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The Thought Leadership and Impact Forum was designed to gain a closer insight on how philanthropists make giving decisions and what they see for the future of Florida International University, including its place within the South Florida community and higher education in general.

The College had the opportunity to invite some of our donors to discuss multiple topics including their FIU story, their road to philanthropy and hurdles they have faced on their journey. Directed to an audience of development professionals, the conversation led to case studies from different viewpoints which assisted the Advancement team to fully understand individual motives for giving.

The panel included:

Dr. Walter Goldberg is the CEO of the Jill Heather Goldberg Charitable Foundation and a retired professor of the Marine Sciences Program at Florida International University. He received his bachelor’s degree at The American University, masters at Florida Atlantic University, and his Doctorate at the University of Miami School of Marine & Atmospheric Sciences. During his 39-year career, Goldberg taught courses in general biology, oceanography and zoology and served a term as department chair. While he is now retired, Goldberg still makes the weekly four-hour round trip from his home in Stuart, Florida, to MMC to teach a scientific writing course for honors students in the Department of Biological Sciences.

Olga Melin has long been an advocate of education. She believes in its power to help students reach their full potential. Especially at FIU, she has seen tremendous value in fostering an environment where people of many religions and backgrounds can relate to one another. She and her husband, David Melin, are well known for their altruism, providing time, dedication, and financial support to numerous charitable organizations. A member of FIU’s College of Arts, Sciences & Education Dean’s Advisory Board, Olga is involved with the Miami Salon Group, Florida Grand Opera Guild, St Martha Concert & Cultural Series, Miami Summer Music Festival and Miami Theater Center, among other organizations.

Dr. Allan B. Wesler received his Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from Tulane University and his Ph.D. after studying Philosophy and Theology at South Florida College of Technology. He developed computer systems by which he researched and documented for the past three decades clusters of symbols and figurative images back to their earliest appearance in the world. Using innovative computer traceability techniques, he was awarded the leading license granted in his field by the Atomic Energy Commission. He is author of the resulting book, “The Story that Changed the World” and coauthor with his son Robert Wesler which deciphers the story in prehistory that evolved human consciousness.

Though segregation disconnected much of society during the 1960’s, Sam and Joyce Moore were able to find each other through music. Sam is the only member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame from Miami. He marched alongside Martin Luther King Jr. and often sang at his rallies. As a Jewish woman studying business and theatre at the University of Miami, Joyce was drawn to the music scene of Overtown, one of Miami’s historically black neighborhoods and home of Sam Moore. Music struck a cord in their hearts, and together they recognized music has no color, yet serves as a powerful catalyst for bridging cultural divides. This bridge continues to inspire music today, yet is at risk of being forgotten.

Today, more than ever before, our donors make a difference – providing critical funding that will shape the future of FIU. CASE is honored to work with our donors to help students, faculty, staff, and alumni achieve their potential as agents of change.