They say opposites attract, and for Carlos and Paula Alvarez, it certainly started out that way. He was a Cuba-born, Miami-raised engineer at IBM and a triple alumnus from the University of Miami. She was a pharmacist who grew up in Indiana and, of all things, a Gator. A chance meeting in 1996 at a social event in Deerfield Beach revealed more in common than expected—professional ambition, a love of travel, and above all, a deep respect for education.
“Every time I came back to the University, it helped my career,” says Carlos, who is now general manager for the Americas at a technology company called Lumen Dynamics. “Engineering develops logical thinking. What’s given me a competitive edge in business is the ability to follow through logically on a concept.”
Eager to explore the business side of her field, Paula enrolled in UM’s Executive MBA Program shortly after meeting Carlos. She is now a proud ’Cane and director of corporate accounts for a pharmaceutical company called Sunovion.
For both husband and wife, success is the result of hard work and a world class education. As an undergrad, Carlos was a work-study at the Florida Department of Transportation and UM Richter Library while helping his parents run their bakery on the weekends. One of five children who all graduated college, he credits his parents for always placing a high value on education. Paula paid her own way through school with help from scholarship funding so she too is committed to paying it forward.
“No matter how big or how little, it’s important to give back to help others fulfill their dreams,” Carlos says.
While Carlos jokes that Paula’s UM degree was a prerequisite for their marriage, the happy couple equally enjoy celebrating UM pride at Hurricanes football, basketball, and baseball games—and by loyally supporting the school that has given them so much.