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Out of this world


Growing and growing… #1 in nation for membership growth in 2007

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on the cover

volume 17










in this issue

03 In Brief

14 Coming Home to FIU

FIU students raised a record amount of

Plans for a new FIU Alumni Center are

money for Miami Children’s Hospital at

taking shape after alumni and friends

this year’s Dance Marathon.

of the university pledge their support. The new center will be a signature

05 Future House USA FIU engineers have created a hightech, energy efficient home that will be displayed in Beijing during the Summer

FIU’s astronomy program in the Department of Physics soon will have a new student observatory with a 24-inch telescope for teaching, research and public outreach. Each semester the program hosts a series of public “Star Parties” with music, food and telescopes. FIU photographers Gloria O’Connell and Ivan Santiago were there in February when dozens gathered for a Star Party to watch the lunar eclipse. It was a cloudy night, but the sky cleared enough for stargazers, including freshman Samantha Moussa shown on the cover, to see the full moon pass through the Earth’s shadow.

retail shops and restaurants.

Physics professor Caroline Simpson

06 BBC Turns 30

Out of this world

development with student housing,

20 Faculty Profile: Caroline Simpson



building on an exciting “Main Street”

FIU’s Biscayne Bay Campus celebrates its unique identity and makes plans for a “green initiative” as it marks an anniversary.

studies the formation of stars to learn about the evolution of the universe.

26 Alumni News A blow-out Panther Pit Tailgate with fireworks is on tap for the Sept. 20

10 A Historic Evening

Football Stadium opening game.

The 7th Annual Torch Awards Gala honored some of FIU’s most accomplished alumni and delivered a few surprises, too.

30 Class Notes 32 Lost Alumni Help us reconnect with graduates of the College of Arts and Sciences.

33 VIP: Betty Perry ’74

in the next issue

Illuminating eye disease FIU professors Richard Bone and John Landrum are the inventors of a device that can help track a key risk factor for macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness over age 50. The technology, known as heterochromatic flicker photometry, is now being marketed commercially for use by eye doctors. Their research, spanning more than 20 years, has made important contributions to the understanding of macular degeneration.




The Sun King

A Work of Art

Football’s new edition

Entrepreneur Robert Bell ’81 started out as a pool boy on South Beach, mixing up fruity sunscreen lotions, and ended up building the Banana Boat sun-care line into a household name.

Renowned architect Yann Weymouth talks about the inspiration and innovations behind his design for the new Frost Art Museum, set to open at the end of this year.

Football coach Mario Cristobal is building a bigger, faster and stronger team with a new training regimen, new coaches and new recruits as the Sept. 20 stadium opener nears.












volume 17

letter from the editor

Dear Readers, In the life of any institution there are events that change everything. I witnessed one of them March 8 at the 7th Annual Torch Awards Gala. FIU’s first First Lady Betty Perry, positively regal that evening, offered a founding donation of $10,000 toward a new FIU Alumni Center. This wasn’t a surprise to Alumni Relations leaders; they knew Perry intended to be the first alumni center donor. But no one knew what would happen when she challenged other alumni to match her pledge. It was a breathless moment. Would the room go silent? Would anyone join in Perry’s commitment to FIU? What followed was a demonstration of the untapped power of this university’s alumni. Not only did individuals step up, many did and they did so with great enthusiasm. The Alumni Association closed the night with $90,000 for the new alumni center. The infusion of dollars for this much-needed center represents a significant development for FIU’s alumni. The real change, however, was something less tangible – a coming of age. That night, FIU’s alumni, as a community, staked a claim in the future of this institution. The Alumni Association slogan “Feel the Pride” appears on banners, buttons and T-shirts – even in this magazine. Those words came to life that evening. Together, we really did Feel the Pride. Cheers,

FIU Magazine Editorial Advisory Board Dr. Cathy Akens

Assistant VP Student Affairs Biscayne Bay Campus

David Berry ’06

Marketing Coordinator, School of Journalism and Mass Communications

Dr. Gisela Casines

Associate Dean, College of Arts and Sciences

Dr. Carol Damian

Professor of Art History, School of Art and Art History

Rebecca Dinar

Outreach Coordinator, BBC Office of the Vice Provost

Dr. Stephen Fain

Professor Emeritus, College of Education

Dr. Sally Gallion

Assistant Dean of Marketing, Communication, and Publications College of Business Administration

Martha Hoffman

Assistant Director of Marketing, College of Engineering and Computing

Dr. Larry Lunsford

Deborah O’Neil

Associate Vice President for Student Affairs University Ombudsman

Michelle Mason, Esq.

letter to the editor

Still a proud Panther I remember the days when FIU consisted of four buildings – those were my days at FIU. I was proud to be a Panther then and still am today. I thank you for the fabulous work that you have done with the FIU Magazine. It gives me great joy to read about the accomplishments of former FIU graduates, not to mention the accomplishments of the university itself. Most of all, I look forward to sharing the FIU Magazine with my parents, their hard work and dedication made it possible for me to attend FIU. It’s one of many ways to show them appreciation for their sacrifices back in the days. Keep up the great work; you are truly making a difference! Magdaline Segarra ’91 B.S. Dietetics and Nutrition, Owner MyRDtoGo Inc. Letters to the Editor: FIU Magazine welcomes letters to the editor regarding magazine content. Send your letters via e-mail to, by fax to 305-348-3247 or mail to FIU Magazine, Division of University and Community Relations, UP PC 515, Miami, FL, 33199. Letters may be edited for length and clarity. All letters should include the writer’s full name and daytime phone number. Alumni, please include your degree and year of graduation. Change of Address: Please send updated address information to FIU Office of Alumni Relations, MARC 510, Miami, FL, 33199 or by e-mail to FIU Magazine online: Visit WRGP Radiate FM: FIU Student Radio is broadcast north of Kendall on 95.3 FM, south of Kendall on 88.1 FM and 96.9 FM in North Miami and South Broward.

Associate Dean for Admissions and Student Services, College of Law

Rafael Paz

Associate General Counsel, Office of the General Counsel

Khaleel Seecharan ’02, MS ’03

Division of University and Community Relations

Florida International University 2007-08 Alumni Association Board

Sandra B. Gonzalez-Levy

Executive Committee


Vice President University and Community Relations

Terry Witherell

Associate Vice President External Relations

Bill Draughon

William R. Trueba, Jr., Esq. ’90 President

Jose M. Perez de Corcho ’93 Vice President

Raymond del Rey ’97 Secretary

Associate Vice President Alumni Relations

George B. Brackett Jr. ’76 & ’77

Karen Cochrane

Samuel C. Jackson ’97

Associate Director Editorial Services

Deborah O’Neil

Editor, FIU Magazine

Martin Haro ’05 Associate Editor

Aileen Solá Art Director Writers

Sissi Aguila ’99 Aimee Dingwell Charlene Eberly MA ’04 Bryan Gilmer Martin Haro ’05 Evan Koch Photographers



Ty N. Javellana, CPA ’88, MST ’98 Past President Officers

Gabriel Albelo ’93 Stewart L. Appelrouth MS ’80 José Manuel Díaz ’86 Cynthia J. Dienstag, Esq. ’83 Ramón Ferrán ’79 Joaquín “Jack” F. González ’98 Dr. Jason Scott Hamilton ’89, MS ’93 Carlos H. Hernández ’97 Michael R. Méndez ’03 Raúl Pérez Ballaga, Esq.’97 Justo Luis Pozo ’80 Dr. Susan Webster ’87

Gloria O’Connell Ivan Santiago Michael Upright

Director of Operations, College of Medicine

Mary Sudasassi

Director of Public Relations, College of Nursing and Health Sciences

William Trueba, Esq. President, FIU Alumni Association

Dr. Jonathan Tubman

Associate Vice President for Research Associate Dean, University Graduate School

Alumni Office: FIU Office of Alumni Relations, UP MARC 510, Miami, FL 33199. Or call 305-348-3334 or toll free at 800-FIU-ALUM. Visit the Alumni Relations web site at: for the latest news and alumni events. To receive the monthly electronic alumni newsletter, NOW@FIU, sign up at Gifts to FIU: Contact University Advancement at 305-348-6298 or visit: giving.htm Copyright 2008, Florida International University. FIU Magazine is published by the Florida International University Division of University and Community Relations and distributed free of charge to alumni, faculty and friends of the university. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited. 9726_05/08



in brief of the Board of Directors for the FIU Foundation and also chaired the College of Law’s Advisory Board. The National Law Journal recognized Alvarez as one of the “100 Most Influential Lawyers in America,” in 1997, 2000 and 2006. He replaces Trustee Armando Guerra.

Students raise record amount for sick children

The new College of Nursing and Health Sciences building is slated to open in December 2009.

FIU breaks ground for nursing, health sciences building FIU’s College of Nursing and Health Sciences (CNHS) celebrated the groundbreaking for its new $34 million teaching and research facility in April. Slated to open in December 2009, the building will become the gateway to the university’s highly anticipated Academic Health Sciences Complex on campus. College administrators are working closely with the globally recognized architectural firm H.O.K. to create one of the most technologically advanced and innovative health care teaching facilities in the region. “We are creating a highly productive and attractive space that provides an exceptional level of interdisciplinary teaching, research and learning opportunities,” said Yann Weymouth, lead architect on the project for H.O.K. The five-floor structure will encompass more than 100,000 square feet of space, housing interactive skills laboratories, extensive computer suites, specialized training, evaluation and study areas and ample lecture classrooms. The educational

core of the new CNHS will be the Simulation Center and the Rehabilitation Center. The centers comprise special labs, technology and real-life care settings (e.g. hospital stations, exam rooms, residential venues) that can be used individually or together in a variety of combinations to accommodate instruction. The underlying concept is to create functionally flexible laboratories that promote interdisciplinary collaboration. !

Law firm CEO appointed to Board of Trustees Gov. Charlie Crist has appointed South Florida attorney Cesar Alvarez to FIU’s Board of Trustees. Alvarez has served as CEO for Greenberg Traurig LLP for the last 10 years. Prior to that, he practiced securities, corporate and international law for more than 25 years. Alvarez has represented numerous public companies and serves on the board of directors of several publicly-traded corporations and charitable organizations. In the past, Alvarez served as a member

One hundred-fifty Golden Panthers danced the night away at this year’s Dance Marathon and raised a record $114,313 for the Miami Children’s Hospital Foundation (MCHF). This year’s 25-hour Dance Marathon exceeded the goal of $100,000 and set the bar for 2009. Last year, $86,135 was raised at the event. FIU President Modesto A. Maidique kicked off the 11th annual event March 1-2, which also drew Rosa Jones, vice president of Student Affairs; Lucy Morillo, MCHF president; and Maria Moldes, director of the Children’s Miracle Network, the organization through which Dance Marathon raises funds for MCHF. “We all worked so hard for a whole year to make this happen,” said Leah Dunleavy, Dance Marathon’s executive director. “What we’ve accomplished is really great.” Organizers secured sponsorships that ensured every participant had a good time while dancing for this worthy cause. There were appearances from Miami Heat and Florida Marlins dancers, giveaways from the Continues on next page




in brief Continued

The 2008 graduating class of the School of Hospitality and Tourism program in Tianjin, China.

Y-100 Street Team and a performance by A Pair of Nuts, the comedy duo of Yamil Piedra ’03, School of Theatre, Dance and Speech Communication graduate, and former student Johnny Trabanco. Since its establishment in 1997 at FIU, Dance Marathon has raised more than $500,000, and it is the largest student fund-raiser at FIU. Overall, more than $2 billion has been raised by Dance Marathon events around the country, benefiting an estimated 12 million children annually. !

New China graduates to work at Olympics FIU’s new School of Hospitality and Tourism Management’s program in China graduated its first class of students in May. The 29 graduates are the first to receive undergraduate degrees through a partnership between FIU and the Tianjin University of Commerce. The college grads are already in demand in China’s fast-growing tourism industry. They are being courted by several international hospitality corporations, including Hyatt, Hilton Marriott, Mandarin Oriental Miami, and the Loews Miami Beach Hotel. This summer, the graduates, along with 600 of the students enrolled in the school, are expected to work at the Olympic Village in Beijing, helping to manage the more than 500,000 people expected to attend the Olympic Games in China. Eight of the new graduates will be attending the school’s Biscayne Bay Campus to pursue master’s degrees in hospitality management. “Soon, Golden Panthers will dominate the Chinese tourism industry, the world’s largest tourism market,” said School of Hospitality and Tourism Management Dean Joseph West. The Tianjin program started in September 2004 with more than 770

students enrolled. It has capacity for 2,000 students and aims to train Chinese students on the nuances of operating hotels and restaurants. It also is open to other Golden Panthers who want to study abroad and learn about one of the world’s fastestgrowing economies and tourist industries. In 2007, 12 students from Miami were selected to study at the Tianjin campus. !

