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Notable Alumni

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FIU alumni represent our university and all the best that FIU has to offer. From NFL football players to Pulitzer Prize winners and top chefs, FIU alumni are making a name for themselves across the globe. 

With over 215,000 graduates worldwide, FIU alumni make up one of the fastest growing and diverse communities anywhere.  The strength of our alma mater is ignited by the support of individuals like you. Below you can learn about incredible alumni who are making an impact here, and around the world. Alumni who are included must meet this criteria.

Artists & Entertainers

  • Teresita Fernández ’90 is an accomplished artist best known for her public sculptures and original use of materials. She is a 2005 John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Fellow and has received several prestigious awards and fellowships, including the National Endowment for the Arts Artist’s Grant, the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Biennial Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, the American Academy in Rome Affiliated Fellowship, and the Oscar B. Cintas Fellowship. President Obama appointed her to the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts in 2011, making her the first Latina and the second person of Latino heritage to serve on the Commission. In 2013, she received the FIU Distinguished Alumni award during the FIU Torch Awards Gala.
  • Andy Garcia is an American actor and director. He became known in the late 1980s and 1990s, having appeared in several successful Hollywood films, including The Godfather Part IIIThe UntouchablesInternal Affairs and When a Man Loves a Woman. More recently, he has starred in Ocean’s Eleven and its sequelsOcean’s Twelve and Ocean’s Thirteen, and The Lost City.
  • Christine Kling ’88 is an acclaimed author.
  • Danny Pino ’96 was born and raised in Miami.  He attended Florida International University and New York University’s Tisch Graduate Acting Program where he earned a Masters of Fine Arts. He is a member of the cast of “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit”, he joined the casting for its 13th season as Detective Nick Amaro.
  • Dawn Ostroff ’80 is president of Condé Nast Entertainment (CNÉ), a division of Condé Nast that focuses on the development, production, and distribution of original television, feature film and digital video offerings based on the company’s iconic media brands. Prior to joining Condé Nast in the fall of 2011, Ms. Ostroff launched and led the new CW broadcast network, a joint venture of CBS and Warner Bros., beginning January 2006. As president of entertainment, she was responsible for all aspects of the CW’s creative efforts. Ms. Ostroff has a BS in journalism from Florida International University and resides in New York City with her husband and their four children.
  • Dennis Lehane ’01 is an American author. He has written several novels, including A Drink Before the War and Mystic River, which was later made into a film. Another novel, Gone, Baby, Gone, was also adapted into a film.
  • Leda Gitman ’96 was born and raised in Argentina. She is a professional artist and has had six solo shows, six group exhibits, and numerous awards. She delivered the 2002 Honors College Award Ceremony Address.

  • Pamela Crawford ’91 is author of eight gardening books. She has been featured in prominent publications and TV shows such as HGTV Magazine, over fifty newspapers, and Fox News.

  • Aimee Carrero ’08 is an actress who is best known for her role as Angie on the Cartoon Network live-action series Level Up. She currently stars as Sofia Rodriguez on the ABC Family sitcom Young & Hungry. She was recently selected as the voice of Disney’s first Latina princess, Elena of Avalor.

  • Robert Macias, better known as R.M. Drake, is well-known poet and author. He has over one million followers on Instagram and is known for spray painting his poems on the sidewalks of Wynwood.

  • Chrissie Fit is an actress who rose to prominence after she was cast as the character Mercedes Juarez in the medical drama General Hospital. She is also known for her role as CheeChee in the Disney Channel Original Movie Teen Beach Movie, and for her role as Florencia “Flo” Fuentes in Pitch Perfect 2.

Athletes

  • Carlos Alberto Arroyo Bermúdez is a Puerto Rican professional basketball player who plays for Galatasaray Liv Hospital of the Turkish Basketball League. Arroyo had previously played in the National Basketball Association with the Toronto Raptors, Denver Nuggets, Utah Jazz, Detroit Pistons, Orlando Magic, Miami Heat, and Boston Celtics. In the 2008–2009 season, he played for Maccabi Tel Aviv in the Israeli Basketball Super League, winning the league’s championship and being named the Final’s Most Valuable Player. He has also played professionally in Puerto Rico and Spain.

