Less than two years ago, FIU held a celebration to commemorate the public launch of the Next Horizon campaign. More than 1,200 alumni, students, faculty, donors and members of the community attended a showcase of FIU’s research, community programs and student success. That day has truly proven to be a launching point, based on the campaign’s trajectory since.
By the end of November 2020, the Next Horizon campaign had raised more than $580 million of its $750 million goal — and the 2019-2020 fiscal year goal of $71 million was exceeded, with $75.85 million raised. While a number that big is undoubtedly impressive, it can also be easy to lose sight of the real impact that the campaign has made. For perspective, it helps to recall just a few of the highlights to this point:
- Chad Moss and the Moss Foundation, Inc. gave $10 million to create three endowments that will be used to recruit a nationally distinguished director to lead the Moss School of Construction, Infrastructure and Sustainability; support student scholarships; and support four key areas within the School
- Dr. Yolangel “Yogi” Hernandez Suarez and her husband, Dr. Jeffrey “Jeff” Simmons, made a $2 million gift to establish the Simmons+Hernandez Suarez Fellowship Program at FIU Embrace, which will support professionals who take an interdisciplinary approach to solve the complex, multifaceted issues facing adults with neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism
- Bacardi USA donated $5 million to the Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management to create the Bacardi Center of Excellence, which will position the top-ranked school as a leader in beverage management education and partner with one of the world’s most historic and leading spirits companies
- Mohsin and Fauzia Jaffer, longtime supporters of Middle East studies and other programs at FIU, donated $2 million to create the Mohsin and Fauzia Jaffer Center for Muslim World Studies, housed within the Steven J. Green School of International and Public Affairs, in order to promote greater understanding of the global Muslim community.
These gifts will help create world-class programs at and recruit world-class professionals to FIU, which will benefit the students taking part in them now and in the future. But the campaign has raised funds that will immediately impact students as well, including more than $34 million for first-generation scholarships and $20 million for student affairs.
“The support that our FIU has received so far has been outstanding,” said Howard Lipman, CEO of the FIU Foundation. “As we enter the final stage of the Next Horizon campaign, it is vital that all of our stakeholders join in and participate if they have not yet done so.”
And that’s because despite all that it has accomplished so far, the Next Horizon campaign will transform FIU further, most easily seen by the projected changes to its campus. Remaining fundraising will look to support physical spaces like CasaCuba, a multidimensional Cuban cultural center and think tank that facilitates the discussion and study of Cuban affairs; the Trish and Dan Bell Chapel, a non-denominational chapel that will accommodate the plurality of faiths and perspectives at FIU; the alumni, conference center and hotel with a 13,700-square-foot space for the Alumni Association to continue to expand programming and services for alumni and students; and a new engineering center.
So, when that day in January 2019 is looked back upon, it will be seen as less a launching point for the campaign and more as a starting point for a new phase in the university’s history. And the Next Horizon campaign will have undoubtedly helped usher in this new chapter.