Student-athletes honored for academic excellence

Yarimar Rosa, Ronald Forbes ’08 and Iva Ciglar ’08 were honored as student-athletes.

FIU honored 172 student-athletes for outstanding academic performance at the 2008 Athletic Academic Awards Banquet on April 13. Forty-seven student-athletes were honored with Dean’s List recognition and another 125 gained Honor Roll acknowledgement. Women’s basketball senior Iva Ciglar

’08 took home the most prestigious award of the evening, the Academic Excellence Award presented to the graduating senior with the highest cumulative grade point average. Ciglar graduated in April with a 3.913 GPA and a finance degree and certificates in banking and international bank management. Student-Athlete of the Year honors went to Ronald Forbes ’08 from track and field and Yarimar Rosa from volleyball. Forbes became the track program’s 10th All-American when he finished third at the NCAA Indoor Championships in the 60-meter hurdles. Rosa, who was named an American Volleyball Coaches Association All-American for the second straight year as a sophomore, was ranked eighth in the nation in kills per game and is the only underclassman in the country ranked in the Top 20. The Golden Panthers women’s tennis team, nationally ranked on the courts this entire season, won the Adidas Athletic Director’s Award, given to the FIU athletic team with the highest team GPA, for the second consecutive year. !



Future House USA in brief

FIU’s energy efficient home will be showcased at the Beijing Summer Olympics By Sissi Aguila ’99

The house of the future is not like the Jetson’s home – podshaped with Rosie the robot maid and an automated kitchen. Instead it is a house that looks like an American classic and is made for real people who are concerned about the environment. With photovoltaic solar panels, fuel cells and geothermal cooling and heating, it is a house that generates and stores energy while preserving natural resources. This “Future House” is the master creation of FIU engineers and construction managers, along with an external builder, and it will soon be displayed before a world audience. This summer, FIU will showcase American ingenuity, exhibiting a house with the latest energy-efficient technology at the Beijing Summer Olympics. Future House USA, as it is known, represents the United States in China’s demonstration project, “Future House Village.” The most advanced sustainableenergy building practices around the globe will be displayed by 10 nations. China expects more than five million visitors to the village. FIU was the only American university invited to participate.

China’s Ministry of Construction invited FIU after its team won first place in Energy Balance at the 2005 National Solar Decathlon in Washington, D.C. To build the Future House, FIU sought the assistance of Alternative Energy Living Foundation, a Chicago company that was the first to build an ENERGYSTAR-certified assisted living residence. As the academic sponsor, FIU provided engineering and design assistance, said Yong Tao, a professor of mechanical and material engineering who has co-led the Future House project. FIU professor Yimin Zhu of the construction management department coordinated the construction in China. “Materials are different from the U.S,” said Zhu. “That presented a challenge, especially when you can’t go to the Home Depot around the corner every time you need something.” Rising on a hill adjacent to the Spanish house, Future House USA was prefabricated of American-made materials in Montana. Then it was shipped in eight containers to Beijing, where it was assembled. Designed to fit in any suburban American

neighborhood, the 3,200-squarefoot structure’s design was inspired by architect Frank Lloyd Wright and Chinese feng-shui, which promotes well being by examining how energy flows through a space. As a result, the FIU house has an open floor plan with four bedrooms and four bathrooms. This is a plush home, even by U.S. standards. To build the house in South Florida, it would cost about $500,000. One of the innovative features inside the house is “solaroperated” motion faucets run by lights that use neither batteries nor electricity. On the exterior, there are permeable pavers, used on the driveways, sidewalks and patios to filter storm water, allowing cleaner runoff into rivers and lakes. Rain barrels collect water for gardens and lawns. And an aluminum roof eliminates the granular runoff that occurs with asphalt shingles. Using computer simulations, Jimmy Feng, who graduated in June with a doctoral degree in engineering, calculated the energy savings. The energy consumption for Future House was reduced by an estimated 85 percent and water efficiency

was increased by 60 percent. Nonetheless, much of what makes the FIU home energyefficient is design. “Fifty percent is engineering. Fifty percent is art,” said Feng of building green. Mudgrada Dhanunjaya ’07, an alumnus of construction management, helped with the art. Using the architecture software AUTOCAD, he provided instrumental designs. The Chinese government prompted the initiative after it recognized that its country is in a perilous state, hastening climate change. In the next decade, China will build 100 million homes and 120 million cars in its effort to modernize. However, unsustainable building practices happen worldwide. Housing accounts for almost 40 percent of carbon dioxide emissions in the United States. Because carbon dioxide absorbs the sun’s heat in the atmosphere, it causes more intense weather patterns such as droughts. The professors say FIU can be pivotal in bringing green building practices to South Florida. “This project offers the invaluable experience of a living lab for students, faculty, staff and professionals,” added Tao. !




BBC Turns

0 3

By Deborah O’Neil

As the Biscayne Bay Campus celebrates its growth, it looks to a greener future

When Katiana Saintable first enrolled at FIU, she wasn’t sure she wanted to study at the Biscayne Bay Campus, just minutes from home. “I thought, ‘My parents could show up here any minute,’” she recalls. After taking all her classes at BBC the first semester, the English major realized that the campus by the bay would always be the place she identified as FIU. “After the first semester I was sold on BBC,” said Saintable, who later became the president of the BBC Student Government Association. “I love it here. When I graduate, I will talk about my days by the bay, having lunch by the bay, running by the bay, doing prayers by the bay and spending time on the second floor of the Wolfe University Center.” You will hear Saintable’s enthusiasm for BBC echoed among many of the 8,000 students at BBC. Their chief complaint: Give us more reasons to stay at BBC and fewer reasons to commute to University Park. This year, as BBC marks its 30th anniversary, the campus has created an identity distinct from FIU’s main

campus to the south, even as it enjoys the benefits of being part of a major urban research university. With its idyllic bay setting and laid-back collegiality, BBC feels like a small liberal arts school. Parking is never a problem. Students know campus employees on a first-name basis. Professors hold class in the grass at the water’s edge. The saltwater bay, so much of BBC’s allure, is also the inspiration for the campus’ future academic direction in multidisciplinary environmental studies. “This is a magnificent campus with a different character,” said Provost Ron Berkman, FIU’s chief academic officer, during a recent luncheon celebrating the 30th anniversary. “We’re doing a better job of understanding the character and embracing it to provide a full-service opportunity for students to choose to attend BBC for their entire four-year undergraduate education.” The March anniversary luncheon at the Wolfe Center demonstrated how BBC has emerged as a vital intellectual hub for the communities of north Miami-Dade. More than 150 guests attended, including


dignitaries from Aventura Hospital, the Embassy of Spain and the cities of Aventura, Miami Beach, Sunny Isles, North Miami, Golden Beach and Bal Harbor Village. “We’re very proud FIU is in our city,” said North Miami Mayor Kevin Burns. “I look forward to another great 30 years.” North Miami City Council member Marie Erlande Steril ’00, the first in her family to graduate from college, spoke of her experiences as a student at BBC. “When I decided to go back to school, I was already married and had two small children. This campus, this university gave me a chance, gave me hope. They not only gave me the education I needed, they helped me to understand it is OK to be different.” Along with traditional and non-traditional students, BBC also draws a large community of retirees – many of them college graduates – interested in continuing their education on a non-credit basis. Some 150 individuals take regular courses each year as “audit students,” an enrollment status that allows them to participate in courses

without earning a grade. Another “This campus, 1,000 retirees take classes through this university, the BBC’s Osher Lifelong Learning Center. Others are regular visitors gave me a to the campus year-round for a host chance, gave of public events, including Writers By the Bay offered by Creative me hope.” Writing, the Broad Education Lecture — Series through the Department of Marie Erlande International Relations and cultural Steril, programs offered by African New North Miami World Studies. City Council “The quality of teachers here on the Biscayne Bay Campus is top notch,” said audit student Sandy Lansing during the BBC luncheon. “The most powerful part of being on this campus is interacting with so many talented and determined students. I like to say this campus is a gem.” Seated on 200 acres of bayfront land fringed with mangrove marshes, BBC’s physical location offers FIU an opportunity to craft a unique interdisciplinary environmental curriculum. In 2007, a new Marine Biology building opened with specially equipped classrooms and laboratories for FIU’s growing marine biology degree program. The


campus’ academic leaders envision building on that foundation and have drafted a long-term plan for a BBC Coastal Environmental Initiative that would integrate coastal and marine themes into all of BBC’s programs. For instance, the plan envisions programs in environmental tourism at the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management and environmental journalism at the School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Given the ongoing state budget cuts, BBC administrators are pursuing grants and private funding to support different facets of the initiative. Recently, BBC and the city of North Miami won a grant from the Florida Humanities Council for a new environmental lecture series, The South Florida Coast: New Horizons in Science and the Humanities, in fall 2008. Lectures will include: “Losing It All to Sprawl,” “Spirituality Goes Green: Scientific and Spiritual Approaches to Global Warming,” and “An Alligator Eating its Own Tail: Florida in the 21st Century.” For more details check the BBC Web site at: !




alumni profile The Sun King Entrepreneur Robert Bell ’81 built a sun-care line into a household name By Bryan Gilmer

If you’re an entrepreneur with the ideas, drive and good timing to make tens of millions of dollars, Robert Bell has some advice for you: Don’t feel guilty about buying some toys. “Unlike many people in our society, I don’t have any guilt associated with acquiring a lot of money and spending it as I choose,” Bell writes in his new book, “From Lifeguard to Sun King: The Man Behind the Banana Boat Success Story.” “Being rewarded financially for a job well done is the essence of the American Dream.” So when Bell sold an equity stake in his Sun Pharmaceuticals for a reported $30 million in 1989 – before he turned 30 – he picked up a Porsche and a 10,000-square-foot Everglades mansion for himself and a MercedesBenz and beachfront condo for his mom. After he cashed out the rest of his stake to Playtex, he moved to Miami’s exclusive Fisher Island, next door to Oprah Winfrey. Bell started on the front lines of the sunscreen wars in college in the late 1970s. As a Miami football jock and lifeguard, he worked as a pool boy at the Fontainebleau and Castaways, handselling a brand of suntan lotion for a concessionaire. People liked that it was more like lotion than oil, he noticed, but he thought it could smell better. So he messed around with his own fruity concoctions, which he sold to tourists, tweaking the formula based on their comments as he dreamed of launching his own tanning brand. He bounced around playing college football for a couple of years before enrolling in FIU for a business degree. Simultaneously, he partnered with a buddy who had souvenir stores in the

“I literally took what I was learning in school and used it in my business at the same time.” — Robert Bell

Keys with a house brand of tanning products called Banana Boat. “I literally took what I was learning in school and used it in my business at the same time,” Bell said in a phone interview during his book tour. “I liked the practicality of FIU’s business school, how the teachers reflected the real business world. I wrote my final paper on how to market a sun-care product.” Bell hired a chemist to improve the Banana Boat formula, graduated in 1981 and bought out his partner’s interest in the brand for “a very modest sum of money.” At 21, Bell moved the venture into his garage, finagled a $50,000 bank loan, arranged contract manufacturing and hawked the product to surf and dive shops. Banana Boat grew into a regional brand by recruiting a strong network of independent distributors. It rose to challenge such giant national brands as Procter & Gamble, J&J, Hawaiian Tropic and Coppertone through a string of uncanny coups: U Bell thought people might like a product to soothe sunburn. He remembered movie cowboys rubbing aloe plants on their wounds. So Banana Boat launched the first pure aloe vera gel. U While the big brands still promised to bronze your skin in the 1980s, Banana Boat came out with the first SPF 23 lotion to block those rays. “From my research, I knew the sun was bad for you,” Bell recalls. “It was just a matter of time.” At first, it didn’t sell. After President Ronald Reagan got skin cancer on his nose and warned the nation about sun exposure in 1987, it sold like crazy.

U Before the 1988 Summer Olympics, Banana Boat sponsored diver Greg Louganis at “a great rate.” Just after Louganis cracked his head on the diving platform – and just before his triumphant comeback gold-medal dive – Louganis slathered his body in Banana Boat lotion on international television. During that time, Bell paid himself less than $30,000 a year. “I slept on top of boxes in my delivery van,” he remembers. “It was more important to me to make a better sunscreen, a product that people loved to use. I wanted to be the largest suncare company in the world, and I put all the money back into the business. I knew the money would come.” Now that the money has come, Bell takes it easier, dividing his time between Miami Beach, California and international travel. He invests in real estate. He takes a venture capital stake in startup companies. And he contributes to causes he believes in, including FIU. The College of Business Administration honored him in 2000 as the first inductee of the Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame. But the man’s true passion is sun care. As Bell puts it, “No matter how many times I walk away from it, I always seem to get drawn back in.” He bought and resurrected the Sea & Ski brand, selling it to an Australian pharmaceutical company in 2000. He’s just developed an herbal and vitamin supplement called the “Sun Pill” and what he believes is the first-ever SPF 100 sunscreen. ! Bryan Gilmer is a freelance writer based in Durham, N.C.




