Nissan donates van to engineering graduate

By: Joshua Ceballos & Ivonne Rodriguez/PantherNOW Staff


Aldo Amenta walked across the graduation stage in 2018, and now thanks to a donation from Palmetto57 Nissan, he and his family can continue moving forward.

Amenta, an engineering student who graduated from the University on Sunday, Dec. 9, 2018, is quadriplegic. In 2015 he suffered from a spinal injury during a swimming pool accident and became paralyzed in his arms and legs.

Despite the debilitating injury, Amenta still pursued his studies and walked to get his diploma with the help of an exoskeleton that allowed him to move without a wheelchair.

The exoskeleton was a temporary fix however, and Amenta still requires the use of a wheelchair. The issue is, he and his family didn’t have a vehicle that was wheelchair accessible – until now.

University alumnus and Trustee Rogelio Tovar, who is also the owner of the Palmetto57 Nissan car dealership, worked to find a vehicle that was the right fit for the Amenta family, and donated it to them on Friday, Jan. 18.

                                         Aldo Amenta receiving the keys to his family’s new wheelchair accessible van from Trustee Rogelio Tovar

University President Mark B. Rosenberg opened up the event with a few words about Amenta and his accomplishments despite adversity.

“When Aldo walked across the commencement stage, you could feel the overwhelming joy, you could feel the pride and the accomplishment that he and his family felt,” said Rosenberg. Today we continue living this miracle with the Amenta Family.”

Amenta’s mother, Maria De Los Angeles Amenta, was emotional as her son received the keys to the new vehicle.

“I’m so grateful for this country and FIU and now Palmetto57 Nissan to have given him this opportunity,” De Los Angeles Amenta said.  “There are no words, I am so proud.”

Amenta himself was ecstatic, smiling from ear to ear and thanking the University and the people around him.

“With all the help I’ve received from FIU, they’ve changed my world, my family’s world and I couldn’t be happier,” said Amenta.


Photos by Ivonne Rodriguez

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