Video by Maria Soledad Lorenzino and Camila Fernandez
Camila Fernandez/Assistant News Director
After 42 years dedicated to higher education, Provost and Executive Vice President Douglas Wartzok bid farewell to FIU before leaving on his yearlong sabbatical.
On June 26, a reception was held in the GC Ballrooms to honor Wartzok and his wife, Susan Wartzok, head of Cataloging for FIU Libraries, for their tireless leadership and service to the University.
“We want to thank Doug and Sue for all that they’ve done to make our University a better, stronger, and more moral institution,” said President Mark B. Rosenberg.
“This position of provost is the most difficult in the University. [Wartzok] found a way in his incredible sprint as provost to make it look easy,” Rosenberg said.
Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration, Kenneth Jessell, who was MC for the event, described Wartzok as a dreamer and a dream-maker.
Jessell said that despite of his degrees in mathematics and physics and a doctorate in neurophysiology, Wartzok dreamed of something bigger: to study and conduct research on marine life.
Wartzok will continue this career path in Australia during his sabbatical where he has been appointed to the Ocean Studies Board of the National Academies.
“You’re going to need a sabbatical just to rest after your sabbatical,” said Jessell.
Wartzok said he plans to return next year for the University’s 50th Anniversary as a biology faculty member.
At the event on Thursday, Wartzok was also described as a dream-maker.
According to Rosenberg, millions of dollars have been raised for donations, sponsoring research and the University’s expansion of 5 million square feet during Wartzok’s administration.
FIU alumna Sahar Ajabshir came to the event to show respect to the provost for all his support and motivation towards University students.
“In every ceremony, like my graduation, he was always present. I feel like now that he is leaving, I have to be there for him too,” said Ajabshir. “[To show] that we understand that these people are working very hard for us.”
SGA-MMC President Alexis Calatayud said that Wartzok understands students and their multi-cultural background and some of their socio-economic limitations.
Above all else, he also understands the students’ intense desire to make their dreams a reality.
“Provost Wartzok,” said Calatayud as she addressed him. “Your heart for FIU and your spirits for University academia and administration, has given FIU students the greatest possible gift they can ask for: the opportunity to make their dreams come true.”
In a previous interview with Student Media, Wartzok said students need to have a commitment to lifelong learning.
“To continue to be intellectually alive because that’s really what distinguishes us from all the other creatures on Earth,” Wartzok said.
He also said that to be Worlds Ahead, students cannot plan for a career that’s there today. He said most contemporary careers were unknown at FIU when he arrived 13 years ago.
Other speakers at the event were Board of Trustees member Cesar Alvarez, President of the United Faculty of Florida Teresa Lucas and Associate Dean for Graduate Studies in the College of Arts & Sciences Maureen Donnelly.
As a gift of gratitude, Wartzok was given an antique world globe and was named Provost Emeritus of Florida International University.
He thanked his wife Susan for supporting him throughout his responsibilities as provost.
He also said that provosts come and go, but the faculty and staff remain and continue providing all the services to students.
“FIU really is the future of America and I’m immensely grateful to have played a part in it,” Wartzok said.