Juan siblings’ graduation continues a family tradition

Graduating quartet: Siblings Manuela, Andres, Mikel, and Carlos Juan Panek are all graduating from the University of Miami. Photo: Mike Montero/University of Miami

By Robert C. Jones Jr.

Graduating quartet: Siblings Manuela, Andres, Mikel, and Carlos Juan Panek are all graduating from the University of Miami. Photo: Mike Montero/University of Miami

Juan siblings’ graduation continues a family tradition

By Robert C. Jones Jr.
With newly minted University of Miami degrees, three brothers and a sister—all from Spain—solidify a family pact.

Chalk up four more.

That’s the number of siblings in the Juan family who’ll be walking at the University of Miami’s undergraduate spring commencement on Friday, bringing to eight the total number of relatives in their clan who have earned degrees from the institution.

“Being able to study at the same university, meet many of the same friends, and participate in so many events together has been quite an experience for us,” said Carlos Juan, an aerospace engineering major and certified pilot who will march in Friday’s 5:30 p.m. ceremony with brothers Andres and Mikel and sister Manuela. All are from Spain. “We’re a very close-knit family, and graduating at the same time is a great way to end this wonderful stage in our lives.”

Each sibling leaves UM having accomplished something they will always treasure. For Carlos, it was traveling to Guatemala with the UM student group Miami International Outreach to build homes for impoverished families. “Truly a humbling experience,” he said.

For Mikel, who will receive a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering and economics, it was becoming a member of and helping to expand a UM kiteboarding club as well as practicing the sport in countries around the world.

For Andres, who is graduating from the Miami Business School, it was attending the same university as his siblings, and for Manuela, an international studies and history major, it was finally deciding on an academic study track.

Now, they are going their separate ways. Carlos and Mikel will soon be off to London for graduate school; Manuela hopes to earn a master’s degree in art management in the near future; and Andres has a job offer on the table as a financial analyst.

But the siblings will always remain close, no matter how far apart in distance they may be.

“We know that family is most important,” said Manuela.

“All four of us attending the same university helped maintain our strong family core,” said Andres.

The Juan family pipeline to UM is a tradition that was actually seeded more than a decade ago, when the family started vacationing in South Florida and became enamored with the idea of attending UM for college.

Cousin Fabiana became the first. Now, with the four siblings graduating on Friday, a total of eight Juan family members will have UM degrees hanging from their walls. And soon, it will be nine, as cousin Diego is currently enrolled at the institution.

Said Mikel, “Perhaps one day we can start a business together.”