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FIU alumni represent all the best that our university has to offer. From NFL football players to Pulitzer Prize winners and top chefs, FIU alumni are making a name for themselves across the globe.

With more than 215,000 graduates, FIU alumni make up one of the fastest growing and most diverse communities in the world. Below, you can learn about incredible alumni who are making an impact in South Florida and abroad. To be included, alumni must meet this criteria.

Artists & Entertainers

  • Teresita Fernández ’90 is an accomplished artist best known for her public sculptures and original use of materials. She is a 2005 John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Fellow and has received several prestigious awards and fellowships, including the National Endowment for the Arts Artist’s Grant, the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Biennial Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, the American Academy in Rome Affiliated Fellowship, and the Oscar B. Cintas Fellowship. President Obama appointed her to the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts in 2011, making her the first Latina and the second person of Latino heritage to serve on the Commission. In 2013, she received the FIU Distinguished Alumni award during the FIU Torch Awards Gala.

  • Andy Garcia is an American actor and director. He first appeared on the film scene in the late 1980s and 1990s, landing roles in several successful Hollywood films, including The Godfather Part IIIThe UntouchablesInternal Affairs and When a Man Loves a Woman. More recently, he has starred in Ocean’s Eleven and its sequels, Ocean’s Twelve and Ocean’s Thirteen, and The Lost City.

  • Christine Kling ’88 is an acclaimed author.

  • Danny Pino ’96 was born and raised in Miami. He attended FIU and New York University’s Tisch Graduate Acting Program, where he earned a Master's of Fine Arts. He starred in the CBS crime drama "Cold Case." He later co-starred on NBC's “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” as Detective Nick Amaro.

  • Dawn Ostroff ’80 is president of Condé Nast Entertainment (CNÉ), a division of Condé Nast that focuses on the development, production and distribution of original television, feature film and digital video offerings based on the company’s iconic media brands. Prior to joining Condé Nast in the fall of 2011, Ostroff launched and led the new CW broadcast network, a joint venture of CBS and Warner Bros., beginning January 2006. As president of entertainment, she was responsible for all aspects of the CW’s creative efforts. Ostroff has a bachelor's in journalism from FIU and resides in New York City with her husband and their four children.

  • Dennis Lehane ’01 is an American author. He has written several novels, including A Drink Before the War and Mystic River, which was later made into a film. Another of his novels, Gone, Baby, Gone, was also adapted into a film.

  • Leda Gitman ’96 was born and raised in Argentina. She is a professional artist and has had six solo shows and six group exhibits. She has numerous awards for her contributions to the field. She delivered the 2002 Honors College Award Ceremony address.

  • Pamela Crawford ’91 is author of eight gardening books. She has been featured in prominent publications and TV shows such as HGTV Magazine, more than fifty newspapers, and on Fox News.

  • Aimee Carrero ’08 is an actress who is best known for her role as Angie on the Cartoon Network live-action series "Level Up." She currently stars as Sofia Rodriguez on the ABC Family sitcom "Young & Hungry." She was recently selected to voice Disney’s first Latina princess, Elena of Avalor.

  • Robert Macias, better known as R.M. Drake, is a well-known poet and author. He has more than 1 million followers on Instagram and is known for spray painting his poems on the sidewalks of Wynwood.

  • Chrissie Fit is an actress who rose to prominence after she was cast as the character Mercedes Juarez in the medical drama "General Hospital." She is also known for her role as CheeChee in the Disney Channel Original Movie Teen Beach Movie, and for her role as Florencia “Flo” Fuentes in Pitch Perfect 2 and Pitch Perfect 3.

Athletes

  • Carlos Alberto Arroyo Bermúdez is a Puerto Rican professional basketball player who plays for Galatasaray Liv Hospital of the Turkish Basketball League. Arroyo previously played in the National Basketball Association with the Toronto Raptors, Denver Nuggets, Utah Jazz, Detroit Pistons, Orlando Magic, Miami Heat and Boston Celtics. In the 2008–2009 season, he played for Maccabi Tel Aviv in the Israeli Basketball Super League, winning the league’s championship and being named the Final’s Most Valuable Player. He has also played professionally in Puerto Rico and Spain.

  • T.Y. Hilton ’13 is wide receiver and punt returner for the Indianapolis Colts. He was drafted by the Colts in the third round of the 2012 NFL Draft.

  • Gerald Hunsicker ’76 is the Senior Advisor of Baseball Operations for the Los Angeles Dodgers of Major League Baseball. Hunsicker was also an executive with the New York Mets and Tampa Bay Rays and the general manager of the Houston Astros from 1995-2004.

  • Michael Lowell ’97 is a Puerto Rican former professional baseball third baseman in Major League Baseball. During a 13-year career, Lowell played for the New York Yankees (1998), Florida Marlins (1999–2005) and the Boston Red Sox (2006–2010).

  • Pat Bradley ’74 is an American professional golfer. She became a member of the LPGA Tour in 1974 and won 31 tour events, including six major championships. Bradley is a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame.