Photo provided by Robert Bell






Photos by Roldan Torres

Torch Award winners: From left, Justo Pozo ’80, Miguel Cruz MS ’97, Jose A. Sotomayor ’93, Victor Sikah MS ’92, Ed.D. ’00, Emilio R. Vega ’92, Mark D. Szuchman, Henry Rodriguez ’86, MS ’88, Angel Medina, Jr. ’92, FIU President Modesto A. Maidique, Rep. David Rivera ’86, MPA ’94, Seth H. Bramson MBA ’00, Joseph Caruncho ’81, Phoebe Moll ’00, Charles A. Bray MS ’77, Jose Perdomo ’06, Israel Reyes ’92, Francisco Ramos ’93


The 7th Annual Torch Gala sizzles with Golden Panther Pride By Martin Haro ’05

The 7th Annual Torch Awards Gala proved to be an historic and magical night for the FIU Alumni Association. Per tradition, the FIU Alumni Association hosted the gala to salute the accomplishments of the university’s alumni. More than 400 guests gathered in the Graham Center Ballrooms to honor 15 awardees, among them an attorney, a circuit court judge, bank presidents, health care executives, and the vice president of a global ad agency. Francisco Ramos, Jr. Esq. ’93, a graduate of the College of Arts and Sciences, was honored with the Charles E. Perry Visionary Award. An attorney and partner at Clarke Silvergate & Campbell, Ramos was happy to be back on campus to receive the award from Betty Perry ’74, FIU’s first First Lady, wife of the late Charles Perry. “My wife and I are here all the time,”

“I believe that being an advocate for FIU is ultimately supporting the future of our community.” — Will Trueba, Alumni Association president

he said. “We bring our kids – they’re 9 and 6 years old – to games and to campus. We’re hoping they’ll go here. But tonight is different. It’s exciting.” After giving out the award, Perry then surprised the crowd by pledging a $10,000 challenge gift toward a new Alumni Center. Perry said a feeling of loyalty toward FIU prompted her to extend this challenge to the university community. Several alumni and friends rose to the occasion, each pledging $10,000 for a record $90,000 donated in one evening. They are: Stewart Appelrouth MS ’80, Jorge Gonzalez ’88, Michael Mendez ’03, Angel Medina, Jr. ’92, Jose Perez de Corcho ’93, Justo Pozo ’80, Jose Sotomayor ’93 and Ralph Gazitua. “I had no idea what the response would be,” Perry said. “I thought we’d get two or three people, so I really was surprised and overwhelmed by the response we got. It was fun. Chuck

would have loved that – he was such a spur-of-the-moment sort of man.” Later, Monte Kane MS ’82, Albert Maury ’96 and Noel Guillama added themselves to the list of donors who pledged $10,000 toward the Alumni Center, bringing the total to $120,000. “This year’s Torch Gala was a spectacular success,” said Bill Draughon, associate vice president of Alumni Relations. “The fact that all these people stepped up was a tremendous show of Golden Panther pride. It was a great night for FIU.” When the pledges were counted, the evening continued with an air of excitement. “This is one of the best networking events in Miami,” said Master of Ceremonies Barry Johnson, president and CEO of the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce. Johnson also took a “moment of personal privilege” to recognize former College of Arts and Sciences Dean Arthur Herriott, who had a



Left: Rep. David Rivera ’86, FIU President Modesto A. Maidique and Joseph L. Caruncho ’81. Middle: FIU President Modesto A. Maidique, College of Education professor Kingsley Banya and Victor Sikah MS ’92, Ed.D. ’00. Right: Jessica Cristobal, head football coach Mario Cristobal, FIU President Modesto A. Maidique, Nancy Maidique ’03, Melinda Gonzalez and Jorge Gonzalez ’88.

“This year’s Torch Gala

Jose Perdomo J.D. ’06, FIU President Modesto A. Maidique, Betty Perry ’74 and Angel Medina, Jr. ’92.

30-year career at FIU. “Thank you for dedicating your life to this school,” Johnson said. Alumna Alejandra Alberti, a 2007 Latin Grammy Award nominee in the Best New Artist category, performed her latest single, “Dignidad de Mujer,” and “Dentro de Ti,” which she dedicated to her fellow Golden Panthers, especially the Torch winners. “I am a Golden Panther and it is an honor to be here,” she said. “It takes a lot of hard work and dedication to get where you are today, so this is for you guys.” In his last Torch Gala address as president of the Alumni Association, Will Trueba called on his fellow graduates to give back to their university. “I believe that being an advocate for FIU is ultimately supporting the future of our community,” he said. “My involvement with the Alumni Association has proven to be one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.”


Francisco Ramos ’93 is an attorney and partner was a at Clarke Silverglate & spectacular Campbell. He graduated from FIU success.” summa cum laude and — attended law school at the University of Bill Draughon, Miami. Ramos has served on several associate boards, including Parent to Parent of vice president Miami and Legal Services of Miami. of Alumni He has assumed several leadership roles, Relations including inaugural chair of the Eleventh Judicial Circuit Historical Society and president-elect of the Florida Defense Lawyers Association. Ramos, a certified circuit and county court mediator, has published the book From Law School to Litigator.

COMMUNITY LEADERSHIP AWARD Angel Medina, Jr. ’92 is president of the Southeast Florida market for Regions Bank. He is a board member of the YMCA and Goodwill Industries, as well as a member of the board of directors of Jackson Memorial Hospital’s Public Health Trust. Recently, March of Dimes honored Medina with its Humanitarian of the Year award. At Regions Bank, Medina is accountable for the revenue growth, asset quality and management of business in excess of $10 billion, 75 banking centers and nearly 900 employees.


Dr. Mark D. Szuchman has been Seth H. Bramson MBA associated with FIU ’00 is an assistant since 1976. He has professor in the College chaired the History of Arts & Sciences and Department, served as foremost authority on associate dean for faculty, graduate Florida transportation studies and technology, and acted as history. He has published 10 books, interim dean for the College of Arts including “Miami: The Magic City” & Sciences. He is the author of five and “Speedway to Sunshine.” He has books and dozens of academic articles shared his collection of historical and has produced one prize-winning memorabilia and railroadiana – the film. As the associate dean of largest in the nation – with the graduate studies, Szuchman Historical Association of South Florida, successfully fought for increases in the Greater North Miami Historical graduate stipends. He has never Association and the Dade Heritage stopped teaching, even while holding Trust (which named him 2006 Person administrative positions. All of Szuchman’s doctoral candidates of the Year). Bramson has been featured on A&E and the History and have been awarded prestigious Fulbright fellowships. Discovery channels.




DISTINGUISHED ALUMNUS AWARD, SCHOOL OF SOCIAL WORK Carmen L. Morano Ph.D. ’99 is associate professor of social work and director of education at Hunter College’s Brookdale Center for Healthy Aging and Longevity. He is the author of 12 articles and four book chapters. He has served on the Broward Coalition on Aging, the American Parkinson’s Association, the Florida Health Care Social Workers Association and the Broward County Alzheimer’s Association. He is vice president of the Association for Gerontology Education in Social Work and treasurer of the New York State Society on Aging.

DISTINGUISHED ALUMNA, COLLEGE OF ARCHITECTURE + THE ARTS Adina Aaron ’93 is a soprano and founder and executive director of Ritual Theatre Company. After graduating with a bachelor’s in vocal performance, Aaron attended the Boston Conservatory of Music for her master’s degree. She has received many awards, including first place in the National Association of Teachers of Singing in 1997 and the Monte Carlo Voice Masters Vocal Competition in 2005. An accomplished concert soloist, she has appeared in numerous operas worldwide. Recently, Aaron performed the title role in Franco Zeffirelli’s production of the Verdi opera, “Aida.”

DISTINGUISHED ALUMNUS AWARD, SCHOOL OF HOSPITALITY & TOURISM MANAGEMENT Charles A. Bray MS ’77 is founder and owner of Ocean Waters Management, which owns 67 properties and 100-plus acres of oceanfront land in Florida. This portfolio has been valued in the billions by top Wall Street investment


banks. During the peak tourist season, Ocean Waters and its affiliates employ approximately 3,000 employees and are one of the largest taxpayers in Volusia County. Bray has managed and owned numerous hotels throughout the country and had an equity interest in more than $1.5 billion of hospitality assets.

DISTINGUISHED ALUMNUS AWARD, SCHOOL OF PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION Rep. David Rivera ’86, MPA ’94 is a Florida State Representative in District 112 of Miami-Dade County. He has a bachelor’s in political science and a master’s in public administration. In 2002, Rivera was elected to the House of Representatives and has been re-elected twice. Rivera serves as chairman of the House Rules and Calendar Committee. He is the director of National Political Affairs, director of Hispanic Outreach for the Republican Party of Florida and national committeeman and national vice chairman of the Republican National Hispanic Assembly of Florida.

DISTINGUISHED ALUMNUS AWARD, COLLEGE OF ENGINEERING & COMPUTING Emilio R. Vega ’92 is CEO and president of Structural Prestressed Industries (SPI), the world’s largest manufacturer of precast/ prestressed concrete joists and soffit beams. Currently ranked among Hispanic Business magazine’s 500 largest Hispanic-owned companies, SPI provides design, engineering estimates, fabrication, transportation, hosting and erection services. In 1991, he started his own company, Prestress Concrete, Inc. He later sold his stock to expand his company’s operations. Vega is now working with FIU’s Structures and Construction Testing Laboratory to develop advanced designed joists.

DISTINGUISHED ALUMNUS AWARD, HONORS COLLEGE Dr. Garth N. Graham ’97 is deputy assistant secretary for minority health in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. He is a faculty member in the Harvard School of Medicine and a visiting scientist at the Harvard School of Public Health. He has authored numerous articles on cardiovascular disease, HIV/AIDS and community medicine. Graham received his bachelor’s in biology from FIU, an M.D. from the Yale School of Medicine and a master’s in public health from Yale. He has received numerous accolades for leadership and service.

DISTINGUISHED ALUMNUS AWARD, COLLEGE OF ARTS & SCIENCES Dr. Henry Rodriguez ’86, MS ’88 is director of Clinical Proteomic Technologies at the National Cancer Institute. He oversees world leaders in clinical and basic research, proteomic discovery and technology development/ assessment programs. Rodriguez is an expert on advanced molecular-based cancer technologies and an advocate of personalized medicine. The recipient of domestic and international achievement awards, Rodriguez received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in biology from FIU, a doctorate in cell and molecular biology from Boston University, and an MBA from Johns Hopkins University.

DISTINGUISHED ALUMNUS AWARD, SCHOOL OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE Israel Reyes ’92 is a judge in Eleventh Judicial Circuit Court of Miami-Dade County, assigned to the Criminal Division. He was appointed recently to the Florida Supreme Court Commission on


Professionalism and was rated “exceptionally qualified” in a CubanAmerican Bar Association poll. Previously, Reyes was an assistant state attorney prosecuting racketeering/organized crime and specializing in the litigation of civil forfeitures with a concentration on drug money laundering cases. Reyes was one of the principal drafters of the revised state money-laundering bill signed into law by Gov. Jeb Bush.

DISTINGUISHED ALUMNUS AWARD, COLLEGE OF BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION Joseph L. Caruncho ’81 is CEO and co-founder of Preferred Care Partners, a leading Medicare Advantage Health Plan in Florida. In 2007, INC 500 recognized the company as one of the fastest growing in America. Previously, Caruncho was a corporate health care attorney for 13 years. He is chairman of the CBA Dean’s Council and vice chair of the FIU Foundation Board of Directors. In 2006, South Florida Business Journal named Caruncho “Ultimate CEO.” Hispanic Magazine named him one of the most influential Hispanics in the country.

DISTINGUISHED ALUMNUS AWARD, COLLEGE OF BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION Justo L. Pozo ’80 is the president and co-founder of Preferred Care Partners. In 2006, the company had annual revenues of $340 million. Pozo is a licensed, board-certified public accountant in Florida. He serves on the board of directors of both FIU’s Foundation and Athletic Board. Pozo has also received numerous recognitions, including induction into the College of Business Administration’s Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame. He received FIU’s Distinguished Service Medallion and was named by the South Florida Business Journal as a “Heavy Hitter in Health Care.”

DISTINGUISHED ALUMNUS AWARD, COLLEGE OF LAW Jose Perdomo J.D. ’06 is vice president of Ambulatory Services at Miami Children’s Hospital and an attorney at the law offices of Brandy Gonzalez-Abreu. Before acquiring his bachelor’s at the University of Miami and master’s in health services at Barry University, Perdomo worked as a nurse at Miami Children’s Hospital. As an executive director, Perdomo was inducted into Miami Children’s Hall of Excellence and received an award for Clinical Excellence in Nursing. While at Miami Children’s, Perdomo attended FIU’s College of Law as a member of the inaugural class.

