University of Florida office to welcome alumni, provide enhanced engagement in South Florida

Feb 7 • 724 Views • View Comments

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To further its commitment to the thousands of alumni, students, research, programs, partnerships and shared aspirations that the University of Florida enjoys with South Florida, the University has dedicated UF Coral Gables, an office that consolidates a multitude of operations that already have a Miami footprint. 

Located at 1 Alhambra Plaza in downtown Coral Gables, the office is not intended as a site for instruction, but will house advancement and admissions staff, UF Online, and the UF College of Education’s Lastinger Center for Learning, creating efficiencies and consolidating staff already located in the area.

“UF Coral Gables is part of the vision for the University of Florida to impact the lives of people across our state and beyond,” said President Kent Fuchs. “This office embodies the many connections the flagship Florida university has in South Florida, and helps support our goal toward becoming a premier university that the state, nation, and world look to for leadership.” 

“South Florida is the home of thousands of alumni, friends, parents, corporate leaders, and current and future students,” said Tom Mitchell, UF’s vice president for advancement. “UF can now offer a unique way to share the Gator experience with our diverse constituencies.”

Some of the University’s successful and active alumni and donors include: 

Al Warrington, BSBA ’58, namesake of the Warrington College of Business, is UF’s most generous benefactor. Following a 32-year accounting career with Arthur Andersen, he founded several companies, including Sanifill, which became Waste Management. Instrumental in creating UF’s School of Accounting and Business Advisory Council, he also served as president of the Alumni Association and Gator Boosters and was a Trustee and Foundation director. A Distinguished Alumnus, Warrington and his wife, Judy, established endowments for UF’s libraries, athletic programs and Florida Opportunity Scholars and were honored with the Academy of Golden Gators Lifetime Philanthropy Award in 2014. 

John Dasburg, BSIE ’66, MBA ’70, JD ’73, led numerous American companies, including Burger King, Northwest Airlines and Marriot. A UF Trustee and Foundation director, he received Honorary Doctorate and Distinguished Alumnus awards. Dasburg and his wife, Mary Lou, (JD ’80) contributed endowed chairs in Business, Engineering and Law and provided the lead gift for the Dasburg House, the new family residence for UF’s president. In 2014, they received the Academy of Golden Gators Lifetime Volunteer Award.  

Charles Stuzin, BSBA ’64, a retired attorney and banker, is president of Stuzin Enterprises, a group of affiliated businesses that provide financial advisory services and real estate loans. He has served on the Foundation board and the Business Advisory Council for many years. To honor the family patriarch, a gift by the Stuzin Family named the David A. Stuzin Hall, a building in the College of Business. 

Herbert Wertheim, Engineering ’72-’73 is the namesake of The Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering. He is founder of Brain Power Inc., the world’s largest manufacturer of ophthalmic instruments and chemicals. A scientist, clinician and entrepreneur, his enduring discoveries have touched millions. He has served on the boards of numerous companies in banking, healthcare, aerospace, real estate, transportation and high-tech industries. A Distinguished Alumnus, Wertheim and his wife, Nicole, received the Academy of Golden Gators Transformational Leaders Award in 2014.  

Earl Powell, Liberal Arts & Sciences ’60, is chair of Powell Investment Advisors. With more than 25 years of investment experience, he is chair emeritus and co-founder of Trivest Partners, the oldest private equity firm in the Southeast. Powell helped establish and served as chair of the UF Investment Corporation and was a Trustee and Foundation director for many years. A Distinguished Alumnus, Powell and his wife, Christy, are generous supporters of UF, and have contributed endowments to Medicine and Athletics. 

Bernard Levine is president and owner of Jungle Island, an interactive zoological park in Watson Island, Miami. He is an active board member for R.B. Birds, Serpentarium, Parrot Jungle & Gardens, Pet Food, Ltd., and Last Chance Farm. Levine has owned a variety of pet-related companies. A UF undergrad alumnus, he received his DVM from Auburn University. Levine supports UF’s College of Veterinary Medicine and has served on its campaign council. 

Alan Pareira, BSBA ’60, is CEO of Florida Atlantic Securities and has been active in the investment business since 1961. He has served as director of several public companies and on multiple finance committees. He is a founding member UF’s College of Business Advisory Council and the UF Investment Corporation, and served on the Foundation board for many years. A generous supporter, Pareira has established funds in Business, Education, the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences and Veterinary Medicine. 

