People and Community University

Citizens Board honors leadership and service

The Citizens Board recently celebrated members and initiatives playing transformative roles in the lives of students and at the University.
Citizens Board
University of Miami Citizens Board members hear from Scot Emerson, campus executive chef, during a recent Universal Meals Pilot Tasting Lunch and Learn. Photo: Matthew Rembold/University of Miami

The University of Miami Citizens Board recently held its end of year celebration, recognizing three key members for their outstanding service, leadership, and dedication. 

Real estate expert and three-time ’Cane Charles Foschini received the Citizens Board Joyce A. Galya Excellence Award for his generous mentorship and leadership. “He really gives for the right reason—to transform students’ lives,” said Rodolphe el-Khoury, dean of the School of Architecture. 

As a member of the Citizens Board, Foschini has witnessed firsthand the kind of influence that philanthropy and the Citizens Board can play in the lives of students. “What Charles Foschini is doing to help inspire the next generation of students, to be able to bring his life experience to them, is really special,” said Josh Friedman, senior vice president for development and alumni relations. 

The board also recognized double ’Cane Raul Velarde with the Sebastian’s Up and Comer Award for his exemplary support, empathy, and service to the University as a newcomer to the board. 

“We are very proud of you,” said Pratim Biswas, dean of the College of Engineering, addressing Velarde. “He supports his school and college, he supports the Citizens Board, he supports the University overall. I cannot imagine a stronger volunteer than Raul,” said Friedman. 

Ana VeigaMilton, proud double ’Cane and former president of the Citizens Board, received the Distinguished Service Award, which is presented annually to the individual who demonstrates exceptional service and dedication over many years to the University of Miami. “Ana is a strong-willed, determined, committed, passionate person and that comes through in everything she does,” said David Yellen, dean of the School of Law. 

VeigaMilton is not only a proud alumna of the School of Law, but also the proud parent of a recent graduate of the school. In celebration of her daughter’s achievement, the family established the Diana Milton, J.D. 2023, and Ana VeigaMilton, J.D. 1993, Tech Law Endowed Scholarship to help aspiring law students to attend the School of Law. 

“What I love about Ana is that she leads by example,” said Friedman. 

In another recent event, Citizens Board members—including VeigaMilton; current president, Carlos Guzman; and incoming president, Ray Zomerfeld—were back at work transforming the lives of young ’Canes through the Universal Meals Pilot Tasting Lunch and Learn. 

The Universal Meals Pilot aims to help students choose healthier meals on campus by providing students with healthier plant-based options and inclusive menus featuring food that is safe for any diet. 

For Niles Boyd, a senior and president-elect of the student body, the dining hall represents a community space and hub for students to connect with faculty and staff members and friends. 

“From the students’ perspective, if you ask us what we miss most over the holidays or summer vacation, it’s the dining halls,” Boyd said. “I’ve been eating here since I was a freshman.” 

Boyd also shared that he lost more than 50 pounds since his first year, crediting the healthy food options at the dining hall as a key component to his weight-loss success. “It feels really good to meet members of the Citizens Board and realize just how much they care about us students,” Boyd added. 

“At Citizens Board, our main priority is students—down to the food they eat,” said VeigaMilton. 

The Citizens Board is a select group of more than 250 business, professional, and civic leaders who actively support the University's philanthropic efforts and promote its programs. Since its inception in 1946, the group has raised an estimated $454 million to support students, student-athletes, faculty excellence, cutting-edge research, and medical breakthroughs, among other initiatives.