Almost 400 alumni, trustees and friends of St. Thomas University donned tropical attire and gathered May 13 at Parrot Jungle Island in downtown Miami for STU’s 2nd Annual Leader for Life fundraising gala to honor four alumni leaders for their impressive accomplishments both in their professions and in the community.

STU President Rev. Msgr. Franklyn M. Casale presented the prestigious award — STU’s highest alumni honor — to Mario Trueba, ’80, CEO of Mellon, Florida, and to Danny Katz, ’93, Ivan Marin, ’95, and Dan Axman, ’96, cofounders of Complete Ticket Solutions. During the cocktail hour of the tropical-themed event guests were entertained by steel drum music and street players from the new Miami Performing Arts Center.

A multi-course dinner of Caribbean favorites was followed by a video featuring the awardees and a live auction facilitated by WQAM – AM 560 sports radio host and former NFL player Don Bailey, Jr. and Raul Martinez, gala chair with his wife Nancy.

“We had a wonderful evening that raised thousands of dollars for scholarships for St. Thomas students and recognized the tremendous accomplishments and contributions of these fine alumni,” said Martinez, Vice President of Caribe Homes and a member of STU’s President’s Board of Advisors.

Lively bidding at the live auction resulted in a Miami Heat basketball signed by the entire team going to Gregory Swienton, CEO of Ryder System and Chair of the STU Board of Trustees, a one-week stay in a Swiss Chalet going to Danny Katz and Tom Rozek., CEO of Miami Children’s Hospital got a Carnival Cruise for two in the owner’s suite. The evening ended with dancing to the beat of a calypso band