Archive for October, 2011

FNC’s 2011 Commencement Guest Speaker

The FNC’s 2011 Commencement Guest Speaker, Hiram A. Paz, Esq, had his roots at Florida National College and was an inspiration to all those present.

Hiram A. Paz was born and raised in Santa Clara, Cuba. He arrived to the United States on May 7, 2002, a few weeks before turning 18. In June 2002, Hiram enrolled in Florida National College while he was also  finishing his senior year of high school. Hiram received a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science with a second major in Philosophy from Florida International University in May 2007. After receiving his Juris Doctorate from Florida International University College of Law in December 2010, Hiram passed the February 2010 Florida Bar and is currently a licensed attorney practicing primarily in the areas of personal injury and criminal law.

Good afternoon, My name is Hiram Paz. I am a former Florida National College student, and today, it is my pleasure and privilege to be a speaker in your graduation ceremony. I want to start by thanking the Florida National College administration and giving a very in special thank you to Maria Cristina Regueiro for giving me this opportunity. It is a true honor to be here today, and to be able to share such a special moment for you and for Florida National College.

Today, I want to talk about things that I believe are important. I do not want to be remembered as that boring speaker in your graduation, although that may be the case, but rather as someone who had a message worth listening to.

The first thing I want to talk to you about today is about DREAMS. For each one of you graduating today, a dream is coming true, one way or another. I submit to you, that in life it is very important to always follow your dreams. I know I have followed

I got to this country just a few days before turning 18, and my dream had always been to become an attorney. Most people thought, and some even told me that it was impossible, and that at my age and with my language barrier, I should not even try. However, I decided to never let anyone discourage me, and I pushed on, trying to achieve that dream. Because I decided to do so, after nine years in this country, I find myself here talking to you, as a lawyer, and I am very proud to say that my journey began at Florida National College. When I talk to you about dreams, I am also talking about perseverance, and about never letting anyone or anything discourage you.

I am sure for many of you here, your dreams are directly connected with your education. Education is a wonderful and empowering tool. Benjamin Franklin once said, “Genius without education is like silver in the mine.” By embarking on your voyage in Florida National College, you have refined that silver, and have received tools that are imperative in new careers. I encourage you, if it is your dream, to continue your education and create the finest silver you can.

I am also very pleased to see how Florida National College each day takes a step forward in fulfilling a dream, making a difference, and becoming one of best institutions for higher education in South Florida. Many of you are receiving your associate’s degrees
today and thus becoming professionals, ready to go out and practice in your chosen areas. Some others are already receiving your bachelor’s degrees, thus, joining your chosen professions with significant expertise. I also have the vision that some years from today, Florida National College will be already offering graduate programs. I encourage you today to dream, to forget about the economy and to forget about all other negative thoughts, and to set out to achieve the goals that you have envisioned with your new degrees.

Just as you have those that doubted you and you tried to prove them wrong, it is important to always remember those who pushed you and believed in you.

This brings to the second thing I wanted to talk about with you today: GRATITUDE.

Today all of you celebrate a very important milestone in your lives. You all have worked very hard, and have come a long way to make it to this point. However, you did not do it alone. You see you were the ones who read those books, who came to class, and took those exams. You were the ones who had to juggle working a job, sometimes two, and come to school. Some of you were also the ones who had to combine school with raising your children and taking care of your families. That is amazing. Yet along the way, you received the support of your parents, your spouse, and everyone who cares about you.

Just like that, my story is similar to yours. Thanks to years of hard work and perseverance I graduated from law school, passed the Florida Bar, and became an attorney. However, there is no doubt in my mind that a huge part of the reason I made it, was because of my parents, the rest of my family, and also, Florida National College.

When I arrived to this country in early May of 2002, it must have sounded crazy that my goal was to become a lawyer. However, my parents always believed in me. Florida National College Jose Regueiro, believed in me as well. So less than two months after my arrival, I was given the opportunity to attend Florida National College and started taking my first college classes with Doctor Febles. It has been a long road, and there is still a lot more ahead, I hope, in my career, but it all began in here.

So today, I want to thank my mom and my dad, for always being there for me. I want to thank my grandma, and my girlfriend for always being so great and so supportive. I want to thank the Florida National College family, for opening to me the doors of education in this country, and for showing me the way. I want to also for the first time, personally thank Dean Jorge Alfonzo and Academic Affairs Vice-president Caridad Sanchez, because one day they also believed in me, and wrote me recommendation letters to law school.

Today, I encourage you, to the same thing, and go back and show your gratitude to all of those who are also responsible for your achievements.

Lastly, I would like to leave you with a thought about SUCCESS. A wise professor of mine once asked us what that word SUCCESS meant to us, and as it is to be expected, the answers were significantly different. Just as I am sure, they are different in this room. For some of you, success is a day like today, a day where a new professional career begins. Or maybe success is becoming one of the best in your chosen fields. For others, success is being able to attend every one of the
events important in your children’s life. For several of you it may be to combine career and family and be the best you can be at both. In my opinion, success is all about enjoying the journey.

