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College Forum Volume 16, Number 2 : Page 2

ALUMNI news Building SucceSS on Strong FoundationS C ontending with a painful football injury, Robert Chisholm didn’t have much of a career plan in mind when he graduated from high school. So, how did the quarterback come to be one of Miami’s most celebrated architects? Miami Dade College put him on his path to success. “Everybody in my family was an engineer,” said Chisholm. Undecided about taking up the fam-ily trade, Chisholm spoke to an MDC counselor, who encouraged him to try architecture. It turned out to be a perfect match. “Natural abilities and talents were revealed that I was totally unaware of,” Chisholm said. He obtained an associate degree at MDC and transferred to the University of Florida’s re-nowned School of Architecture. “I had very good teachers at MDC,” he recalled. “When I landed in Gainesville, I was ready to tackle anything.” He later went on to earn a master’s degree in plan-ning and urban design at the University of Miami. Chisholm has garnered numerous distinc-tions, including the naming of a service award in his honor by the Community Partnership for the Homeless, which he chaired for five years and for which he de-signed two facilities, both of which he did pro bono. “It does no good for me to create beautiful build-ings or relish other ac-complishments if I am not first a good human being,” he said. Iñaki Muguruza MDC Lays Groundwork for Award-Winning Architects Industry Leaders Numerous notable architects got their start at MDC, including: Ana María Alleguez, AIA President, Alleguez Architecture Willy Bermello, AIA Chairman of the Board, Bermello, Ajamil & Partners, Inc. Bruce Brockhouse, AIA LEED AP Principal, Brockhouse Associates, P.A. Cristina Canton, AIA Architect and Principal, NC-office (Architecture & Urbanism) Daphne I. Gurri, AIA, LEED AP Owner and Principal, Gurri Matute P.A. Rey Martínez, AIA Principal, ReyMar & Associates Ramón B. Pacheco, AIA Architect and Owner, Ramon Pacheco & Associates, Inc. Bruno-Elías Ramos, AIA, LEED AP Principal In Charge, BEA International Luis Revuelta, AIA Principal, Revuelta Architecture International James W. Piersol, AIA LEED AP Principal, M.C. Harry & Associates Angel C. Saqui II, AIA Partner, Saqui Architects Bernard Zyscovich, FAIA President and Managing Partner, Zyscovich Architects KVH Architects, largely handling government contracts. She is also an active member of the Association of Women in Architecture and En-gineering (AWAE), which she helped to found. “Thanks to the start I got at MDC, possibili-ties opened for me that otherwise would have been out of reach,” said Hidalgo-Gato. Cornerstone of Success Going to college is an exciting time of rapid change for most people, and notably so for award-winning architect and Miami Dade Col-lege alumnus Iñaki Muguruza . Fresh out of high school, he moved from Venezuela to Miami, where his parents owned a modest apartment. He next set out at MDC to pursue his lifelong dream of becoming an ar-chitect. “It was my first time away from home, my first time in a new country, my first time going to college – and studying in a new language,” said Muguruza. “There were so many firsts that I think it made me who I am more than any-thing else.” Professionally, Muguruza has worked for ma-jor firms such as Arquitectonica of Miami and New York-based Swanke Hayden Connell. For the past 15 years, he has been a partner in his own firm, Insight Design, winning awards from such prestigious national and global institutions as the American Institute of Architects and the International Interior Design Association. “MDC was the foundation to practically every-thing in my life,” Muguruza said. “Not only did it teach me the basis of architecture, but it taught me to be a man and be independent.” – MR Drafting a New Start Caridad Hidalgo-Gato had aspired to be an architect ever since grade school in Cuba. But speaking little English upon her arrival to Miami in 1974, the young single mom knew there would be hurdles to overcome. With the backing of MDC, a loving family and unshakeable deter-mination, Hidalgo-Gato was able to shape her own American Dream. First signing up for essential English classes, Hidalgo-Gato funded her studies with grants obtained through the College and by working for MDC’s audio-visual department. “I would often set up equipment for teach-ers and find it difficult to communicate because my English was still so limited,” recalled Hidalgo-Gato. “But everybody at Miami Dade College made me feel so wel-come. Never did any of the staff, the faculty or the students make me feel apart in any way.” Hidalgo-Gato soon launched into core courses to obtain an associate degree with honors, paving the way to bachelor’s stud-ies at the University of Miami, where she graduated cum laude. For the past two decades, Hidalgo-Gato has been the principal of her own firm, MIAMI DADE COLLEGE COLLEGE Published by Miami Dade College, Office of Communications 300 N.E. Second Ave., Miami, FL 33132-2296 Send e-mails to f orum April 2012 • Volume 16 • Number 2 Communications Director . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Juan C . Mendieta Marketing and Publications Director . . . . . . . . .Irene Giménez Muñoz Editorial Director . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Brenda Krebs Copy Editors/Contributors . . . . . Monica Roos, Anne-Margaret Swary Graphic Designers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Pasita Andino, Reynaldo Arroyo Catalina Figueras, Lorne Grandison Grizelle Paz-Harrison, Shari Robbins Contributors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Hector Pino, Walter Villa Staff Photographers . . . Alyssa Alvarez, Cristian Lazzari, Carlos Llano Production Coordinator . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Susan Smitherman For more information about MDC programs, call 305-237-8888 or visit Caridad Hidalgo-Gato Robert Chisholm

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