Kickoff for Alumni Leadership Campaign yields big results.

Leave it to a real leader to lead the way. At the kickoff of the Alumni Leadership Campaign, a fundraising effort by the College of Business at Florida International University (FIU), Tom Cornish (BBA ’85), president and CEO, Marsh & McLennan Agency, Florida Region, was the first to make a pledge, a substantial one of $25,000.

“The evening’s goal was $100,000 so I pledged 25 percent of that,” he said. “I thought it would get the ball rolling.”

Guests received an overview of the campaign goals.

It did indeed. Other leaders stepped forward and a whopping $141,000 was pledged for the new campaign created by the Dean’s Alumni Circle.

“We are thrilled, and so grateful to our outstanding alumni,” said Monique Catoggio (EMBA ’03), director of college relations for FIU Business. “Alumni asking other alumni to help has been a success.”

Over 200 guests attended the kickoff held September 13, 2012 at the Coral Gables Country Club. Dean Emerita Joyce J. Elam and Alumni Leadership Campaign leaders Alfredo Cepero (MACC ’90, BACC ’88) and Francis Hondal (MBA ’94, BBA ’87) addressed the group as did Ernie Diaz (BBA ’89) of TD Bank, the event’s sponsor.

Alfredo Cepero, Monique Catoggio and Francis Hondal

“I am a product of FIU and much of the success I’ve been fortunate to enjoy is a result of what I learned in my business classes,” said Cornish, a member of the Dean’s Council and a board member of the FIU Foundation. “I’m a believer in giving back and the goals of the Alumni Leadership Campaign are worth supporting.”

The goal of the campaign is to raise $2M in the next five years, to immediately have an impact on the quality of education experienced by FIU’s business students and drive the continued growth and excellence of the faculty.

Getting involved beyond the checkbook.

Donors can “earmark” their gift for specific programs and Cornish chose to have his gift help the mentoring program. He also volunteered to become a mentor.

“I recently spent some time with the student, a very bright finance major,” he said. “We’ve already made plans for him to become involved in some business experiences at my company.”

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