The Rosenbergs announce $1 million scholarship donation

Erica Santiago / News Director

Prior to obtaining a position as the University president, President Mark Rosenberg was the first in his family to go to college. As a student, Rosenberg drove a bus and worked on a road crew to pay his tuition bills.
On Wednesday, Rosenberg and his wife Rosalie announced a $1 million donation toward scholarships for first-generation college students so they won’t have to work quite as hard.
“I identify with our students,” Rosenberg said. “Neither of my parents had a college degree. They both believed deeply in education.”
At FIU, 53 percent of undergraduates are the first in their families to go to college. Almost all – 90 percent – rely on financial aid to pay for tuition.
“I have the privilege of working with FIU students since 1976,” Rosenberg said. “The quality that I admire most is their determination to succeed against all odds.”

The president has shown his passions for providing scholarships to students before, during the most recent Town Hall meeting held at WUC.

During a Q-and-A with the audience, a student who has Asperger’s Syndrome said his family has faced difficulties with integrating him into the University; however, with his disorder he has not been granted a full scholarship despite his involvement in school and having graduated as the valedictorian of his high school class.

He demanded to know what the University has done to solve the problem.

President Rosenberg responded by offering his time on finding scholarships that may be provided to the student according to his disorder.
Rosenberg said his parents insisted that their four children go to college, something they were never able to do themselves. At the time, his father was serving in the army during World War II, fighting in the D-Day invasion of Normandy and the Battle of the Bulge. His mother was held in the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp during what should have been her college-going years. The two met after Rosenberg’s father helped liberate the camp.
Rosenberg’s donation is the largest gift given by an FIU president to the university. Hired in 2009, his net worth is $5.8 million, according to his most recent financial disclosure filed with the state.
His donation was made to launch this year’s Ignite Campaign, which asks university staff and faculty to give back. So far, 23 percent of employees have donated almost $230,000.
Rosenberg has mentioned, “There is more to do when it comes to fundraising.”

The university launched a campaign with a $750-million goal in 2010. Rosenberg said $310 million has been raised in an effort set to end in 2020.
“It has been a process. In part because we’re a public institution, there’s a sense that because we have public support, the private support is not so important,” Rosenberg said. “We’re very grateful to all of our donors but I have high expectations for myself. I want to find a way to accelerate the support for FIU, and I have to do my part.”

Additional reporting by TNS Staff

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