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Executive Organization Structure


Chair: Melissa Tapanes Llahues

The chair is selected by the university president for a term not to exceed three years. The chair of the council serves as the lead representative of the board before the university community. The chair shall have the responsibility of selecting the chairpersons of the individual committees, presiding over the strategic direction of the council and determining the frequency of meetings. Furthermore, by virtue of this position, the chair is an ex-officio member of the FIU Foundation Board of Directors.

Chair-Elect: Peter Koltis

The chair-elect serves as a senior advisor to the chair, ensures continuity in leadership for the council and represents the President’s Council in the event that the chair is unable to attend any specific functions.

Executive Committees

Membership on the Executive Committee is limited to the chair, chair-elect and subcommittee chairs. The Executive Committee currently meets on a bi-monthly basis. The role of the Executive Committee is:

  • to steer the direction of the council by monitoring and managing its initiatives
  • to assist the chair in establishing the objectives and goals of the council for each academic year
  • to support the chair and chair-elect by representing the President’s Council and FIU at community events


Worlds Ahead Faculty Award Committee

Chair: Jennifer Olmedo-Rodriguez

The Worlds Ahead Faculty Award of $15,000, a product of council dues, is a significant component of the council’s interaction with the university community and is bestowed annually upon a distinguished member of FIU’s faculty. This committee, along with members of the FIU faculty, is responsible for recommending which of the nominees is to receive this distinct honor. Members review, evaluate, and come to a consensus on the recommended award recipient and finalists. The award is conferred at the Annual Faculty Convocation Ceremony hosted each Fall semester.

Fostering Panther Pride

Chair: Jerry Fernandez

The Fostering Panther Pride Committee is responsible for strategizing fundraising initiatives for the FIU Fostering Panther Pride (FPP) program. This program offers tailored academic and other support services to undergraduate students identified as former foster youth or homeless. 


Chair: Sergio Abreu

Federal Advocacy: Howard Spiegel

Local Advocacy: Erick Valderrama

The Advocacy Committee is responsible for meeting with elected officials, on the federal, state and local levels, on behalf of FIU. The committee works closely with the FIU Office of Governmental Relations.

Please visit the FIU Governmental Relations for the most up to date news on advocating for FIU. You may also contact Ana Herrera at 305-348-3505 for further information on Governmental Relations.

Membership Committee

The Membership Committee plays an integral role in the sustained growth and operation of the President's Council.

The Membership Committee is responsible for:

  • Identifying, screening and nominating new members to join the President's Council
  • Providing oversight of the involvement of the council’s membership base
  • Advising members of the opportunities and responsibilities of membership

Monitoring attendance, participation and activity of members with the aim of maximizing the membership experience and accomplishments.