Leon Medical Centers Chairman and Founder Benjamín León Jr., has given FIU CasaCuba a $10 million gift to help build its new home.
The gift, announced today, establishes FIU CasaCuba at the Benjamín León Jr. Building on FIU’s main campus.
FIU CasaCuba is a multidimensional Cuban cultural and academic center that facilitates the discussion and study of Cuban affairs. It is envisioned as a vibrant Cuban home that invites visitors to gather, exchange ideas, and find inspiration in the rich Cuban heritage. CasaCuba at the Benjamín León Jr. Building will highlight and preserve the story of the Cuban diaspora and its impact on South Florida.
“With this gift, our story lives on for generations to come,” said León, who arrived in Miami shortly after the Cuban Revolution took power, at the age of 16. “Like many exiles, my family had to start anew, and they succeeded through hard work and perseverance. It is a great privilege to be able to contribute to the preservation and propagation of this American story.”
The new facility will be prominently located near one of the entrances to the Modesto A. Maidique Campus. It will leverage the latest technology, bringing the Cuban American experience to life like never before. The $40 million, 43,000-square-foot building will have exhibition space that will showcase FIU’s Cuba-related collections and expertise and include classrooms and other academic space. The building, which is being designed by HKS Architects and will be built by Thornton Construction, is projected to open in 2027.
“Benjamín León Jr.’s gift is the most significant contribution to CasaCuba to date,” said FIU President Kenneth A. Jessell. “As one of the most important and influential individuals in the Cuban exile community, we are humbled and honored to have Benjamín share in this ambitious project that will help preserve Cuban culture, and specifically the contributions of Cuban-Americans, for generations to come.”
The gift is significant beyond the financial support.
“This pivotal gift is a testament to Mr. León’s vision and generosity,” said CasaCuba Executive Director Lydia Betancourt Space. “Not only does this extraordinary contribution bring us ever closer to making the dream of CasaCuba a reality, but it also represents an important endorsement of our historic mission. CasaCuba will be a moving experience for the exiled, the displaced, and the resilient in all of us.”
León, the chairman and founder of Leon Medical Centers, has been a prominent voice in South Florida’s Cuban exile community since the 1960s. His family has established a legacy of caring for and providing healthcare services to the exile community and the community in general.
León has been deeply committed to the South Florida community and has made other generous gifts that include support for FIU’s Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine and the creation of the Benjamín León Center for Geriatric Research and Education, the Miami Dade College Benjamín León School of Nursing, and La Liga Contra el Cancer, among others.
“Like the León legacy, CasaCuba stands as a beacon of light, a symbol of our gratitude to this great nation that has opened its doors and hearts to us,” said CasaCuba Board of Advisors Chair Mario Murgado. “It is a reminder of how far we have come and an inspiration for the journey that lies ahead.”