  • T.Y. Hilton ’13 is wide receiver and punt returner for the Indianapolis Colts. He was drafted by the Colts in the third round of the 2012 NFL Draft.
  • Gerald Hunsicker ’76 is the Senior Advisor of Baseball Operations for the Los Angeles Dodgers of Major League baseball. Hunsicker has been an executive with the New York Mets and Tampa Bay Rays and the general manager of the Houston Astros from November 1995 until the end of the 2004 campaign.

  • Michael Lowell ’97 is a Puerto Rican former professional baseball third baseman in Major League Baseball. During a 13-year career, Lowell played for the New York Yankees (1998), Florida Marlins (1999–2005), and the Boston Red Sox (2006–2010).

  • Pat Bradley ’74 is an American professional golfer. She became a member of the LPGA Tour in 1974 and won 31 tour events, including six major championships. Bradley is a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame.

  • Raja Bell is a retired professional basketball player who last played for the Utah Jazz of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He was twice named to the NBA All-Defensive Team in his career. As a Senior at FIU, Bell led the FIU Golden Panthers to a Sun Belt Conference tournament title, and a bid in the NCAA tournament.

  • Robin Fraser ’89 is Jamaican-born American soccer coach and former player. He is currently an assistant coach for the New York Red Bulls of Major League Soccer. He played college soccer at Florida International University from 1984 to 1988.

  • Tayna Lawrence ’98 is a professional athlete for the Jamaican Track Team and four-time Olympic gold medalist.

Business Leaders

  • Adalio Sanchez ’87 is General Manager of IBM System x and BladeCenter server product lines.  Mr. Sanchez has more than 25 years of experience in the Information Technology marketplace with an extensive background in product development, manufacturing, operations, and brand He was named the 2007 Hispanic Engineer of the Year and has frequently been named to the list of the Top 50 Hispanics in Technology and Business. He is Chairman of the Florida International University Engineering School Executive Advisory Council, and serves as Chairman of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) Advisory Board.
  • Adolfo Henriques ’76 is currently vice Chairman, President and COO of Gibraltar Private Bank and Trust Company a private banking and wealth management company headquartered in Miami. Mr  Henriques serves of the board of Heico, Inc; Intcomex, Inc; Medica HealthCare plans, inc.; and Medica Health Plans of Florida, Inc.

  • Alan Leibman ’89 is the CEO for Kerzner International, overseeing the overall corporate strategy of Atlantis and One&Only brands worldwide. He joined Kerzner in 1994, and during his tenure held positions of strategic importance, including Chief Operating Officer of Atlantis, Paradise Island in the Bahamas; President and Managing Director of the early development of Mazagan Beach Resort; President and Managing Director of Atlantis, The Palm in Dubai; and most recently, Kerzner Regional President of Europe, Africa and the Middle East.

  • Allen Susser ’78 is owner of Chef Allen’s Restaurant.

  • Tony Argiz ’74 has been Managing Partner of Morrison, Brown, Argiz & Farra, LLP since 1997. He serves on the board of trustees and executive committee of the United Way of Miami-Dade, as well as on the board of trustees of the Miami City Club and the Miami Dade Junior College Foundation. Mr. Argiz is a Certified Public Accountant in Florida, New York, Colorado and Pennsylvania. He earned his bachelor of business administration degree from Florida International University.

  • Augusto “Gus” Vidaurreta ’80 is owner of The Wyndham Riverwalk Hotel and The Jacksonville Days Inn. Vidaurreta co-founded Body Well Nutrition, a performance supplements company. He also is involved in ventures in the area of real estate development and natural gas exploration.  Among other accomplishments, he has co-authored the popular book Business Is a Contact Sport in 2001, and co-founded RAM Strategy, Inc., a consulting, training and executive coaching firm built around relationship asset management (RAM), the main topic of the book. The book was listed in the top 15 by the New York Times and has been translated to Chinese and Polish. Vidaurreta is a member of the Dean’s Council and a past founding chairman of the Alumni Circle for the College of Business Administration.

  • Bruce Albertson ’73 is former president and CEO of Brown Jordan International, a manufacturer and distributor of casual and commercial furniture. Mr. Albertson also served as chairman of the Insurance IQ Company, a marketer of advertising services, and as president and CEO of Iomega Corporation, a data management solutions company. He is now retired.

  • Bruce Zwigard ’76 is former president and CEO of Investacorp, a financial services company. It was purchased by Ladenburg Thalmann for $45M in 2007.

