By Charles Crespo

FIU held its first Endowed Faculty Reception at the Reagan House March 22 to provide donors and scholars an opportunity to meet and converse about their values, visions, projects and aspirations.

The goal was to strengthen donor-faculty relationships, and thank donors for their support and role in helping FIU move into the top category of Carnegie’s Classification of Institutions of Higher Education — R1: Doctoral Universities — Highest Research Activity.

In a salon-style discussion, led by President Mark B. Rosenberg and CEO of the FIU Foundation Howard R. Lipman, donors and professors explored the long-term benefits of collaboration and recognized that these partnerships were an ideal way to transform not only their university, but also the global community.

Atorod Azizinamini addresses attendees at the first Endowed Faculty Reception.

Andrew Sierra, vice president, treasurer and chief compliance officer of BMI Financial Group, said partnering with FIU will help [BMI] grow and help our community. “We’ve only just scratched the surface.”

In attendance were professors from a wide range of schools, colleges and departments across the university – including the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, School of Accounting, College of Business, Steven J. Green School of International & Public Affairs and Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine.

Faculty stressed how grateful they were to donors for allowing them the opportunity to conduct their work at FIU and looked forward to further collaboration in the future.

“At FIU, this is where you can shape things. It’s where you can build something new,” said Atorod Azizinamini, chair of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.

John Tsalikis, who holds the BMI professorship in marketing, added: “Very few people can see the true impact of a donor’s philanthropy. Your money buys dreams.”

While the reception was only a first step, it was undoubtedly a positive one in the strengthening of donor-faculty relationships. Both researchers and donors expressed hope that there would be more opportunities to meet and discuss further plans in the near future.