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From abandoned airport to a major university, FIU remembers its first-generation mission

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In the early 1970s, the abandoned airfield where Florida International University would grow its roots looked like a movie set for a dystopian horror film: The 344 acres had overgrown sawgrass, a rusted airplane or two and a control tower that stood sentry over the site in the far corners of Dade County.

The university pioneers cleaned up the ruins of the old Tamiami Airport, improvised a parking area by painting white lines over the rutted runways and designated the desolate airplane hangars as makeshift classrooms for about 5,000 students.

Fifty years later, FIU’s main campus runs along Southwest Eighth Street, from 107th to 117th avenues, and south to Tamiami Park, about four blocks north of Coral Way. A second campus in the north part of the county is home to several schools, including its famed hospitality school, whose students work side by side with top chefs during the South Beach Wine and Food Festival. And its 10-year-old law school, FIU College of Law at the main campus, bested the state’s 10 other law schools with the highest Florida Bar passage rate among its graduates in the most recent results.

Read more from our news partner at The Miami Herald.