FIU celebrates 50th ‘Pantherversary’ in Green Library 

Students gather and cheer while playing an FIU-themed ‘Kahoot’ game. (Julian Davis/PantherNOW)

Christian Miranda | Contributing Writer  

On Monday Sep 19, FIU students and faculty gathered in the Green Library to celebrate the university’s 50th anniversary.  

The gathering was humble,  the room filled with warm chatter as students helped themselves to the arrangement of croquettes, cookies and small sandwiches. 

The crowd enjoys the free food offered at the event. (Julian Davis/PantherNOW) 

Stephen Fain, who was present during the earliest moments of the university and current chair of the Ignite campaign, and Thomas Breslin, professor of politics and international relations, told students about the unique circumstances surrounding FIU’s founding and place in Florida’s academic landscape.  

“On this site, a great university will emerge,” said Fain as he recalled the words of Paul Gallagher overlooking the abandoned airport that would later become FIU.  

He also made a point to emphasize the university’s early goal of supporting the most underserved sections of Miami’s population that weren’t being catered to by other academic institutions in the area.  

Stephen Fain presents on how Miami used to look when FIU was founded. (Julian Davis/PantherNOW)  

After his brief recounting of FIU’s founding and how it gained national recognition for boasting the largest opening enrollment for a university in United States history, Breslin spoke of the political complications that defined the challenge of maintaining that momentum. 

“FIU has been built by the pennies of the poor and the generosity of many people in our community,” said Breslin in reference to Florida legislature’s historic unwillingness to favor FIU when granting funding to state universities.  

SIPA professor Thomas Breslin presenting to the crowd. (Julian Davis/PantherNOW) 

These complications manifested themselves in the significant delay between the founding of the University in 1965 and its eventual opening in 1972, which the evening’s speakers ironically pointed out by distributing copies of the “FIU in ‘72” stickers that were originally used to advertise the new university to the audience. 

Once the presentation was over, those in attendance played an FIU trivia ‘Kahoot’ game for the chance to win an FIU-themed straw hat. 

Members of the Student Government Association also presented the crowd with a time capsule that is to be sealed at the end of this academic year and opened exactly 50 years from now. Those wishing to contribute to the capsule have until the end of this academic year to submit their items. 

Students were given notecards to write about their favorite spots, classes and experiences at FIU so it could be sealed for future generations to compare to.   

Students write on notecards to add to the time capsule. (Julian Davis/PantherNOW) 

“It really helps you understand your impact and that we’re all leaving a legacy behind at FIU,” said Calvin Mitchell, a senior majoring in finance and international business. “It’s a piece of history.”