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  • Carlos Abaunza ’80 is Senior Vice President and CFO of American Media, Inc., one of the largest media companies in the U.S. and the leading publisher of celebrity journalism, health and fitness and Spanish language magazines. He has 25 years of financial, media, and news industry experiences.

  • Carlos A. Migoya ’74 has served as President and CEO of Jackson Health System since May 2011, overseeing one of the nation’s largest and most respected public healthcare networks. He is actively involved in several community organizations, including having served as the foundation chairman of Florida International University and as a member of the university’s Dean’s Council, the College of Business Administration’s principal advisory board. Since 2006, Mr. Migoya has served as a director of AutoNation, the largest auto retailer in the U.S. He currently serves on the boards of the Downtown Charter School in Miami and the Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City.

  • Carlos Sabater ’81 is Regional Managing Partner of Deloitte & Touche’s Audit & Enterprise Risk Services. In 2007, he was selected to serve in his current role as the managing partner and marketplace leader for all of the Florida and Puerto Rico offices of Deloitte.

  • Carol Herod Sharer ’73 is CEO of McKinley Marketing Partners, a seasoned marketing executive with extensive product management and marketing experience. She also serves as a Director on the Board of Premisys Corporation, Fremont, California and on the Advisory Board of Adventive Technologies, Santa Monica, California.

  • Charles Fernandez ’85 serves as a Portfolio Manager of Barnstar Funds and Barnstar Opportunities Fund LP. He has been a Director of Big City Radio Inc., since November 1999.

  • Charles Letchworth ’80 is president of Byrd Oil Distributors.
  • Cheri Rutledge ’79 is general manager at Marriott International.

  • Daniel Baumgard ’76 is the owner of Investment Management Associates.

  • Daniel Katz ’74 is Chairman and CEO of Katz & Associates Real Estate, Daniel was a finalist for the 2001 Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award, the 2002 and 2003 Cutting Edge Award, and was inducted into the 2005 FIU Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame. He has also been awarded a key to the City of Miami. In addition, Danny acts as a business advisor to the Coconut Grove Theater. Mr. Katz is a veteran of the U.S. Navy.

  • Dennis Klinger ’75 is vice president and chief information officer for Florida Power & Light Company (FPL). Prior to joining FPL in 1995, Mr. Klinger was vice president and chief information officer for Ryder System Inc. Mr. Klinger is past President of the Dade Public Education Fund and served on the United Way Campaign Cabinet. Mr. Klinger holds a masters degree in business administration from Florida International University, and a bachelor’s degree in management science from Florida Atlantic University.

  • Donald Slesnick ’80 is a managing partner at the Law Offices of Slesnick & Casey. Slesnick served as Mayor of the City of Coral Gables from 2001-2011.

  • Dror Zadok ’74 is President of Perfume International, Inc. He formerly served as Principal for the South Dade Hebrew Academy. His wife, Miriam, teaches at the Temple Betham Day School.

  • Eileen Moss ’82 is a partner at Shook, Hardy & Bacon LLP. Eileen has been chosen a “Super Lawyer” since 2007. She also actively serves in bar associations. She is a member of the Executive Council of the Trial Lawyers Section of The Florida Bar.

  • Elizabeth Parnes ’77 is the Managing Principal of Enterprise Print Services at Xerox. She previously served as president of EC Parnes and Associates.

  • Eric Pfeffer ’77 is the Founder and ‘President of The Pfeffer Group, LLC. He has served as President of the International Hotel & Restaurant Association and Chairman of Wyndham Worldwide Hotel Division.

  • Ethan Kramer ’85 is a co-founder of Paramount Hotel Group and has served as President since its inception in 1999. In his capacity as President of PHG, Mr. Kramer oversees the general operation of the company as well as focusing on acquisitions, business development, operations and investor relations.

  • Fernando Carrizosa ’76 is president of Carrizosa & Associates, an international development and corporate structuring consulting firm. He previously served as president of Wackenhut International, which was successfully sold in 2002.

  • Francis Hondal ’87 is currently group executive for Global Products & Solutions for MasterCard Latin America and the Caribbean region. Prior to joining MasterCard Worldwide, Mrs. Hondal was responsible for managing operations for a new business venture she founded, Increventi Corp, which specialized in international business development and marketing services for financial institutions and retailers in the U.S. and Latin America.

  • Francois Van Der Post ’84 is Chief Commercial Officer of KPN.

