MIAMI GARDENS — Three valued employees of Florida Memorial University (FMU), which for more than 133 years has depended on significant employee contributions to reach new heights, have recently retired from the institution and transitioned to new endeavors.

Sandra Thompson enjoyed an FMU career that spanned nearlyfour decades. During her 38 years of service she began as an assistant professor of Social Sciences and earned promotions as acting chair of Social Sciences, professor of Sociology, director of Self-Study and associate provost. After former President Karl S. Wright’s tenure, Thompson became the university’s chief executive on an interim basis.  While serving as interim president (2009-2011), Thompson broke ground on the Living and Learning Residential Life Center, laid the groundwork for municipal financing for the upcoming FMU wellness center and successfully transferred university leadership to President Henry Lewis III, among other accomplishments.


She retired as the associate vice president for Institutional Effectiveness, where her efforts helped FMU successfully secure Southern Association of Colleges and Schools reaffirmation. During the Spring 2012 Commencement ceremony, Lewis expressed gratitude for Thompson’s four-decade penchant for “exceptional excellence at all times.”

“Serving as an interim college president is a selfless endeavor and an incredible sacrifice. Dr. Thompson kept the school in great shape, all while sacrificing her ability to compete for the job,” Lewis noted. “Dr. Thompson deferred her personal and professional advancement to advance this university. Because of her work in our time of need, we remain poised for greatness.”


Gloria Oswald, the former university librarian, joined the institution more than 33 years ago. During her tenure Oswald served in various capacities including assistant professor/librarian, interim dean of library services and associate professor/director. 

Her colleagues say Oswald’s personal warmth and great spirit created an exceptional learning environment and her contributions will be missed.

“We will find another university librarian. But, we will not find another Gloria Oswald,” affirmed Makola Abdullah, university provost and vice president for Academic Affairs, during the 2012 Annual Employee Recognition Luncheon.

Gladys Gonzalez also retired after 29 years of service as coordinator for the university’s Hialeah and south campuses.

Photo: Sandra Thompson