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Ivonne Hernandez plans for retirement after 30 years of service to FIU
After 30 years of dedicated service to Florida International University, Ivonne Hernandez prepares for her retirement.
Hernandez, who now serves as the Administrative Assistant to the Vice President for Student Affairs, came to FIU in 1976, first serving as a part-time OPS secretary in the Office of University Relations and Development. As the opportunity became available for her to transition into a full-time role, she was at first hesitant but accepted the opportunity. With a young family and the freedom that came with working part-time, the decision wasn’t an easy one. Hernandez recalls those early years at FIU though with such fond memories. “I never thought I was going to stay at FIU. My first boss taught me to love FIU.” She recalls that the most important lesson she learned was about the importance of our work. “Our job is a noble one. We are helping form the minds of young people. We help make them better people so they can make our country a better place to live.” Hernandez reflects back on her years of service and says she feels “privileged to have worked in place that has been instrumental in helping so many people.”
Hernandez transitioned into Student Affairs in 1988, when she was hired by Richard Correnti, then Vice President of Student Affairs. Over her 19 years in the Division, Hernandez worked with four different vice presidents, having provided direct support to the Vice Presidents, while managing the operations of the office.
Certainly there are countless staff members and students at the University who can recall ways in which Hernandez assisted them. Larry Lunsford, Associate Vice President for Student Affairs, has worked with Hernandez for 18 years. “Ivonne has served as a mentor for me. Her knowledge of and experience at FIU have been invaluable in assisting me to learn to do my job better. She is the "wise owl" of Student Affairs.”
Ruth Hamilton, Executive Director of the Graham Center, remembers when Hernandez joined Student Affairs. “The moment that Ivonne joined the Division, she began making outstanding contributions. She brought organization and “class” to the operation, but one of her contributions that stands out is her efforts for the Division to work as a cohesive team.”
Hernandez also remembers fondly the students she worked with over the years. Many would say that it was her blend of supervising and truly caring for the students that resulted in growth for so many of them. Hernandez recalls with much satisfaction the times when students who—years after graduating—came back to thank her. “That’s why it is so worth doing what we do. We touch so many people’s lives without knowing we do that.”
Hernandez will finish out her service to the University on December 14th. While she doesn’t care to have any large celebration, she does plan to spend some of her final days saying goodbye to her friends and colleagues. Hernandez reflects on all the wonderful people that make up the FIU family. “There are many people in the background of this University; I call them silent soldiers—people who care about this place and share many of the same goals about what FIU can become. I give those people my own personal recognition for all they do. It is their efforts that keep this University growing.”
Hernandez looks forward to enjoying the rewards that accompany retirement. “I am going to enjoy my freedom, my time, and my health. I pray I have it for a long time.” While she has plans to travel and spend time with her husband, children and grandchildren, she is equally looking forward to the opportunity to just relax and enjoy life.
From the Division of Student Affairs, our utmost gratitude and good wishes to Ivonne Hernandez. May your retirement bring you much happiness.