Alicio A. Piña, J.D. ’90, and his wife, Nirma recently established an endowed scholarship to recognize and honor the 25 years of public service of former Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida Federico A. Moreno, J.D. ’78.
“I got to know Judge Moreno while Nirma was serving as his judicial assistant at the time. He was very instrumental in encouraging me to apply to and attend the University of Miami’s School of Law, in spite of having recently emigrated from Cuba,” said Alicio Piña, a partner at Florida Value Partners, LLC, a company formed in 2008 to purchase distressed real estate throughout the U.S. “Judge Moreno always inspired hard work and dedication through his example. We established the scholarship in gratitude to Judge Moreno and to the law school for the invaluable education and overall rewarding experience I received there.”
In addition to the Piña’s gift, Manuel “Manny” Kadre and his wife Annie created a $50,000 challenge grant that matched, dollar for dollar, each new contribution made by Judge Moreno’s former law clerks toward the scholarship. Manny Kadre served as law clerk to Judge Moreno in the early 1990s and is currently Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the MBB Auto Group and a member of the University of Miami Board of Trustees.
“I hired Manny Kadre from New York,” said Judge Moreno. “After his clerkship he practiced law with my wife’s firm, where he met her client Carlos de la Cruz. Manny worked for Carlos, another great benefactor to the U. Manny became a great entrepreneur in his own right. His generosity to UM is only exceeded by his and Annie’s friendship with the Moreno family. We are all lucky that he decided to stay in Miami.”
Judge Moreno served as Chief Judge from 2007 to 2014 and continues to sit on the Federal bench. Prior to his appointment by President George H. W. Bush in 1990, he sat on the 11th Judicial Circuit Court from 1987 until 1990, and was a Dade County Court Judge from 1986 until 1987. Judge Moreno was in private practice starting in 1978 until 1986 in the firm of Thornton, Rothman and Moreno, and in between served as Assistant Federal Public Defender in the Office of the U.S. Public Defender from 1979 until 1981. Judge Moreno is a member of Miami Law’s Visiting Committee.
The Venezuelan-born Moreno met his wife, Maria Cristina Morales, while they were both at Miami Law. She is now a prominent Miami attorney.
“I received a wonderful legal education at UM’s Law School where I was lucky to serve as the school’s Student Bar Association’s President, but most importantly where I met my wife Cristina, a Double ’Cane,” said Judge Moreno. “Alicio and Nirma Piña are longtime friends who are an example that you can do good while doing well too. I am honored to be associated with them and am grateful for their friendship as well as their generosity and love for the University of Miami’s School of Law.”
This year’s recipient of the Moreno Scholarship is Leticia Mora, a 2L who is a member of the University of Miami Law Review and International Moot Court team. She recently served as a Summer Public Interest Fellow and Legal Intern for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of Florida.