Friday, July 17, 2015

Ogazón Family Fronton Gives STU Community Opportunity to Learn and Play Racquet Sports

The Ogazón Family Fronton, located on the first floor of the Fernandez Family Center for Leadership and Wellness, is the latest addition to the plethora of athletics and fitness facilities at St. Thomas University.  The Ogazón Family Fronton, dedicated on June 11 in a special ribbon-cutting ceremony, comes thanks to a generous gift by the Ogazón family who has a long history with St. Thomas University and racquet sports.

The Ogazón Family Fronton comes as a result of a brainstorm by Dr. Craig Resse, Dr. Lloyd Mitchell and Dr. Edwin Abernethy of the St. Thomas University School of Business.  The three professors were searching for a way to make a Fronton a reality utilizing an existing space at the Fernandez Family Center.  Upon learning of the idea, Dr. Agatha Ogazón, a longtime professor also at STU’s School of Business, generously stepped forward with the initial gift for the Fronton.

Dr. Agatha Ogazón and her husband, the late Dr. Tomas Ogazón were both professors at St. Thomas University for decades, having come to Miami from St. Thomas at Villanova in Havana, Cuba.  The Ogazón family wanted to give back to St. Thomas University with a lasting contribution toward an entity that will be used for years to come. The prospect of contributing toward a facility where racquet sports could be played was especially exciting to Dr. Agatha Ogazón who was taught the game of squash as a child in Cuba and continued playing the sport throughout her youth.

An additional gift came from Dr. Reese along with a grant from the United States Squash Association to complete the project which Dr. Abernethy worked diligently on to ensure certification as an USSA sanctioned facility.

The front and side walls of the existing room were replaced with heavy wood paneling while a high-impact glass wall was erected with a special entry door to create a smooth playing surface.  A small gallery was also created behind the glass back wall for spectators and those waiting to play to gather.

The decision was also made to use the name “Fronton” for the facility which is what squash and racquet ball courts are referred to in Cuba and throughout Latin America.

The Ogazón Family Fronton was sanctioned by the United States Squash Association making it the nation’s first newly constructed sanctioned facility this year.  The Fronton, which also meets specifications for international racquetball, is one of only three sanctioned courts in Miami-Dade County.

Students, faculty and staff have the opportunity to play sports such as squash, racquetball, handball, and badminton at the Ogazón Fronton.  Equipment to play the various racquet sports is available for check-out at the front desk of the Fernandez Family Center for Leadership and Wellness.  Moreover, an Indoor Racquet Sports class taught by Dr. Abernethy was launched last Spring as a new course offering for undergraduate students.

For more information or to play racquet sports in the newly opened Ogazón Family Fronton, please visit the front desk of the Fernandez Family Center.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

STU Welcomes Our New Chaplain

Rev. Henrick Jose has joined the St. Thomas University community as the new University Chaplain. Born in India, where he attended St. Thomas Minor Seminary and Sacred Heart Seminary, Father Henrick served as Parish priest in various churches; Superintendent of RC Schools in the Archdiocese of Madrasmylapure; and first President of Tamilnadu Regional Conference of Priests. Prior to joining St. Thomas, he was St. Coleman Church Parochial Vicar in Pompano Beach. Father Henrick also served as a Chaplain of St. Coleman Carroll School and Baptist Hospital.

New Vice Provost is Focused on Student Success

Emphasizing its commitment to student success, a new position was recently created at St. Thomas University whose responsibility is to improve student performance and ensure that every STU Bobcat graduates. Dr. John Vassiliou joined the St. Thomas University family as the Associate Provost for Student Success, bringing nineteen
years of higher education leadership experience and success.

His experience includes leading the re-design of the student entry process and the academic advising systems, which allows universities to build early connections and enhance student engagement from entry to completion and transition. His approach incorporates career services and faculty mentoring components. His expertise in educational research and successful implementation of developmental education innovative modalities will enable STU to further develop solid outcomes in student research, practice and learning. Dr. Vassiliou has extensively published and is a well-respected scholarly figure known for formulating and implementing innovative projects to advance student learning.

The STU campus is familiar for Dr. Vassiliou. Prior to earning his Ph.D. in Higher Education Leadership, he received his M.S. in Sports Administration at St. Thomas University (class of 2001). Dr. Vassiliou also served as a soccer coach. Welcome Home Dr. V!

