Media Relations

Press Release:

MEDIA CONTACT: Janette Robbins


FAU Foundation Board Re-Elects Michael Kaufman as Chair

            BOCA RATON, FL (May 20, 2010) – The Florida Atlantic University Foundation Board recently held its annual meeting and election of officers. Michael Kaufman was re-elected to the position of chair. Continuing their service as members of the Foundation’s executive committee are Randy Justice ’73, vice chair; Bruce Allen ’71, treasurer; and Cecelia James, secretary. The board welcomes four new members — William Bernstein, Marleen Forkas, Ira Gelb and Christopher Wheeler, as well as three new ex-officio members — Ayden Maher, Jim Seitz and Thomas Workman.

Michael Kaufman joined the FAU Foundation Board in 2006. For the past 21 years, he has been president of Kaufman Lynn General Contractors, one of the area’s busiest and most successful general contracting firms. Kaufman is a member of several construction industry associations, and his projects include new construction and renovation of K-12 schools, university projects, museums, municipal buildings, office buildings, hospitals and auto dealerships. Under his direction, Kaufman Lynn General Contractors received the 2009 Contractor of the Year award from the Palm Beach American Institute of Architects and the 2005 Business of the Year award from the Greater Boca Raton Chamber of Commerce. In 2009, Kaufman was honored as the Palm Beach County Small Business Leader of the Year Excalibur Award winner by the Sun Sentinel. He received the Lifetime Achievement Award and 2008 Ultimate CEO Award from the South Florida Business Journal.  Kaufman’s strong leadership in the community is evidenced by his involvement as a board member of the Boca Raton Centre for the Arts and the Tri County Humane Society, a member of the Capital Campaign and North Campus Development Committee of the Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County, and his participation and support of the Boca Raton Museum of Art and the Florence Fuller Child Development Center among many others.

            “Our new members and ex-officio members come to the board after a comprehensive recruiting and vetting process,” said Kaufman. “We are very fortunate to have such a slate of seasoned regional fundraisers — all veterans of the non-profit sector. Their combined experience and dedication to this institution and its students will most certainly advance the mission of Florida Atlantic University and the FAU Foundation.”

            As the current president and CEO of the Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County, William Bernstein fully understands the challenges of raising money. He played a key role in helping to solicit support for the Center for Holocaust and Human Rights Education at FAU. Bernstein is a board member of the Association of Jewish Community Organization Personnel, a member of the Jewish Communal Service Association of North America and a member of United Jewish Communities. A graduate of Montclair State College, Bernstein earned a master’s degree in social work from Rutgers University.

Philanthropist Marleen Forkas is one of FAU’s greatest friends. Her name and the name of her late husband, Harold Forkas, grace FAU’s Alumni Center on the Boca Raton campus. Their generous gift to FAU turned a long-held dream into reality, as Owl alumni are now able to “return to the nest.” In addition, she is the 100th FAU Football Founder, FAU Presidential Medallion recipient and a lifetime member of the University Club. Today, Forkas continues to honor her late husband through the establishment of the Harold Forkas Memorial Scholarship at FAU’s Broward campus. She is a member of the board of directors of the Unicorn Children’s Foundation, as well as the Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County’s Lion of Judah Endowment program in which she established the Marleen Forkas Chair of Contemporary Jewish Issues. Forkas is also a benefactor of Boca Raton Community Hospital, Boca Raton Museum of Art, Horses and the Handicapped of South Florida, and Boca Ballet Theatre’s annual production of “The Nutcracker.”

            A key player in launching medical education programs at FAU, Dr. Ira J. Gelb currently serves as assistant dean for pre-baccalaureate programs, director emeritus of cardiology and professor of clinical biomedical science at the Charles E. Schmidt College of Biomedical Science. Dr. Gelb, a cardiologist with an impeccable record and well-respected career, works closely with FAU students to prepare them for future careers in medicine. In addition, he serves on the biomedical advisory board and the science advisory board. A past president of the FAU Foundation Board, Dr. Gelb was on the Board from 1996-1999, 2002-2008 and reappointed in April 2010. He was the recipient of the 2010 FAU Volunteer Service Award and the 2009 Outstanding People And Leaders (OPAL) Award from the Rotary Club of Boca Raton. Dr. Gelb and his wife, June, are regular attendees at many of FAU’s donor, alumni and University Club events. He is a graduate of New York University and New York University School of Medicine.

Christopher Wheeler, having previously served for 10 years, returns to the Foundation Board after a two-year absence. He is a retired partner in the firm of Proskauer Rose LLP. With wife, Deanna, Wheeler attends many FAU functions, including University Club events. His philanthropic interests include Pine Crest School, Ronald McDonald Charities, Lynn University and Boca Raton Community Hospital.   

Ayden Maher, James Seitz Jr. and Thomas Workman join the board as ex-officio board members. Ex-officios Donna Grubman, of Lifelong Learning; Marlis Hadeed, of University Club; and Dr. Timothy Lenz, of the faculty, remain in service.

As FAU’s student body president, Ayden Maher represents the interests of FAU’s 28,000 students. As president, he has the opportunity to serve on both the FAU Foundation Board and FAU’s Board of Trustees. A political science major in the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters, Maher is enthusiastic to be part of the Foundation Board and is a proud proponent of the University’s mission.

James L. Seitz is a retired senior level executive who most recently was president of J.L. Seitz & Associates. His company specialized in developing and implementing business strategies that create value and profitable growth. From 1993 – 1996, Seitz was chairman of the board in IBM's Technology Services Solutions company. Also during that time, he was general manager of Availability Services with IBM North America. Seitz was affiliated with IBM for 28 years. He earned an undergraduate and graduate degree from Rochester Institute of Technology. Seitz currently serves as chair on the Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution (HBOI) Foundation Inc. board of directors. The Foundation is a direct support organization for FAU's HBOI, garnering support for HBOI research and education.

Tom Workman ’71 is the president of Thomas Workman & Associates, Certified Public Accountants. He has worked tirelessly for his university and on behalf of the FAU National Alumni Association (FAUNAA). Currently serving on FAU’s Board of Trustees, Workman is their representative on the Foundation Board. He was previously treasurer and finance committee chair on the Foundation Board. From 2004-2005, Workman was president of the FAUNAA. He was inducted into the Parliament of Owls in 2002. Tom and his wife, Maureen, are members of the University Club.

- FAU -

About Florida Atlantic University:
Florida Atlantic University opened its doors in 1964 as the fifth public university in Florida. Today, the University serves more than 28,000 undergraduate and graduate students on seven campuses and sites. Building on its rich tradition as a teaching university, with a world-class faculty, FAU hosts 10 colleges: College of Architecture, Urban & Public Affairs, Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts & Letters, the Charles E. Schmidt College of Biomedical Science, the College of Business, the College of Education, the College of Engineering & Computer Science, the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College, the Graduate College, the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing and the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science. For more information, visit

Privacy Policy | University Regulations and Policies | Emergency Information | Get Help | Contact Us

An Equal Opportunity/Equal Access Institution
© Copyright 2016. Florida Atlantic University.
Florida Atlantic University
 Last Modified 9/7/16