FIU alumni from around the country gathered Saturday in Washington, D.C., as part of an historic weekend in the nation’s capital. The guest of honor at the special event organized by the FIU In D.C. Alumni Chapter and the Office of Governmental Relations was alumnus Richard Blanco ’91, MFA ’97, the inaugural poet for President Obama’s swearing-in ceremony.
Blanco shared with the group stories of his years at FIU and how the university helped shape his life. He mentioned some of his dearest friends from FIU, Professor Campbell McGrath in the Creative Writing Program, History Professor Darden Pyron and his longtime friend, painter and Honors College Professor John Bailly. He also read three poems.
The FIU Alumni Association and FIU in D.C. Alumni Chapter organized the event to bring together the wide network of graduates and friends of the university who work in Washington, know Blanco or simply wanted to be part of the special weekend. The event was held at FIU’s Washington office, across from the Capitol, and has a direct view of the inaugural platform.
“This is an historic moment for FIU with one of our own taking the stage beside the president,” said Carlos Becerra ’98, director of Federal Relations. “It was important for us to come together here and celebrate together.”
Other special guests at the FIU reception included Board of Trustees Chairman Emeritus Al Dotson, Congressman Joe Garcia, Alumni leaders Jason Poblete, Poblete Tamargo LLP; Willy Ramos, director of Intergovernmental Affairs for the U.S. Department of Commerce; and Midy Aponte, executive director of the American Latino Heritage Fund.
–Deborah O’Neil MA ’09