Gators in Coral Gables!

February 7, 2017
Margot Winick

University of Florida office to welcome alumni, provide enhanced engagement in South Florida

To further its commitment to the thousands of alumni, students, research, programs, partnerships and shared aspirations that the University of Florida enjoys with South Florida, the University has dedicated UF Coral Gables, an office that consolidates a multitude of operations that already have a Miami footprint.

Building with sign

Located at 1 Alhambra Plaza in downtown Coral Gables, the office is not intended as a site for instruction, but will house advancement and admissions staff, UF Online, and the UF College of Education’s Lastinger Center for Learning, creating efficiencies and consolidating staff already located in the area.

Ribbon Cutting

Enhancing alumni engagement in South Florida at the dedication of UF Coral Gables: Kelley A. Bergstrom, MBA '68, UF Foundation board member and past chair; UF President Kent Fuchs; Provost and Senior VP of Academic Affairs Joseph Glover and Tim Cerio,  BA '90, JD '95 Past President of the University of Florida Alumni Association.

“UF Coral Gables is part of the vision for the University of Florida to impact the lives of people across our state and beyond,” said President Kent Fuchs. “This office embodies the many connections the flagship Florida university has in South Florida, and helps support our goal toward becoming a premier university that the state, nation, and world look to for leadership.”

“South Florida is the home of thousands of alumni, friends, parents, corporate leaders, and current and future students,” said Tom Mitchell, UF’s vice president for advancement. “UF can now offer a unique way to share the Gator experience with our diverse constituencies.”

Some of the University’s successful and active alumni and donors include:

Al (BSBA ’58) and Judy Warrington are UF’s most generous benefactors. Al, a UF Distinguished Alumnus, is the namesake of the Warrington College of Business. Following a 32-year accounting career with Arthur Andersen, he founded several companies, including Sanifill, which became Waste Management. Instrumental in creating UF's School of Accounting and Business Advisory Council, he also served as president of the Alumni Association and Gator Boosters and was a Trustee and UF Foundation director. The Warringtons established endowments for UF's libraries, athletic programs and Florida Opportunity Scholars, and were honored with the Academy of Golden Gators Lifetime Philanthropy Award in 2014.

John (BSIE ’66, MBA ’70, JD ’73) and Mary Lou (JD ’80) Dasburg received the Academy of Golden Gators Lifetime Volunteer Award in 2014. John led numerous American companies, including Burger King, Northwest Airlines and Marriott. A Trustee and UF Foundation director, he received Honorary Doctorate and Distinguished Alumnus awards. The Dasburgs contributed endowed chairs in Business, Engineering and Law and provided the lead gift for the Dasburg House, the new family residence for UF’s president. 

Charles Stuzin, BSBA ’64, is chairman of Coconut Grove Bankshares, Inc., and president of SF Partners Financial, LLC, which is a family office involved in various investments. He is former CEO and president of Citizens Federal Bank. Stuzin has served on the UF Foundation board and the Business Advisory Council for many years.  To honor the family patriarch, a gift by the Stuzin Family named David Stuzin Hall in the College of Business.

Herbert “Herbie” (Engineering ’62-’63) and Nicole Wertheim received the Academy of Golden Gators Transformational Leaders Award in 2016. Herbie is a Distinguished Alumnus, a member of Blue Key and is the namesake of the UF Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering and the FIU Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine. Nicole is the namesake of the FIU Nicole Wertheim College of Nursing and Health Sciences. In 1971 he founded Brain Power Inc., the world’s largest manufacturer of ophthalmic instruments and chemicals. A scientist, clinician and entrepreneur, his enduring discoveries have improved lives for millions of people. He is renowned as an educator, business leader and philanthropist supporting a variety of causes most notably public higher education and is Trustee Emeritus at Florida International University.

Earl (Liberal Arts & Sciences ’60) and Christy (BS ’71) Powell are generous supporters of UF, contributing endowments to Medicine and Athletics. Earl, a Distinguished Alumnus, is chair of Powell Investment Advisors. With more than 25 years of investment experience, he is chair emeritus and co-founder of Trivest Partners, the oldest private equity firm in the Southeast. Earl helped establish and served as chair of the UF Investment Corporation and was a Trustee and UF Foundation director for many years. Christy served on the board of National YoungArts Foundation for many years and is a past president of the Young Patronesses of the Opera. She was a vice president of the Junior League of Miami and serves on the board of Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri.

Alan Pareira, BSBA ’60, is CEO of Florida Atlantic Securities and has been active in the investment business since 1961. He has served as director of several public companies and on multiple finance committees. He is a founding member UF’s College of Business Advisory Council and the UF Investment Corporation, completing multiple terms on the UFICO board Aug. 2016. He has served on the UF Foundation board for many years and is a lifetime member of the board. A generous supporter, Pareira has established funds in Business, Education, the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences and Veterinary Medicine.