My very wise professor gave us a brand new key, a key that had no indentations. He told us that this key was blank so that we could make the marks, so that we could build our own definition of success, our own journey.

Today, I have provided all of you with a plain key as well, a key that symbolizes your new degrees, that you can fill in with your own dreams, your own definitions of success, and that you can mold into the key that will open the doors that you want to open; much like by attending Florida National College you opened the doors to your education and your future.

I want to leave you all with that last message, whatever you decide to do with your new careers, whether it is to pursue a higher degree, or to get a new and better job, I
encourage you to always enjoy your journey and to fill in the blanks with your own definition of success.

Congratulations to everyone of you graduating today, and to Florida National College for all of its recent achievements.

I wish you all the best of luck in your journey to finding your definition of success. Congratulations!

Thank you.

FNC Fall 2011 Commencement Ceremony

The Florida National College Commencement Ceremony was held on Sunday, October 9th, 2011 at the James L. Knight Center in downtown Miami followed by a Graduation Banquet at the Hyatt Regency Miami honoring the FNC graduates. The Student Valedictorian Speech was given by retired Staff Sargeant Maria T. Rivera.

President Regueiro, faculty, fellow graduates, Gloria de Paul, and honored guests. I stand before you with humility for the honor granted to me by our alma mater – FNC. As a retired U.S. Army Veteran with diverse abilities this honor truly humbles me.

All of us here at FNC, whether on campus or distance learning, know the value of an education and the opportunities that may arise from our career choices. Most of you are young enough that this will be your first career opportunity – go forth with diversity! I am an example of what you can achieve and attain
through life experiences that will assist you throughout your careers and career changes. I myself will be embarking on my third career with this degree.

I’m sure most of my fellow graduates can affirm that it was a long and often arduous journey in earning our place here today. For me, it has been over 30 years – the advent of distance learning has assisted me in achieving this goal. The support of our alma mater – whether it was through our administrative staff, Gloria de Paul, or our department heads was and is duly noted and appreciated. Believe me, attempting distance learning through foreign service providers in Africa and South America makes you realize how much of a “family style of learning and support” FNC really puts forth. Esa familia, nuestra familia FNC – se mantenga y continuar creciendo para siempre!

diversified programs allow people like me, a U.S. Army Veteran the opportunity
of continuing my education and achieving a lifelong goal – that of being a college graduate. I acknowledge with pride FNC’s excellent distance learning program and the ‘military friendly’ atmosphere and support that they exude.

Thank you. President Regueiro, faculty, Gloria de Paul, and honored guests.

Maria Teresa Rivera

Valedictorian for the class of 2011, Fall Commencement

Para aquellos que hablan español:

Presidenta Regueiro, profesores, compañeros graduados, Gloria de Paul, y huéspedes de honores.

Me presento ante ustedes con humildad para el honor concedido a mí por nuestra alma mater: FNC. Como un veterano retirado de ejército estadounidense con diversas habilidades este honor me humilla verdaderamente.

Todos nosotros aquí en FNC, ya sea en el campus o a distancia, conocen el valor de la educación y las oportunidades que surjan de nuestras opciones de carrera. La mayoría de ustedes es jóvenes que esta será su primera oportunidad de carrera: ir adelante con diversidad! Yo soy un ejemplo de lo que puede lograr y alcanzar a través de experiencias de vida que le ayudarán a lo largo de sus carreras y cambios de carrera. Yo mismo a embarcarse en mi tercera carrera con este grado.

Estoy seguro de que la mayoría de mis compañeros graduados puede afirmar que fue un viaje largo y a menudo arduo en ganar nuestro lugar aquí hoy. Para mí, ha sido más de 30 años: la llegada del aprendizaje a distancia me ha ayudado a alcanzar este objetivo. El apoyo de nuestra alma mater: Si fue a través de nuestro personal administrativo o nuestros Jefes de departamento, e Gloria de Paul fueron debidamente señaló y es apreciado. Créanme, tratar de aprendizaje a distancia a través de proveedores extranjeros en África y América del Sur hace que te das cuenta cuánto de una “familia estilo de aprendizaje y soporte” FNC realmente pone adelante. Esa familia, nuestra familia FNC – se mantenga y continuar creciendo para siempre!

Programas diversificados del FNC permitan a la gente como yo, un veterano del ejército de Estados Unidos la oportunidad de continuar mi educación y lograr una meta permanente – que de ser una escuela de graduados. Reconozco con el programa y la atmósfera ‘amistoso militar’ y el apoyo que destilan de aprendizaje a distancia excelente del orgullo FNC.

Gracias. Gracias. Presidenta María Cristina Regueiro, profesores, Gloria de Paul, e invitados honrados.


Maria Teresa Rivera

Valedictoriana de la clase del 2011, inicio de otoño


Photographs courtesy of  Daniel Molinares