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Thomas M. Cornish ’85 and Patricia A. Castellanos-Cornish


Jerry Castellanos HeadshotAs past chairman of the FIU Foundation Board of Directors, Thomas M. Cornish ’85 understands the importance of investing in the FIU mission – and passing along, “what FIU has done for me to future generations.” To honor the legacy of his father-in-law and “pay it forward,” Cornish and his wife, Patricia A. Castellanos-Cornish, created the Jerry Castellanos First Generation Scholarship Endowment with a gift of $250,000.

The endowment will support undergraduate students who are the first generation in their families to receive a college degree, and all scholarships awarded will be matched 200 percent by the State of Florida.

“Giving to FIU is very gratifying as I see the impact on the lives of young students,” Mr. Cornish said. “What I love most about FIU is the role that it plays in providing a future for its students, and the importance FIU has in the development of our community.”

Mr. Cornish currently serves as state president of Florida for BankUnited. Active in civic and philanthropic endeavors throughout South Florida, he was inducted into the FIU College of Business Hall of Fame in 2013. Additionally, he serves on the Miami Children’s Hospital Foundation and Camillus House boards, and the Orange Bowl Committee.

Mr. Cornish has also been recognized by numerous organizations as an extraordinary executive and dedicated volunteer. One of his proudest achievements has been creating the endowment as a means of celebrating Jerry Castellanos’s legacy, while also serving as a powerful testament to his and his wife’s long-term commitment to FIU’s mission and students.

“I hope to provide students with the same chance to succeed that FIU has given to me,” Mr. Cornish said. “My fondest memory at FIU was the educational awakening. That gave me great hope for my future.”