Juan Galan, Jr., BSIE ’66, is the former founder and principal owner of GATO Distributors, a Miami-based beverage company and one of the top 50 Hispanic businesses in the United States. A former chair of the UF Foundation board, he has served as a member since 1991. Galan has been instrumental in UF fundraising efforts, serving as the regional chair for Dade County during UF’s first capital campaign, “Embrace Excellence,” and as national regional chair of the university’s “It’s Performance That Counts” campaign. Galan and his wife, Martha, have also supported UF through generous contributions to Academic Affairs, Student Affairs and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. In 2005, Galan was recognized as the “Gran Caiman,” an award presented to an outstanding member of the UF Hispanic alumni community.

Gary Gerson, BSBA ’54, MBA ’55, is the namesake of Gary R. Gerson Hall, home of the Fisher School of Accounting. He is the founding partner of Gerson Preston, one of Florida’s leading accounting firms. At age 21, Gerson distinguished himself as the youngest CPA in the country and has continued his role of leadership as a philanthropist, civic leader and entrepreneur. He and his wife, Niety, have generously supported the Warrington College of Business and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Gerson is the recipient of the prestigious Distinguished Alumnus Award, and has served on the UF Foundation board and campaign committees since the 1990s. He was inducted into UF’s Athletic Hall of Fame and received the first-ever UF Volunteer Lifetime Achievement Award.

The Hon. Bob Graham, BA Poli Sci ’59, is a retired United States Senator and former Florida governor with more than four decades of public service. In 2006, he founded UF’s Bob Graham Center for Public Service with a mission to train the next generation of public and private sector leaders for Florida, the United States and the international community. A Distinguished Alumnus, Sen. Graham received an honorary doctor of public service degree from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and was inducted into the UF Hall of Fame. His wife, Adele, was honored in 2007 as UF’s Alumnae of Outstanding Achievement.

Roberto Vizcón, BSBR ’79, is an award-winning broadcaster and producer with nearly 40 years of experience in newsgathering and television station management. He is the news director of WLTV- TV Univision 23, a Spanish-language newscast, and previously worked for Univision Puerto Rico and WFUN TV, the largest independently owned TV station in the United States. In 2013, Vizcón received an Emmy Award for News Excellence and in 2002 another Emmy Award for News Series Producing. He is the recipient of two additional Emmy Award nominations and the Silver Circle award from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences for 25 years or more in television.

Aminda Marques Gonzalez, BSJ ’86, is the executive editor and vice president of the Miami Herald, where she began her journalism career as an intern and later became the paper’s first Hispanic editor. Under her leadership, the Miami Herald was twice named a Pulitzer Prize finalist. In 2016, Gonzalez received the Presidential Award of Impact from the National Association of Hispanic Journalists. A Distinguished Alumnus, she serves on the boards of the Pulitzer Prize, the Associated Press Media Editors and the Poynter Institute’s advisory council.

Paul Castronovo, BSBR ’84, is the host of "The Paul Castronovo Show" on WBGG-FM (Big 105.9), a South Florida commercial radio station, and president of Castronovo Vineyards in Italy. He previously co-hosted "The Paul and Young Ron show," a morning radio program that consistently led ratings on five stations from Vero Beach to Key West. The show ran for 26 years and featured celebrity interviews and trademark banter about entertainment, idiosyncrasies of life and Miami sports. Castronovo was named a UF Distinguished Alumnus award in 2013.

The University of Florida enjoys the following programs in Miami, among others:

  • The UF College of Veterinary Medicine partnership with Miami-Dade Animal Services Pet Adoption and Protection Center.
  • The UF College of Dentistry’s Hialeah Dental Center provides all phases of dentistry care to thousands of residents of all ages.
  • The UF Lastinger Center for Learning, part of the College of Education, has a long track record of innovations in teaching in every county in the state, including partnering with the Miami-Dade County Public Schools Office of Early Childhood Programs to create the VPK Academy, a job-embedded form of professional development to help teachers and paraprofessionals from Title I schools improve teaching practices and child outcomes in Miami’s Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten (VPK) classrooms.
  • Since UF is the university partner to New World School of the Arts, NWSA graduates can easily apply for enrollment after completing Associate degree requirements.
  • UF brings the arts to STEM education at St. Thomas Episcopal School
  • UF’s climate variability and change research through the Florida Climate Institute.
  • The UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension Office works on commercial vegetable, tropical fruit and ornamental industries, offers pesticide training, commercial urban and homeowner horticulture, and water quality research; and the IFAS Tropical Research and Education Center does research, extension and teaching in ornamental, vegetable, and tropical-subtropical fruit and biofuel crops.
  • Through UF’s Bureau of Economic and Business Research, UF assesses healthcare and educational needs of Miami-Dade children and provides the state with the gold standard of population data.

UF Coral Gables is open to the public from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., weekdays. To schedule a visit contact, Alexa Butler, 786-482-6350. To learn more visit ufcoralgables.com.

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