The Inaugural Cap & Gown Gala

Benefiting uAspire Miami

William Diaz-Rousselot, uAspire Miami Board of Trustees and Bob Giannino-Racine, uAspire National CEO

uAspire Miami was proud to host its first annual Cap & Gown Gala at The Raleigh South Beach. The Cap & Gown Gala was not your traditional sit-down event but rather an enchanting celebration, with DJ Immortal, the Miami Beach Senior High Jazz Combo, mesmerizing fire performers, Hpnotiq and Harmonie lounge, SoBe Cigar girls, VIP Cabana seating and a “Hats Off After Party” on the penthouse floor. Guests enjoyed elegant cuisine designed by James Beard Award-Winning Miami Chef and restaurateur, Michael Schwartz.

This year, we had the privilege of honoring Jose Basulto, Deputy Mayor Russell Benford, Thomas M. Cornish and Norie del Valle. These community leaders are the First Ones (first in their family to graduate from college) and have contributed tremendously to make Miami a better place. Honoring these remarkable leaders, we are able to raise awareness of the power of higher education and its ability to propel young people out of poverty as well as inspiring the thousands of young people in our community who aspire to become First Ones themselves.

In attendance at the celebration were Gala co-chairs Lucy Nunez and Debra Gauthier, uAspire Miami Board President, Marty E. Davis, Dr. Mark Rosenberg, Deputy Mayor Russell Benford, Thomas and Trish Cornish, Jose Basulto, Edward and Chris Joyce, Bill Jones, David and Cristina Evensky, Steve Haas, Michael Sheldon, Austin Hollo, Jorge and Christina Mesa, Tere Blanca & Javier Juncadella, and Iliana Ramos-Sibilia. Joining them were over 300 hundred business and community leaders, including a special presentation made by the City of Miami Beach and Miami-Dade County proclaiming September 28, 2013 as uAspire Miami Day.

Debra Gauthier, Gala Co-Chair, Marty E. Davis, uAspire Miami Board Chair, Lucy Nunez, Gala Co-Chair and Keith Fletcher, uAspire Miami Executive Director

Thanks to our generous sponsors and supporters, uAspire Miami was able to raise over $110,000 to support our expert financial aid programs and increase awareness to the South Florida community about value of postsecondary education and affordable paths to college.

uAspire Miami is grateful to the following sponsors for their magnanimous support: TD Bank, Wells Fargo, Evensky & Katz Wealth Management, Northern Trust, Source Outdoor, Center for Social Change, Marty E. Davis, Esq. BB&T, MSS Media, Vizcaino, Gitlin & Zomerfeld, LLP, The Hollo Family, Kaufman Rossin & Co., Greenberg Traurig, P.A., Sara M. Mercado, Thrivent Financial for Lutherans®, Daily Melt, Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau, University of Miami, Miami Marlins, Florida International University, Marsh & McLennan Agency, Continental National Bank of Miami, KW Property Management & Consulting, Miami Innovation Center, Berger Singerman Attorneys at Law, Kirshner, Groff & Diaz, Attorneys at law, Miss Mancy, Youth Co-Op, Nouvelle Institute, Commissioner Juan C. Zapata, Jorge Luis Lopez Law Firm, LLC, Infante Zumpano, Becker & Poliakoff, DiazCarla Balonek Family Giving, The Raleigh, Miami Herald, J Productions, Bacardi, Casa Vinicola Zonin, Proximo Spirits, Heaven Hills Distilleries, Hpnotiq and Harmonie, Evan Williams Bourbon, Admiral Nelson’s Spiced Rum, PAMA, Dolce Vita, SoBe Cigars, Herff Jones, Tassel Toppers, Miami-Dade College Miami Beach Senior High Jazz Combo, Misha’s Cupcakes, Ronald W. Reagan Senior High School, Flour Child, and Nespresso.

Maxima Cum Laude Sponsor-Northern Trust

uAspire Miami is looking forward to celebrating next year’s Cap & Gown Gala on Saturday, October 18, 2014. For more information and ways to get involved, please contact Erica at

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