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New provost named at St. Thomas U.

Irma Becerra-Fernandez of FIU to take over for Gregory Chan

Irma Becerra-Fernandez has been named provost of St. Thomas University in Miami Gardens. She previously served as vice-president of the Office of Engagement at Florida International University and has a background in engineering, information technology and business.

Photographer: FILE PHOTO

Irma Becerra-Fernandez has been named provost of St. Thomas University in Miami Gardens. She previously served as vice-president of the Office of Engagement at Florida International University and has a background in engineering, information technology and business.

MIAMI | St. Thomas University has named Irma Becerra-Fernandez as its new provost, succeeding Gregory S. Chan, who will assume a new position at the archdiocesan university.

“Dr. Becerra-Fernandez is well known in the higher education community in Miami-Dade County and nationally. She is a recognized scholar. She is a wonderful person who has served in many positions at Florida International University and in the community at large. Her credentials, experience and vision will support our progress in becoming the leading Catholic university in the Southeast,” said Msgr. Franklyn Casale, St. Thomas University’s president, in a message to the community.

Most recently, Becerra-Fernandez served as the vice president of the Office of Engagement at FIU. She served in a number of academic and senior management positions there since 1990, and has a broad educational background that spans the fields of engineering, information technology and business. She is an internationally recognized expert in the fields of knowledge management, business intelligence, entrepreneurship, and disaster management, and is known and respected as a “creative innovator” in the design of programs.

“St. Thomas University is gaining a star in Dr. Irma Becerra-Fernandez,” said FIU President Mark B. Rosenberg. “The partnerships she has created and nurtured at FIU have advanced our mission as a solutions center for our community and I’m sure she will bring the same energy, commitment and intellectual rigor to the office of the provost at St. Thomas University.”

During her tenure at FIU, Becerra-Fernandez succeeded in a variety of complex challenges, from improved graduation rates to donor relations. She has coordinated various important community partnerships, including One Community One Goal’s Academic Leaders Council. Prior to her employment in academia, Becerra-Fernandez was an engineer at Florida Power and Light.

“Great cities deserve great universities and Miami deserves to have the greatest Catholic university in the Southeast,” said Becerra-Fernandez. “St. Thomas is poised to achieve that vision and I look forward to working with Monsignor Casale, the administration, the dedicated faculty and staff, and our community, to continue providing cutting edge academic offerings that enhance the academic and professional success of our students, while producing ethical leaders for our global economy through our commitment to St. Thomas’ Catholic mission of service to our diverse community.”

In making the announcement, Msgr. Casale also thanked Chan for his 14-year tenure as provost and chief academic officer of St. Thomas University.

“His intelligent and strong, but sensitive, leadership has supported the growth and development of our university for 14 years and has postured us in a fortunate position as an institution of higher learning,” Msgr. Casale said.

Effective Oct, 1, Chan will become senior vice president for Global Development at St. Thomas, where his duties will include “expanding our global initiatives and securing our place as an academic hub of global leadership,” Msgr. Casale said “He is also named Provost Emeritus and Distinguished Chair Professor of Global Development.”

St. Thomas University is the only Catholic archdiocesan-sponsored university in Florida. The university places an institutional emphasis on social justice and ethical behavior. The STU School of Law is one of the only law schools in the nation with a Human Rights Institute.

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