$5 million gift names Miami Herbert Business School’s graduate career advancement center

Andy and Marie Unanue. Photo: Jenny Abreu/University of Miami
By Cibeles Duran

Andy and Marie Unanue. Photo: Jenny Abreu/University of Miami

$5 million gift names Miami Herbert Business School’s graduate career advancement center

By Cibeles Duran
The gift from the Carmen and Joe Unanue Family Foundation will bolster resources for career development and help propel graduate students toward successful careers.

The Carmen and Joe Unanue Family Foundation, led by alumnus Andy Unanue, has donated $3.3 million to the University of Miami Patti and Allan Herbert Business School in honor of Unanue’s late parents, who led philanthropic initiatives in education and health care through the foundation that carries their names.

The donation, matched by the Herbert Challenge Endowment Gift Match for a total of $5 million, will strengthen the school’s capabilities to prepare graduate students to successfully enter the workforce or advance their careers upon graduation.

The Unanue Family Foundation’s gift is part of the University of Miami’s recently announced Ever Brighter: The Campaign for Our Next Century. The most ambitious in the university’s history, the campaign has already raised more than $1.6 billion toward a goal of $2.5 billion and is set to conclude in 2025, when the University will celebrate its centennial.

“We are honored and grateful to be the stewards of the Joseph and Carmen Unanue Graduate Career Advancement Center,” said Virginia “Ginger” Baxter, assistant dean of graduate career advancement and engagement and director of the newly named graduate career center. “The donation will purposefully advance the career and professional development of graduate students and alumni and transform the way we connect, collaborate, and co-create experiences.”

Funds will be used to increase networking opportunities, specialized training, and participation in more national and international case competitions and student conferences. Added resources will also enable continued innovative responses to a rapidly changing hiring climate fueled by technology and a trend toward work-life integration.

For Unanue, who is president of the Carmen and Joe Unanue Foundation, the goals align with his parents’—and now his own—dedication to elevate job opportunities for students.

“My parents always wanted to help educate people and prepare them for the real world so that they could get good jobs with which to provide for their families,” he said. “The gift will hopefully help prepare the students to get the jobs that they want and that they will be happy in, whether entering the workforce or creating their own businesses.”

The New Jersey native recently established the headquarters of his firm AUA Private Equity Partners in West Palm Beach, bringing him back to South Florida after living in several cities around the country and abroad since graduating from Miami Herbert in 1991. Unanue also serves as a member of the dean’s advisory committee at Miami Herbert and as the Miami Herbert chair of the University’s Ever Brighter campaign.

“We are grateful for this generous gift which underscores the Unanue family’s commitment to help drive the University forward,” said Josh Friedman, senior vice president for development and alumni relations. “It also brings together two philanthropic families—through the Herbert match—who believe in the power of education, and in particular the University of Miami, to change lives, and are investing in the future of our students so they can become the business innovators and entrepreneurs of tomorrow.”

Unanue said that he “learned from my parents that we should never forget where we came from, that there are always people who help us along the way, and that we need to help and give back in return. The University of Miami helped me with my education, along with my niece and nephew, and was one of the building blocks to make me who I am. And I am now in a position to help the students at the University through a helpful hand up, not a handout.”

His efforts already nurture a philanthropic spirit among students.

“Those of us striving to become business leaders are inspired by donors who invest in our potential and we hope to one day soon be in a position to do the same for others," said Sushant Koppikar, an MBA candidate and president of the Graduate Business Student Association.

Unanue’s dedicated support extends to potential future ’Canes, as well. AUA Private Equity Partners, where he serves as the managing partner, recently joined forces with First Generation Investors, a nonprofit that teaches high school students and young adults how to invest and thrive in the financial sector. Through the partnership, AUA now sponsors half of the cohort of FGI students at the University. The sponsorship meets the needs per student for their investment account as they embark on real-life investing.

Miami Herbert Dean John Quelch acknowledges Unanue’s growing impact on the University and Miami Herbert, especially as his donation to the Ever Brighter campaign occurs as an endowed gift, which enables the charitable objectives in perpetuity.

“We cherish the generosity of the Unanue family,” Quelch said. “Andy Unanue is continuing his parents’ legacy graciously, and we honor his contributions to help develop the next generation of principled leaders.”