A Visionary Leader

UM psychology professor recognized for community service by local chamber

Dr. Michael Alessandri, executive director of UM-NSU CARD (University of Miami-Nova Southeastern University Center for Autism and Related Disabilities) and clinical professor of psychology in the University of Miami College of Arts and Sciences, was presented with the “Visionary Leader of the Year” award by the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce.

“Surrounded by the undeniable love of family, friends, and the best colleagues in the world, it was an absolute honor to accept this award,” said Alessandri.

The recognition from the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce is awarded to top community leaders for their work in advancing the South Florida community.

In his speech at the Salute to Miami Leaders Awards Luncheon, Alessandri used the opportunity to remind attendees that the special needs community needs their assistance in creating sustainable employment opportunities for those adults with disabilities who remain underemployed or unemployed in our community.

Under his leadership, UM-NSU CARD was named Autism Society of America’s National Autism Program of the Year in 1999. Alessandri, who has received numerous research and service grants totaling more than $25 million for autism research and initiatives, has worked with individuals with autism and their families for nearly 30 years.

Recently, he was awarded a $515,000 multi-year grant from The Taft Foundation for his proposal to help promote entrepreneurship in the autism community that will allow for sustainable employment for adults with autism. In 2012, The Children’s Trust awarded Alessandri with its David Lawrence Jr. Champion for Children Award for his lifetime achievement and dedication to children, one of South Florida’s highest honors for community service.

Dr. Michael Alessandri (second from left) stands with local community leaders at the Salute to
Miami's Leaders Luncheon hosted by the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce.

June 21, 2016