From assistant professor to president: A look at Mark Rosenberg’s four decades at FIU

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After more than four decades playing a pivotal role in building Florida International University from a commuter school built on a former airfield to the nation’s fourth-largest public university, Mark Rosenberg’s affiliation with his beloved university came to an abrupt end Friday, with his sudden resignation as president.

FIU has grown into a starkly different university since it opened in September 1972 with slightly more than 5,000 students, juniors, seniors and grad students only at that time.

Today, it has two sprawling campuses, the Modesto A. Maidique Main Campus at Southwest Eighth Street and 107th Avenue and the Biscayne Bay Campus in North Miami off Northeast 151st Street.

Rosenberg joined FIU in 1976 as an assistant professor in political science, four years after the university began on the site of the old Tamiami Airport at Southwest Eighth Street and 107th Avenue. He was FIU’s fifth president and the first to begin his career as a faculty member.

Here’s a look at Rosenberg’s career in education:

1971: Graduated from Miami University of Ohio with a B.A. degree

1976: Received his doctoral degree in political science from the University of Pittsburgh. Hired at FIU as an assistant professor of political science.

1979: Founding director of the the Latin American and Caribbean Center. The center worked to promote the study of Latin America and the Caribbean in Florida and throughout the United States.

1994-1997: Founding director of the College of Urban and Public Affairs.

1996-1998: Promoted to vice provost for international studies.

1998-2005: Promoted to provost and vice president of academic affairs.

2005: Left FIU to become chancellor of the State University System of Florida, which oversees the state’s 12 public universities.

2009: Selected as FIU’s fifth president after a four-month presidential search involving more than 34 candidates.

Florida International University President Mark B. Rosenberg speaks to students during a graduation ceremony inside the Riccardo Silva Stadium in Miami, Florida on Saturday, April 24, 2021.
Florida International University President Mark B. Rosenberg speaks to students during a graduation ceremony inside the Riccardo Silva Stadium in Miami, Florida on Saturday, April 24, 2021.

FIU’s history under Rosenberg

2009: Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine, South Florida’s only public medical school, opens after former FIU President Modesto Maidique championed it for years. The University Park campus is renamed the Modesto A. Maidique Campus; School of International and Public Affairs founded.

2011: FIU opens downtown Brickell campus.

2012: Jewish Museum of Florida becomes part of FIU.

2013: FIU takes over the Aquarius Reef Base, 60 feet below the water in the Florida Keys, to study the ocean and train divers and astronauts.

2015: The Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education names FIU to its highest tier of research universities (R1), a designation held by only 3 percent of institutions in the nation.

2018: A pedestrian bridge that FIU had championed and was under construction at Southwest Eighth Street and 109th Avenue collapses on March 15, killing six people, including an 18-year-old FIU student, Alexa Duran.

2021: Billionaire philanthropist MacKenzie Scott and husband Dan Jewett announce a $40 million gift to FIU, the largest unrestricted gift in the school’s history. FIU jumps 17 spots to No. 78 in the annual U.S. News & World Report ranking of U.S. colleges and universities.

Sources: FIU, Miami Herald Archives

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