Florida International University’s Board of Trustees elected Trustee Dean Colson, a former chairman of the state Board of Governors, as the new chairman of the FIU Board of Trustees.
Colson, who has served on the FIU board since 2017, was unanimously elected for a two-year term as chair during the June 16 meeting. Colson’s term begins July 1, 2020 and ends June 30, 2022. He succeeds Chairwoman Claudia Puig, an FIU alumna and long-time supporter of the university, who served as chair from 2015 – 2020.
“Over the past decade, at some undefined moment, FIU became the engine that is driving South Florida,” Colson said. “I’m so proud to be associated with FIU. FIU is a difference-maker, it gives hope, it allows dreams to come true. No institution is more deserving of our time and treasure.”
Colson is a partner at the Coral Gables-based Law Firm Colson Hicks Eidson and has previously served as the president of the Dade County Bar Association. He has 40 years of leadership experience serving the citizens of Florida in various civic and community roles. Prior to his service in public education, Colson was Chair of the Board of Trustees of the University of Miami from 2004-2007. Colson also served as special adviser on higher education issues to Governor Charlie Crist and was appointed by Governor Jeb Bush to the Florida Supreme Court Judicial Nominating Commission and Florida’s Commission on Ethics.
On the national stage, Colson was appointed by U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John G. Roberts to the Standing Rules Committee of the Federal Courts and was the liaison member to the Appellate Rules Committee.
Born and raised in Miami, Colson was educated in local public schools before graduating from Princeton University and the University of Miami School of Law. His community service includes chairing the 1995 Super Bowl XXIX Host Committee and serving as President of the Orange Bowl Committee in 2003. He is also a board member of several charitable and nonprofit organizations in South Florida. Colson received the “Citizen of the Year” award in 1995 from the Mayor of Miami. In 2009, FIU awarded Colson an Honorary Degree, Doctor of Laws.
Rogelio Tovar, a double FIU graduate and a distinguished businessman with extensive experience in representing a variety of global brands, was unanimously elected as the new vice chair. Tovar’s term begins July 1, 2020 and ends June 30, 2022. Tovar is the president and chairperson of RT Holdings, a proprietarily funded investment firm based in Miami. The firm specializes in the acquisition and operation of businesses across multiple industries, including automotive retail, niche manufacturing, franchise restaurants and real estate holdings.
Tovar is also chair of Automated Merchandising Systems, a manufacturer of high-quality vending machines with plants in West Virginia and Mexico. He also serves as chair of Chicagoland Restaurants, an operator of Krispy Kreme franchise restaurants in the Chicago market. Tovar succeeds Jose J. Armas, a businessman that holds a long and distinguished record of accomplishments in the health care field and served as vice chair from 2018 – 2020.
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