"Without alumni support, students would not have the same opportunities and overall experiences they now enjoy."     – Johann A. Ali, B.S. '96, M.B.A. '01
  • Johann A. Ali
  • Sean Goldstein
  • Carmine Parente
  • Todd & Sherra Payne
  • Scott & Kate Sadowski
  • Carlos & Paula Alvarez
  • Spencer Duke
  • Christine Gudaitis
  • Nan Markowitz
  • Vicki & Hardy Katz

Johann A. Ali
B.S. '96, M.B.A. '01

Johann supports Student Activities, International Student Scholarship Fund, and Iron Arrow Fund.

Johann arrived in the United States in 1992 from Trinidad at age 16, the youngest freshman in his class at the University of Miami. Hurricane Andrew gave this teenager a memorable welcome, but instead of being dismayed by the destruction around him, Johann rooted himself in Miami and the UM community by getting involved in several student groups. He joined the Trinidad and Tobago Cultural Association and the Council of International Students and Organizations, becoming president of COISO in his senior year.

When Johann returned to UM for graduate school, he continued to provide leadership and service on campus. He served as president of the Graduate Student Association and chief of Iron Arrow, the highest honor attained at the University of Miami.

Johann’s scholarship to the University of Miami was the door that opened to a wonderful career and life in the United States. Today he is a Florida Licensed Professional Geologist and owner of GAIA Consulting Partners, an environmental consulting firm. He gives back to make sure international students and upcoming student leaders have the same opportunities he once did.

Carmine Parente
B.S. '88

Carmine supports Band of the Hour, Athletics, and the University of Miami Alumni Association.

On January 2, 1984, a sophomore sax and tuba player named Carmine Parente stepped onto the Orange Bowl field as the drum major, leading the Band of the Hour’s performance while the Hurricanes snagged their first football National Championship. Just two and a half years later, this natural-born leader founded AGM Industries, a shower door manufacturing company that nowemploys more than 40 people in four locations throughout Florida and North Carolina.

People often ask Carmine, a math major, how he became so successful without taking any business classes. His answer: Band of the Hour. He believes that motivating people, working as a group, listening, leading, and following are all tremendous skills he learned by getting involved in extracurricular activities at the U.

Carmine joined former marching band director Michael Mann to establish the Michael Mann/Carmine Parente Endowment at the Frost School of Music, which provides scholarships for students and supports needs of the Band of the Hour. To this day, Carmine receives many touching stories each year from scholarship recipients. He is moved by the students’ appreciation and considers this reason enough to support the U every year.

Scott, B.B.A. '04 and Kate Sadowski, B.B.A. '05

Scott and Kate support the School of Business Administration Scholarship Fund, Athletics, and the Finance Department.

For Scott and Kate Sadowski, the University of Miami is more than their alma mater; it’s their family. Which is why the guest list for their orange-and-green-themed wedding included Sebastian the Ibis. Kate first met Scott during her freshman orientation, where he served as an orientation leader. They started dating after meeting again at a Delta Phi Epsilon sorority party.

Shortly after graduating from UM, Scott and Kate moved to New York City. They took advantage of the alumni network that connected them with other ’Canes in the region. They did what they could to create a “Coral Gables in Manhattan,” organizing monthly dinners with Scott’s Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity and coordinating various events. They also flew to Miami as often as possible to attend Hurricanes football games.

Scott and Kate were thrilled to move back to Miami once a position opened with Scott’s firm, Gabelli Asset Management, and Kate was hired as a teacher at Pine Crest School. Scott, who was student body president in his junior year, enjoys volunteering to speak to UM finance students about the profession. Both Kate and Scott feel very strongly about supporting the University with an annual gift because consistent support speaks volumes about their UM pride and their commitment to helping the University continue moving forward.