Juan Galan, Jr., BSIE ’66, is the former founder and principal owner of GATO Distributors, a Miami-based beverage company and one of the top 50 Hispanic businesses in the United States. A former chair of the UF Foundation board, he has served as a member since 1991. Galan has been instrumental in UF fundraising efforts, serving as the regional chair for Dade County during UF’s first capital campaign, “Embrace Excellence,” and as national regional chair of the university’s “It’s Performance That Counts” campaign. Galan and his wife, Martha, have also supported UF through generous contributions to Academic Affairs, Student Affairs and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. In 2005, Galan was recognized as the “Gran Caiman,” an award presented to an outstanding member of the UF Hispanic alumni community.

Gary Gerson, BSBA ’54, MBA ’55, is the namesake of Gary R. Gerson Hall, home of the Fisher School of Accounting. He is the founding partner of Gerson Preston, one of Florida’s leading accounting firms. At age 21, Gerson distinguished himself as the youngest CPA in the country and has continued his role of leadership as a philanthropist, civic leader and entrepreneur. He and his wife, Niety, have generously supported the Warrington College of Business and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. A Distinguished Alumnus, Gerson has served on the Foundation board and campaign committees since the 19901. He was inducted into UF’s Athletic Hall of Fame and received the first-ever UF Volunteer Lifetime Achievement Award.

The Hon. Bob Graham, BA Poli Sci ’59, is a retired United States Senator and former Florida governor with more than four decades of public service. In 2006, he founded UF’s Bob Graham Center for Public Service with a mission to train the next generation of public and private sector leaders for Florida, the United States and the international community. A Distinguished Alumnus, Sen. Graham received an honorary doctor of public service degree from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and was inducted into the UF Hall of Fame. His wife, Adele, was honored in 2007 as UF’s Alumnae of Outstanding Achievement. 

Roberto Vizcón, BSBR ’79, is an award-winning broadcaster and producer with nearly 40 years of experience in newsgathering and television station management. He is the news director of WLTV- TV Univision 23, a Spanish-language newscast, and previously worked for Univision Puerto Rico and WFUN TV, the largest independently owned TV station in the United States. In 2013, Vizcón received an Emmy Award for News Excellence and in 2002 another Emmy Award for News Series Producing. He is the recipient of two additional Emmy Award nominations and the Silver Circle award from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences for 25 years or more in television

Aminda Marques Gonzalez, BSJ ’86, is the executive editor and vice president of the Miami Herald, where she began her journalism career as an intern and later became the paper’s first Hispanic editor. Under her leadership, the Miami Herald was twice named a Pulitzer Prize finalist. In 2016, Gonzalez received the Presidential Award of Impact from the National Association of Hispanic Journalists. A Distinguished Alumnus, she serves on the boards of the Pulitzer Prize, the Associated Press Media Editors and the Poynter Institute’s advisory council.

Paul Castronovo, BSBR ’84, is the host of the Paul Castronovo Show on Big 105.9, a commercial radio station, and president of Castronovo Vineyards in Italy. He previously co-hosted the Paul and Young Ron show, a morning radio program that consistently led ratings on five stations from Vero Beach to Key West. The show ran for 26 years and featured celebrity interviews and trademark banter about entertainment, idiosyncrasies of life and Miami sports. Castronovo was named a UF Distinguished Alumnus award in 2013.

The University of Florida enjoys the following programs in Miami, among others:

  • The UF College of Veterinary Medicine partnership with Miami-Dade Animal Services Pet Adoption and Protection Center.
  • The UF College of Dentistry’s Hialeah Dental Center provides all phases of dentistry care to thousands of residents of all ages.
  • The UF Lastinger Center for Learning, part of the College of Education, has a long track record of innovations in teaching in every county in the state, including partnering with the Miami-Dade County Public Schools Office of Early Childhood Programs to create the VPK Academy, a job-embedded form of professional development to help teachers and paraprofessionals from Title I schools improve teaching practices and child outcomes in Miami’s Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten (VPK) classrooms.
  • Since UF is the university partner to New World School of the Arts, NWSA graduates can easily apply for enrollment after completing Associate degree requirements.
  • UF brings the arts to STEM education at St. Thomas Episcopal School
  • UF’s climate variability and change research through the Florida Climate Institute.
  • The UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension Office works on commercial vegetable, tropical fruit and ornamental industries, offers pesticide training, commercial urban and homeowner horticulture, and water quality research; and the IFAS Tropical Research and Education Center does research, extension and teaching in ornamental, vegetable, and tropical-subtropical fruit and biofuel crops.
  • Through UF’s Bureau of Economic and Business Research, UF assesses healthcare and educational needs of Miami-Dade children and provides the state with the gold standard of population data.

UF Coral Gables is open to the public from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., weekdays. To schedule a visit contact, Alexa Butler, 786-482-6350. To learn more visit


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