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Endowment establishes the Stephen M. Fain Medal

Endowment establishes the Stephen M. Fain Medal

Named in honor of FIU's longest-serving employee, the Fain Medal will recognize faculty who have advanced the university's mission

February 27, 2023 at 9:36am

Peter Fain remembers it well. Growing up in Kendall, he and his sister were on campus often with their father, Stephen Fain, an original member of the university's faculty, hired before FIU even opend its doors to students. Over the years, they attended scores of events, walked the halls of new buildings, sat in on their father's classes and got to know faculty, staff and students. They heard stories of FIU’s beginnings on the grounds of an old executive airport and witnessed the development of a dynamic public institution. 

Now, the Fain family has made a gift that will enable their father's legacy to live on by establishing the Stephen M. Fain Endowment.

The endowment will fund an annual award to recognize outstanding performance by an FIU faculty member in advancing the university's mission and encouraging the continued development of exceptional initiatives. Each awardee will be presented with the Fain Medal at Faculty Convocation and receive $10,000. Additionally, award recipients will have their names displayed on the Fain Fellows plaques in the Steven and Dorothea Green and Glenn Hubert libraries.

"My father’s dedication to helping students, faculty and the surrounding communities grow and advance aligns perfectly with what the university stands for. We are excited to mark his retirement in a way that perpetuates his beliefs and to thank FIU for the opportunities it has provided him and our family," Peter said. "For more than 51 years he was a role model to us and to those who worked alongside him at FIU. His commitment, compassion and loyalty to FIU showed in everything he did both on and off the FIU campus."

Fain, who retired last month, joined the faculty in 1971 as an assistant professor in the School of Education. In 2004, he was awarded the FIU Distinguished Service Medallion, and the following year he received a Torch Award from the FIU Alumni Association. He was named professor emeritus in 2006 and is the founding director of FIU's faculty and staff Ignite fundraising campaign, which he continues to serve as a volunteer.

"When I came to this place, I always thought we would be a major 21st-century university," Steve said. "That was based on my belief that the faculty would embrace the vision articulated by [founding president] Chuck Perry and play a major role in the development of the University. I am proud and grateful to my children for this endowment, and I am pleased that this award will recognize and celebrate the contributions of faculty who play a significant role in shaping the University."