Rogelio “Roger” Tovar’s pride in Florida International University led him to serve on the institution’s board of trustees as vice-chair for three years. This past summer, he was elected chair, he explains the goal continues to be to improve, elevate and impact the community.
“The opportunities are endless,” said Tovar. “It’s just what we do with every moment of life and how we take advantage of the opportunities that are presented to us.”
He was born in Puerto Rico to immigrant parents exiled from Cuba, then grew up in Miami. It wasn’t clear at first that he would continue studying,
“I had no vision as to attending college,” said Tovar. “I didn’t really see the value in education.”
But then a few years after graduating high school, he found himself without a job. He began his higher education journey at Miami-Dade College and then transferred to FIU, where he earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in accounting.
Once an auditor for Price Waterhouse, today he is president and chairman of RT Holdings, an investment firm that owns several automobile-related businesses. He is also chairman of Automated Merchandising Systems, which makes vending machines, and of Chicagoland Restaurants.
“There are thousands and thousands and thousands of people like me at FIU, and their lives will be changed, will be different,” Tovar said. “Their whole family will be elevated by having the education that FIU provides and that, to me, is the difference that we make.”