FIU Foundation News

A Lifetime of Support for FIU Becomes a Family’s Legacy

Jenna Bilodeau knew she wanted to be a neurologist after helping nurse her father back to health when he suffered a brain injury in 2015.

But what the Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine student probably didn’t know back then was just how much a devoted couple of FIU supporters she’d never before met had impacted her future education.

Albert and Earlene Dotson have long been part of the fabric of FIU. Albert Dotson is a trustee emeritus and chaired the FIU Board of Trustees from 2009 to 2011. He also served on the FIU Foundation Board of Directors from 1983 to 2001. Dotson, the chairman and CEO of consulting firm Puryear Inc., and his wife Earlene, who founded Puryear, have served FIU for decades – and the two can regularly be spotted cheering for the Panthers at sporting events.

Albert Dotson is even credited with coining the phrase “FIU: The Finest Institution in the Universe.” Among his many contributions to FIU, Dotson played an integral role in the founding of the Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine, as well as the College of Law. A longtime supporter of athletics, he was among the advocates who saw a future for football at FIU and helped secure Riccardo Silva Stadium.

Now, the couple’s lifetime of service to FIU has become a legacy that lives on, thanks to a $1 million planned gift from their children benefiting athletics, scholarships for minority students and facilities at FIU. The family’s planned gift honors the couple’s steadfast commitment to the university and renamed the International Pavilion at the MARC building as the Earlene and Albert Dotson Pavilion.

Their son, Albert Dotson Jr., said the couple represents “hope, knowledge and opportunity” for their family and for the community. “We hope that through this [gift], there will be students… here for years and decades and centuries to come who will know that this is a building that was built with love, named for two people who love each other and who love this community.”

At a ceremony in April 2018 unveiling the newly renamed building, Bilodeau had the chance to meet the Dotsons for the first time. She’d known the moment she stepped onto campus to interview for a spot in the Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine that she’d made the right choice. “FIU felt like home,” she said, thanking Dotson Sr. for his role in bringing the college to FIU.

The Dotson family’s planned gift will support students like Bilodeau at FIU for decades to come. Howard Lipman, CEO of the FIU Foundation said, “Earlene and Albert Dotson have left an indelible mark on our institution. Through this gift, their children ensure that their legacy will live on at FIU.”