Alumni Spotlight

Giving Back to the Institution that Gave So Much to Her

Cristine Figueroa MS ’07 grew up with FIU. Her mother was a teacher and would always bring her to campus, which became Figueroa’s playground as a young girl. Little did she know that her playground would soon turn into her dream institution for both school and work.

“In 2007, I came to FIU to fulfill my master’s in Human Resources Management, and that’s when I fell in love with the institution,” said Figueroa. “I remember moving to the neighborhood with my husband and thinking ‘I really, really want to work there one day.’”

In 2012, Figueroa was welcomed to the FIU family as the senior recruiter for Central Human Resources, and is currently the human resources manager for the FIU Foundation – and now, she’s giving back to the institution that gave her so much.

“Growing up, my family was always involved with the arts,” she said. “My grandmother and aunts were very crafty, and my uncle plays music. The arts were always so important to me and my family, so that’s why I decided to give back to FIU’s College of Architecture + The Arts.”

Figueroa recently made a planned gift to the College of Architecture + The Arts (CARTA) to ensure future FIU students always have classrooms, facilities, and resources for their education in music, theater, communications, architecture, and the arts. Like many young donors, Figueroa decided on a planned gift because it allows her to make a significant impact in the future.

“Every day, I grow to love this institution more and more. I love the work that FIU is doing for first-generation students and the South Florida community, and I’m inspired daily by the amazing work of Dean Schriner at CARTA,” said Figueroa.

Figueroa’s planned gift established the Lowe McBrae Arts Forever Fund, which is a tribute to herself and her family. Lowe is her grandmother’s maiden name; M is for Melanie, her mother; C is for Cristine and Cynthia, her aunt; B is for Bess, her grandmother; R is for Rocco, her uncle; A is for Allison, her aunt; and E is for everyone.

She hopes that her family’s legacy will live on with her planned gift, but most importantly, that arts and culture education will continue for generations to come.

“Why give back to FIU? Because when we give back to FIU, we instill a sense of philanthropy in future generations,” said Figueroa. “We continue to nurture the groundbreaking research, world-renowned programs, and future artisans, doctors, and engineers. One day, my children will become Panthers, and I want them to have a university they are proud of – just as I am.”

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