DISTINGUISHED ALUMNUS AWARD, COLLEGE OF NURSING AND HEALTH SCIENCES Jose A. Sotomayor ’93 is founder and president of Infusion Technologies, a Florida provider of injectable pharmaceutical agents, home infusion and home health services. Early on, Sotomayor realized that the fear of going to the hospital was a barrier for people young and old who need medical and nursing care. His corporation brings clinical nursing care into the homes of thousands of Floridians. The company provides wound care, at-home physical and occupational therapists, nursing aides, drug and medical product delivery, as well as medication and case management services.

DISTINGUISHED ALUMNUS AWARD, STEMPEL SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH Miguel Cruz MS ’97 is an emergency operations officer with the Centers for Disease Control’s Office of Terrorism and Preparedness and Emergency Response. He has assisted with preparations for Y2K and as the


designated CDC liaison during the World Trade Center attacks. He was an emergency coordinator for the CDC’s response during the anthrax attacks of 2001 and during the 2002 outbreaks of SARS. In 2005, Cruz was one of the first federal assessment team members to enter coastal Mississippi in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

DISTINGUISHED ALUMNA AWARD, SCHOOL OF JOURNALISM & MASS COMMUNICATION Phoebe L. Moll ’00 is vice president and account director at BBDO in New York. Her professional experience encompasses global brand-building and integrated marketing communications. During her seven-year tenure at BBDO, one of the world’s largest advertising agencies, she has traveled extensively with the Oral-B account in Europe, Brazil, Mexico and Australia. Prior to joining BBDO, she was the marketing and public relations assistant at The Museum of Contemporary Art in North Miami. She is an active alumna, participating in FIU’s ongoing Alumni Association expansion efforts in New York.

DISTINGUISHED ALUMNUS AWARD, COLLEGE OF EDUCATION Victor Sikah MS ’92, Ed. D. ’00 is a professor of English as a second language and Russian at Miami-Dade College. He graduated from the Byelorussian Institute of Mechanical Engineering in Belarus, a former Soviet republic. For four years, Sikah taught FIU’s Foundations of Educational Research at the graduate level. At MDC, he designed and implemented a college entrance preparation course for the ESL program covering English skills, reading and mathematics. He is currently working with Kingsley Banya in the College of Education on higher education issues in Africa. !




Coming Home to FIU Alumni and supporters make a pledge for FIU’s future

In a spontaneous flurry of giving, FIU alumni and supports raised $90,000 for a new Alumni Center at this year’s Torch Awards Gala. The donors of that evening include: Jose Perez de Corcho ’93, Jose A. Sotomayor ’93, Ralph Gazitua, Angel Medina, Jr. ’92, Stewart Appelrouth MS ’80, Associate Vice President of Alumni Relations Bill Draughon, FIU President Modesto A. Maidique, Jorge Gonzalez ’88, Vice President of University & Community Relations and Interim Vice President of Advancement Sandy Gonzalez-Levy, Betty Perry ’74, Michael Mendez ’03, outgoing Alumni Association President Will Trueba, Jr., Esq. ’90 and Justo Pozo, ’80. By Deborah O’Neil

The excitement began with an unassuming announcement from one of FIU’s most beloved ambassadors, the university’s first First Lady Betty Perry ’74: “I’d like to offer a $10,000 challenge grant for the new Alumni Center.” The audience was 400 alumni and their families, community supporters and university leaders gathered in the Graham Center Ballrooms for the 7th Annual Torch Awards Gala. Together, Perry’s generosity and the promise of a new alumni home inspired the crowd and transformed a night of celebration into a chapter of FIU history. In the next moment, Perry’s $10,000 became $20,000 as Stewart Appelrouth MS ’80 raised his hand and met her challenge. Without missing a beat, Master of Ceremonies Barry Johnson quipped, “Anybody else with a checkbook here tonight?” Alumnus Michael Mendez ’03 immediately responded. $30,000. Justo Pozo ’80 pledged and then Jorge Gonzalez ‘88. $50,000. Angel Medina ‘92, Ralph Gazitua and Jose Perez de Corcho ’93 stepped forward. $80,000. And then Jose Sotomayor ’93 made the final pledge of the evening, culminating a spontaneous $90,000 cascade of giving.

“There needs to be a gathering place for our alumni.” — Betty Perry

The ballroom buzzed as the donors crowded onto the stage for a group photograph with FIU President Modesto A. Maidique. “None of this was scripted folks,” Johnson said. “What an excellent representation of the commitment of Miami to FIU.” The giving continued beyond the evening of the gala. In the weeks that followed, three more individuals, Monte Kane MS ‘82, Albert Maury ’96, ’02 and Noel Guillama also pledged $10,000 each for a total $120,000 in donations thus far for the alumni center. “I have never been more proud of FIU’s alumni,” said Maidique. “We have now opened the door to a new era – one where our alumni will play a vital role in building FIU’s success.”

Association. Revitalizing the alumni base would require new programs, active outreach, community partnerships and consistent communication. Draughon and his team did all of that, and they did it in record time. In less than five years, membership went from fewer than 1,000 to more than 15,000. Earlier this year, FIU’s Alumni Association ranked No. 1 in the country for membership growth in a national survey of 76 major universities. The time has come, says Draughon, to move forward with a new alumni center. The University of Central Florida has the 23,000-square-foot Fairwinds Alumni Center. The University of South Florida’s Gibbons Alumni Center features a research center, club room and library. The Florida State Alumni Center hosts weddings in its picturesque facilities. Building alumni affinity Even the University of Miami is building Associate Vice President of Alumni a 70,000-square-foot alumni center with Relations Bill Draughon has been a library, hall of fame, study rooms, talking about an alumni center since living room, business center, courtyards he joined FIU five years ago. He’d seen what a thriving center could do from his and a café. FIU is the only university of its size in days at the University of Florida, where Florida without an alumni center. That thousands of people visit the 60,000square-foot Emerson Alumni Hall yearly. was a major consideration for Perry. “There needs to be a gathering place Back then though, the top priority for our alumni,” she said. “I think it will was building a base of alumni be an important focal point for students support. Only a tiny fraction of FIU’s graduates were members of the Alumni who have graduated and/or moved away



The new Alumni Center will anchor the west end of a proposed Main Street development between the Wertheim Center and the stadium. The Main Street will be a half-mile landscaped boulevard with student housing, retail shops and restaurants. Rendering by TimHaahs Engineers and Architects

and are coming back, or for those who still live in the area and maybe aren’t on campus often.” A steering committee led by Alumni Association Board members Stewart Appelrouth and Michael Mendez has been formed to begin fund raising for the new center. Initial projections call for a multi-story center to be built just east of the new football stadium. Students in the architecture program will develop concepts for the building. The center will be a signature building of a proposed new “FIU Main Street.” It will be on the FIU campus immediately north of Tamiami Park between the Wertheim Performing Arts Center and the stadium. The Main Street will be a half-mile landscaped boulevard with student housing, retail shops and eateries. “Downtown South Miami or Miami Lakes, that’s the concept,” said Charles Scurr, associate vice president of real estate development and planning. “It’s going to provide campus life and activities. It’s a really cool idea.” The Alumni Center will stand at the west end of Main Street, offering students and alumni a chance to stroll through a gallery featuring FIU history and memorabilia. On football game days, the center will be a gathering spot

for Golden Panther activities. And it will provide meeting space and classrooms for a variety of alumni, university and student events.

Leading by example In the brief moment after Perry made her pledge that evening, businessman Justo Pozo made a decision. “I said to myself, ‘This is the time to step up and support the alumni center,’” said Pozo, a member of the Alumni Association Board of Directors Nearby, incoming Alumni Association President Jose Perez de Corcho was sharing the same thought. “I said, ‘If this is going to be my number one priority as president, then I have to lead by example and this is the way to do it,’” Perez de Corcho said. “It’s very easy to generate that feeling of excitement when you put forth a project like this that shows where we came from and where we are going.” For Appelrouth, supporting the alumni center is about investing in the future. “An alumni center is an important part of being a major institution,” he said. “We should have all the best of every institution. I stepped up because it was good for the university, good for the city, good for the state of Florida and good for the country.”

“I stepped up because it was good for the university, good for the city, good for the state of Florida and good for the country.” — Stewart Appelrouth, Alumni Association Board of Directors

Miami businessman Ralph Gazitua said he is giving because, “FIU has given so much to my family. I absolutely believe in the power of giving back.” Gazitua’s sons Luis and Sean both graduated from FIU. “The project is important because it creates a framework of leaders in Miami who are alumni to remain invested in FIU,” Gazitua said. “This is a great forum to share their knowledge and opportunities with the students that will follow them.” The timing is right, said Mendez, to build support for the new center. “Most of our graduates are turning a corner in their careers. They’re all becoming successful. The university is on a pretty aggressive path. It will be 20 times better in the next 10 years. The alumni center will be one of the main focus points to get everybody involved.” Like the old saying, “Build it and they will come,” Pozo believes the center will bring FIU graduates back to campus. “The Alumni Center will, for the first time, in my opinion, send a loud message to all 120,000-plus alumni that we have not forgotten them.” This project, said Pozo, is one part of “the trifecta” that will rally alumni and lead FIU to further success: football, the medical school and the alumni center. !




Out of this world By Aimee Dingwell

For years, astronomy professor James Webb has literally been wishing upon the very stars he studies. While discovering the next fantastic galaxy or quasar is a high priority, what the researcher has wanted most is a star quality donor to fund a true observatory for the burgeoning program that resides in FIU’s Department of Physics. Webb’s wish has now come true. The program has received an $800,000 gift from a donor who wishes to remain anonymous. That gift, to be spread over three years, will be matched by the state and FIU for a total donation of $2.4 million. According to Webb, it all started with a romantic evening filled with music and a little stargazing. Needing

Photos by Gloria O’Connell and Ivan Santiago

“There is no substitute for actually seeing Saturn, the moon or Jupiter through a telescope.” — James Webb, professor of astronomy

to raise money for his program, Webb, who is also a musician, organized the “Guitar Under the Stars” fund-raiser at FIU’s Biscayne Bay Campus a few years ago. He invited two local guitarists, Student Government representatives and FIU President Modesto Maidique. The result was Maidique and Student Government pledged $17,000 and a match to any dollars Webb could raise on his own. After the fund-raiser, a local magazine featured Webb and the program’s need for a functioning observatory or observing deck. The modest observing deck the program once had was rendered unusable by a re-roofing and building modification

debacle. “Our introductory labs have been essentially blind for over 13 years,” said Webb. “The conditions we are teaching under are just inadequate for our program.” The magazine article proved winning. Webb was contacted by the donor, who has since committed to the $800,000 contribution. The rest is, well, written in the stars. Plans for a new four-story tower and observatory are in process. Webb hopes to have the building completed and functioning by 2010 or 2011. The tower will feature a new, more powerful 24-inch telescope and a retractable dome. Currently, FIU uses a portable 12-inch telescope. The donation also finally allows the program to “teach astronomy the right way,” to the program’s 350 students, says Webb. FIU’s current astronomy program offers introductory astronomy courses, such as stellar and solar astronomy, for non-science majors and an astronomy minor for physics majors. The program also offers graduate courses and research opportunities to



FIU’s astronomy program receives a gift that opens the skies Indeed, advanced undergrad and graduate students will be trained on the new observatory and telescope before remotely using the .9 meter optical telescope housed by the Southeastern Association for Research in Astronomy (SARA) at Kitt Peak in Arizona, where Webb has been the observatory director since 1997. SARA, which includes 10 universities, was created for institutions with relatively The new astronomy observatory with a retractable small departments of astronomy and dome will be built between the chemistry and Owa Ehan buildings. Rendering by APEC Consultants Inc. physics, and whose faculty is actively physics majors wishing to pursue a engaged in astronomical research. doctoral degree in astronomy. The SARA program allows “There is no substitute for actually universities to visit and use the seeing Saturn, the moon or Jupiter observatory, host undergraduate through a telescope,” he explained. “We research training programs sponsored can describe it, show nice pictures and by the National Science Foundation animations, but there is no replacement on the telescope, as well as use the for seeing it with your own eyes.” telescope remotely via the internet. The new facilities will allow the FIU has been a leader in the SARA program to offer, for the first time, a consortium since joining shortly after meaningful observational astronomy the telescope was purchased through course for physics majors. “And the a competitive grant in 1991. The more advanced students,” Webb said, “will get the real training in astronomy that they deserve.”

