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FAU Holds Groundbreaking Ceremony for Marleen and Harold Forkas Alumni Center

         BOCA RATON, FL (February 23, 2007) – A groundbreaking ceremony brought close to 200 FAU National Alumni Association (FAUNAA) members, faculty, staff and friends of Florida Atlantic University to the Boca Raton campus to mark the beginning of construction of The Marleen and Harold Forkas Alumni Center.   Sited on the north side of the campus, the two-floor, 13,000-square-foot structure will be a permanent “Home away from home” for thousands of FAU alumni and serve as a venue for a variety of alumni and campus-wide events.  With a library, great hall, office space, seminar rooms and classrooms, the $3.7 million Alumni Center, FAU’s first-ever, will feature a lighthouse tower in its design – a symbol of the FAUNAA’s mission to guide alumni home.  

            A $1 million naming gift from FAU benefactors Marleen and Harold Forkas set the FAUNAA’s longtime dream in motion.   Other major support has come from MBNA/Bank of America, the FAUNAA’s affinity partner; and FAU benefactors Barry and Carole Kaye, whose gift   will name the Carole and Barry Kaye ’05 Great Hall in the Marleen and Harold Forkas Alumni Center.  

            Hosted by FAU President Frank T. Brogan ’81 and the FAUNAA, the groundbreaking ceremony began with a welcome from FAUNAA President Anthony Barbar ’78.   An invocation, delivered by Dr. Jonathan D. Burnham, senior pastor of the Boca Raton Community Church, was followed by a performance of the Star-Spangled Banner sung by the FAU Performance Troupe.  FAU Trustee, former FAU Foundation Chair and FAUNAA Past President Armand Grossman ’67, ’70, ’77 spoke, as did current FAU Foundation Chair Ira J. Gelb, M.D. and FAU Trustee and current FAU Student Body President Austin Shaw.

             “No university achieves the status of greatness without the support of alumni and friends,” said FAU President Frank T. Brogan. “Marleen and Harold, honorary alumni, are helping to create a destination point for all of our alumni.   Today is not only a groundbreaking, it is a reawakening of who we are as an institution.”

             Speaking before the crowd, Marleen Forkas reminded those present to, “Live life fully, and without reservation.”  Marleen and Harold share a strong philanthropic sense and are involved in many charitable organizations.   “I believe that you must leave a legacy to your children, grandchildren and to the community,” she said in her remarks. “With this gift, Harold and I are creating a legacy by instilling a sense of E.S.P., namely, Enthusiasm-Sincerity-and-Pride, in all past, present and future graduates of FAU.”

            Harold Forkas typifies the spirit behind the American dream.   When an opportunity to become a Midas Muffler franchisee arose, he took advantage of the prospect of becoming an entrepreneur.   By the time he retired in 1988, he owned eight Midas dealerships. “I am not a credit to higher education,” he said candidly from the lectern.   “Due to family responsibilities, I could not finish high school.  I wish I could have gone to college, but it was not possible.   FAU has welcomed me and made me an honorary alumnus and for that I am truly grateful.”

            Following a benediction by Rabbi David Englander of B’nai Torah Congregation, Marleen and Harold took part in the traditional earth-turning ceremony, along with President Brogan, Anthony Barbar, Ira J. Gelb, M.D., Armand Grossman, University Advancement Executive Vice President Lawrence Davenport and Assistant Vice President of Alumni Affairs Pat Breman.   Marleen was presented with a custom-designed FAU hard hat for the occasion by Henry Kraft, project coordinator, FAU Facilities Planning department.

            For more information about opportunities to support the Marleen and Harold Forkas Alumni Center, contact Assistant Vice President of Alumni Relations Pat Breman at 561-297-2190, 888-FAU-ALUM (328-2586) or

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Florida Atlantic University opened its doors in 1964 as the fifth public university in Florida. Today, the University serv es more than 26,000 undergraduate and graduate students on seven campuses strategically located along 150 miles of Florida's southeastern coastline. Building on its rich tradition as a teaching university, with a world-class faculty, FAU hosts nine colleges:  the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts & Letters, the Charles E. Schmidt College of Biomedical Science, the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science, the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing, the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College, the Barry Kaye College of Business and the Colleges of   Education, Engineering & Computer Science, and Architecture, Urban & Public Affairs.

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