  • Raja Bell is a retired professional basketball player who last played for the Utah Jazz of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He was twice named to the NBA All-Defensive Team in his career. As a senior at FIU, Bell led the Golden Panthers to a Sun Belt Conference tournament title, and a bid in the NCAA tournament.

  • Robin Fraser ’89 is Jamaican-born American soccer coach and former player. After retiring, he served as assistant coach for the New York Red Bulls, followed by Toronto FC. He played college soccer at FIU from 1984 to 1988.

  • Tayna Lawrence ’98 is a professional athlete for the Jamaican Track Team and four-time Olympic gold medalist.

Business Leaders

  • Adalio Sanchez ’87 is General Manager of IBM System x and BladeCenter server product lines.  Mr. Sanchez has more than 25 years of experience in information technology and has an extensive background in product development, manufacturing, operations and brand. He was named the 2007 Hispanic Engineer of the Year and has frequently been named to the list of the Top 50 Hispanics in Technology and Business. He is Chairman of the FIU Engineering School Executive Advisory Council, and serves as Chairman of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers Advisory Board.

  • Adolfo Henriques ’76 is currently vice chairman, president and COO of Gibraltar Private Bank and Trust Company, which is headquartered in Miami. Henriques serves on the board of Heico Inc., Intcomex Inc., Medica HealthCare Plans Inc. and Medica Health Plans of Florida Inc.

  • Alan Leibman ’89 is the CEO for Kerzner International, overseeing the overall corporate strategy of Atlantis and One&Only brands worldwide. He joined Kerzner in 1994 and during his tenure held positions of strategic importance, including COO of Atlantis, Paradise Island in the Bahamas; president and managing director of the early development of Mazagan Beach Resort; president and managing director of Atlantis, The Palm in Dubai; and most recently, Kerzner regional president of Europe, Africa and the Middle East.

  • Allen Susser ’78 is owner of Chef Allen’s Restaurant.

  • Tony Argiz ’74 has been managing partner of Morrison, Brown, Argiz & Farra, LLP since 1997. He serves on the board of trustees and executive committee of the United Way of Miami-Dade, as well as on the board of trustees of the Miami City Club and the Miami Dade Junior College Foundation. Mr. Argiz is a Certified Public Accountant in Florida, New York, Colorado and Pennsylvania. He earned his bachelor of business administration degree from FIU.

  • Augusto “Gus” Vidaurreta ’80 is owner of The Wyndham Riverwalk Hotel and The Jacksonville Days Inn. Vidaurreta co-founded Body Well Nutrition, a performance supplements company. He also is involved in ventures in the area of real estate development and natural gas exploration.  Among other accomplishments, he co-authored the popular book Business is a Contact Sport in 2001 and co-founded RAM Strategy Inc., a consulting, training and executive coaching firm built around relationship asset management, the main topic of his book. The book was listed in the top 15 by The New York Times and has been translated to Chinese and Polish. Vidaurreta is a member of the Dean’s Council and was founding chairman of the Alumni Circle for the College of Business.

  • Bruce Albertson ’73 is former president and CEO of Brown Jordan International, a manufacturer and distributor of casual and commercial furniture. Albertson also served as chairman of Insurance IQ Company, a marketer of advertising services, and as president and CEO of Iomega Corporation, a data management solutions company. He is now retired.

  • Bruce Zwigard ’76 is former president and CEO of Investacorp, a financial services company. It was purchased by Ladenburg Thalmann for $45 million in 2007.

Community Leaders & Philanthropists

  • Betty Perry ’74 is a philanthropist.

  • Jayne Abess ’77 and her husband, Leonard Abess Jr., have long been contributors to local organizations, such as the Greater Miami Jewish Federation and Mount Sinai Medical Centre.

  • Marleine Bastien ’86 is a political activist and social worker.

  • Olga Garay-English ’82 is former director of Los Angeles’ Department of Cultural Affairs.

Industry & Professional Leaders

  • Albert Santalo ’97 founded CareCloud in 2009 with the vision of becoming a health care IT leader focused on eliminating waste and inefficiency in the health care industry. He previously founded Avisena, a software-enabled health care revenue cycle management company, and worked at The Hackett Group/Answerthink. Santalo holds an MBA from FIU and is a member of the Board of Directors for the College of Business.

  • Alfredo Salas ’83 is president and CEO of Koning Restaurants International, which owns the largest number of U.S. Pizza Hut franchises. He is also the first Hispanic owner of a restaurant certified by the Green Restaurant Association.

  • Carole Bernstein ’74 combined theory and practical application from her master’s degree in educational administration and her doctorate in elementary education to create Get Smart, a resource for teachers and parents looking to enhance their children’s development. What began with a dream and $2,000 has expanded into a multimillion dollar company with stores from Miami-Dade to Palm Beach counties.

  • James F. O’Brien ’92 is a computer graphics researcher and professor of computer science and electrical engineering at the University of California, Berkeley. In 2015, he received an award for scientific and technical achievement from the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences.

