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Alumni heading back to the classroom for Panther Alumni Week


It’s been 25 years since Gerald Grant, Jr., has been a student, but next week the Board of Trustees member will return to the classroom to share career advice and lessons learned with approximately 200 finance students in FIN 3403. Grant, who is the branch director of financial planning for AXA Advisors, LLC – South Florida Branch, is making the visit as part of the Alumni Association’s inaugural Panther Alumni Week, Feb. 3-7.

floor stickersBilled as a week of service, the event will give alumni an opportunity to interact with — and hopefully inspire — today’s students.

The initiative is the brainchild of Grant, who remembers when working professionals would come back to his high school to speak with students. “Those visits motivated me.”

More than 130 alumni will speak with students taking First Year Experience classes and students in subject-specific classes. In addition, the College of Law, Robert Stempel College of Public Health and Social Work, and Athletics will host panel discussions while the College of Architecture + The Arts will host a lecture by alumnus Ivan Bernal. All four events are free and open to the public. (For details of the panel discussions and lecture, see below.)

“I think this can have a meaningful impact across the entire university,” says Alumni Association Executive Director Duane Wiles.

While not unique, the formula is a winner: Share your hard-earned wisdom and advice and let the students ask questions.

“I hope the students will gain a better perspective on the careers they’ve chosen as a result of PAW,” says Grant, a former president of the Alumni Association, of the initiative. As someone who has been involved for years with the university through his service on numerous boards and his philanthropic efforts, he says it’s not just the students who will benefit from the interaction.

“This will give our faculty an opportunity to nurture relationships that can be further developed in the future. And in terms of our alumni, those of us who have gotten involved know that when you give back, it’s amazing. You get back more than you give. I would love for more alumni to experience that feeling.”

The following PAW panel discussions and lecture are free and open to all:

  • Monday, Feb. 3, 6 p.m.: Careers After Sports – Panelists are former FIU scholar-athletes; location – Stadium Club, MMC.
  • Tuesday, Feb. 4, 6-7:30 p.m.: Keeping the Work/Life Balance and Entering the Profession and the Importance of Networking – Panelists are alumni from the College of Law and will conduct these discussions back-to-back; location – RDB 1000, MMC.
  • Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2-3:30 p.m.: Beyond the Degree – Network Matters – Panelists are alumni from the Robert Stempel College of Public Health and Social Work; location – GC 243, MMC.
  • Thursday, Feb. 6, 5-6:30 p.m.: Familiar Primitives – This lecture will be given by CARTA and School of Architecture alumnus Ivan Bernal; location – PCA 135, MMC.

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