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De Cespedes Brothers Donate $1 Million to Florida International University Athletic Department
By The Source
Aug 19, 2004

Jorge and Carlos de Cespedes, owners of the Miami-based Pharmed Group, the largest independent distributor of medical, surgical and rehabilitative supplies in the U.S., have donated $1 million to the Florida International University Athletics Department, announced FIU President Modesto Maidique. The de Cespedes brothers’ donation is the single largest donation in the history of the school’s Athletics department.

“The entrepreneurial spirit that Jorge developed and nurtured in this country is the ideal we try to instill in our students,” said Modesto A. Maidique, FIU’s president. “This donation is a testament to that.”

In honor of the de Cespedes brothers’ generous gift, Golden Panther Arena will now be renamed Pharmed Arena. The gift will be matched by the state for a total of $2 million.

“We are honored to be able to give back to such a wonderful institution and to become a member of the Golden Panther team,” said Jorge de Cespedes. “This is the first major gift that the newly formed Pharmed de Cespedes Foundation will bestow. The Foundation’s mission is to assist South Florida students with their educational endeavors.”

“This generous gift from Pharmed will be an important step in the growth of our Athletic programs,” said FIU Athletic Director Rick Mello. “As a university we have a responsibility to nurture the minds of our student athletes just as much as we do their athletic ability,” said Mello. “This gift speaks to our commitment in the academic area.”

A former college assistant basketball coach, Jorge, along with his brother Carlos, recently became minority owners of Bobcats Basketball Holdings, LLC, which owns and operates the Charlotte Bobcats of the National Basketball Association.

The FIU Golden Panther Arena was opened on February 1, 1986 and has a seating capacity of 5,000 within its 9,400 square feet. The FIU basketball team's longest winning streak in the arena stretched from 1997-1998 with 18 wins. The arena has long served as the venue for the academic commencement exercises honoring faculty, students and dignitaries such as: former Secretary of Energy Bill Richardson; music mogul Emilio Estefan; President of Cornell University Frank Rhodes, Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham and the Dalai Lama, who visited for the first time in 1999 and is scheduled to return in September of 2004.

Pharmed Group, a $600 million company currently distributing more than 25,000 products, serves more than 1,000 hospitals, integrated delivery networks and group purchasing organizations throughout the United States and more than 80 hospitals and acute care centers throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. Established in 1980 by brothers Carlos and Jorge de Cespedes, PMG is recognized as the 8th largest Hispanic-owned business in the United States and 24th largest privately owned business in the state of Florida. The company was awarded the 2003 Ernst & Young National Entrepreneur of the Year - Life Sciences Category Award.

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