14th Annual Torch Awards: Breaking records by the numbers

The 14th Annual Torch Awards already broke one university record: The gala in March boasted the highest attendance in its history, with nearly 800 guests flooding the Fontainebleau’s Crystal Ballrooms.

Now, it’s broken a second record: The Torch Awards raised its highest amount of funding ever, with more than $100,000 being divided evenly between first-generation scholarships and the proposed Alumni Center.

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The annual Torch Awards celebrate the achievements and contributions of outstanding FIU alumni.

This year’s gala outshined all previous Torch events. The 2014 awards raised $21,850, and the 2013 awards raised $40,930. But 2015 brought in a final total of $107,309, more than a 160 percent increase from past fundraisers.

That puts $53,654 into the Alumni Center Building Fund this year; and because any amount of money raised for first-generation scholarships is matched by the state, $107,309 will be donated to the First Generation Scholarship Fund. This should generate more than 100 scholarships for students who are the first in their families to go to college.

Valeria Nunez del Prado, a junior double-majoring in marketing and international business and a recipient of a First Generation Scholarship, moved to the United States from Peru with her family when she was 11 years old. Receiving the scholarship, she said, came as a relief to her and her parents, because it meant that she would be able to focus on her studies at FIU without worrying how she would pay tuition.

“My family was very proud once I was able to go to college,” she said, recounting how her parents worked hard to learn English and give her and her two siblings access to an education and a better life in the U.S. “Seeing their daughter go to college was everything they worked for.”

Nunez del Prado also wanted to thank donors who support the First Generation Scholarship Fund: “They are making a big impact on our lives—at least, in mine they did. They believe in you.”

The 15th Annual Torch Awards Gala will take place on March 19, 2016, at the Fontainebleau. For information on ticket pricing and sponsorship, click here.

This post “14th Annual Torch Awards: Breaking records by the numbers” was originally published on FIU News.

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The Florida International University Foundation, Inc. (FIU Foundation) was established in 1969 to encourage, solicit, receive and administer gifts for scientific, educational and charitable purposes for the advancement of Florida International University and its objectives. (more +)