Empowering FIU’s First Generation Law Students

Marco A. Leyte-Vidal III ’10

A new scholarship will benefit first generation law students at FIU. In honor of Judge Henry Leyte-Vidal, The Honorable Henry Leyte-Vidal Scholarship is made possible through a gift from College of Law graduate Marco A. Leyte-Vidal III ’10, cousin of the Judge.

Marco A. Leyte-Vidal III ’10“[My cousin] was a tremendous influence on me as a person and in my decision to become an attorney. Unfortunately, Henry passed away from cancer. I have modeled my career after his to the best of my ability. He was extremely charitable and always supported education. This gift is my way of saying thank you to FIU and honoring my cousin’s memory by allowing his charitable spirit to continue,” said Leyte-Vidal III, who is a member of the College of Law Dean’s Alumni Circle, which allows him to remain connected with the College and its alumni.

The Honorable Henry Leyte-Vidal Scholarship will be awarded to students enrolled in or accepted for admission to the College of Law, who are first generation in their families to attend college, have financial need and meet a minimum GPA requirement of 2.75.

The scholarship is not the only result of Leyte-Vidal III’s efforts to effect change in the community by honoring his late cousin. He recently teamed up with La Liga Contra el Cancer to host the inaugural Honorable Henry Leyte-Vidal Domino Night, raising $16,000 for La Liga. Over 250 judges, lawyers and local community leaders attended and heard a speech by Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. Support from the FIU College of Law and its alumni helped make the evening a success.

Leyte-Vidal III is also a member of the Coral Gables Bar Association, Young Leaders for Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Republican National Lawyers Association. He serves on the Cuban American Bar Association (CABA) Lawyers on the Run 5K Committee and the CABA Young Lawyers Committee.

A Legacy that Gives Back

A former first generation student himself, Leyte-Vidal III understands the significance of providing access to higher education for underserved students.

“I was the first in my immediate family to obtain a law degree and I know the pride that my family felt in seeing me walk on graduation day. When I attended FIU, I was one of many first generation students and I think that’s what makes FIU so great. It provides an opportunity for qualified, deserving people to obtain a top tier education at an affordable tuition rate and by doing so allows first generation students to attend. I want to continue to support that,” he said.

A proud Panther and community advocate, Leyte-Vidal III encourages other FIU alumni to give back to their university. He hopes that his gift will help FIU students excel and, at the same time, improve the College of Law as a whole.

“The FIU College of Law has come a long way in a very short amount of time and the only way we can guarantee its continued growth is to show our support and appreciation to it and the students who will represent our alma mater in the future,” he said.

“By making this gift in honor of my cousin, I’m working to ensure his memory continues to live on, that others will learn from his legacy and that the recipients of the award strive to give back when they have the chance.”

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