The tower will feature a new, more powerful 24-inch telescope and a retractable dome.

consortium is also automating and reconditioning a telescope in the mountains of Chile at the Cerro Tololo observatory, allowing observation of the Southern Hemisphere. Webb expects the project to be functional by October. The new tower will reside south of the chemistry and physics building on the University Park campus. It will have classrooms on the first floor, with a feed from the observatory. Offices will be on the second floor and laboratory space on the third, including technology for interactive use with the SARA telescope. The fourth floor will house the observational deck, telescopes and dome. The observatory deck will also be the new home for Webb’s “Star Parties,” which are part of an annual, public lecture series. Events, which are held five-to-six times per semester, include a lecture, acoustic music usually played by Webb himself, and of course, stargazing. To learn more about upcoming public events, visit publicprog.html. ! Aimee Dingwell is a freelance writer based in Miami.

KEY WEST STAR PARTY Alumni and friends of the university are invited to take part in the annual FIU Key West Star Party on July 11 at 8 p.m. The Star Party features telescopes for stargazing, a short talk on astronomy by FIU astronomers, Jimmy Buffet music, key lime pies and (non-alcoholic) margaritas. The fun happens at the astronomy observing pad outside CP 145 at University Park. If it is a clear night, the telescopes will be out until 11:30 p.m. The event is free and family friendly.




faculty profile

By Aimee Dingwell

Photo by Michael Upright



Physics professor Caroline Simpson explores the evolution of the universe by studying star formation FIU physics professor Caroline Simpson calls herself a radio astronomer. And no, she doesn’t send radios into space or study space sounds. Radio, it turns out, is a form of light, not sound. But unlike optical waves, which are waves we can see, radio waves are invisible to the human eye. It might sound like a contradiction, this “invisible light,” but most everything in the universe emits radio waves, even stars and galaxies. Simpson uses those radio waves to research star formation, a scientific inquiry that is shedding light on our very existence. That’s because, evolutionarily speaking, we humans and everything in the natural world were all once part of a star. “Every single atom of every single element on the periodic table, except for hydrogen and helium, was formed by a star,” says Simpson. “That means the calcium atoms in your bones were once inside a star. The gold atoms in my wedding ring were created in a supernova explosion. We are literally stardust.” Stars form from the collapse of hydrogen gas clouds, says Simpson, which emit radio waves. This allows Simpson to track the motion and location of star activity using a special telescope called the Very Large Array (VLA), which consists of 27 radio antennas, that look like massive satellite dishes, working together. Data from the VLA, based in New Mexico and operated by the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, are transferred to a computer for use by researchers. Once stars form from the hydrogen gas clouds, they fuse hydrogen atoms to helium in their cores, producing energy (light). Over time, the most massive stars will form iron cores that collapse under their own weight and

burst in a supernova explosion. It is what causes clouds to collapse in large during the explosion of these large stars “Astronomical galaxies, but based on theory, these small that nuclear reactions create everything galaxies should not be forming stars, but research is, else in the periodic table beyond iron they do. How are they doing it?” at its core, – including the elements that make up Along the way, she is uncovering research into clues to the most insurmountable our 4.5 billion-year-old planet and the earliest life forms, which appeared more who and what questions of our time. And in many than 3 billion years ago. ways, she is continuing a quest begun we are.” Simpson explains: “The first long before her time. She points out — generation of stars couldn’t have planets that the Enlightenment followed because there were no heavy materials Newton trying to figure out the orbits Caroline around yet to make up a planet, and of the planets. Simpson, professor of eventually… me and you!” “Astronomical research is, at its astronomy Astronomical research like Simpson’s core, research into who and what we is more alchemy than stargazing. are,” Simpson said. “How did we She creates a portrait of a galaxy by come to be here? Where is ‘here?’ combining clues the universe leaves What else is out there? These are behind in its ever-evolving glory. There’s very fundamental questions, and radio data from the hydrogen gas and historically the answers have led us to infrared data of the dust content. She where and what we are today.” combines those with ultraviolet data of The answers uncovered in the research the hot, young stars, and x-ray data of are interesting, Simpson says, but it’s hot gas. Add in the optical data of the really the questions that drive her. stars and something like the clarity of “Figuring out how things work is deep starry night begins to emerge. in the human psyche,” Simpson says. “We can build up a pretty complete At times, Simpson’s students are left picture of a galaxy and reconstruct its wide eyed as she explains scientific past history,” she said. wonder with a deadpan wit. Take this Simpson is part of an international basic astronomy lesson: Before the Big survey collaboration sampling Bang 13.7 billion years ago, time and approximately 140 small galaxies, space did not exist. “There literally which are the most common and most was nothing,” Simpson said. “There likely to represent the earliest galaxies. was not an empty void. There weren’t Scientists have found that galaxies, any dimensions.” huge collections of stars and clouds and As she explains that the sun is eight dust, come in different sizes and shapes. light minutes away, she adds, “The sun Our Milky Way Galaxy is spiral shaped could have blown up seven minutes ago with about 100 billion stars, and the and we wouldn’t know.” Pause. “We sun is one of them. don’t think it did.” Scientists estimate the observable She was teaching one such minduniverse has 100 billion galaxies, each bending lesson when a student with some 100 billion stars. “That’s delivered one of her favorite reactions. more stars than all the grains of dried “This student in the back row, his sand on all the beaches of the earth.” head just went thump against the back In Simpson’s research, she is trying wall. I tell my students, ‘Welcome to to understand how stars form in small the history of the universe. Fasten your galaxies. “We understand the process of seat belts.’” !

a work of art 22



Renowned architect Yann Weymouth hopes the new Frost Art Museum will “take your breath away” By Charlene Eberly MA ’04

Great art deserves a great building. The new building for The Patricia and Phillip Frost Art Museum designed by architect Yann Weymouth is as much a work of art as the pieces it is designed to house. Slated to open in November, the new Frost Art Museum uses form to make a bold artistic statement. Its clean lines and muted color focus the eye on the building’s shape. On one side its marble-clad walls slice through the air to a razorsharp edge; on the other side it rounds a corner and curves toward the Avenue of the Arts. From the front, the glass multi-story entrance reveals the Grand Foyer and floating staircase. In the back, the outdoor terrace flows out to the tree-shaded lake front. Weymouth, the design director of Hellmuth Obata + Kassabaum (HOK), is known for his use of strong geometric shapes. He recently spoke with FIU Magazine about his inspiration and intentions for the new FIU museum. “Classic forms such as the cube, the triangle, and the pyramid – pure geometry – are very pleasing,” he said. “The eye is attracted to contours, to corners, and it comes to rest at certain places.” It was the museum’s location at FIU’s University Park campus that attracted Weymouth to the project. “I

“The eye is attracted to contours, to corners, and it comes to rest at certain places.” — Yann Weymouth, Frost Art Museum architect

have lived in Miami and have a huge respect for FIU. I think it is one of the most beautiful campuses I have seen; it has a real natural beauty. And I really loved the site,” said Weymouth. In addition, the South Florida locale allowed Weymouth to incorporate abundant sunlight into the design. Almost two-thirds of the gallery space will rely on natural light during the day, augmented by supplementary light sources. The light coming in from the gallery skylights will be directed to the art by a unique system, featuring “petals” that open and close as needed. “Natural light brings paintings to life,” said Weymouth, “and it saves energy. This aspect of the building is unique in South Florida. You won’t find it at the MAM or the Bass.” Weymouth is internationally renowned for his work in museum design and he enjoys the unique challenges it entails. He served as chief of design on I.M. Pei’s Grand Louvre with its pyramid plaza entrance, for which he was honored by French President François Mitterrand, and on the East Wing of the National Gallery in Washington, D.C. Weymouth explains the complexity of museum design: “They are comparable to laboratories, hospitals or other high security buildings. In addition, factors like moisture and UV light have to be considered. They have a lovely element Continues on page 24



Photos by Angel Valentin




The South Florida locale allowed Weymouth to

Yann Weymouth

of challenge to them; they are very much about science.” According to Weymouth, successful museum design must achieve a twofold purpose. “When you arrive at the building, I want you to know that you are entering some place special. I want to take your breath away. But then, once you have arrived – in a somewhat ceremonial manner – I would like you to completely forget the building.” To put the focus on the art,

incorporate abundant sunlight into the design.


mundane things like electrical outlets and air conditioning vents must be invisible. “Inside the galleries,” he said, “I want to subtract as much as possible from the detail, to make all of the systems go away.” The new building is 46,000 square feet, 11,000 of which is gallery space. It includes a lecture hall, a museum shop, a café, a research room, a children’s gallery, and a quarantine room for “sick” art that may have mold or other damage. Three of the six second-floor galleries will showcase exhibits from the permanent collection. The remaining three – the “Grand Galleries” – will host the visiting exhibits. The Frost Art Museum’s opening will feature the “Modern Masters” exhibit from the Smithsonian, and an exhibit from the permanent collection that will focus on the human figure.

Interestingly, there is, as yet, no art in the new building. It is currently occupied only by the museum staff as it must go through a six-to-nine-month “curing” process to rid the air of all traces of construction dust, chemical solvents and paint fumes. The art will be brought in late this summer. In the meantime, Weymouth awaits the public response. “Museums serve a terribly important – and a lovely – public. It includes both people who know nothing about art and people who have been around the world and seen the best there is.” As a result, he says, “They are buildings for which you go the extra mile. You say to yourself: ‘If I get this right, it will give pleasure to hundreds of thousands of people.’” ! Charlene Eberly runs the FIU Writing Center and teaches writing for the Political Science and English departments.



New additions = New edition of FIU football By Evan Koch

New Stadium. New Game. New Attitude. You In? The marketing slogan for FIU football asks a simple question and gives three great reasons to come out and support the Golden Panthers, starting with the Sept. 20 stadium grand opening game against South Florida. But there are other additions to head coach Mario Cristobal’s program that have provided FIU with a whole new look. A busy off-season in the weight room, on the recruiting trail and within the coaching staff has already produced noticeable differences in spring practice and provided a sneak peek at what to expect in September. “We are bigger, faster and stronger than we were at this time last year,” Cristobal said. “Our offense has added a few new wrinkles and is clicking well and we have FIU’s best recruiting class ever ready to join the team for the fall.” Head football strength and conditioning coach Roderick Moore is the man behind FIU’s new muscle. Moore, who joined the FIU staff just prior to the start of the 2007 season, has already shown why he was able to help Tennessee become one of the most physically dominating teams in the vaunted Southeastern Conference as an assistant there for six years. With the help of assistant strength and conditioning coach Ty Wise, Moore has implemented a program with a special emphasis on explosion and speed, using an array of Olympic lifts and a rigorous running program. The team has gained nearly one full ton in strength, improving their bench, clean and squat a collective 1,900 pounds.

“We are becoming stronger, faster and more explosive athletes,” Cristobal said. “The results we have attained in the weight room have carried over to the football field.” The physical makeup of the Golden Panthers isn’t the only thing being revamped, thanks to new offensive coordinator Bill Legg. While keeping with the spread offense scheme, Legg has introduced a new level of multiplicity to give the offense more options to attack the variety of defenses it will face this season. “Coach Legg has a wealth of experience and has done a great job communicating his scheme to our players,” Cristobal said. “He has slowed the game down for our players and in turn, they are playing faster.” Legg served on Purdue’s staff the last five years as the offensive line coach and spent the last two years as co-offensive coordinator for the Boilermakers, which in 2007 led the Big Ten in total offense and scoring and ranked 12th nationally in passing. But the incoming recruiting class, widely considered the best ever assembled at FIU, is creating the biggest buzz. Many of the 24 National-Letter-of-Intent signees who will join FIU this summer spent their spring breaks watching the Golden Panthers practice. Eight of the 24 played on state championship teams, 12 were allstate performers and 22 are from the Sunshine State, including 13 from South Florida. “There is already bonding going on, not just with them as an incoming class,” said Cristobal, “but with our current players as well.” Fans should keep their eye on T.Y. Hilton, Junior Mertile and

“We have FIU’s best recruiting class ever ready to join the team for the fall.” — Mario Cristobal, football coach

Emmanuel Souarin; as well as the foursome from state champion Booker T. Washington: Johnathan Jackson, Winston Fraser, Kambriel Willis and Franklin Brown. “These guys know this has to be one heartbeat, one team,” Cristobal said. So…You In? Evan Koch is the associate media relations director of FIU Athletics.