  • Jose Valdes-Fauli ’77 is a veteran of the banking industry and has held leadership positions as CEO and president at Beach Bank, Eastern National Bank and Colonial Bank. Valdes-Fauli graduated from FIU with a bachelor’s degree in business administration in 1975 and served on the FIU Foundation Inc. Board of Directors from 1999-2009. He is a recipient of the FIU Torch Award for Community Leadership and the Presidential Medallion for Outstanding Alumni.

  • Mark J. Militello ’78 is chef/owner of Mark’s Las Olas Limited.

  • Ruben King-Shaw Jr. ’86 is managing partner and chief investment officer at Mansa Capital. He also chairs the firm’s investment committee. King-Shaw directs the firm’s deal-sourcing activities, oversees the firm’s value-creation strategies and manages the firm’s investor relations. King-Shaw holds two degrees from FIU: a master’s in health services administration (1986) and a master’s in international business (1987).

  • Susan Fixel ’78 is founder of LTM International.

Media Professionals

  • Belkys Nerey ’89 started her television career as a reporter in South Florida. She was a “one-man band” for two years (shooting her own video and editing her own stories), before heading for Connecticut to take a job as general assignment reporter for WTNH-8, the ABC affiliate in New Haven. It wasn’t long before she was covering some of the market’s biggest stories, often beating the competition because she could speak Spanish. During her current tenure at Miami’s WSVN, Belkys has covered major news stories and, up until recently, co-anchored the pop-culture driven "Deco Drive." Now she anchors the 5, 6, 10 and 11 p.m. newscasts alongside Craig Stevens.

  • Dianne Festa ’84 is manager of NBC News.

  • Elizabeth Balmaseda ’81 is a Pulitzer Prize winner.

  • Jackie Nespral is an American television anchor for WTVJ-TV, the NBC-owned and -operated station in Miami. Nespral grew up in the Little Havana area of Miami, attended St. Brendan High School and graduated in the class of 1984. Nespral began her entertainment and television career as a college student at the University of Miami. Following her graduation from UM, Nespral went on to complete a degree in print and broadcast journalism at FIU.

  • Lorena Estrada ’10 is a reporter for Fox affiliate WSVN 7 News Miami.

  • Manual Garcia ’90 is the editor for the Naples Daily News and a Pulitzer Prize winner.

  • Princell Hair ’00 is general manager at CNN.

  • Raul de Quesada ’74 is an award-winning executive with experience in the Latin American and U.S. Hispanic markets. De Quesada is currently senior vice president for Hispanic networks and assistant general manager at FOX Deportes. In this capacity, he has been instrumental in the growth and success of the Hispanic cable portfolio at FOX. FOX Deportes now reaches more than 18 million cable and satellite households in the United States. Raúl joined Fox Sports International in 1998 as director of marketing and communications and has risen to become one of the top Hispanic executives within the Fox Cable Television Networks.

  • Steve Tello ’79 is a television executive with more than 30 years of experience working in television news and sports. He currently holds the position of senior vice president and general manager of FOX Sports Florida, a unit of the Fox Entertainment Group. Steve Tello graduated from FIU with a bachelor's degree in journalism and communications. He returned to the school as an adjunct to teach television production and TV journalism and remained involved with the school while living in Miami.

Political Office & Governmental Services

  • Judge Barbara Lagoa ’89 was a member of Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society at FIU. She received her JD from Columbia University, where she served as an Associate Editor of the Columbia Law Review. Currently, she serves on the Board of Directors for the YWCA of Greater Miami and Dade County, the Film Society of Miami, Kristi House and the FIU Alumni Association. She is married to Paul C. Huck Jr., an attorney.

  • Carlos Álvarez ’74 is a Cuban American politician and the former mayor of Miami-Dade County. He was elected mayor in 2004 and re-elected in 2008. He graduated from the FBI National Academy in 1986 and served in the Miami-Dade Police Department becoming director in 1997 until the end of his tenure in 2004.

  • Cecilia Maria Altonaga ’83 is a Florida United States district court judge. She is the first Cuban-American woman to be appointed as a federal judge in the U.S. She has been noted as a strong supporter of the FIU College of Law and served as the keynote speaker at its 2004 convocation.

  • Ileana C. Ros-Lehtinen ’75 is the most senior Republican woman in the U.S. House of Representatives and was the first Republican woman from Florida elected to the House. Upon her election, she became the first Hispanic woman elected to U.S. Congress. She is also chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

  • Katherine Vargas ’04 is the director of Hispanic media at the White House. She spearheads efforts to engage Hispanic media, coordinating with all federal agencies on promoting the President’s agenda with the Hispanic community. Katherine has been at the forefront of immigration reform efforts for almost a decade.

  • Manuel Diaz ’77 is a Cuban American politician who served as the mayor of Miami, Florida, from 2001-2009. His daughter, Natalie, recently received her MPH with honors from FIU. His son, Robert, is currently pursuing a political science degree.

  • Mercedes Viana Schlapp ’94 is the co-founder of Cove Strategies, a governmental and public affairs firms based in Alexandria, Virginia. She is a political commentator for U.S. News and has appeared in a variety of TV shows as a Republican strategist. She was the first FIU graduate to have a full-time position in the White House. Schlapp also served as a spokesperson for President George W. Bush.