STU Launches Career Academies at Catholic High Schools This Fall

It is an exciting time to be a student in a Catholic high school in the Archdiocese of Miami! Thanks to St. Thomas University’s New Catholic Education Continuum Career Academies, students at several Catholic schools can begin working on their degrees before they graduate from high school. The Catholic Education Continuum, a partnership with Catholic High Schools launched by St. Thomas University, provides a seamless transition of educational excellence and faith formation as the students graduate from their Catholic high school.

The partnership includes the development of Career Academies at each Catholic high school, providing students with the possibility of college degree acceleration and early immersion in their career path. The academies allow students to complete undergraduate and graduate degrees sooner by starting their college coursework in high school. Participating students can earn a Bachelors/Master’s degree in four years or a Bachelors and Law degree in five years. Academies in the areas of Pre-Law, Sports Administration, Hospitality Management, Biology, and Nursing start Fall 2015, with additional academics in the pipeline.

The CEC also includes a full-tuition scholarship to St. Thomas University for a student from each Catholic high school in the tri-county area; eight scholarships were awarded this inaugural year.

Expanding Horizons / STU Abroad: Opening New Worlds

Saint Augustine said “The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.” True to its Augustinian heritage, St. Thomas University is providing many opportunities for students to write their own pages through exciting study aboard experiences this summer.

The home of liberal arts and social sciences at St. Thomas University, Biscayne College continues to develop intellectual leadership in students through multicultural learning programs abroad. This year, Dr. Elizabetta Ferrero and her students travelled to Fiuggi, Italy – the European capital of thermal waters – to engage in an Italian language and cultural immersion. The Study Abroad in Italy builds on the extensive and successful study abroad experience of Saint Thomas University in Assisi, Italy. During the week, students spend the morning in the classroom studying Italian literature in translation; the afternoon is spent in organized excursions to nearby places where students have the chance to discover the roots of some of the most colorful and culturally-rich areas in Italy; visits include Pompeii, Florence and Vatican City. Students, who earn three credits during this aboard experience, also have the opportunity during the weekends to travel throughout Europe.

St. Thomas University’s School of Law held its 20th annual Summer in Spain Program, in El Escorial, Spain, located 45 minutes northwest of Madrid in the beautiful foothills of the Guadarrama Mountains. This year’s month-long program had a total enrollment of 105 students, including law students from partner universities. The program prepares students to practice law in the globalized atmosphere of the 21st Century by broadening their understanding of international Criminal, Civil and Maritime Law. Students have the opportunity to develop international legal and cultural perspectives while earning six credits towards their law degree.

As part of the School of Business’ effort to integrate international experiences into business students respective academic curricula, the School of Business’ 2015 Summer Study Abroad Program took students to Israel for an academically rich and intensive 13-day program. Business Professor, Dr. Hagai Gringarten, organized a dynamic program that included meetings with diplomats, Chief Executive Officers and Chief Operating Officers of major Israel-based companies, and leaders in technology and food manufacturing. In addition to visits to tourist and religious sites, and “walking the bible,” students also visited – among others – the Weizmann Institute, a globally respected research center, and attended lectures by a former Israeli representative to the European Union, a Vice President of a global dairy company, and Vice President of a successful local hospitality chain.

Share our journeys with the social media hashtag #STUabroad

Italian Countryside
Biscayne College in Italy

Business Students in Israel

On top of Masada, Israel
STU in Israel

Monday, July 13, 2015

Coach Perez Named ABCA/Diamond Regional Coach of the Year

St. Thomas University Head Baseball Coach Jorge Perez has been named ABCA/Diamond Regional Coach of the Year by the American Baseball Coaches Association.  Perez won the award after leading St. Thomas to a 48-18 overall record and the first runner-up finish at the NAIA World Series in school history.

Under the guidance of Perez, the Bobcats defeated host Georgia Gwinnett in the NAIA Opening Round to qualify for the World Series for the fifth time in school history.  At the NAIA World Series, the Bobcats staved off elimination four times in the ten-team double elimination tournament to earn a spot in the NAIA World Series Championship Game for the first time.  The Bobcats fell to host Lewis-Clark State 10-7 in the championship and finished the year ranked no. 2 in the nation in the final NAIA Coaches Poll.  Five Bobcats were named to the All-World Series team and outfielder Jerry Downs, the highest selected NAIA position player in the 2015 Major League Baseball Draft, was drafted in the 15th round by the Boston Red Sox.

In six seasons as the Head Coach at St. Thomas University, Perez has compiled a 240-172 overall record and led the Bobcats to the NAIA World Series Opening Round in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2015.  In 2012, he also led STU to its first Sun Conference Tournament Championship.