A Message from Alumni Association President Will Trueba, Jr., Esq. ’90

Dear FIU Alumni, Family and Friends, The 2008 Torch Awards Gala marked a watershed moment in the history of our alma mater, when FIU’s first First Lady and alumna, Betty Perry ’74, offered a founding challenge donation of $10,000 toward the new FIU Alumni Center and eight FIU alumni and supporters stood up and met her challenge, raising $90,000 in just a few minutes. On behalf of the FIU Alumni Association and the FIU Alumni Relations team, I personally thank these FIU Alumni Center charter donors: Betty Perry ’74, Stewart Appelrouth MS ’80, Jorge Gonzalez ’88, Michael Mendez ’03, Angel Medina, Jr. ’92, Jose Perez de Corcho ’93, Justo Pozo ’80, Jose Sotomayor ’93 and Ralph Gazitua for their generosity. The energy and enthusiasm generated by their generosity was palpable and radiated beyond the event. Within the week following the gala, Trustee Albert Maury ‘96, Monte Kane MS ‘82 and Noel Guillama joined these charter donors with additional pledges. Upon reflecting on the gala and the effort that preceded the event, and especially in light of the difficult fiscal issues our alma mater is facing with the legislative budget cuts, I also wanted to take the opportunity to share my gratitude for the administration, faculty and staff at FIU. Although I experienced this as a student at FIU, I have now witnessed from the perspective of a volunteer on the FIU Alumni Association Board and the FIU Foundation Board the tireless effort of many at FIU that make our university great. My experience has taught me that for most who work at FIU, it’s more than just employment – it is about caring. Countless times, I have seen FIU administrators, faculty and staff go the extra mile, taking “pride” in their responsibilities to make FIU better for students, alumni and the South Florida community. This is a large part of why FIU continues to improve and shine, no matter the circumstances. As I pass the Torch to the incoming president of our Alumni Association, Jose Perez de Corcho ’93, I do so knowing that he is in good hands with our wonderful team at FIU Alumni Relations – a great example of going beyond the call of duty! Congratulations on their work to make us No. 1 in the country for growth of an alumni association. In the Spirit of Blue & Gold,

William R. Trueba, Jr.

FIU’s 2008 graduates receive warm send-off The Alumni Association and University Bookstore hosted 3,000 soon-to-be graduates at their annual Grad Send-off in March. Grad Send-off, held at all three campus’ bookstores, is a one-stop shop for all graduation needs, as well as a celebration. Graduates picked up their commencement tickets, ordered graduation announcements, class rings and caps and gowns while snacking on cotton candy, popcorn and refreshments. Hosts gave away door prizes and an FIU i-Pod nano. The event, presented by Esserman International and supported by GEICO, American Airlines, Herff Jones, Career Services, University Credit Union, University Graduate School and the Center for Leadership and Services, also allowed the Alumni Association to provide valuable information on career planning, financial services and car and shortterm health insurance. !

Visit the Mediterranean, Italy and China in 2008 The FIU Alumni Association is offering three exciting Golden Panther Getaways in 2008: A Mediterranean cruise on Oceania Cruises, an all-inclusive land tour of Italy’s magnificent lake district, and a trip to China. The 12-day Ionian Inspiration aboard Oceania’s Insignia departs on July 11 and takes you on a voyage from Rome to Venice. Your host will be FIU Vice President of



&EELTHE0RIDE xxx xxx xxx

Join us for an exciting tailgate celebration to inaugurate the new FIU Stadium on Sept. 20 in a match-up against the University of South Florida. “This is going to be a historic day for FIU, the football team and for alumni,” said Duane Wiles, associate executive director

Student Affairs Rosa Jones. You will have overnight stays in Venice, Dubrovnik, and Sorrento and visit other classic seaports. For more information, call Oceania Cruises at 800-404-6313 or visit and ask for the FIU Alumni promotion. In September, alumni can take a 13-day trip to China to see marvels including the Great Wall of China, Beijing’s Imperial Palace and Tiananmen Square. The Sept. 24-Oct. 6 trip includes a Yangtze River cruise and a three-night visit to Shanghai. There are limited spaces for this trip. To learn more, visit the AHI Travel Web site for FIU alumni at or call 800-323-7373. In October, alumni and friends can take part in an exclusive educational and travel experience to Italy’s magnificent lake district. Highlights of this group trip from Oct. 7-15 include: seven-night accommodations at Lido Palace Hotel on Lake Maggiore, private boat tours of the great lakes of Italy, and visits to Milan. Offered through the Alumni Campus Abroad program of premier tour operator AHI Travel, the trip provides security, ease and flexibility in travel. For prices and arrangements, visit or call 800-323-7373. Information on all of the above Golden Panther Getaways can also be seen on the FIU Alumni Association web page under the travel section at !

xxx xxx xxx


Alumni bash planned forxxx xxx new stadium opening

of Alumni Relations. “We want the entire community to come out for this big event and show their support for FIU.” For the stadium grand opening we’re planning to light up the campus with fireworks and a live DJ. All FIU alumni, their families and friends gain free entry to our home game alumni tent, The Panther Pit. We’ll have food and refreshments (for a nominal fee), giveaways for Alumni Association members, visits from Roary the FIU Mascot, the FIU Marching Band, and the FIU Cheerleaders and Dazzlers – plus much more. We’ll have special activities for the kids including bounce-houses and games –

SAA crowns Cupid, Cupette for Valentine’s A new Valentine’s Day tradition has been established at FIU – a Cupid and Cupette Contest. The first event took place this past Valentine’s Day at the Kissing Bridge and Pond behind the Ryder Business Building during lunchtime. There were giveaways, candy and music at the Student Alumni Association (SAA) tent, visited by more than 50 people. For the actual contest, six contestants strutted down the red carpet to compete for the title of Cupid and Cupette. Each contestant was asked trivia questions about the history of FIU. A few contestants were caught off guard, but the majority passed on to the next round. Yet, only two contestants were able to win over the crowd

so bring the family. Everyone’s invited! FIU’s opponent for the opening game, USF, was ranked as high as No. 2 nationally last year. “This will be a great game for our stadium opener,” Wiles said. “USF will bring lots of fans so Golden Panthers need to pack the stadium.” The FIU tailgate starts at 5 p.m., two hours before the 7 p.m. kickoff. For game times and tickets visit or call 866-FIU-GAME. For tailgate information visit or call 800-FIU-ALUM. Email questions to For 2008 sponsorship opportunities contact: The Office of Alumni Relations at 305-348-3334. !

with their charisma and style: Zeino Zaioud (Sigma Phi Epsilon) and Giselle Gutierrez (Delta Phi Epsilon). SAA advisor Dianne Cordova said, “This was a great turnout for our new tradition and we look forward to seeing more students from a variety of organizations next year.” !

Set sail with YUPA on Caribbean cruise The FIU Young Urban Professional Alumni chapter is offering a three-night Bahamian cruise on Royal Caribbean’s Majesty of the Seas. The cruise, open to all alumni and their family and friends, leaves on Aug. 29 from Miami. You will visit Nassau and CocoCay. Rates are $404.85 per person for an inside Continues on next page






Trail of the Torch

Theater Department presents “Crush the Infamous Thing”

Annual kick-off event for the new school year sponsored by the Student Alumni Association & SGA When:

Thursday, Aug. 28, 7 p.m.


University Park Campus Housing Quads

Contact: Dianne Cordova, assistant director at 305-348-9050 or Alumni Career Fair: Panthers for Hire When:

Thursday, Oct. 30, 11 a.m. – 8 p.m.


University Park Campus Ballrooms


July 22-27


DM 150 at University Park Campus

Contact: For more information, call 305-348-3789 Wolfsonian-FIU Workshop: Button Bliss Create propaganda buttons with mini art, collage, graphics, drawings or text. Materials included. Ticket purchase required by July 21. $10 for members; $20 all others. When:

Thursday, July 24, 7 p.m.


The Wolfsonian, 1001 Washington Avenue, Miami Beach

Contact: Vanessa Baldomero, assistant director at 305-348-1613 or

Contact: 305.535.2644 or

Ghost Tour

Wolfsonian-FIU Deco and Design Tour

Halloween event sponsored by the Student Alumni Association & SGA

Walking tour begins with the Art Deco District, then moves inside to explore The Wolfsonian’s collection. Ticket purchase by July 21 for tour on July 25 and by Aug. 25 for tour on Aug. 29. $10 for members; $20 all others.


Thursday, Oct. 30, 7– 9 p. m.


University Park Campus

Contact: Dianne Cordova, assistant director at 305-348-9050 or Parent & Family Weekend, FIU Homecoming When:

Saturday, Nov. 6 – 8


University Park Campus

Contact: Ana Cuba de la Fe at 305-348-6414 Silver Pride 25-Year Reunion (1972-1983), FIU Homecoming When:

Saturday, Nov. 8, 11 a.m. – 1:15 p.m.


University Park Campus

Contact: Stephanie Martinez at 305-348-1009 or

1. FIU’s new $50 million football stadium set to open on Sept. 20 is the only oncampus stadium south of Orlando. 2. This year’s Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival raised more than $1.5 million for the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management. 3. FIU’s Model United Nations student team captured six awards, including Best Overall Small Delegation, at the prestigious Harvard Model U.N. Conference in February.


Friday, July 25, and Aug. 29, 6 p.m.


The Wolfsonian, 1001 Washington Avenue, Miami Beach

Contact: 305.535.2644 or Theater Department presents “The Cook” When:

Sept. 25-Oct. 5


DM 150 at University Park Campus

Contact: For more information, call Dianne Cordova, Alumni Association assistant director, at 305-348-9050. Qualified individuals with disabilities as defined under the Americans with Disabilities Act who need special accommodations for any FIU-sponsored event can request assistance by calling the phone number listed for the function or via Florida Relay Service at 800-955-8771. Requests must be made five working days before the event.

4. Miami-Dade County has granted accreditation to the FIU Structures and Construction Laboratory test facility, making it an official site for determining whether building materials and other products comply with the county’s strict building code. 5. Biology professor David Lee’s new book “Nature’s Palette: The Science of Plant Color” was named 2007 Best of Biology and Life Sciences by the Professional and Scholarly Publishing Division of the Association of American Publishers.


stateroom and $439.85 per person for an ocean view stateroom, and include meals, port charges and taxes. Rates are also available for triple and quadruple rooms. The YUPA Cruise will feature a private welcome cocktail party. To make your reservations, call Happy Holidays Travel at 305-267-4004. YUPA! is FIU’s Young Urban Professional Alumni and Miami’s most exciting young professionals group. YUPA! was formed to cater to the South Florida alumni who have graduated in the last 10 years. It is open to all majors and welcomes every profession. For more information contact Vanessa Baldomero in the Office of Alumni Relations at 305-348-1613 or !

Mayor Alvarez inducted into Order of Torch FIU’s Order of the Torch inducted MiamiDade Mayor Carlos Alvarez ’74 at its fifth annual reception in March. The prestigious society chooses its members by secret vote based on achievements in leadership. It is a distinction reserved for a select few. Since its inauguration, the honor has been bestowed on 80 students, alumni and active community leaders. This year, Alvarez was sworn in alongside honorary member Associate Vice President for Student Affairs Larry Lunsford, and students Lorie Bellot, Sergio Ibarra-Bolaños, Sheska Ocasio, Heather Cherry, Camilo Silva and Anthony Rionda. Alvarez’s community leadership began in

6. FIU journalism students Yolanne Almanzar and Jose Pagliery were selected by the editors of The New York Times to participate in the prestigious New York Times Hispanic Student Journalism Institute in January 2008. This makes six FIU journalism students who have been selected in two years – more than from any other journalism school in the United States. 7. The National Science Foundation recently showcased the research of FIU engineering professor Igor Tsukanov

Alumni, submit your favorite FIU Points of Pride and they may appear in an upcoming issue of FIU Magazine. Send your submissions to


Taking part in this year’s Order of the Torch were, front row seated: Sheska Ocasio, Heather Cherry, Lorie Bellot. Middle row: Sergio Ibarra-Bolanos, Rachel Olmedo, Maria Rovira, Myriam Polo, Dianne Cordova of Alumni Relations, Matthew Murrell, Camilo Silva, Catalina Gonzalez. Back row: Breny DaParre, Anthony Rionda, Michael Halpert, Alumni Relations Associate Vice President Bill Draughon, Associate Vice President for Student Affairs Larry Lunsford, Mayor Carlos Alvarez, FIU President Modesto A. Maidique, Arthur ‘AJ’ Meyer and Christopher Rodriguez.

1976 when he joined Miami-Dade Police Department. He rose up the ranks quickly, becoming director of Miami-Dade’s police department in 1997 and mayor in 2004. As a member of the Order, Alvarez and fellow inductees will act as “a body of one” networking with distinguished alumni and establishing FIU tradition. !

FIU, UM alumni gather for “Salsa Night”

wanted to brush up on their skills. Everyone had a great time, whether they were beginners or experienced salsa dancers. This successful night is the first of many in the D.C. area in the upcoming months. The Capital Panthers is led by Ricardo Lasso, as he enters his second year as president. The event consisted of about 20 participants, including FIU’s alumni Candice Mothersille and Oscar Ona, who also coordinated the event. For more information on FIU’s Capital Panthers, visit !