Todd, A.B. '84, J.D. '89 &
Sherra Payne, B.S.Ed. '85, M.S.Ed. '92

The year was 1983. She was chair of the Carni Gras Committee and a member of the Homecoming Committee. He was captain of the cheerleading team, a Lambda Chi Alpha brother, and an Interfraternity Council member who struck up a conversation with her at a party, sealing their fate as a UM couple for life. Sherra and Todd Payne began giving back to the U—both in financial support and leadership—as soon as they graduated. Todd has served on the UM Alumni Association Board and as president of the Law Alumni Association, and Sherra has chaired Ear Dears, a fundraising organization for the UM Ear Institute.

The Paynes are thankful for the well-rounded education that prepared Sherra to launch a successful consulting business and enabled Todd to become the co-founding partner of a Fort-Lauderdale law firm. But their gratitude to the University reached a pinnacle in 1996, when their three-year-old son, Austin, received a cochlear implant at the UM Ear Institute that introduced him to the hearing world. Today Austin is a Hurricane who is “making the most of his UM experience,” Sherra says, by getting involved with the Homecoming Executive Committee, the residential colleges, the Honors Program, and the cheerleading team. Austin’s younger brother Tristan, a high school junior, also bleeds orange and green. “It’s wonderful to feel part of something so special,” Sherra says, “not only because of the value of our degrees but because of the people. The University really is a family.”

Sean Goldstein
B.B.A. '12

It was easy to spot Sean Goldstein among the kids in his Philadelphia suburb. In a sea of Eagles and Phillies T-shirts, he was the one wearing Hurricanes orange and green. As a lifelong fan of Ray Lewis, ’95, and the son of two UM alumni, Sean’s acceptance to the University of Miami—and position of linebacker on the Hurricanes football team—was a dream come true.

Sean, B.B.A. ’12, works for Capsicum Group LLC., a computer investigations and forensics firm based out of Philadelphia. He is enrolled in the one-year M.B.A. program at the UM School of Business Administration and will graduate in December 2013. Sean is also a fellow for The Launch Pad, where he provides consulting in the fields of technology, social media, and marketing to students and alumni who are developing a business plan. The Launch Pad offers career guidance, resources, and advice to entrepreneurs, innovators, and inventors at the University of Miami.

As the young alumni spokesman for the GOLDstein Challenge, Sean is taking a leadership role in challenging his fellow classmates to give back to the university that has given him, his family, and his career so much. For more information on how you can join fellow ’Canes in this collaborative effort, click here.

Carlos, B.S.E.E. ’81,
M.B.A. ’86, M.S.I.E. ’86 &
Paula Alvarez, M.B.A. ’98

They say opposites attract, and for Carlos and Paula Alvarez, it certainly started out that way. He was a Cuba-born, Miami-raised engineer at IBM and a triple alumnus from the University of Miami. She was a pharmacist who grew up in Indiana and, of all things, a Gator. A chance meeting in 1996 at a social event in Deerfield Beach revealed more in common than expected—professional ambition, a love of travel, and above all, a deep respect for education.

“Every time I came back to the University, it helped my career,” says Carlos, who is now general manager for the Americas at a technology company called Lumen Dynamics. “Engineering develops logical thinking. What’s given me a competitive edge in business is the ability to follow through logically on a concept.”

Eager to explore the business side of her field, Paula enrolled in UM’s Executive MBA Program shortly after meeting Carlos. She is now a proud ’Cane and director of corporate accounts for a pharmaceutical company called Sunovion.

For both husband and wife, success is the result of hard work and a world class education. As an undergrad, Carlos was a work-study at the Florida Department of Transportation and UM Richter Library while helping his parents run their bakery on the weekends. One of five children who all graduated college, he credits his parents for always placing a high value on education. Paula paid her own way through school with help from scholarship funding so she too is committed to paying it forward.

“No matter how big or how little, it’s important to give back to help others fulfill their dreams,” Carlos says.

While Carlos jokes that Paula’s UM degree was a prerequisite for their marriage, the happy couple equally enjoy celebrating UM pride at Hurricanes football, basketball, and baseball games—and by loyally supporting the school that has given them so much.

