President’s message – Monday June 1, 2009

Dear members of the university community:

As we prepare for the Board of Trustees budget workshop scheduled for this morning, we find new and unexpected elements factoring into our decision-making process regarding program closures.

As you may have read in the media, His Holiness the Dalai Lama has come forward with a generous pledge of $100,000 to help sustain the religious studies department. Most importantly, he has offered to help us raise the rest of the funds necessary to save the program. A letter proposing how His Holiness can help has been sent to him.

Professor Nathan Katz, who is a friend of the Dalai Lama, and responsible for bringing him to our campus twice in the last 10 years, originally asked him for a letter of support. The Dalai Lama’s generous offer makes us all proud. Clearly he sees great value in what we do, respects our faculty and views FIU as an institution that can make a difference in global affairs.

Since in normal times an endowment pays out 5 percent, about $13 million is needed in the endowment to match the savings generated by closing — $660,000. We have a short-term goal of $4 million.

Because Florida has a major gift matching program, an endowment of about $4 million would be matched by the state and this would bring the endowment to $8 million, which would put us on our way to saving the department.

As our university transitions from being a public university to being a publicly-assisted university, external support like the one offered by the Dalai Lama will be increasingly central to our success.

Today we are announcing a lead gift to our College of Medicine that will make it possible for us to educate our students and serve our community at the same time.

The Green Family Foundation has given us a gift of $5 million that is eligible for the State of Florida’s Major Gifts Challenge Grant Program, making its total impact $10 million. The money will be used to establish the Green Family Medicine & Society Program Endowment to support Medicine & Society, a groundbreaking four-year curriculum at the College of Medicine. The curriculum includes NeighborhoodHELPTM, a program through which medical students will work with colleagues in other disciplines to help families in some of South Florida’s underserved neighborhoods.

At FIU we have a long history of doing great things for the community together with the Green family. This latest example of their generosity and vision will impact generations of doctors and patients in deep and meaningful ways – in South Florida and beyond.

The Green family and its foundation are longtime champions of local higher education and FIU. For more than two decades, they have supported FIU’s Patricia and Phillip Frost Art Museum by underwriting the Steven & Dorothea Green Critics’ Lecture Series. In 1997, a $2.5 million gift by the Greens established endowments for the museum and the Green Library at University Park, which FIU named after Steven and Dorothea Green in recognition of their generosity.

We look forward to a long and mutually fulfilling relationship with the Green Family.

Board of Trustees Budget workshop

Our Trustees are meeting today to discuss our proposed budget reduction plan, which we shared with you recently at the Town Hall Meeting.
The specifics of the plan, which is still a work in progress, can be found in the Town Hall meeting presentation, which is similar to what the trustees will see today. We will also discuss the feedback we received from the Faculty Senate, which officially opposed the closure of three programs: religious studies, recreation and sports management and athletic training. The Senate also recommended a delay in the reorganization of five degree programs in the College of Education. We will get input and advice from our trustees and based on the discussion, will present a budget for their approval at the June 12 meeting that responds to a $19.6 million reduction required in our 2009-2010 budget.

Our budget process is not final until June 12. Therefore, your continued involvement is still welcome and appreciated. Please send your ideas to

Modesto A. Maidique