FIU honors outstanding alumni and faculty at 13th Torch Awards Gala

The Florida International University Alumni Association will recognize notable alumni and influential members of the university community during the 13th Annual Torch Awards Gala at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 8, 2014 at the JW Marriott Marquis, 255 Biscayne Boulevard Way in Miami, Fla.


The Torch Awards represent the highest honor conferred by FIU to a graduate. The recipients serve as “torchbearers” or leaders who exemplify the best of the university and serve as an inspiration to all. 

This year, the FIU Alumni Association will honor the following individuals:

  • FIU Alumnus of the Year: Gerald C. Grant, Jr. ’78, MBA ’89 branch director of financial planning, AXA Advisors
  • Charles E. Perry Young Alumni Visionary Award: Katherine Vargas ’04 director of Hispanic media,  the White House
  • Community Leadership Award: James S. Rosa ’78 director of Staff, United States Liaison Office
  • Outstanding Faculty Award: Gustavo Roig, PhD professor, FIU
  • Distinguished Alumni Awards:
    • Mayor Barbara M. Sharief ’97, MS ’00 mayor and District 8 commissioner, Broward County Board of Commissioners
    • Pamela Silva Conde ’03, MBA ’12 news anchor, Univision Network
    • Marlene M. Liriano ’89 vice president and director of Interior Design, HOK
    • Gregory Bossart, PhD ’95 senior vice president and chief veterinary officer, Georgia Aquariums
    • Ernie Diaz ’89 Florida regional president, TD Bank
    • Francisco Martin ’93 head men’s basketball coach, University of South Carolina
    • Carlos Duart, CPA ’94, MS ’99 Chairman and CEO, Duart Enterprises Inc.
    • Ana Menéndez ’92 docent, Maastricht University
    • Louis Stervinou ’87 managing director and partner, Eastdil Secured
    • Abraham Ovadia, Esq. ’09 shareholder, Florida PIP Law Firm, PA
    • Dr. Vivian Obeso ’94 assistant dean for curriculum and medical education, FIU College of Medicine
    • Timothy E. D. McLaughlin-Munroe ’02 public health surveillance officer and deputy national epidemiologist, Public Health Department-Health Services Authority

The black tie optional event will feature a roaring twenties theme and kick off with a cocktail reception in the Grand Metropolitan Ballroom, followed by dinner and the awards ceremony at 7:30 p.m. The event will end with a night of dancing and charity casino games. For more information, visit