  • Gabriel Bustamante ’78 is founder and president of Bayshore Asset Management, LLC, a registered investment advisor firm. Gabriel Bustamante is a Past Chairman of the Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce (1994-95) and served as a member of its Board of Directors for ten years. He also served on the City of Coral Gables Budget/Audit Advisory for three years.

  • Humberto Cabañas ’76 has been involved in hospitality since he was 14 years old working after school as a pool boy at The Shelborne Hotel in Miami Beach, Florida.  He found that serving guests was in his blood. Now as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Benchmark Hospitality International, he oversees every property in Benchmark’s diverse portfolio.

  • Ignacio Urbieta Jr. ’85 is the CEO of Medley, Florida-based Urbieta Oil Co. Since Urbieta took the helm in 1987, Urbieta Oil has grown from a $4 million family business into a $450 million company. Entrepreneur Magazine ranked Urbieta Oil #10 in its Hot 500 list of The Fastest Growing Businesses in America. In 2008, Urbieta was awarded the FIU Business School Hall of Fame Builder’s Award. In 2009, he was named FIU Medallion Outstanding Alumnus.

  • Israel Velasco ’88 is the Region Executive for Popular Community Bank in Florida. Mr. Velasco has been in the banking industry for over 26 years, all in South Florida. Long active in the local community, Mr. Velasco is currently serving as follows: Past Chairman and Current Member of the Board of Directors for Junior Achievement of Greater Miami; Lifetime Honorary Member of the Board of Directors for the South Florida Chapter of the March of Dimes; Past Chairman and Current Member of the Board of Directors for the Center for Financial Training in South Florida.

  • Jay Litt ’73 leads Asset Management services and oversees the firms Project Management Services group. Litt has over 40 years experience in hospitality. He previously served as EVP of Operations for Wyndham International and Interstate Hotels, as well as other executive positions in the hospitality industry. His experience ranges from large portfolio oversight involving 3 and 4 star hotels to oversight of world-class luxury resorts. He serves on the board of Florida International University School of Hospitality.

  • Jay Maltby ’75 is president and CEO of Todhunter International.
  • Joanne Gerald ’84 is president of Caremark Rx.
  • John McKibbon ’75, Chairman, has worked in the hotel industry since he was a teenager and is the third generation to run McKibbon Hotel Management, Inc.  He became president in 1992 and began expanding through development with Marriott, Hilton and Starwood. His passion for serving others is evident not only in his business activities but in his community endeavors. John is a past President of the Courtyard by Marriott Franchise Council and the Residence Inn by Marriott Association. He was honored by his alma mater, Florida International University in 2009 with the FIU Medallion for Outstanding Alumnus. John serves on various community boards in Tampa, Florida including Metropolitan Ministries and Florida Health Sciences Center, Inc. (d/b/a Tampa General Hospital).

  • John Kuhlman ’74 is former president of Inter-Continental Hotels.
  • Jorge Gonzalez ’88 is president of City National Bank and has direct responsibility for regional administration and general bank operations including retail banking, business banking and commercial banking activities and he has been in banking for 18 years. He has spent more than 15 years with Wachovia and its predecessors, First Union and Southeast Bank, in increasingly senior positions, principally in the corporate banking area.

  • Jorge Arrizurieta was reappointed by the Florida Board of Governors to the FIU Board of Trustees in 2013. Arrizurieta is chairman and CEO of Arrizurieta & Associates. He was originally appointed to the FIU Board of Trustees in 2007 and now reappointed for a term that ends in January 6, 2018.

  • Jose Merino ’74 founded UNIPOWER Corporation in November of 1988. UNIPOWER is a manufacturer of power supplies and power solutions for electronic OEMs. He sold the company to a private equity group in 1999 and remains as CEO.  Merino also has held positions in materials management, manufacturing management and as corporate director of operations, with responsibility for factories in the United States, Hong Kong, Ireland and the Caribbean, and with subcontractors in South Korea and Singapore.

  • Joseph Caruncho ’81 is the Chief Executive Officer of Preferred Care Partners. He founded the company in 1996 and has overseen its growth from inception to its current status as one of the largest privately owned Medicare plans in Florida. He serves as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Florida International University (FIU) Foundation, and Chairman of the FIU College of Business Dean’s Council. Mr. Caruncho also has received numerous recognitions, including being named by Hispanic Business Magazine in 2007 as one of the top 100 Most Influential Hispanics in the US. In 2005, he was named the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year for the state of Florida in the Healthcare category. In 2004, he was inducted into the FIU College of Business Entrepreneurial Hall of Fame and in 2005, he also was recognized by the South Florida Business Journal as Healthcare CEO of the Year.