Before arriving at St. Thomas in 2009, Perez was the head coach at Gulliver Prep and South Dade Senior High School. During his high school coaching career, Perez accumulated a record of 80-54. He led his teams to two Regional Final appearances and in 2007, participated in the 3A Final Four State Tournament with the Gulliver Prep Raiders.

Perez has been around baseball his entire life. As a player he was fortunate to be involved in both collegiate and professional baseball. Perez graduated from Rollins College in 1993 where he was a four-year letter winner. At Rollins, he participated in two regional tournaments, played on the only team in school history to be ranked #1 in the country, and was part of the squad that beat both the University of Miami and University of Florida in the same season. After college, Perez began his professional playing career by signing as a free agent with the St. Paul Saints of the Northern League. From there, he played two more seasons with two other professional organizations.

Perez began his coaching career in 1996 as an assistant at Kean University (a nationally ranked Division III school in New Jersey). His main responsibilities included developing the catchers and hitters. In 1998, the program participated in their first regional appearance in 25 years. In 1999, Perez was hired as an Assistant Coach by Manny Mantrana at St. Thomas University. In the year 2000, St. Thomas compiled a 51-16 record, won the Florida Sun Conference Championship and participated in the NAIA College World Series.

Coach Perez received his Master's Degree in Educational Administration in May, 2012 from St. Thomas University. Perez resides in Kendall with his wife, Mitzie and two daughters, Mia (15) and Jenna (8).

The ABCA, founded in 1945, is the primary professional organization for baseball coaches at the amateur level. Its over 6,600 members represent all 50 states and 23 countries. Since its initial meeting of 27 college baseball coaches in June 1945, Association membership has broadened to include eight divisions: NCAA Division I, II and III, NAIA, Junior College (NJCAA and Pacific Association Division), High School and Youth.

The ABCA/Diamond Coach of the Year Awards are sponsored by Diamond Sports. Diamond products are sold through team sporting goods stores nationwide. Product and purchase information can be found at Diamond is the official baseball of the ABCA.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

STU Names New Building After Local Business Leader / Construction of New School of Business Building to Begin Soon

On July 1st, the St. Thomas University Board of Trustees and President announced that former Trustee and prominent businessman, Mr. Gus Machado, pledged $5 million for the Blueprint for Leadership Campaign – the University’s ambitious plan to cement its position as the best Catholic university in the Southeast. Mr. Machado’s generous gift – the single largest gift to-date to the University – provides the cornerstone of the construction funding to provide current and expanded business programs in a new, state-of-the-art School of Business facility. Alumnus, Trustee and distinguished business executive Jorge Rico pledged an additional $1 million, jumpstarting the project.

Mr. Machado’s legacy of business leadership and philanthropic support will be recognized through the naming of the Gus Machado School of Business at St. Thomas University.
For more than thirty years, Gus Machado has been a recognized entrepreneur, successful executive and philanthropist in the South Florida community. A former member of St. Thomas University’s Board of Trustees, Gus Machado came to the United States from Cuba in 1949 and attended military school in North Carolina. A visionary businessman, he owned a series of car dealerships until he acquired his first franchise in 1982, Gus Machado Buick. Today, he is President of Gus Machado Ford and continues to lead his company to multi-city success. Mr. Machado, and his wife Lilliam, are a major force in Florida philanthropy, supporting many charitable organizations.

“Supporting our future business leaders means the world to me,” said Mr. Machado. “Being able to make that happen at St. Thomas University – a University that has a reputation for providing an excellent educational experience and developing the next generation of ethical business leaders – is an opportunity I am very pleased to be a part of.”

The twenty-first century facility will house the institutes of Global Entrepreneurship, Cybersecurity Mangement, Trade and Logistics and Sports Administration, as well as other business programs, and have an open architecture, green design that will feature multi-purpose spaces and combine robust technology with functionalities that will help students learn real-life business practices. Interactive Smart Classrooms with specialized software, audience response technology, networking and audio/visual capabilities, as well as a Trading Room, a Global Conference Auditorium, the Student Business Incubator, and a Communications and Media Lab, are among other innovative spaces.

“Gus Machado is a name well respected in our community.  His generosity will allow our institution to offer a first-class business education in a first-class, values-based, multipurpose environment,” said St. Thomas President Rev. Msgr. Franklyn M. Casale. ”Thanks to Mr. Machado’s gift, as well as the generous donation by Trustee and alumnus Jorge Rico, the new Gus Machado School of Business at St. Thomas University will empower our business students to meet business challenges with free market solutions and excel as ethical leaders in the global marketplace.”