The FIU Alumni Center will soon become home to the university’s alumni and friends. Thanks to a $2 million planned gift from Richard W. Strait ’76 and Marcia L. Martinez-Strait, MS ‘77, that dream for a place to call home is turning into a reality. One of the largest alumni contributions to date, this momentous gift will support the design, construction and operation of the future Alumni Center.
Under the leadership and vision of Bill Draughon, associate vice president of University Advancement and former executive director of the FIU Alumni Association, this home for Panthers will be a place to showcase the proud traditions of FIU and the accomplishments of our students, alumni and members of the FIU family. The Alumni Center will be a first-class facility that will reflect the excellence of Panthers around the world.
Frequent travelers and supporters of the Alumni Association’s Golden Panther Getaways, the Straits became re-involved with FIU through their ongoing engagement with Draughon, whom they first met at the inaugural Silver Pride Reunion. Their investment in the Center is a testament to Draughon’s vision and passion to create a home on campus.
“FIU is and will be a major institution for preparing today’s and tomorrow’s players and leaders to function in the 21st century global world of business and governments. That is why we believe alumni and friends of the university will need a home to return to and support the Alumni Center. We are a young university, but just look at what has already been accomplished in 40 years,” said Richard, who received an MBA from FIU’s College of Business and is president and owner of Straitshots, Inc.
A lifetime member of the Alumni Association and a member of the College of Business Alumni Chapter, Richard joined the FIU President’s Council in 2010. His wife, Marcia, received a master’s degree in education from the FIU College of Education and is a member of the Dean’s Advisory Council for the College.
A Promising Future
The Straits look forward to leaving a legacy at FIU.
“We hope that other alumni will also take up the cause and contribute to the Alumni Center,” Richard said. “We see the Alumni Center as the next great step forward – a home for returning alumni and friends to be able to impart real world experience and knowledge to today’s students. A place to mentor. A place for the arts and sciences. That is the impact and legacy we hope for.”
Richard hopes that FIU alumni and friends continue to build the university’s philanthropic culture.
“Come to FIU, see what is going on, feel the vibrancy of life of the university. How can anyone not want to give back when they see what FIU is giving to this community?” he said.
“Under the leadership of President Rosenberg, FIU is becoming one of the truly great institutions of higher learning and achievement.”