Although state senator Ernest 'Cap' Graham, father of former Florida governor and U.S. Senator
Bob Graham, proposed a state university in Miami as early as 1943, the legislature did not approve the project until
1965. In July of 1969, the Florida Board of
Regents appointed Charles
"Chuck" Perry to be FIU's first University President.
Perry was only 31 years old at the time, and was thus the youngest person in the country to hold such a position. The
university's main campus, University Park, was
built on the site of the old Tamiami Airport, and opened its doors in 1972.The university's second president, Harold Crosby, served a three-year "interim" term from 1976-79. Crosby oversaw the opening of a second campus
on Biscayne Bay in North
Miami in 1977.Gregory Baker Wolfe, a former United States diplomat and
then-president of Portland State University
became FIU's third president, from 1979-1986. After stepping down as president, Wolfe went on to teach in the university's
International Relations department. The student union on the Biscayne Bay Campus is named in his honor.In 1986, Dr. Modesto A.
Maidique became President of FIU, which has since grown to become the largest university in the Miami region, with a budget of over $400 million. In 2002, FIU acheived two
major milestones: fielding its first American football team, and
opening the first public law school in South Florida, the Florida International University College of Law.