Spencer Duke, B.B.A. ’04, M.B.A. ’07

The School of Business Administration gave Spencer Duke the educational foundation which facilitated the success he has enjoyed in his professional career. As a supporter of UM Athletics, Spencer has fond childhood memories with his father, Clifford Duke, BBA ’75, and his grandfather. “I want the University of Miami to be successful because it elevates the status and qualifications of alumni which in turn provides valuable and marketable prospective employees in the workforce.” Moving upward as a national institution is something Spencer takes great pride in. “Loyalty means making a commitment and contributing to University of Miami.” As a Citizens Board member, Spencer takes pride in helping corporations in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties get access to the University of Miami, ranking number 48 nationally, according to U.S. News and World Report 2014 “Best Colleges” edition. Watching UM win the 2001 national football championship was his most memorable experience along with the day he graduated with a master’s in business administration. As one journey with UM came to a close, he now looks forward to watching other ’Canes succeed while representing the U in the business world.

Christine Gudaitis, Esq., J.D. ’01

As a partner with the law firm Ver Ploeg & Lumpkin, P.A., Christine Gudaitis continues to pay it forward to the University of Miami. Christine was a Dean’s Merit scholarship recipient from Miami Law, and since then she has given back to the school that has given her so much. “Your school and your diploma will follow you wherever you go. Alumni support helps our rankings and it will help you.” Christine advises alumni to give back to the school that prepared them to thrive in the workplace. “Loyalty means having a commitment to your alma mater, giving back and being a part of the University, organizations, football games, get to know other alumni.” During her time as a student Christine recalls her favorite professors Diamond and Fazer and the impact they made on her career. Christine is a also a member of the University of Miami Citizens Board, a Friend of the South Florida SPCA/Help the Horses organization, a volunteer for the Young Patronesses of the Opera, and served as president of the Miami-Dade Public Library Foundation from 2010-2011.

Nan Markowitz, A.B. ’81

"You can’t demand loyalty; you can ask for loyalty, but it’s something you have to feel. Loyalty has to be earned.” The University of Miami has earned Nan Markowitz’s loyalty by providing her with an education and earning her respect by offering the community different programs and resources. The College of Arts and Sciences receives her support because she received many of her professional skills during her time as a student. Nan also gives to the Alumni Association because of her past involvement with their programs and pride in her alma mater. As a loyal Hurricane Club member, Nan supports the Athletics program and takes part in the wonderful tradition of watching our student-athletes on the field. Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center holds a special place for Nan as her mother was affected by cancer and she believes in the importance in providing donations to help find a cure and treat the disease. Nan grew up in New Jersey close to Rutgers and Princeton and learned the tradition of supporting your alma mater. Alumni giving for Nan is her response to the appreciation she feels because she was given the opportunity to attend the school of her dreams. Simply put, Nan gives back because she has Hurricane Pride. Why do you give back?

Vick & Hardy Katz, B.B.A. ’63

The Katz’ are a rare breed. With over 40 years of giving to the University of Miami, the Katz family has made the U their home away from home. “We are proud of the growth the University of Miami has made as a top 50 university in the nation. We take great pride in contributing to the success of the students and enjoy hearing about the impact alumni make every day on their lives.” Hardy began his career with a CPA firm and then went to the corporate side managing the operation and financial side of a chain of local cocktail lounges. After the cocktail lounges were sold, Hardy and his partner went into the trade magazine and tradeshow business. They produced many sports tradeshows and eventually one of the largest trade shows in the world, The Super Show for 20 years. After The Super Show, he and his partner created The Sports Licensing And Tailgate Show, a premier tradeshow dedicated to sports licensing and tailgating products. At the end of 2012, they sold the show and he retired. Vicki spent her time in the healthcare sector serving as a registered nurse with Mount Sinai and Miami Heart Institute for many years until her retirement and is currently active with The Barnacle and Temple Judea. Within the University, Hardy and Vicki give primarily to the School of Business Administration. Their son Joey Katz, BBA ’92, was involved with the Atlanta Alumni Club and gives back to the School of Business Administration Alumni Fund and their daughter Julie is an avid Miami Hurricane fan and administrator at the Donna Klein Jewish Academy in Boca Raton.