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Chair’s Message

June 27, 2018

Dear President’s Council Members,

As the fiscal year comes to a close, I am excited to share some university updates and an overview of this past year with you.

President's Council Strategic Planning Session

Last week, we held our Strategic Planning Session with President Rosenberg. To those of you who were able to join us, thank you for attending. Many of you even joined us via conference line. For those of you who could not attend, we would like to share this summary.

President Rosenberg shared his University 3.0 vision based on impact, responsibility and life long learning. Here are some pillars of his vision:

  • Experiential ecosystem and brand affinity
  • Cognitive measures of knowledge and learning
  • Automated matching of interests, capabilities and opportunities
  • Personalized variable education pathways
  • Variable measures of competency and certification
  • Focus on:
    • Cultural agility
    • Entrepreneurship
    • Internships
    • Cognitive capacities
    • Systems thinking
    • High tech and high touch
    • Creating good jobs
    • Combating the brain drain
    • Talent retention

To view the president's PowerPoint presentation, please click here. You also can view the graduation video he shared here.

The president requested feedback from us as his council in terms of what University 3.0 should be. If you have feedback, please send it to so the External Relations Team can compile everyone’s feedback and share it with President Rosenberg.

We also had three guest presentations: Bob Hacker, Cofounder and Director of StartUP FIU; Damian Estrada, CEO of Mandatum, a startup for cohort 4; and James Knapp, Executive Director of Strategic Partnerships for the FIU Office of Engagement. We had the opportunity to learn how startups are nurtured at StartUP FIU and had the opportunity to hear Damian’s success story. James walked us through the Talent Development Network and explained the importance of working through this portal in order to bring quality, paid internships to our students. To see the video he shared with us, please click here. If you are interested in posting an internship opportunity through this innovative system, please contact Barbie Galvez 305-348-4111 or

FIU President Rosenberg at an event having a discussion with an attendee
A Panel Discussion at an Event

President's Council Year In Review

This past year has flown in the blink of an eye. As one of the four premier boards at FIU, we have come together to accomplish incredible things for our FIU.

Over the summer, our Worlds Ahead Faculty Award Committee was hard at work deliberating over their top candidates, conducting interviews and then discussing who among these incredible professors should receive this prestigious award. In the end, Allan Rosenbaum from the Green School of International and Public Affairs was selected. Dr. Rosenbaum decided to pay it forward and donated his entire monetary award of $15,000 to scholarships at the Green School. Talk about Worlds Ahead!

Alan Rosenbaum Headshot

In the Fall, we celebrated Homecoming together, enjoyed a wonderful Oktoberfest showcase from the Chaplin School of Hospitality and Tourism Management, worked with Governmental Relations on an Advocacy Briefing, hosted the City of Hialeah Gardens at an RH Salon with Governmental Relations and went bowling all the way to St. Petersburg to cheer on our football team and coaches! Go Panthers!!!

President Rosenberg at a President's Council Event

FIU bowl attendees in the bus

President Rosenberg Addressing a crowd at an event

Bowl Attendees with a balloon art roary

In the spring, we kicked off the new year with a bang by hosting PepsiCo at the President’s home for a $25,000 check presentation for Fostering Panther Pride. In April, we traveled for the first time ever to Washington, D.C. As a team, we were able to get a taste of life on the hill and what it means to advocate for our FIU at the federal level.

Presentation of check

PC group in DC

PC Members in DC

Three President's Council Members in DC

President's Council members in a meeting at FIU DC

PC Members in DC

Presentation of check

President Rosenberg with PC Members

Presentation of check

Presentation of check

In May, we were focused on Fostering Panther Pride and hosting three incredible events to help us surpass our goal.

Luly started it all with her second annual SPARK! Conference. Luly once again provided approximately 30 Fostering Panther Pride students with time on stage to share their dreams, hopes and desires, with the idea that someone in the audience would be able to make those dreams come true. In addition, the more than 200 women in attendance stepped up to the plate and donated over $20,000!

Spark with Luly B
Mary brown on stage at the Spark! conference

Just a week later, one of our newest members, Matt Anderson, rose to the challenge and hosted a Young Professionals Happy Hour at American Social. The event raised close to $3,000 for our FPP students.

Young Professionals Happy Hour Candid photo
Young Professionals Happy Hour presentation

And just a week after that, Jerry Fernandez, our Fostering Panther Pride Chair, again led the charge with the 2nd Annual Vine & Dine event. A collaboration between the President’s Council, the Latin Builders Association, the Kiwanis of Little Havana and the Cuban American Bar Association, the event was wildly successful! We raised over $100,000!

Vine and Dine Group Photo
Small Vine and Dine Group Photo

And in between all of these incredible events, committees were meeting regularly, members were finding ways to get the community engaged with the university and vice versa and members were giving their time, talent and treasure in various ways.

President Rosenberg challenged the President's Council to raise $1 million dollars for Fostering Panther Pride during the course of five years. Last year, he challenged us to reach that $1 million before the end of this calendar year. I am happy to announce that this year we have raised $1,277,412.44. Combined with what we raised last fiscal year, we are at $1,579,747.99 raised to date! We also secured over $35,000 in in-kind donations! I am very proud of the work our council members, and our professional and dedicated staff have done to get us to this goal!

In summary, President’s Council members are always willing and able to step up to the plate to deliver results for this university.

I want to give a special thank you to my executive board for their support this year and everything they have done to help us reach our goals.

It has been an absolute pleasure to serve as your chair this year. I cannot wait to see what we accomplish together next year!

University Events 

As President’s Council members, we have the privilege of being invited to numerous university wide events throughout the year. Below are some of those events:

  • FIU Preeminent Program Recognition Ceremony and Reception
  • Conversation with Madeleine Albright
  • eMerge Americas
  • Conversation with Nikki Haley, United States Ambassador to the United Nations
  • South Beach Wine & Food Festival
  • State of the World 2018: Global Relations & U.S. Foreign Policy
  • Sixth Annual FIU Geopolitical Summit
  • A Conversation with Costa Rican President Luis Guillermo Solís Rivera
  • Various Tostada Tuesdays
  • Community parades
  • North Miami Brewfest
  • Miami Cybersecurity Conference
  • FIU Veterans Breakfast
  • Solar Eclipse watch party

Help us reach our Membership Goal

Our President's Council is 120 members strong. We are working hard to reach our goal of 125 members by June 30. If you know of a community leader who would make an exceptional President's Council member or you are wondering how you can engage a prospective member, please contact Barbie Galvez at 305-348-4111 or We are always looking to grow and diversify our membership.

Stay tuned for upcoming events in the summer and start of fall!

In Panther Spirit,

Melissa Tapanes Llahues Signature

Melissa Tapanes Llahues
Chair, President’s Council