Your major can reveal much about your beliefs. When Paul Carl Velez ’75, MPA ’77 graduated with a bachelor’s degree in social work, followed two years later with a Master of Science in Management-Public Administration — both within five years of FIU opening its doors — Velez must have already held a deep concern for public health and the well-being of our society.
After teaching adult education in Miami-Dade County Public Schools, he turned his attention to the health of South Florida and its communities by joining Borinquen Medical Centers, which offer everything from comprehensive primary health care to treatment in specialized areas of medicine and dentistry to community and school-based outreach and prevention programs. He also served on the board of directors, as vice president for four years, and for approximately 12 years as board chairperson.
Now, as president & CEO of Borinquen Medical Centers, Velez has continued his devotion to community well-being by giving back to the university that prepared him for his career.
“FIU and Borinquen Medical Centers have a natural alignment because of our mutually shared commitment to serve our Hispanic/Latino community,” Velez said.
This double Panther has leveraged every dollar in an effort to benefit two university programs.
A $50,000 gift from Borinquen Health Care Center, Inc. will create a scholarship within the Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine. The Borinquen Health Care Center scholarship endowment will enable medical students to defray the high costs and financial burdens faced by aspiring doctors. It will help form a pipeline of FIU-educated expertise for the health care community.
The second gift of $25,000 will benefit the Maurice A. Ferré Institute for Civic Leadership. Named for the first Puerto Rican-born U.S. mayor and the first Latino mayor of Miami, the institute has a mission to advance civic leadership and engagement, social justice, and inclusive civil infrastructure. The gift will advance the Ferré Institute’s research, educational programming, events and staffing.
“The College of Medicine and the Ferré Institute both align with Borinquen’s commitment to social justice,” he said.
Since he is an FIU alumnus, Velez’s gift qualifies for the FIU Alumni Challenge, which matches alumni contributions ranging from $50 to $25,000 dollar to dollar.
Velez was recognized with a certificate of appreciation from the Miami-Dade County Office of the Mayor and Board and County Commissioners — presented by Mayor Daniella Levine-Cava — for his generous endowment to the Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine and gift to the Ferré Institute during the Hispanic Heritage Celebration at FIU’s Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum Sept. 10.
Velez has also been recognized by the House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico for his outstanding commitment and dedication to serving the communities of South Florida.
— By Kenneth Setzer MA ’97