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Photo of a building on the Barry University campus with palm trees and blue sky

By Katherine Doble
Barry University Communications Office

January 23, 2024, Miami, Florida — Barry University announced that alum Smilka Melgoza has been appointed Vice President for Institutional Advancement. Smilka is a South Florida resident and dedicated alumna with a long-standing and vibrant presence in the local community. She previously served on the school’s Board of Trustees as President of the Alumni Association. She began her new role at the end of 2023.

As Vice President for Institutional Advancement, Smilka leads all areas of the Advancement Division, including major gift initiatives; annual, corporate, foundation, and planned giving; and alumni relations and engagement. Through close collaboration with stakeholders, Melgoza looks to build upon the considerable philanthropic success the University has experienced in recent years.    

A woman with long dark hair wearing earrings and a blazer smiles at the camera
Smilka Melgoza, VP for Institutional Advancement 

“I am excited to return to Barry at such a critical time in higher education,” Smilka said. “I look forward to working with President [Mike] Allen, trustees, faculty, and staff as we continue to offer students support in their pursuit of educational and personal achievement, celebrate the successes of our alumni, and cultivate strong relationships within our community.”

Smilka recently served as Assistant Dean for Development at the Florida International University (FIU) Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine and brings a wealth of experience in higher education. She served at FIU for more than five years, with a focus on cultivating philanthropic opportunities that promote student success. 

Smilka played a pivotal role in assisting the FIU Next Horizon Campaign to surpass its $750 million goal. Her people-centric skills enable her to forge impactful relationships with students, alumni, and donors, maximizing the impact of philanthropic funds. 

Smilka's fundraising efforts extended to student success and endowment development at the Patricia and Phillip Frost Art Museum and as a founding member of the Development Office for Student Success.

Before joining FIU, Smilka held several private sector positions. Most notably, she co-founded a multicultural market intelligence startup that Goldman Sachs acquired. Later, she excelled at Northwestern Mutual, achieving the top 2% national rankings for new client production with more than $100 million in sales. 

“Smilka possesses an inspiring enthusiasm for Barry’s mission, a commitment to our academic community, a passion for the success of our students, and a track record of fundraising success,” said Mike Allen, President of Barry University. “We are delighted to welcome her back home and excited to get to work.” 

Barry University boasts a vibrant and diverse alumni network, with more than 70,000 accomplished graduates across the globe. These alumni represent a wide spectrum of professions and industries, from healthcare and education to business, law, and the arts. Their contributions to society extend far and wide, demonstrating the university’s commitment to fostering excellence and providing its students with a foundation for success in their chosen fields. 


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