Neon-clad people and electronic music filled the streets of downtown Miami this past Saturday thanks to the Ultra Music Festival, but the real excitement was inside the nearby JW Marriott Marquis, where the FIU community came together to honor remarkable alumni and faculty at the 12th annual Torch Awards ceremony.
“This is a joyous occasion that captures the hope, the spirit and the accomplishments of our graduates,” said President Mark B. Rosenberg as he welcomed attendees. “This gathering, ultimately, is a celebration of our values.”
The traditional gold and blue event is held by the Alumni Association to commend university graduates and faculty who have been outstanding in their communities and professional fields.
The spirit of camaraderie and excitement was evident at the event, which also provided a chance for alumni to reunite with old friends and professors.
“I am so grateful for the opportunity that I was given through the College of Law to come back and spend some time with my fellow alumni,” said award recipient MacAdam Glinn JD ’07.
“It’s great to reconnect with my old professor Rocco Angelo,” added John McKibbon ’75, a graduate of the Chaplin School of Hospitality and Tourism Management, who also was honored.
This year, the event featured a new twist: a charity casino that encouraged attendees to play blackjack, Caribbean stud poker, craps and roulette to raise funds for scholarships and a future alumni center.
“I am up for winning some free prizes and for seeing everyone in a competitive and cooperative spirit,” said Hilary Landorf, an associate professor and director of Global Learning, recipient of the Outstanding Faculty Award.
But perhaps the most poignant aspect of the gala was the feeling of pride all awardees expressed for their alma mater.
“It’s always amazing to me to hear how much has been accomplished by FIU alumni in such a short period of time,” Glinn said. “It really has become a distinguished institution.”