Alumni Spotlight

The Dahlin Legacy

Dahlin3U.S. Coast Guard veteran Arnie Dahlin recalls one of the first times he ever set his eyes on FIU.

“On one of our return air search and rescue missions, we diverted our flight path down and headed west flying over the Tamiami Trail. I happened to have my camera at the time and I leaned out of the left gunner’s door and shot a picture of what is now the Florida International University tower building and campus.”

This unmatched bird’s eye view of a few buildings and mostly empty land – which now almost seems unbelievable to him after years of expansion and growth — was where he saw his future heading.

“This was a photo I had taken and wanted to send to my mom and dad, in which I told them that this was going to be my next step, where I was going to receive my next level of education.”

Arnie went on to attend and graduate from FIU in 1976, becoming the first in his family to pursue higher education and, in turn, paved the way for future generations of family members to join him in the Panther alumni cohort. “Having our father attend FIU, he encouraged [my sister and I] to apply and become part of that extended family,” his son, David Dahlin ‘13, remembers.

And for David, this became an extraordinary opportunity to learn the necessary tools in order to shift into the family business, P&D Printing and Design, Inc.

Dahlin1Specifically, David recalls how the elective Small Business Management with Professor Donald Roomes assisted in making his experience at FIU memorable. Although held online, Professor Roomes would engage the class by sharing personal anecdotes from his father’s business while growing up, which in turn made the course much more relatable.

“[Professor Roomes] helped guide me to really narrow down exactly what I wanted to do. And in my case, it was to transition into the family business.”

FIU’s ability to provide students with a vast array of these diverse, online courses was a standout feature in his scholastic career. David admits that if it weren’t for the flexibility of online classes, attending the University would have been a much more difficult task to coordinate and execute.

Taking advantage of these unique electives is a little piece of wisdom David finds crucial for all current students to remember. “You never know what you will learn [in these courses] and how it will benefit yourself and your career in the future.”

“Looking back at three generations of FIU alumni and seeing how far not only my family has come, [but] the opportunities and door that have been opened for all of us and too see the growth of FIU itself, has truly been an honor to be a part of,” David shares.

Arnie notes that taking the necessary steps towards higher education may be daunting, but if you set your mind to succeed and work hard you can make your dreams come true. “Your biggest competition is within yourself.”

In the near future, David looks forward to pursuing his Master of Business Administration at FIU.

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