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Million-dollar endowment to foster a culture of equal opportunity


Patrick J. Russell, a long-time member of the FIU family, has made a $1 million planned gift to support initiatives that benefit lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning and ally (LGBTQA) students.

Russell’s gift will empower the Division of Student Affairs to implement national best practices that support LGBTQA students. The money will be used to support the division’s current LGBTQA programming and expansion of its initiatives.

From left to right: Steven Schwartz, FIU’s director of estate and planned giving; Larry Lunsford, FIU’s vice president for Student Affairs; Patrick Russell; Rosa Jones, former vice president for Student Affairs; Mark B. Rosenberg, FIU president; and Howard Lipman, senior vice president of FIU advancement.

From left to right: Steven Schwartz, FIU’s director of estate and planned giving; Larry Lunsford, FIU’s vice president for Student Affairs; Patrick Russell; Rosa Jones, former vice president for Student Affairs; Mark B. Rosenberg, FIU president; and Howard Lipman, senior vice president of FIU advancement.

“This gift from Patrick strengthens FIU’s commitment to its LGBTQA community,” said FIU President Mark B. Rosenberg. “Promoting advocacy and diversity among our student body, faculty and staff is one of our core values.”

During his 30 years at FIU, Russell served in various roles including the director of cooperative education, assistant dean of students and director of Broward programs, and always was an advocate of LGBTQA rights. He retired in 2006.

“I want LGBTQA students everywhere to experience the same rights as everyone else—academic freedom and freedom of expression in a safe environment,” said Russell. “I want them to feel secure in themselves, safe, and most of all, included.”

The endowment will help FIU provide a range of educational and social programs, lectures, academic courses, and leadership development opportunities for students.

“Patrick’s gift is the largest FIU’s Division of Student Affairs has ever received,” said FIU’s Vice President for Student Affairs Larry Lunsford. “FIU’s LGBTQA initiatives have come a long way, but there are miles to go and Patrick will help get us there.”