Public Health alumni reconnect at reception The Robert Stempel School of Public Health hosted 100 alumni, guests, faculty and staff on March 7 at its annual alumni reception. Alumni took this opportunity to reacquaint themselves with their former classmates and professors. “It is such a wonderful event,” said Martina De Varona ’00. “After so many years since graduation it was great to see old peers.”

The second annual “D.C. Salsa Night” was held on Feb. 23 by FIU’s D.C. alumni chapter, The FIU Capital Panthers. This event was held jointly with the University of Miami’s D.C. alumni chapter, the D.C. Canes, and was held at Havana Village in Washington, D.C.’s, Adam’s Morgan neighborhood. The celebration started with a dinner of Cuban cuisine and later moved to the dance floor where everyone showed off their best salsa moves. Dance lessons were offered to Casandra Roache ’00, Anamarie Garces de Marcilla ’07 and Guetty Louison ’07 enjoyed themselves at the Public Health those unfamiliar with salsa, and to those who alumni reunion.

on its website. Tsukanov and his colleagues have developed a “Scan and Solve” technique that predicts how stress injuries occur in inanimate forms and humans. 8. Golden Panthers Monica Estrada and Melanie King both won top honors in the International Interior Design Association Student Day Competition, judged by licensed interior designers from across the state. Estrada won Best Overall Project and King won first place in the institutional and health care category.

9. The College of Nursing’s innovative program, Foreign Physician to Nurses, to end the statewide nursing shortage has expanded to Tampa. FIU is providing the program via real-time videoconferencing, a model that proved successful when the program expanded to Orlando in 2004. 10. FIU senior Ileana Rodriguez set a U.S. record and captured two gold medals at the 2008 Paralympic Swimming Trials in Minnesota in April. !


&EELTHE0RIDE The school honored the memory of SSPH graduate Katie Evans with a tribute from Anamarie Garces and Kristy Siegel, Evans’ close friends and her former classmates. The Katie Evans Memorial Scholarship was introduced by the Katie Memorial Foundation, represented by Evans’ husband, John Evans, and presented to Nicole Kellier, a doctoral student in public health. The Alpha Omega Leadership Award was presented to John Evans, in the alumna’s name. “There was truly a sense of unity and school spirit in the room that made the evening quite remarkable,” Duane Wiles, associate executive director of Alumni Relations said. Wiles introduced the possibility of an SSPH alumni chapter and collected applications from several interested alumni. !

SJMC grads celebrate 30 year anniversary A king and queen, balloons and party favors. Add into the mix free food and giveaways and you have the School of Journalism and Mass Communication’s (SJMC) Homecoming Bash, which was held on April 2. The bash also served as a celebration to mark 30 years of journalism and mass communication course offerings at FIU. The intimate gathering was the second event held by the SJMC’s alumni chapter and was emceed by Pamela Silva, a reporter for Noticias 23 and a 2003 SJMC alumna. Lillian Lodge Kopenhaver, dean of the SJMC, delivered remarks about the school’s history. “While celebrating 30 years is a tremendous accomplishment for our school, it’s also a badge of honor for SJMC alumni to proudly wear as they consider the rapidly-increasing value of their degrees,” said Kopenhaver. Kopenhaver also shared some of the school’s accomplishments, including having awarded more communications degrees to Hispanics than any other university in the country. In addition, alumni have won eight Pulitzer Prizes. To get involved in the SJMC alumni chapter, contact David Berry, SJMC marketing coordinator, at 305-919-4411, or via e-mail at !




ALUMNI MEET THE STAFF Graduates bring new talent to alumni team


Two Golden Panthers recently joined the Alumni Association family as staff members: Vanessa Baldomero ’06 and Dianne Cordova ’06. School of Journalism and Mass Communication graduate Baldomero is the new assistant director of Chapter and Young Alumni Relations. Chief among her tasks is promoting the Alumni Association and its Young Urban Professional Alumni (YUPA!) organization. She works with FIU’s colleges and schools and their chapters to organize events, as well as with FIU Athletics and Career Services, and oversees the Alumni Career Fair, the Young Alumni Travel Program and Greek and Peer Advisor reunions, among other events. “I want to make sure FIU continues to grow to be the best,” she said. To reach Baldomero, call 305-348-1613 or e-mail Cordova, a College of Business Administration graduate, is the new assistant director of Student and Campus Outreach Programs. She advises the Student Alumni Association, the Student Ambassador Program and the Order of the Torch and helps organize events such as Dinner with 12 Strangers and the Trail of the Torch. She also helps to originate new traditions and will act as the liaison between Campus Life and the Alumni Association. “I enjoyed my undergraduate experience,” she said. “I was very involved with the organizations I now advise. FIU is my second home.” To reach Cordova, call 305-348-9050 or e-mail ! Vanessa Baldomero ’06

biotherapeutic products to health care providers, in December 2007, as vice president of human resources.

Alan R. Scherer ’74 recently was reelected president of the Minnesota Chapter of the National Association of Tax Professionals. Scherer is the business owner of Alan Scherer Integrated Solutions.

Guangping Gao MS ’91, Ph.D. ’94 became in 2007

José J. Valdés-Fauli ’75 was named president and CEO of The International Bank of Miami in January. Valdés-Fauli previously led Eastern National Bank, Colonial Bank-South Florida and Beach Bank.

Christopher J. Lampo ’91 recently was selected to serve as a founding member of the Culinary Institute of America’s alumni council board of trustees, from which he graduated with high honors in 1989.

David F. Stafford ’79 recently was named corporate vice president of Northrop Grumman Corporation, a global defense and technology company. Stafford is responsible for maintaining customer relations with federal departments and civil agencies.

Gigi J. Tanghe, Esq. ’91 recently was promoted to

the founding director of the Gene Therapy Center at University of Massachusetts Medical School. Gao also will serve as scientific director of a partnership with Tsinghua University in Beijing.

firm shareholder within the law firm of Gunster Yoakley. Tanghe is a real estate attorney in the firm’s Fort Lauderdale office.


Gregory M. Viejo ’91, a current member of the FIU President’s Council, welcomed on March 7, daughter Rebecca, weighing 7 pounds, 7 ounces and measuring 19.5 inches.

Stewart Appelrouth MS ’80, a partner with the accounting firm of Appelrouth, Farah & Co., recently was appointed chair of the Governance and Nominating Committee of the FIU President’s Council. Appelrouth will serve a two-year term.

Carlos M. Zepeda ’91 recently was named COO of Minority Development & Empowerment Inc., a non-profit organization in Broward County, Fla. Zepeda lives in Miami Lakes with his wife Teresa and their two sons.

Daniel A. Gwinn, Esq. ’82 has been named a partner in the law firm of Bator Berlin & Gwinn in Birmingham, Mich. Gwinn represents non-profit corporations that provide residential and support services to persons living with disabilities throughout the state of Michigan.

Kenneth L. Krysko ’92 completed

Rolando D. Bolaños ’86, MPA ’87 retired in

January after two decades as the police chief of the Hialeah Police Department. Upon announcing his retirement, Bolaños said he would try his hand at real estate. Christopher J. Rosica ’89, CEO of Rosica Strategic Public Relations, recently released a new book, “The Authentic Brand: How Today’s Top Entrepreneurs Connect with Customers.”

1990s Eric J. Barberio ’90 acquired KissThisGuy.

com in November 2007, the world’s largest misheard-lyric Web site. Since Barberio took over, the site has added 15,000-20,000 songs to its archive and hundreds of new members. Lisa M. Lopez ’90, MBA ’96 joined Novis Pharmaceuticals, a leading distributor of

his Ph.D. in wildlife ecology and conservation at the University of Florida in 2001. Krysko currently curates the herpetology systematics collection at the Florida Museum of Natural History at UF. He also is a member of the UF graduate faculty and conducts numerous scientific studies. Steve Gallon III ’93 has been appointed the next school superintendent of Plainfield, N.J., by the Plainfield Board of Education. Gallon was chosen from a pool of 30 candidates and five finalists. He will begin a four-year term on July 1. Alexander Hernandez, Esq. ’94, MS ’96 recently released a novel titled “Eleven Roses,” available on and Barnes & Noble stores. Hernandez remains actively engaged in the practice of law and lives in Miami. Annette N. Romano MFA ’94 read from her latest

poetry collection, “Cooking Lessons,” at the 2007 Miami Book Fair International. Romano currently is at work on a companion cookbook. Ronald O. Lavin ’95 was named a Boeing associate technical fellow in 2007. Lavin was recognized by the Boeing Technical Fellowship, which represents 1.5 percent of Boeing scientists and engineers

Dianne Cordova ’06

**Individuals denoted with a are members of the FIU Alumni Association. To become a member, please visit the online membership site at:



&EELTHE0RIDE worldwide, for excellence in systems architecture and engineering for satellite and airborne platforms. He currently lives in Arizona with his wife and son. Monique Lai ’96 brought back the

play “Jamaica, Farewell” to the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, Amatouro Theater, in January, for two encore performances following its run there in November 2007. Robert Garcia MBA ’97, director of Executive and Professional Education in the FIU College of Business Administration, recently earned certification as a global professional in human resources, signifying that he possesses the knowledge and experience to pass a rigorous examination demonstrating mastery of the field. Alberto A. Padron ’97 and his wife Angela

welcomed son Alonzo Rafael on Feb. 11. Alonzo Rafael weighed 7 pounds and measured 19 inches. Padron hopes to teach his son, whose nickname is Little Zo, the family motto, “The 3 Fs: Faith, Family and FIU.” 2000s Etain E. Connor ’00 joined in November 2007

the University Advancement team at FIU as director of development at The Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum. Danielle C. Boyer ’01

is a 2009 Region IV Francisco Walker Teacher of the Year finalist. Boyer has served as Miami-Dade County Public Schools and United Teachers of Dade school improvement zone high school representative. Luis J. Moreno, Jr. ’01 recently was promoted to

director of marketing for Johnson & Johnson’s largest brand, The Cypher Stent. Melissa E. Vigo ’01 currently works as a media

supervisor at Sapient, an interactive marketing agency. Vigo was married to her husband Jorge in December 2007. Thomas E. Claiborne ’02 is the founder of BMES

and the inventor of a percutaneous heart valve prosthesis and delivery system. Claiborne obtained provisional patent for the novel medical device while completing his master’s thesis work.

Jampierre Mato ’02, MSN ’06 had an article titled “Suspected Amniotic Fluid Embolism Following Amniotomy: A Case Report” published in the February issue of the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists Journal. Mato is a certified registered nurse anesthetist at Mount Sinai Medical Center.

Kelli L. Romano ’02 and Victor E. Romano, Ph.D. ’02 were married in May 2006. Victor will begin his work as an assistant professor of sociology at Barry University in the fall. Kelli works as a supervisor in the marketing and public relations department of Baptist Health South Florida. Vanessa Brito ’03, MA ’05 was appointed by Miami-Dade County Commissioner Carlos Gimenez as a member of the Equal Opportunity Board for Miami-Dade County, a quasi-judicial and advisory board charged with the enforcement of the county’s civil and human rights ordinance. Lazaro A. Mederos ’03 recently was elected

executive vice president of the National Society of Hispanic MBA’s San Francisco Chapter. Mederos currently is at work with senior leadership from Google, Intel and Merrill Lynch to promote minority outreach and the continued promotion and talent acquisition of Latinos. He also is working with Stanford and Berkeley universities to promote minority graduate education. Georgina Cortes-Suarez Ed.D. ’04 was appointed

in January as campus president of Miami-Dade College’s InterAmerican Campus. Ethan J. Ehrlich ’04 had an essay and photo published in the student section of the January issue of the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists News Bulletin.

David Rodriguez ’04 has been named a 2008 Charles B. Rangel International Affairs Fellow. The Rangel Fellowship, funded by the U.S. Department of State and managed by the Ralph J. Bunche International Affairs Center at Howard University, supports individuals pursuing careers in the U.S. Foreign Service. Rodriguez graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in international relations and geography and a certificate in Latin America-Caribbean studies. Brenezza DaParre ’05 was

promoted to executive assistant to FIU President Modesto A. Maidique upon graduation. DaParre was given an Alumna Award, given to two alumnae throughout the United States, and a Scholarship

Award, given to five undergraduates and two graduates throughout the United States, by her national sorority, Phi Sigma Sigma. John Evans MFA ’07 will spend two years at Stanford University on a Stegner Fellowship, one of the most prestigious distinctions available to writers who have received an MFA but have not yet left their mark as published authors. Lissette Soto ’07, assistant director

of parking and transportation at FIU, welcomed daughter Samantha Josephine on July 15, 2007. Big brother Christopher is totally in love with his sister.

Rina Patel ’08 received a prestigious internship/resident position within the Jackson Health System, where she worked for the health systems senior VP and CAO for Jackson South Community Hospital.

