Miami Dade College picks its 15 top alumni for 2017 Hall of Fame and hauls in record sum

The group of 2017 Alumni Hall of Fame honorees celebrate during Miami Dade College’s awards ceremony on April 18 at the Hilton Miami Downtown. The sold-out event raised a record $2.1 million for student scholarships.
The group of 2017 Alumni Hall of Fame honorees celebrate during Miami Dade College’s awards ceremony on April 18 at the Hilton Miami Downtown. The sold-out event raised a record $2.1 million for student scholarships. Miami Dade College

Miami Dade College honored its newest group of distinguished alumni Tuesday night before 1,000 guests for its 2017 Alumni Hall of Fame Awards and set a fund raising record.

The college’s 15th Foundation event raised $2.1 million to benefit student scholarships. The sum, announced at the Hilton Miami Downtown by MDC President Eduardo Padrón, included a $1 million donation from The Mitchell Wolfson Sr. Foundation and $100,000 from Florida Blue.

The sold-out ceremony honored 15 former students who, today, are tops in banking, education, performing arts, construction and other fields.

“Every year, Hall of Fame inductees are recognized for their professional success and their contributions to the community. They are among our nation’s greatest role models, serving in positions of local, national and international prominence,” said Padrón. “The MDC Alumni Hall of Fame Induction is an opportunity to ensure that everyone willing to work hard for a better future has the opportunity to receive a quality and affordable education.”

The MDC Alumni Hall of Fame Awards Ceremony is the largest Miami Dade College Foundation fundraiser.

Previous inductees included actor Andy Garcia, music producer Emilio Estefan, former Miami Dolphins receiver Nat Moore and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Nilo Cruz.

Meet the 2017 inductees:


Fernando Crespo

Fernando L. Crespo, Senior Vice President at SunTrust Bank Inc.

Crespo oversees a wealth management team that focuses on advising high net worth individuals and families as well as real estate, closely held business and financial service principals. Crespo advises clients on banking, investment management, wealth-transfer and trust management needs.

Before joining SunTrust, Crespo was managing director at J.P. Morgan Private Bank, vice president at Bernstein Global Management, and spent eight years managing telecommunications for Siemens Latin American and Caribbean division. Crespo is on the executive board of Mount Sinai Medical Center Foundation and is a member of the Core Creative for the Pérez Art Museum Miami.


Eric Montes de Oca

Eric Montes de Oca, Vice President and Partner at Grycon LLC.

At Grycon, a South Florida general contractor and construction management firm, Montes de Oca is responsible for business development, field operations and serves as project executive on a variety of high-profile, large-scale projects. He has been with the company for 18 years.

Montes de Oca is president-elect of the Latin Builders Association and a member of the Transportation, Parking and Bicycle-Pedestrian Facilities Committee for Miami Beach.


Daniel Marcos Mateo

Daniel Marcos Mateo, Principal BioTECH @ Richmond Heights 9-12 High School.

Mateo helped open the conservation biology magnet high school in 2014 and established three campuses with scientific equipment and technologies. The school has developed partnerships with local, national and international organizations, including the operation of a science village at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden and a research station at Zoo Miami.

Mateo’s work has resulted in BioTECH’s recognition as a national Magnet School of Excellence. He has also received the Educational Leadership Certificate from Florida State University in 2013 and the Cervantes Award from Nova Southeastern University in 2016.


Carlos Penin

Carlos A. Penin, President at C.A.P. Government Inc.

Penin is founder and president of C.A.P. Government, a private consulting firm that provides engineering and outsourcing services to the government sector. Penin, who has been a part of the engineering business for four decades, has worked on the reconstruction of Southwest Eighth Street in Little Havana and Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens.

He serves on the board of directors of the Florida Engineering Society, the Florida Institute of Consulting Engineers and the Cuban American Association of Civil Engineers. He also works with the Kiwanis Club of Little Havana, was a founding member of the MDX board of directors and of the Cuban Exile History Museum.


Joe Arriola

Joe Arriola, Chairman of the Public Health Trust, Jackson Health System.

A resident of Miami-Dade County for more than 50 years, Arriola has served as the chairman of the Public Health Trust Board of Trustees, Jackson Health System’s governing body. Arriola was appointed in 2015 and had served as vice chairman for four years. In 1972, he founded Avanti Press, a commercial printing company, and ran Avanti for almost 30 years before selling the firm.

From 2003 to 2006, Arriola served as Miami’s city manager. In 2007, he briefly returned to the private sector as the CEO of Grupo Pullmantur, a cruise line in Spain. Arriola also served as chairman of the United Way of Miami-Dade and was named Man of the Year by National Conference for Community and Justice.


Yolanda Nader

Yolanda R. Nader, Chief Executive Officer, Chief Financial Officer for Dosal Tobacco Corp.

Before she joined Dosal in 2001, Nader, a certified accountant, was tax managing director at KPMG LLP in Miami where she was a partner for federal, state and local tax issues. Additionally, she spent 10 years as an agent with the Internal Revenue Service.

Nader is a member of the Dean’s Council for Florida International University’s College of Business, sits on the Executive Committee and board of directors of the Miami-Dade Beacon Council, and has served as chair of the United Way of Miami-Dade County Audit Committee. Nader was named 2009 CFO of the Year by the South Florida Business Journal.


Aurelio Fernandez

Aurelio M. Fernandez, III, President and CEO of Memorial Healthcare System.

Fernandez was made president and CEO of Memorial Healthcare System in 2016. He joined Memorial Hospital Miramar as its CEO in 2007. In 2012, he was promoted to executive vice president and chief operating officer for Memorial Healthcare System.

