Plaza will Serve as Gathering Place for Community to Pay Tribute to FIU Veterans
FIU to Host Unveiling Ceremony on Veterans Day
To honor the service men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice, Miami-based law firm Genovese Joblove & Battista (GJB) has teamed up with Florida International University to provide the lead gift for a sculpture of FIU alumnus Paul Michael Felsberg that will serve as the centerpiece of the university’s new veterans memorial, the Felsberg Veterans Plaza.
Named in honor of Felsberg, an accomplished FIU student-athlete and second lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps, the plaza will serve as a gathering place for the community to pay tribute to FIU veterans.
FIU President Mark B. Rosenberg paid tribute to Felsberg this morning during FIU’s Veterans Day Celebration Breakfast and announced the plans for the memorial plaza. Rosenberg and the Felsberg family will participate in a ceremony on Veterans Day, Saturday, November 11 at 3 p.m. at MMC, adjacent to Parkview Residence Hall, 11200 SW 8th St., in West Miami-Dade, where they will unveil a life-size model of the statue. Following the ceremony, the FIU football team will take on Old Dominion in the annual Veteran/Military appreciation game at FIU’s Riccardo Silva Stadium.
On October 13, 2004, Michael Felsberg, 27, died during a rocket-propelled attack during the second Gulf War in Ramadi, Iraq. A weapons platoon commander, Felsberg volunteered for duty in Iraq after learning that a replacement was needed for an officer killed in combat. He was awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with Combat Distinguishing Device along with the Purple Heart for his actions in combat.
A criminal justice major at FIU, Felsberg graduated with a 3.94 grade point average, earning the Athletics President’s Award as the athlete with the highest GPA. Michael was also a three-time winner of FIU’s Athletic Spirit Award, which is now named in his honor.
“A number of our lawyers and staff have served in the military, and we are passionate about supporting veteran programs,” said Jonathan E. Perlman, shareholder at GJB and member of the board of directors of the FIU Foundation. “We also have a great affinity for FIU, which we believe to be a critical institution for the betterment of South Florida. This was an ideal opportunity for us to show our immense gratitude to the men and women who have fought to protect our freedom, while supporting this wonderful initiative led by FIU, and leaving a lasting impression of which we can all be proud.”
The sculpture is one of many efforts that the law firm of Genovese Joblove & Battista has embraced in support of veterans. Recognizing the difficulties that veterans may face when entering the legal industry, shareholder John H. Genovese, a former military police officer in the Army, serves as a mentor, resource, or simply a sounding board for aspiring attorneys who have served in the armed forces. Additionally, the firm, and partners individually, support veterans’ scholarships for students at the FIU College of Law, University of Miami School of Law, Ohio Northern University and Siena College.
FIU President Mark B. Rosenberg, who was a distinguished military student in the Army ROTC and whose father was a decorated World War II veteran, is leading the veterans’ memorial initiative.
“We are grateful to Genovese Joblove & Battista for their generous gift,” Rosenberg said. “We are proud to honor Michael’s legacy and that of all of our veterans. This will be a special place for all of us at FIU to remember and reflect on the members of the FIU family who have fought and sacrificed for the freedoms we all enjoy.”