  • Juan Garcia ’81 is a Certified Public Accountant licensed in the State of Florida. He currently serves as president of Benihana National Corporation.

  • Juan Miyar ’81 previously served as president of Wackenhut International.

  • Julio Barrionuevo ’85 is senior vice president of operations, Mexico, Central America and Caribbean for the FedEx Express Latin America and Caribbean Division, headquartered in Miami. Before, he was senior vice president and chief financial officer at FedEx Express International, based in Memphis, Tennessee. Barrionuevo has a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering from the University of Miami and an MBA from Florida International University.

  • Justo Pozo ’80 is a co-founder and president of Preferred Care Partners, Inc. He is married to Sylvia (FIU BBA, Marketing, ’82). They have four children: son Justo is an FIU alumnus (FIU BBA, Finance, ’07) along with daughter Carolina (FIU BFA, Theatre ’11); daughter Sylvia was an FIU employee with Alumni Relations.
  • Larry Harris ’81 is the founder and former CEO of Pollo Tropical, the home-grown Miami company specializing in marinated chicken and Latin-style dishes. Harris and his brother Stuart founded Pollo Tropical in 1988. After graduating from FIU, Harris worked with Food Spot, the convenience store from 1982 to 1989. A family business, Food Spot is owned by his father Ernie Harris. Harris serves as director of the corporation. Larry Harris was named Florida Entrepreneur of the Year, by Inc. magazine in 1995. He serves on the President’s Council of FIU.

  • Lawrence Kelleher ’73 is senior vice president, human resources and corporate services of FPL and vice president, human resources of FPL Group. Mr. Kelleher has been a director of FPL since 1990.

  • Luis Perez ’78 serves as principal of his accounting consulting firm. He previously served as managing director for Ricoh and IBM Corporation.

  • Maria Alonso ’91, Program Committee Chair, for The Miami Foundation, is Senior Vice President and Miami and Ft. Lauderdale Market Manager for Corporate Social Responsibility at Bank of America. She is actively involved in the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce, New World School of the Arts, the Miami Dade College Foundation and Teach for America.

  • Marla Schaefer ’74 serves as Co-Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors of Claire’s Stores, Inc. with her sister, Bonnie.

  • Michelle Zubizarreta ’89 is Chief Administrator Officer of Zubi Advertising Services, Inc. She is the daughter of Tere Zubizarreta, founder of the company. She was awarded the 1996 Outstanding Alumni Achievement Award for the College of Arts & Sciences.

  • Mirta “Mikki” Canton ’79 of Gunster, Yoakley & Stewart in Miami was honored as the first Cuban-American woman named to the Women’s Leadership Board at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. Canton also recently received the Lalique Legacy Patron of the Arts Award in recognition of her work on behalf of the Arts in South Florida.

  • Nicholas Bustle ’88 serves as Senior Executive VP of Commercial Banking, overseeing commercial, middle market, small-business banking and commercial real estate services to customers in BankUnited’s Florida footprint.

  • Patricia Dahne ’75 is Regional Vice President at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Florida Realty. She previously served as president of Pat Dahne Realty Group and Regional President of Coldwell Banker. She is a recipient of the 2005 March of Dimes Building Our Community Humanitarian of the Year Award.

  • Regynald Washington ’74 is VP of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts.

  • Richard Pollack ’02 is director of Berkowitz Dick Pollack & Brant in charge of the firm’s Forensic and Business Valuation Services practices. For more than 30 years he has served as a litigation consultant, expert witness, court-appointed expert, forensic accountant and forensic investigator.

  • Robert Bell ’81 is president of Bell Holdings.
  • Robert Gintz ’83 has been Director of Applications Engineering at AMP since June 2013.

  • Roberto Tejidor ’77 is a retired executive.

  • Roberto Capo ’93 is Chief Marketing Officer of El Dorado Furniture.
  • Ronald Book ’74 is President and CEO of Ronald L. Book, P.A., a law firm that specializes in government affairs. He holds a Juris Doctorate degree from Tulane University. Ronald is an active participant in numerous South Florida professional and civic associations and provides pro bono services to the Florida Council Against Sexual Violence, Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital, the Miami-Dade County Homeless Trust; Board Chair of Lauren’s Kids, Overtown Youth Center Board of Directors, and many others.