Fernandez began in health care in 1976 at Palmetto General Hospital. He later served Pan American Hospital as its CFO, as vice president at American Hospital Management and CEO of Hialeah Hospital and the Florida Medical Center.

Fernandez serves on the Boards of the Florida Hospital Association, Safety Net Hospital Alliance of Florida and Catholic Health Services. He has also worked extensively with the Boy Scouts of America South Florida Council.

Hospitality & Tourism

David Healy

David Healy, Vice President and General Manager of The Graham Companies/Graham Hospitality.

Healy oversees two hotels, a golf course and athletics and spa facilities. Healy joined the Graham Companies in 2003 as controller and then head of the Rooms Division, Information Technology and Purchasing.

Healy’s career in hospitality in South Florida spans almost 30 years. He held positions at Turnberry Isle Resort and the Hollywood Beach Hilton Hotel. Healy currently serves as chairman of the Greater Miami Beaches Hotel Association and he is a veteran of the United States Marine Corps.


Rick Jervis

Rick Jervis, National Correspondent for USA Today.

At the Miami Herald, Jervis was a member of the team that won the 1999 Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Journalism for the Dirty Votes: The Race for Miami Mayor series that prompted the courts to nullify Xavier Suarez’s victory in the 1997 election and appoint Joe Carollo as mayor.

As national correspondent at USA Today, he won the paper’s Staffer of the Year award in 2006. His reports cover the border, Mexico, natural and man-made disasters and corners of Latin America, including Cuba.

Jervis was also a foreign correspondent for The Boston Globe, The Wall Street Journal and The Chicago Tribune before becoming the Baghdad Bureau Chief for USA Today.


Jose Astigarraga

José I. Astigarraga, Shareholder at Astigarraga Davis.

At the law firm, Astigarraga focuses on international arbitration and litigation. With roots as a commercial litigator in U.S. courts and more than 30 years of experience, he defends and prosecutes business disputes in state and federal courts domestically.

Astigarraga was one of 10 Americans initially appointed by the U.S. government to advise the NAFTA Commission on international arbitration and dispute resolution. Astigarraga is worldwide ranked in the top band of international arbitration practitioners for Latin American business disputes by Chambers Latin America in 2016.


Rosa Maria Plasencia

Rosa Maria Plasencia, President and CEO of Amigos for Kids.

Plasencia has served as president and CEO of Amigos for Kids since 2012. She leads efforts to prevent child abuse through education and outreach programs in South Florida. She joined its board of directors in 2001.

Plasencia started her career in the aviation industry at Eastern Airlines, worked as regional sales director for Air New Zealand and senior vice president for Air Peru. There, she managed an annual sales budget of $225 million. She is currently chair of the Circuit 11 Task Force for the State of Florida Child Abuse Prevention and Permanency Plan.

Performing Arts – Dance

Lloyd Knight

Lloyd Knight, Principal Dancer at Martha Graham Dance Company.

Knight joined the company in 2005. His leading roles include “Appalachian Spring,” “Embattled Garden” and “Errand into the Maze.”

Born in England and raised in Miami, Knight trained at Miami Conservatory of Ballet and graduated from New World School of the Arts at MDC. He has worked with choreographers Donald McKayle, Robert Battle and Michael Uthoff.

Knight has received scholarships to The Ailey School and Dance Theatre of Harlem. Dance Magazine named him one of the Top 25 Dancers to Watch in 2010.


Judith Migoya

Dr. Judith Migoya, psychologist and co-owner of Pediatric Psychology Associates.

Migoya specializes in the treatment of children with behavioral problems, anxiety disorders, obsessive compulsive disorder, autism and other pervasive developmental disorders. Migoya is a member of the American Psychological Association, National Academy of Neuropsychology, International OCD Foundation and the Florida Psychological Association (FPA).

In 2015-16, she was president of the Miami-Dade/Monroe counties chapter of FPA and currently serves as continuing education co-chair for this chapter.

Public Relations

Raquel Egusquiza

Raquel “Rocky” Egusquiza, Vice President of Community Affairs for NBC Universal Telemundo Enterprises.

As vice president of Community Affairs, Hispanic Enterprises and Content, Egusquiza oversees community relations activities related to the Telemundo Network and cable network NBCUniverso in concert with NBCU and Comcast’s external relations team. Under her leadership, Telemundo launched “El Poder En Ti” focusing on STEAM education, health and wellness, financial education and civic engagement.

Egusquiza held positions at AARP, Ford Motor Company Fund, AT&T, Miami-Dade County Legislative Delegation and the Florida Senate. Her board work includes secretary of the board for the Smithsonian Latino Center and member of the Kennedy Center Latino Advisory Board.

Egusquiza is a founding member of the Congressional Hispanic Leadership Institute and Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility’s Corporate Executive Forum.

Visual Arts

Sinuhe Vega

Sinuhé Vega Negrin, Visual Artist at Sinuhé Vega Negrin Studio.

The Miami-based contemporary visual artist has been featured at galleries from California and Puerto Rico to Miami’s Art Basel.

Vega Negrin’s most recent work, the Fructo-Sapian series, used fabric, fiberglass, oil paint, grass and wire to create surreal portraits of biomorphic figures with fruit in the place of heads.

Vega Negrin is founder and owner of Cane á Sucre, a gourmet sandwich bar with locations in North Miami, downtown Miami and the Opa-locka airport. He is former owner of Uva 69 restaurant in the Miami Modern district. He served as director of the MiMo Historic Preservation and Business Improvement District boards.

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