“No person was ever honored for what he received. Honor has been the reward for what he gave.” Dean Brian Schriner ended his speech with this poignant quote from Calvin Coolidge on Friday, September 26, before inviting everyone gathered in the rotunda of the Herbert and Nicole Wertheim Performing Arts Center to raise their glasses in honor of Rick and Margarita Tonkinson. The Tonkinsons have graciously donated $50,000 to FIU’s College of Architecture + The Arts (CARTA), which will provide scholarships for CARTA students. In recognition of their munificence, The Herbert and Nicole Wertheim Performing Arts Center Mainstage Theatre lobby has been dedicated to them. FIU is fortunate to be included in Rick and Margarita’s philanthropic vision, which supports many South Florida organizations. Also present at the dedication ceremony was FIU’s newly appointed Provost and Chief Academic Officer, Dr. Kenneth G. Furton. Dr. Furton also expressed his sincere appreciation to the Tonkinsons for their generosity.
During his speech, Mr. Tonkinson shared his desire to make the community a better place. He acknowledged the philanthropy of Herbert and Nicole Wertheim, who brought the Wertheim Performing Arts Center to life with their altruism and emphasized his own passion for education and theatre, sharing his belief that “theatre allows a full expression of thought. We encourage theatre students to live to their fullest potential and have their passion develop into skills.”
Rick Tonkinson is the President of Tonkinson Financial and has recently been appointed Chair of the Dean’s Leadership Advisory Board for CARTA. He studied at night to earn an MBA and a Master’s degree in public administration from the University of Miami. He specializes in helping his clients achieve financial security through strategic, personalized financial planning. Rick is a man who enjoys challenges, and for his 50th birthday celebration, he climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, with his son! He is a devoted father and husband, who has been married to Margarita for 34 years. Moreover, he has a long history of volunteering, dating back to the Peace Corps.
Margarita Tonkinson is an integral part of the family business. She has worked alongside Rick for 20 years, relying on her expertise in administration, office restructuring and reorganization to help build the business into the success it is today. Like her husband, she is also a graduate of the University of Miami and holds a Master’s degree in public administration. A Fulbright scholar herself, Margarita was appointed by President George Bush to serve on the J William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board, and she did so from 1990-1995.
This investment in our community, in the future of our students’ means a great deal to CARTA and we are indebted to the Tonkinson.s for their leadership and commitment in achieving CARTA’s World’s Ahead vision.
To view pictures from the dedication, please click here.