Tuesday, January 16, 2018

STU Alumnus brings book signing tour to Miami

Robert E. Constant '01

Robert E. Constant, a product of Miami Norland Senior High and a 2001 graduate of St. Thomas University, has written the first children’s book about the historic Tuskegee University, where he received his undergraduate education. “Hey Tuskegee!” follows two siblings as they relive the accomplishments of iconic African-Americans, including the university’s founder, Booker T. Washington.

Join Robert, during his book tour, at Barnes and Noble in Pembroke Pines, Fla., on Saturday, January 27, 2018, at 1 p.m. He will be on hand for a reading and signing of his children’s book debut. STU caught up with Robert and asked him a few questions about his career and time at St. Thomas.

Tell us about your years at St. Thomas University.
My years at St. Thomas University were fantastic! I spent both years working full-time with the Florida Marlins, planning a wedding with then girlfriend and now wife of 18 years, and studying when I could! Those years were all a blur, but it was such an exciting time to be a part of the sports industry because many of my classmates were already working in the business with organizations and teams like the Marlins, Dolphins, Hurricanes, Panthers and the Orange Bowl Committee. Bringing that sort of experience to the classroom just enhanced our graduate school experience. This was clearly one of St. Thomas’ strengths as a Sports Administration program!

How has St. Thomas helped you in meeting your goals?
STU increased my ability to prioritize as I had a demanding work schedule, but moreover, the experience sharpened my ability in working collaboratively within small groups.

Tell us about your career journey and how you ended up where you are today.
My career journey has been an exciting an unpredictable ride as I have worked for several top universities, but also had the chance to work in professional sports. I never expected to find my way into University Advancement, however, many of the skills I gained in college and professional sports are highly valued as a professional fundraiser. When opportunity knocks you have to determine if the upside is greater than the risk. For me, I continue to believe that making the move to University Advancement has paid huge dividends in allowing me to leverage my skills in strategic planning, marketing, entrepreneurship, teamwork, fundraising and leadership.

So far, what accomplishments, both personally and professionally, are you most proud of and why?
Personally, nothing beats watching the birth of your children and having the opportunity to pass along everything you were taught. Professionally, starting the Regional Major Gift Program at Rutgers University and having a successful 9-year stint rising from the first ever Central Major Gift Officer to leading the Regional Major Gift team as the Associate Vice President.

What is your most memorable experience from when you were a student at STU?
Hands down, it was the night that former Director of Athletics at the University of Miami, Paul Dee, visited class in the middle of UM’s head football coach search. Hearing him describe the experience and how the press was literally following his every move put a lot of things in perspective for me. Given his role at the University of Miami and the time constraints that go with it, I was impressed that he cared enough to still visit our class and share some of his advice and wisdom with us. That moment just underscored the respect he had for the Sports Administration Program at St. Thomas and our very own, Dr. Jan Bell!

What advice would you give to current students and/or young alumni?
Current students and/or young alumni need to follow their heart and use their natural and gained skill sets to focus on opportunities that bring them the most joy! Whether you find a career interest or create something from scratch, always pursue your dreams with an obsession that drives you to seek excellence and a higher level of achievement.

Robert E. Constant is a senior level fundraising administrator with over 20 years of experience in higher education. After receiving his Bachelor’s Degree from Tuskegee University in 1998, Robert earned his Master’s Degree in Sports Administration from St. Thomas University in Miami Gardens in 2001.

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