MacArthur School Outstanding Alumni Award

The MacArthur School Outstanding Alumni Award recognizes an undergraduate or graduate alumna/alumnus from the Catherine T. MacArthur School, for their personal and professional achievement and for bringing honor to Palm Beach Atlantic University. The individual has been a graduate of the University for at least five years.

2014 Recipient

Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto '09

Florida Senate

Florida Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto, R-Fort Myers, received a bachelor’s degree in organizational management from PBA in 2009. First elected to the Florida Senate in 2010, Benacquisto represents Southwest Florida in the 30th district. She was named the majority leader for the Republican caucus in the Florida Senate in the fall of 2012, after serving as the deputy majority leader during the previous session.

Additionally she was appointed to be the vice chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, helping manage how taxpayer dollars are spent. She sits on a number of other significant committees in the Florida Senate including Education, Banking and Insurance, Rules, and Ethics and Elections. 

Since her election to the Florida Legislature, Benacquisto has sponsored legislation including the Andrew Widman Act to protect law enforcement officers and keep Florida’s streets safe; the Silver Alert Program to protect the state’s seniors; and the Qualified Targeted Industries bill to help incentivize global trade and logistical businesses in the state. In the 2013 session she championed the “Cancer Treatment Fairness Act” to help cancer patients across the state receive access to life-saving medications.

Her accomplishments in public policy have been honored by organizations in Florida and across the nation. Recent honors include being named the Boys and Girls Club of Lee County Children’s Advocate of the Year, PACE Center for Girls’ Senator of the Year, Southwest Florida Library Champion, as well as being awarded an “A” rating from business groups such as the Florida Chamber of Commerce, Associated Industries of Florida and Associated Builders and Contractors. In 2012 the Republican State Leadership Committee announced her appointment as an advisory board member to the “Right Women, Right Now” campaign to recruit, support and elect new women candidates to state-level offices across the country.

Benacquisto has been a Florida resident for more than 35 years. She is married with two children, son, Austin, and daughter, Gabriella.

2013 Recipient

William Hobbs '91

Urban Youth Impact, executive director

2011 Recipient

Ivette Miranda '97

Palm Beach Gardens Medical Center, chief operating officer

2010 Recipient

Victoria Chouris '97/'01

South Florida Fair, vice president/ chief operating officer

2009 Recipient

Charlie Adams '90

South Palm Construction, president

2008 Recipient

Christine Christofek '98

Solid Waste Authority, director of public affairs

2006 Recipient

Michael S. Reiter '96

Michael Reiter and Associates, president


*Other MacArthur School of Leadership Outstanding Alumni Awardees:

2004: Mary Jo Gregory '94, HRM/96 HRD

2003: Ric  Bradshaw '94, HRM Sheriff, Palm Beach County


*The MacArthur School Award is not an annual award.