FIU to induct community leaders as Honorary Alumni

MIAMI – Florida International University designated 10 state and local leaders as Honorary Alumni in recognition of their steadfast support of FIU. 

As Honorary Alumni, those chosen have been given lifetime membership in the FIU Alumni Association and all privileges associated with that membership. They will be recognized at a luncheon on Tuesday June 20th at 11:30 a.m. at the Ronald W. Reagan Presidential House, 11200 S.W. 8th street in west Miami-Dade County.

“We look forward to welcoming these leaders as honorary FIU alumni,” said President Modesto A. Maidique. “Their contributions to this university and this community have been far reaching and we are honored to have them become part of our family.”

The 10 chosen have been some of the university’s most committed supporters, who did not graduate from the institution, but who have shown dedication, commitment, generosity of spirit, and social conscience through their contributions to FIU. 

“These leaders have believed in FIU and its mission even when this university was not their Alma matter,” said FIU Alumni Association President Jose M. Perez de Corcho. “In inducting them into the alumni family, we extend our deepest gratitude for their tireless support.”

The Honorary Alumni were nominated by President Maidique and the FIU Alumni Association and their designation was presented to the FIU Board of Trustees for ratification on June 12th.

The honorees are:

The Honorable Jeffrey Atwater
Senate President
Florida Senate
Jeff Atwater is a fifth generation Floridian shaped by a family long committed to serving their neighbors, their state and their country. “My values were shaped by my parents,” says Atwater. He earned an MBA from the University of Florida, and has more than 25 years of community banking experience. He was elected to the Florida House of Representatives in 2000 and two years later earned a seat in the Florida Senate, representing parts of Broward and Palm Beach County. He was elected Senate President in 2008. Atwater has been an active member of the community, serving on several advisory boards such as the United Way of Palm Beach County, Boy Scouts of America, 5‐Star Magnet Program of Palm Beach Gardens High School and Roger Dean Stadium. He also served on the Board of Directors of the Northern Palm Beaches Chamber of Commerce and the Children’s Home Society of Broward County. Atwater lives in North Palm Beach with his wife, Carole, and their four children.

Betty B. Chapman
Betty Chapman is the widow of the late Alvah Chapman, former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Knight Ridder. The Chapman family has a long relationship with Florida International University, beginning with its establishment. Through the cultivation of this relationship, FIU has honored the Chapman family whenever there has been an opportunity to recognize the family’s support of the institution: The graduate school in the College of Business Administration is named after Alvah Chapman and the student plaza on Maidique Campus bears Betty Chapman’s name.

John Dasburg
Member, Florida Board of Governors
ASTAR Air Cargo
John Dasburg is the Chairman, President, Chief Executive Officer and co‐owner of ASTAR Air Cargo, Inc. Previously, he served as Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Burger King Corporation, spearheading the turnaround of the company that culminated in its 2002 sale. Dasburg has served on the Board of Governors of the State University System of Florida since 2003. Involved in numerous boards and civic organizations, Dasburg serves on the Board of Directors for The Travelers Companies and The Mayo Foundation. He is a former member of the Board of Directors for KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Northwest Airlines, and Winn Dixie Stores, Inc. In 1991, he was appointed by President George H.W. Bush to the White House Fellows Committee. Dasburg earned a bachelor’s degree in Engineering, master’s degree in business administration and a law degree from the University of Florida.

The Honorable Mario Diaz-Balart
Florida‘s 25th Congressional District
After serving 14 years in the Florida State Legislature, Mario Diaz-Balart was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2002 to represent Florida’s 25th Congressional District, which includes part of Miami-Dade, Collier and Monroe Counties. Since his start in Congress, Diaz-Balart has served on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and was recently appointed to serve as the Ranking Member of the Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management Subcommittee. He also serves on the Water Resources and Environment Subcommittee and the Highways and Transit Subcommittee. His other committee assignments include the Budget Committee and the Science and Technology Committee. Diaz-Balart was born in Ft. Lauderdale, FL and attended the University of South Florida in Tampa, where he studied Political Science before beginning his public service career as an aide to then City of Miami Mayor Xavier Suarez in 1985. The Congressman lives in Miami, FL with his wife and son.

Albert E. Dotson, Sr.
Member, FIU Board of Trustees
Puryear, Inc.
Albert Dotson, Sr. is chairman and CEO of Puryear, Inc., a consulting firm. As a business and community leader, his work in support of higher education in South Florida has been widely recognized. Dotson has served on the Committees responsible for appointing the last two university presidents (the first search resulted in the selection of Dr. Modesto A. Maidique in 1986). He is an inaugural member of the FIU Board of Trustees and soon will serve as the board’s chairman. He also serves as Chair of the Athletics Workgroup and Vice Chair of the Academic Policy Committee and is an ex-officio member for the FIU Foundation, Inc. Board of Directors. He is member of the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce Board of Governors and serves on the boards of Barry University and the Dade County Fair and Exposition. Dotson has also been involved in a number of other civic organizations, serving as 1998 president of the Orange Bowl Committee, and in leadership roles with the NAACP, Salvation Army, Perrine Cutler Ridge Council and Baptist Health Systems of South Florida. He attended Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan, and was awarded an honorary doctorate from Barry University in 1998.