PANTHER PERKS: Panther Partner: is an entertainment benefits group company that offers exclusive discounts, special offers, access to preferred seating and other special perks for thousands of products including theme parks, shows, sporting events, concerts, dinner shows, movies and more. Panther Perk: offers FIU Alumni Association members various entertainment benefits. Save nationwide on theme parks, events, travel, movie tickets and rentals, sporting events and attractions. Ordering is made easy to help you save time and money. How to Take Advantage: For more information call 1-800-331-6483 or order online at tickets/?company=FIUALUM. Don’t forget to use company code FIUALUM when placing an order. Not a member of the FIU Alumni Association? Join today at and help us reach our goal of 15,000 dues paying members.

How to submit a Class Note: Share your good news with your fellow alumni by filling out an online Class Notes form at Send us information on recent hires, promotions, awards, career achievements, appointments, births and marriages. You may also fax us your information to 305-348-3636, ATT: Class Notes. Electronic photos can be submitted in jpeg or bitmap format to appear with class notes by e-mailing Please indicate in the e-mail which class note the photo should appear with, along with the full names and class years of all the individuals who appear in the photo.




Do You Know Any of Our

Alumni? Are you a LOST Alumni? Please help us find you so we may reconnect with you and help you stay in touch with your friends from Florida International University. Check to see if your name is on the list and if so, please fill out all the information on the address update form located at As a result, you will begin receiving copies of our award-winning quarterly FIU Magazine, and monthly NOW@FIU e-newsletter along with a host of other important news flashes from your FIU Alumni Association. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to call 1-800-FIU-ALUM or e-mail 1970s Antonio F. Balart ’73 Amalia M. Balart ’73 Daniel J. Bowerman ’73 David E. Brody ’73 Joseph J. Burns ’73 Dorothy M. Copeland ’73 Mary A. Dada ’73 Harry B. Eaton, III ’73 Gerald P. Gavin, Jr. ’73 Sergio F. Gonzalez ’73 Pepi W. Haengel ’73 Elizabeth A. Isley ’73 Shiraz S. Karim ’73 Rosa B. Lang ’73 Edward L. Linder ’73 Miriam S. Mades ’73 ’78 Timothy L. Martens ’73 Joseph F. Mayton ’73 Harriet J. Offenbach ’73 Cecil A. Peacock, Jr. ’73 Vardit M. Sasloe ’73 Maissa H. Shafik ’73 Blanche A. Shepard ’73 Stanley J. Stein ’73 John Traverso ’73 Fernando Zalacain ’73 John J. Abbruzzese, Jr. ’74 Kazuo Aizaki ’74 Suleiman J. Al-Balawi ’74 Kamil M. Al-Shawwa ’74 Bonnie K. Aldereguia ’74 Abu H. Ali ’74 Fawzi H. Alsalem ’74 Jorge L. Alvarez ’74 Mark K. Anthony ’74 Joyce C. Arcamonte ’74 Julio E. Arosemena ’74 America E. Aspuru ’74 Lea Baechler ’74 Cesar M. Baquero ’74 Rene A. Boskoff ’74 Carolee M. Burbridge ’74 Sandra J. Burnham ’74

Catherine W. Cajacob ’74 Itza N. Campos ’74 Carlos Castillo ’74 Carlyle A. Chung ’74 Wendy A. Clein ’74 Jeffrey B. Collins ’74 Domingo R. Congiusto ’74 Esther R. Couvertier ’74 Isaac Deek ’74 Francisco E. Delabarra ’74 Maria T. Diaz De Arce ’74 Jean P. Duten ’74 Obie Ferguson, Jr. ’74 Esther Fernandez ’74 Philip H. Friedlander ’74 Manfred Funke ’74 Restituto Y. Galura ’74 Eduardo Garcia ’74 Irene Gutierrez ’74 Robert A. Hart ’74 Donoso J. Hernandez ’74 Roscoe Hicks ’74 Jaime Hirlemann ’74 Sandra B. Hirsch ’74 Ingeborg S. Horn ’74 Roseann P. Hudson ’74 Nana Igbinogun ’74 Kemper L. Jones ’74 Richard P. Kempe ’74 Syed M. Khan ’74 Durward R. Knowles, Jr. ’74 Neil A. Kopel ’74 Harley E. Layow, Jr. ’74 Marion G. Layton ’74 William C. Lee ’74 A. M. Levine Virginia L. Lischin ’74 Maria P. Mallo ’74 Francisco J. Martin ’74 Angela M. Mcclennan, J.D. ’74 Beth V. McDaniel ’74 Michelle M. Medina ’74 Virginia K. Meeker ’74 Thelma L. Miller ’74

Barbara J. Miller ’74 Colin K. MurdochMuirhead ’74 Ong-On Patipimpakom ’74 Maria D. Perez ’74 Jean E. Pfluke ’74 Rubye F. Pimental ’74 Kathryn J. Plasner ’74 Arjan C. Pouwer ’74 Ronald M. Pralgo ’74 Chairat Prasertlum ’74 Louis Radin ’74 Steven F. Rauchman ’74 Holly A. Reed ’74 Maria T. Remsen ’74 Rene L. Rey ’74 Joaquin A. Ricardo ’74 Villarroel F. Rivas ’74 Janet E. Rocchi ’74 Alvaro J. Rodriguez ’74 Ibrahim K. Saadeh ’74 Joanne B. Sagona ’74 Miguel L. San ’74 Gilberto Sanchez ’74 Annie L. Sanders ’74 Minnie Shaheeb ’74 Kenneth M. Stein ’74 Barbara B. Steinberg ’74 West I. Stirrup ’74 Wilfred H. Stubbs ’74 Carol M. Sydow ’74 Daniel A. Thimann ’74 Charasphong Thongnopnua ’74 Hilda F. Torres ’74 Carlos A. Troncoso ’74 Crana Urbizu ’74 Prempre Vajrabhaya ’74 Barbara G. Valancy ’74 Sherry Valenti ’74 Adriana M. Vanegas ’74 Antonia Vara ’74 Victoria Veritzan ’74 Gene M. Weintraub ’74 Anne C. Wright ’74

Pittaya Yingkamol ’74 Sara A. Zwicke ’74 Frances S. Abern ’75 Canas F. Acosta ’75 S. Awatramani ’75 Gregory T. Ball ’75 Randolph W. Benton ’75 Choudhry M. Bhatti ’75 Susan L. Bonnett ’75 Stella N. Boyikilla ’75 Silvia Cagigal ’75 Richard B. Calvert ’75 John R. Carette ’75 Gerard G. Catteuw ’75 Bruce M. Cease, Esq. ’75 Hoon-Jin Chai ’75 Karl D. Chong ’75 Patrick S. Chong ’75 Kathleen N. Clark ’75 Amelia B. Coniff ’75 Susan J. Dale ’75 Marilyn D. Dewitt ’75 Donald S. Drown ’75 Patricia Duar ’75 William C. Dunn ’75 Rosa M. Edgar ’75 Ralph H. Fagan ’75 Jeffrey T. Farbman ’75 Philippe Fouchard ’75 Agnes V. Freund ’75 Marta F. Garcia ’75 Howard L. Gevertz ’75 Louise H. Gilman ’75 Marion A. Goff ’75 Ion Gonos ’75 Joseph A. Gonzalez ’75 Rochelle W. Goodwin ’75 Ernesto V. Gubert ’75 Frances L. Gunter ’75 Donna Hansen ’75 Haim Hassid ’75 Barbara B. Hochman, RPT ’75 Ahmad Hojabri-Houtky ’75 Ahmad K. Kassab ’75

Khushnood H. Khan ’75 Ruth Y. Knowles ’75 Su-Yue L. Kopple ’75 Enrique E. Lewis ’75 Larry H. Mans ’75 Joel B. Marangella ’75 Paul L. Margolis ’75 Ali R. Memon ’75 Frank I. Milhoan ’75 Mohammad Naeem ’75 Rina K. Neeman ’75 Joan B. Nemeth ’75 Wing Y. Ng ’75 Dele J. Oderinde ’75 Jamaluddin K. Panjwani ’75 Madalyn J. Parks ’75 Susan B. Place ’75 Sames M. Powers ’75 Noel Repussard ’75 Alberto S. Restagno ’75 Sandra A. Rivera ’75 Esmeralda Rutherford ’75 Frances H. Sanes ’75 John Sarris ’75 David H. Schneider ’75 Andrew Skarr ’75 Alberto Stoppa ’75 Ze’ev R. Studencki ’75 Fred Sylvain ’75 Hector J. Tato ’75 Joel Trautenberg ’75 Antonio E. Vargas ’75 Alberto A. Villageliu ’75 Mohammed I. Vohra ’75 Douglas W. Webster ’75 Carla D. Wool ’75 Yolanda A. Zumaeta ’75 Katherine A. Alexander ’76 Eldad Amit ’76 Obiageli U. Anyogu ’76 Gordon L. Arnold ’76 Elizabeth A. Bain ’76 Pablo A. Bardino ’76 David C. Behney ’76 To be continued in the next issue.



Very Important Panthers VIP: Betty Perry Degree and Year of Graduation: Nursing, 1974 Profession: I began as a registered nurse, but when Charles [E.

Perry] became FIU’s founding president I became a community volunteer outside and within the university. Today, I consider myself an arts advocate and a businesswoman, as well as a proud mother and grandmother.

FIU affiliations:


Uʈvï“iÊi“LiÀ]Ê1ʏՓ˜ˆÊÃÜVˆ>̈œ˜ UÊ …>ÀÌiÀʜ՘`iÀ]ʏՓ˜ˆÊ i˜ÌiÀ UÊÊ/…iÊ …>ÀiÃÊ °Ê*iÀÀÞÊ-V…œ>Àň«Ê ˜`œÜi`ÊÀ>`Õ>ÌiÊ-V…œ>Àň«Ê UÊʜ՘`ˆ˜}Ê œ˜œÀ]Ê iÌÌÞÊ>ˆÀ`Ê*iÀÀÞÊ-ÌÕ`i˜ÌÊÀÌÊ>iÀÞÊ>Ì Frost Art Museum Ê UÊÊ1˜`iÀÜÀˆÌiÀÊvœÀÊ̅iÊ iÌÌÞÊ>ˆÀ`Ê*iÀÀÞÊÀÌÊ*ÕÀV…>ÃiÊÜ>À`ÃÊ at Frost Art Museum What does it mean to be FIU’s first First Lady?

It is not only a great honor, but it is a lot of fun. I love being around young people and back on campus. There are so many exciting things happening at FIU. The university is always changing – the people, the buildings, the programs. I only come back once or twice a year and it is nice to see the people I have known for many years and to meet those who are new. What are your favorite memories of FIU?

iˆ˜}Ê>Ê«>ÀÌʜvÊ>ÊœvÊ̅iÊiÝVˆÌˆ˜}Ê«ˆœ˜iiÀˆ˜}Ê̅>ÌÊÜ>Ãʅ>««i˜ˆ˜}°Ê FIU was forever a dream of so many in Dade County. Even when the funding became available they still didn’t believe it would happen. The groundbreaking was most exciting – everyone was involved. That day big dreams started to become a reality. How have you been involved with the university since graduation?

One way is by coming back to campus to present the annual Charles E. Perry Visionary Award at the Torch Awards Gala. I love the enthusiasm of every recipient. It is exciting to give that award to an FIU alumnus/a. For me, it is important to be involved because it is a lifelong loyalty. I know what those pioneers of the faculty and staff sacrificed to make FIU happen. What would your late husband say about FIU today?

Although he expected [success], he would say he was proud. He always knew this was much bigger than any of us. He would not only be proud of FIU, but also of the people who have made it happen. And especially the students – they were the whole reason for this happening. ■ 800-FIU-ALUM 305-348-3334

Photo by Roldan Torres




FIU STADIUM SEPT. 20 vs. USF OCT. 11 vs. Middle Tennessee NOV. 8 vs. Arkansas State

(Homecoming & Silver Pride Reunion)


NOV. 22 vs. Louisiana at Monroe DEC. 6 vs. Western Kentucky AWAY GAMES SEPT. 6 vs Iowa at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City, IA

The new football season is right around the corner and you won’t want to miss the excitement at the new FIU Stadium. Entry to the Panther Pit Tailgate Party is free for everyone. You’ll enjoy music, dancing, face painting, activities for children and visits by the FIU Marching Band, Cheerleaders, Mascot Roary and the Dazzlers. Food and refreshments will be available for a nominal fee. Alumni Association members will get free giveaways.

For game tickets and times visit or call 305-348-4263 or 866-FIU-GAME. For information or to RSVP for tailgates visit or call 305-348-3334 TailgateAD.indd 1

University Advancement and Marketing University Park, MARC 510 Miami, FL 33199-0001 Change Service Requested

5/23/08 2:19:59 PM


FIU Magazine - Summer 2008 - Out of this world