  • Sandra L. Nusbaum ’81 is Senior VP, Human Resources, for The Wackenhut Corp.

  • Scott Brenner ’81 is a founding principal and the driving force behind Brenner Real Estate Group, and has led the company to a 20-year reputation for excellence. His background as a licensed attorney, real estate broker, mortgage broker, court appointed receiver, and bankruptcy consultant, as well as his strength as a development owner, serves the organization and clients well.

  • Stephanie Burns ’77 is president and chief executive officer of Dow Corning, a multibillion-dollar technology-driven corporation that leads the world in the manufacture of silicone.

  • Sylvia Urlich ’74 is president of Westchester General Hospital.

  • Ward Kellogg ’81 is Chairman and CEO of Paradise Bank. Mr. Kellogg was President and CEO of Admiralty Bank in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida from 1998 until the recent sale of the bank to the Royal Bank of Canada. Prior to Admiralty Bank, Mr. Kellogg served for ten years as the Chief Credit Officer of 1st United Bank in Boca Raton, Florida, until the sale of the bank to Wachovia Bank in 1998. Mr. Kellogg works closely with the other Executives to make all the daily decisions to operate the bank. Mr. Kellogg is also Chairman of the Board for Sunrise Bank in Cocoa Beach, Florida. Mr. Kellogg received his B.B.A from FIU in 1981.

Community Leaders & Philanthropists

  • Betty Perry ’74 is a philanthropist.
  • Jayne Abess ’77 and her husband, Leonard Abess Jr, have long been big contributors to local organizations, such as the Greater Miami Jewish Federation and Mount Sinai Medical Centre.

  • Marleine Bastien ’86 is a political activist and social worker.
  • Olga Garay-English ’82 is Former Director of Los Angeles’ Department of Cultural Affairs.

Industry & Professional Leaders

  • Albert Santalo ’97 founded CareCloud in 2009 with the vision of becoming a health care IT leader focused on eliminating waste and inefficiency in the health care industry.  He previously founded Avisena, a software-enabled health care revenue cycle management company, and worked at The Hackett Group/Answerthink. Santalo holds an MBA from Florida International University and is a member of the Board of Directors for the College of Business.

  • Alfredo Salas ’83 is president and CEO of Koning Restaurants International, which owns the largest number of U.S. Pizza Hut franchises. He is also the first Hispanic owner of a restaurant certified by the Green Restaurant Association.

  • Carole Bernstein ’74 combined theory and practical application from her master’s degree in educational administration and her Ph.D. in elementary education to create Get Smart for teachers and parents who were searching for education materials to enhance their children’s development. What began with a dream and $2,000 has expanded into a multi-million dollar company with stores in Miami-Dade to Palm Beach County.

  • James F. O’Brien ’92 is a computer graphics researcher and professor of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley. In 2015 he received an award for Scientific and Technical Achievement from Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences.
  • Jose Valdes-Fauli ’77 is a veteran of the banking industry and has held leadership positions as CEO and President at Beach Bank, Eastern National Bank, and Colonial Bank. Valdes-Fauli graduated from FIU with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration in 1975 and previously served on the FIU Foundation Board for ten years beginning in 1999. He is a recipient of FIU’s Alumni Association Torch Award for Community Leadership and the Presidential Medallion for Outstanding Alumni.

  • Mark J. Militello ’78 is chef/owner of Mark’s Las Olas Limited.

  • Ruben King-Shaw Jr. ’86 is Managing Partner and Chief Investment Officer at Mansa Capital. He also Chairs the firm’s Investment Committee. Ruben directs the firm’s deal sourcing activities, oversees the firm’s value creation strategies and manages the firm’s Investor Relations functions. King-Shaw Jr. holds two degrees from FIU, a Master’s of Health Services Administration (’86) and a Master’s of International Business (’87).

  • Susan Fixel ’78 is founder of LTM International.

