College of Engineering Fall 2018 Commencement Alumni Marshals
During this past fall’s commencement ceremony, thousands of undergraduate and graduate students closed the chapter on their student careers and began the next chapter as alumni of the University of Miami (UM). Each year these ceremonies begin the same way, featuring a processional of Alumni Marshals, an honor bestowed by the UM Alumni Association upon a select group who are loyal supporters of the University and continue to make meaningful contributions since graduation. The College of Engineering (CoE) is proud to have three of its alumni represented during the Dec. 13, 2019 ceremonies.
Carlos Alvarez, BSEE ’81, MBA ’86, MSIE ‘86
When Carlos Alvarez received his travel log from American Airlines for this past year, it stated that he had traveled 197,000 miles, 290 hours in flight, and six times around the world. As Worldwide Director of Sales for Excelitas Canada Inc., he spends 80% of his time on the road – he loves to travel, and so does his wife Paula, who received her master’s in business administration (MBA) from UM in 1998.
Upon graduating from UM, Carlos worked for IBM in Boca Raton for 14 years. He continued his career at Motorola, Lumen Dynamic and is now at Excelitas Canada Inc., where his work with UV curing plays a large role in medical devices, especially stints. He returned to UM through IBM and enrolled in the first joint MBA – MSIE program. He credits his ability to sell products, understand finance and accounting, while also explaining technical details to this dual-degree program.
Carlos was grateful to participate in the Alumni Marshal program for three reasons. First, he enjoyed reconnecting with the University. Second, he said that the experience was a flashback to his time on campus in the 70s and 80s. Finally, he was able to share the day with his niece, Olivia Cabanas, who received her undergraduate degree that day. They were able to take a picture together as she crossed the stage, and the experience meant a lot to Carlos to see her realize her dream.
Raul Murciano, MSEE ’71 and Dr. Raul Murciano Jr. BSCE ’91 MM ’93 DMA ‘97
Raul Murciano, ’71, never walked across the commencement stage when he graduated with his masters in electrical engineering in 1971. Fast forward to 2018 when his son, Raul Murciano Jr., was prepared to attend commencement as a faculty member for one last time before his own retirement. This was his final opportunity to have his father walk.
Raul came to Miami from Cuba. He then attended Indiana Technical University for his undergraduate electrical engineering degree. He moved back to Miami and met his wife while attending UM for his master’s degree. He worked for RCA, Palisades Geophysical Institute (PGI), and as an underwater acoustics researcher at Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science. Raul was a proud adjunct faculty member in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. His employment at UM afforded him tuition remission so that his children could attend the university as well.
Murciano Jr. attended the CoE as a civil engineer and took classes with Murray Mantell. While at UM he was a co-founder of the Miami Sound Machine with Emilio Estefan (Raul played keyboard and was musical director). He later received his masters and PhD from the Frost School of Music, where he has taught Cuban music for nearly 30 years.
As Murciano Jr. prepared for his retirement from the faculty at the Frost School of Music, he recognized that the alumni marshal program “gives relevance to what the alumni have done.” He reflected how “coming back to campus corroborates the continuity, where tradition meets innovation.” The Alumni Marshal program is thus a symbol of one generation to the next of UM students and alumni.
Randall Sookoo, BSCPE ‘03
Born and raised in St. Croix, Randall enrolled at the UM at the age of 16. He knew nothing about football, stating “I watched basketball and baseball growing up in the islands.” During his first football game at UM, he recounted how the freshman led the team onto the field at the Orange Bowl, and from that moment on, he “was hooked.”
As a Henry King Stanford Scholar, Randall studied in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. He was an active member of COISO and the Caribbean Student Association (CSA), as well as a charter member of the Virgin Island Student Association. After college, he worked for the Water & Power Authority in St. Croix, went on to work for General Mills, and when he arrived at Universal Studios, they paid for his master’s in marketing at Webster University. Since then, Randall has served as a data analytics consultant to numerous Fortune 500 companies, from Disney to MGM Casino & Resorts, and now CIGNA Healthcare and Royal Caribbean Cruises.
From Orlando to Tampa and Jacksonville to Miami, Randall has been committed to service through his ‘Canes Communities. For the last two years, Randall has led the holiday gift wrapping volunteers for the organization Amigos for Kids. Randall is serving his second year as Vice-President of the College of Engineering Alumni Association Board of Directors. In turn, he has made it a priority to win the illustrious PRIDE Award for the College of Engineering Alumni Association. “I give back to UM because I had a great time and it is something that I will always be a part of.”
Randall wears his graduation ring with pride still to this day. “Being an undergraduate at UM was the best time of my life. Nothing else has replaced it. The older you get the more you appreciate it.”
The University of Miami Alumni Marshal program was launched 17 years ago during Donna Shalala’s presidency. Since its inception, the University has hosted more than 700 alumni marshals. Selected marshals enjoy a reception and receive commencement regalia as well as an honorary medallion for their loyalty to the University.