Since the first class graduated from FIU in 1974, alumni have dedicated themselves to bolstering the Panther community through philanthropy and service. In fact, in 1981 the FIU Alumni Association supported FIU’s first four-year scholarship, which was awarded to the first accepted freshman when the university transitioned from a two-year to a four-year institution.
Today, alumni play a key role in supporting and sustaining the university by donating their time, talents and treasure. They support athletics, advocate for FIU in the community and abroad, mentor current students and hire recent graduates to work for their organizations.
Last fiscal year alone, alumni banded together to raise $5.8 million for their alma mater through cash gifts and pledges, and by participating in philanthropic campaigns like the Alumni Participation Challenge and the annual phone-a-thon. Their efforts support student scholarships, state-of-the-art learning and research facilities, and more.
And every gift matters.
“I share with alumni all the time that we love you whether you give a dollar or a million bucks. It’s not about how much you give – what makes a difference is that you give,” said Duane Wiles, executive director of the FIU Alumni Association. “Alumni of universities around the world give back to their alma maters to help ensure their future and the success of future fellow graduates.
“As a supporter, you help add value to your degree,” Wiles said. “Your support helps students succeed and pursue their dreams, and provides cutting-edge programming that keeps us at the forefront of innovation.”
Alumni play an important role in boosting their alma mater’s standing in U.S. News & World Report, a highly regarded ranking of colleges and universities in the nation. The percent of a university’s alumni who give back each year is factored into the overall score that determines its rank.
“Every percentage point in its score counts. Even an increase of one percent could boost FIU’s ranking over other schools,” Wiles said. “And our sights are set high – so as we climb to the top 50, we need our Panthers to come together and show their support by staying engaged and giving back to FIU.”
Two-time College of Business alumnus Eduardo Hondal ’88, MS ’00, an avid FIU Athletics fan and a past president of the Alumni Association Board of Directors, says people ask him all the time why he’s so dedicated to FIU.
“The truth is, FIU gave me an opportunity that no other four-year school could, either financially or distance-wise,” he says. “What FIU did for me and, subsequently, for my life and career, I can never repay. So, my time, talent and treasure go only to the Panther Nation!”
Coming soon: A new home for FIU alumni
The FIU Alumni Association is making a big move in 2021. The Florida Board of Governors recently approved a public-private partnership that will establish a combined alumni and conference center and hotel at MMC. The facility will become the new home of the FIU Alumni Center and will also house a 150-bed hotel and 33,000 square feet of meeting space.
The new facility is currently set to open in the fall of 2021. This privately funded project is made possible through philanthropic support of FIU’s Next Horizon campaign, and it has already been backed by nearly 1,000 members of the FIU family, including alumni.
To learn more about the future FIU Alumni Center, visit FIUalumni.com.
It’s been nearly 50 years since FIU opened its doors – and we want to celebrate our early graduates! If you were a part of the classes of ’74-’76, we’d like to hear from you! If you have friends or family who have lost touch with FIU, please have them send their contact information (address and email) to firstname.lastname@example.org.