Media Professionals

  • Belkys Nerey ’89 started her television career as a reporter for a South Florida cable station. She was a “one-man band” for more than two years (shooting her own video and editing her own stories), before heading for Connecticut to take a job as general assignment reporter for WTNH-8, the ABC affiliate in New Haven. It wasn’t long before she was covering some of the market’s biggest stories, often beating the competition convincingly because she could speak Spanish. During her nine-year tenure at Miami’s WSVN, Belkys has covered major news stories and, up until recently, co-anchored the pop-culture driven Deco Drive. Now she anchors the 5, 6, 10 and 11pm newscasts, alongside Craig Stevens.

  • Dianne Festa ’84 is manager of NBC News.
  • Elizabeth Balmaseda ’81 is a Pulitzer Prize winner.

  • Jackie Nespral is an American television anchor for WTVJ-TV, the NBC owned and operated station in Miami. Nespral grew up in the Little Havana area of Miami, attended St. Brendan High School and graduated in the class of 1984. Nespral began her entertainment and television career as a college student at the University of Miami, where she was elected Orange Bowl Queen in Miami in 1985 and 1986 and was also inducted into UM’s Iron Arrow Honor Society. She graduated from the University of Miami with degrees in psychology and communications. Following her graduation from the University of Miami, Nespral went on to complete a degree in print and broadcast journalism at FIU.

  • Lorena Estrada ’10 is a reporter for Fox affiliate WSVN 7 News Miami.
  • Manual Garcia ’90 is the editor for the Naples Daily News and a Pulitzer Prize winner.

  • Princell Hair ’00 is general manager at CNN.
  • Raul de Quesada ’74 is an award-winning executive with experience in the Latin American and U.S. Hispanic markets, de Quesada is currently Senior Vice President for Hispanic Networks and Assistant General Manager, FOX Deportes. In this capacity, he has been instrumental in the growth and success of the Hispanic cable portfolio at FOX. FOX Deportes now reaches more than 18 million cable and satellite households in the United States. Raúl joined Fox Sports International in 1998 as Director of Marketing and Communications. Due to his professionalism, dedication and results-oriented strategies, he has risen to become one of the top Hispanic executives within the Fox Cable Television Networks.

  • Steve Tello ’79 is a television executive with over 3 decades of experience working in television news and sports. He currently holds the position of Senior Vice President and General Manager of FOX Sports Florida, a unit of the Fox Entertainment Group. Steve Tello graduated from Florida International University with a BA degree in Journalism and Communications. He returned to the school as an adjunct to teach television production and TV journalism and remained involved with the school while living in Miami.

Political Office & Governmental Services

  • Judge Barbara Lagoa ’89 was a member of Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society at FIU. She received her JD from Columbia University where she served as an Associate Editor of the Columbia Law Review. Currently, she serves on the Board of Directors for the YWCA of Greater Miami and Dade County, the Film Society of Miami, Kristi House, and the FIU Alumni Association. She is married to Paul C. Huck, Jr., an attorney.

  • Carlos Álvarez ’74 is a Cuban American politician, and the former mayor of Miami-Dade County. He was first elected mayor in 2004, and re-elected in 2008. He graduated from the FBI National Academy in 1986 and served in the Miami-Dade Police Department becoming director in 1997 until the end of his tenure in 2004.

  • Cecilia Maria Altonaga ’83 is a Florida United States district court judge. She is the first Cuban-American woman to be appointed as a federal judge in the U.S. She has been noted as a strong supporter of the FIU College of Law where she served as the keynote speaker in its 2004 Convocation.

  • Ileana C. Ros-Lehtinen ’75 is the most senior Republican woman in the U.S. House, and was the first Republican woman from Florida elected to the House of Representatives. Additionally, upon her election she became the first Hispanic woman elected to the United States Congress. She is also chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

  • Katherine Vargas ’04 is the Director of Hispanic Media at the White House. She spearheads efforts to engage Hispanic media, coordinating with all federal agencies on promoting the President’s agenda with the Hispanic community. Katherine has been at the forefront of immigration reform efforts for almost a decade.
  • Manuel Diaz ’77 is a Cuban-American politician who served as the mayor of Miami, Florida from 2001-2009. His daughter, Natalie, recently received her MPH with honors from FIU. His son, Robert, is currently pursuing a political science degree.

  • Mercedes Viana Schlapp ’94 is the co-founder of Cove Strategies, a governmental and public affairs firms based in Alexandria, Virginia. She is a political commentator for U.S. News and has appeared in a variety of TV shows as a Republican strategist. She was the first FIU graduate to have a full-time position in the White House. Mrs. Schlapp also served as a spokesperson for President George W. Bush.