Charles Perry at TowerIn 1970 the founding president of Florida International University, Chuck Perry, sent the following letter to prospective donors, in preparation for the University’s scheduled opening in September 1972:

“We believe that our rare opportunity to build a new university for the future gives us awesome responsibilities: the most important to create a university truly responsive to the needs of society.

To build this kind of institution, we recognize that private funds must be obtained to supplement state support.

With this in mind, we are inviting a selected number of community leaders to become “Founders” of the university. We hope you will join in this effort.”

This first fundraising campaign would raise $75,000, advancing President Perry’s commitment to realize the mission of FIU through a combination of private donations and public funds. On May 1, 1970 the first donation of $500 was received by the FIU Foundation, established the previous year to encourage, solicit, receive and administer gifts for the advancement of FIU.

Recognizing the significance of philanthropic contributions as a critical means of fostering both financial strength and community affinity, President Perry announced the first 13 members of the FIU Foundation Board of Trustees in February 1972. Since its inception, the Board has played a key role in the extraordinary development of FIU, providing community leaders with dynamic opportunities for meaningful engagement with the University. Founding members had the unique responsibility to create the financial foundation of FIU’s future growth: by 1974-75 the University secured $930,000 in private donations.

In 1987 the University implemented its first major capital campaign to raise $10 million under the guidance of the FIU Foundation Board of Trustees. In support of this milestone, US Senator Bob Graham served as the keynote speaker at the campaign kick-off:

“This institution is like a child that comes late in a family’s life….(FIU) came into being at a time that South Florida was undergoing major transitions….FIU, as this special, late child, has been able to be in many ways a catalyst for much of that new Miami. One of the things in this new era is recognition of the necessity for a public-private partnership for public higher education.”

In 2001 the FIU Foundation Board of Trustees was renamed the Board of Directors, following the restructuring of the State University System and creation of the FIU Board of Trustees. The same year marked the end of “The Campaign for FIU,” a seven-year campaign that ultimately raised over $200 million for the University under the guidance of the Foundation Board.

Advancing President Mark Rosenberg’s vision to increase the FIU Foundation’s endowment to $1 billion by the year 2020, in 2010 the Board of Directors approved plans to implement a ten-year capital campaign to raise $750 million. The Board plays a significant role in the implementation and success of the capital campaign phases and strives to advance FIU’s position as one of the world’s premier public research universities.

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