are only three types of people on campus who have any impact on their day-to-day lives: other students, teachers or counselors and priests. However, they often forget about the rest of the very important staff who work hard to keep Gonzaga running smoothly. One of the most prominent and a long tenured of those staff members is Mr. Francisco Gonzalez who is on the maintenance staff.

Mr. Francisco Gonzalez, or Cisco as many people call him, has worked in maintenance at Gonzaga since 2008, nearly 16 years ago. 

If you are a Gonzaga student, you have definitely seen Mr. Gonzalez around campus on multiple occasions, probably giving fist-bumps to students he passes or moving objects or helping someone out in any way he can, all while smiling. However, whether some of those students actually know who Mr. Gonzalez is and what he does for the school is a different question. 

It is Mr. Gonzalez’s and his co-workers in maintenance who have the task of keeping the campus in a good condition. Whether it is fixing the air conditioning, fixing things in the bathrooms or even a broken desk, Mr. Gonzalez has done it all.

  “We [those who work in maintenance/facilities] care about this place. We always keep this place safe. Make sure the kids are safe and make this place look nice when people visit. We like to show them [visitors] a good environment and always be friendly to everybody. You never know who is going to visit Gonzaga so always make a good impression,” said Mr. Gonzalez on what he wants students to know about his job.

Mr. Gonzalez strives to put a lot of care in what he does and a lot of that care comes from his family. Mr. Gonzalez has lived in Washington, D.C. for most of his life, but he is originally from El Salvador, and his upbringing had a lot to do with how he lives life today.

“His mother came to the United States at a young age, so he was basically taking care of his three younger brothers,” said Mr. Gonzalez’s son, Francisco ‘25, when asked how his father’s upbringing influenced his values. 

Mr. Gonzalez was 17 when he came to the United States, and he spoke little English. 

“He was kind of a parental figure for his brothers sometimes, so even as a child, he had to grow up fast and learn all these things at a young age. It was definitely something that built his character, and it shows how responsible he is,” Francisco said.

The values Mr. Gonzalez learned from his upbringing built how he lives his life today and treats others in his “family” at Gonzaga. Mr. Gonzalez’s hard work and dedication to the Gonzaga community is not only noticed by his son but also by many of his peers that have had the pleasure to work with him for so many years. 

“Mr. Gonzalez has been a dear friend and an absolute pleasure to be around. He does so much I can’t even begin to put it in words all that he contributes. I would add one of the my favorite things about our school is our physical campus and so much work goes into caring for our campus and Mr. Gonzalez is behind the majority of that, and I’m so thankful for his efforts for the efforts of the entire maintenance team and facilities team. Because truly, it’s a really special part of coming to work each day is showing up to this campus,” said Mr. Jim Kilroy, Assistant Headmaster for Student Life and a longtime colleague of Mr. Gonzalez.

Mr. Gonzalez’s Gonzaga peers do not only appreciate what he contributes to the physical aspect of the campus but also simply the personality he brings everyday. 

“Cisco has been a constant force around Gonzaga for as long as I’ve been here and to see him and his personality grow, as his son is on campus, I’m just so thankful that I have a friend in Cisco. He’s so solid; he’s so consistent and so committed to this place. I wish we had more people like him,” said Mr. Byron Harper ‘84, Director of Alumni Relations and Assistant Varsity Basketball Coach.

Mr. Gonzalez’s appreciative peers have not only shown their gratitude for him through words but also by awarding him in 2022 at Charter Day the prestigious Father Cornelius Herlihy, S.J. Award, which is given once a year to a teacher or staff member who  by their peers for their commitment to Gonzaga and its core values. An award does not define a person, but it is a nice honor to add onto Mr. Gonzalez’s already cemented legacy on Eye Street.

“Mr. Gonzalez always has a smile for anyone at any given time, which is like a real gift, given how busy he always is and he’s certainly quick to pick up the phone and to run and help when anybody has a need,” Mr. Kilroy said.

Mr. Gonzalez after receiving the Father Cornelius Herlihy, S.J. Award at Charter Day in 2022. Photo  from Gonzaga Flickr
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