Dany Garcia
Member, FIU Foundation, Inc. Board of Directors
JDM Partners LLC
Dany Garcia is Founder and Chief Executive Officer of JDM Partners, LLC, an investment advisory firm specializing in providing counsel to high net worth individuals, families and corporations. The firm, which she founded in 2002, provides traditional investment advisory services as well as alternative investment opportunities through the Legacy Partners Growth Fund LTD., an equity only hedge fund, JDM Development, the real estate investment arm of the firm, and JDM Entertainment, which focuses on investment opportunities within the entertainment industry. She earned a bachelors degree in International Marketing and Finance from the University of Miami and currently serves on the university’s Board of Trustees. Garcia is the Founder and President of the Beacon Experience, A Foundation for Success, and co-founder and vice president of the Dwayne Johnson Sock Foundation. She has been a member of the FIU Foundation Board of Directors since April 2006, and currently serves as Vice Chair for the Investment Special Committee. Garcia resides in Broward County with her daughter Simone Johnson.

Noel J. Guillama
Treasurer, FIU Foundation, Inc. Board of Directors
The Quantum Group
Noel J. Guillama is Founder, Chairman, President and CEO of The Quantum Group of Companies, which include The Quantum Group (NYSE Amex: QGP), Renaissance Health Systems and Quantum Innovations. Quantum is an innovation driven healthcare solutions organization (HSO) that provides business process solutions, service chain management, strategic consulting and leading edge technology to the healthcare industry. Guillama is a nationally recognized expert in healthcare management and operations and is the creator of 14 patent applications related to healthcare processes and innovations. He has participated in a number of public companies as merchant banker, principal shareholder, founder or strategic advisor, primarily in healthcare, construction, real estate and technology. Guillama serves on the Executive Committee of the Patient-Centered Primary Care Collaborative and is a member of the American College of Health Care Executives, the Healthcare and Information Management Systems Society (HIMSS), the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA), and the American College of Medical Practice Executives (ACMPE). Guillama has served on the FIU Foundation Board of Directors since November 2002 and currently serves as Treasurer as well as Chair for the Finance & Audit and Investment committees. Guillama was born in Havana, Cuba and has been a resident of Palm Beach County, Florida for more than 30 years.

Benjamín León, Jr.
Chairman & CEO
León Medical Centers, Inc.
Benjamín León, Jr., is a visionary in the healthcare field and has been making a difference in the lives of seniors and families of Miami-Dade County for more than four decades. A native of Oriente, Cuba, León, Jr. has long been involved with the care of Miami-Dade’s elder population since his emigration in the 1960s. After serving as consultant to the Clínica Asociación Cubana (CAC), he founded León Medical Centers in the mid 1990’s, offering health care services that are sensitive to the cultural nuances of the Hispanic Medicare population in Miami-Dade County. In 2009, he established the Benjamin León, Jr. Family Center for Geriatric Research and Education and the León Medical Centers Eminent Scholars Chair in Geriatrics at FIU’s Wertheim College of Medicine. León, Jr. also serves on the College of Medicine’s Advisory Board.

Carolyn K. Roberts
Member, Florida Board of Governors
Roberts Real Estate, Inc.
Carolyn K. Roberts is a resident of Ocala and president of Roberts Real Estate, Inc. In 1987, Gov. Bob Martinez appointed Roberts to the Florida Real Estate Commission, a regulatory board for all real estate licensees in Florida. She served on that board until 1989, when Governor Martinez appointed her to a six-year term on the Florida Board of Regents. Roberts served as vice chair and chair of the Florida Board of Regents and was reappointed by Governor Bush. In 2001, Governor Bush appointed her to the Florida Board of Education. In 2003, the Governor appointed her to the newly created Florida Board of Governors. She was elected vice chair and subsequently elected as chair. Roberts serves on the Shands Health Care Systems Board and on the President’s Council for the University of Florida. She has served as chair of the University of Florida Foundation and on the board of Gator Boosters, Inc. Roberts is an honorary member of Florida Blue Key. Roberts received her undergraduate degree in business management from Florida Southern College in 1969.

The Honorable Natacha Seijas
Miami-Dade County Commissioner
District 13
Natacha Seijas was elected to the Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners in 1993, becoming the first Hispanic woman to sit on the County Commission. She previously served on the Hialeah City Council from 1987 to 1993. Commissioner Seijas currently serves as Chairwoman of the Governmental Operations and Environment Committee and in January 2006 was appointed Chairwoman of the Jay Malina International Trade Consortium, which is the official county agency responsible for developing and promoting two-way international trade through the Port of Miami and Miami International Airport. In 2003, the commissioner was appointed to the Children’s Trust by the Board of County Commissioners, where she served until January 2005. She is also a past Chair of the South Florida Regional Planning Council and past Convening Chair of the Women’s Hemispheric Conference. Commissioner Seijas was born in Havana, Cuba, immigrating to the United States in the late 1950’s. She has three children, three grandchildren and one great grandchild. Professionally, she is Vice President of the YMCA of Greater Miami.



 About FIU:

Florida International University was founded in 1965 and is Miami’s only public research university. With a student body of more than 38,000, FIU graduates more Hispanics than any other university in the country. Its 17 colleges and schools offer more than 200 bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral programs in fields such as engineering, international relations and law. FIU has been classified by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching as a “High Research Activity University.” In 2006 FIU was authorized to establish a medical school, which will welcome its first class in 2009. FIU’s College of Law recently received accreditation in the fastest time allowed by the American Bar Association.

Comments are closed.