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Councilwoman Patricia Fairclough took time at the December 20th Special Presentations to recognize Dr. Pablo Ortiz, vice president of regional academic locations and institutional development at Florida International University (FIU) and his contributions to the City of Homestead. Dr. Ortiz, working on behalf of FIU, has a special relationship with the City, which began in 2016.As she welcomed Dr. Ortiz to the front of the Council Chambers, Councilwoman Fairclough said, “I’m really proud of the partnership we have with this anchor institution. We pride ourselves on collaborating with different institutions in order to enhance the quality of life and our offerings here in Homestead.” “Dr. Pablo Ortiz has been a true partner with the City of Homestead,” Councilwoman Fairclough explained. “He has been very instrumental in assisting me with providing free mammograms to women in this community,” noting that in addition to providing annual mammograms in February, quarterly screenings would also be offered in the near future. She added that Dr. Ortiz was also working with the City of Homestead Youth Council to spread holiday cheer in the community through the City’s toy drive. Councilwoman Fairclough said, “Dr. Ortiz and the FIU family have assisted us to place presents under the Christmas trees in our community.”She then presented a certificate of appreciation to Dr. Ortiz, in honor of his “generous and outstanding partnership with the City of Homestead, bringing joy to the community.” She read the certificate, which stated, “Let us remember that the Christmas heart is a giving heart that thinks of others first.”Dr. Ortiz responded, “It’s an honor to be here on behalf of FIU. We are proud to not only work with you, but, to [also] work for you at the City of Homestead.”He continued, “We are keenly aware of the two big priorities for this Council — education and jobs/workforce development.” He noted that FIU currently has 1,600 students who live in the City of Homestead and travel to its campus. Dr. Ortiz added, “On the jobs side, we currently employ 150 faculty and staff that are residents in the City of Homestead and we hope to expand that.”Dr. Ortiz also stated that FIU just celebrated 10 commencement ceremonies where several thousand students had graduated. He explained, “We’re working hard to keep the talent here locally — [to] bring them back to the community, get them jobs, [and] get them to support and give back. That’s really why we’re here.”Expressing his gratitude to the Homestead City Council, Dr. Ortiz concluded his remarks by saying, “Thank you for the recognition, but it really is a recognition of our students, faculty and staff at FIU.”