Distinguished Alumni Award Recipients

Born in Havana, Cuba, Judge Alex Ferrer and his family escaped from Fidel Castro’s Communist regime to the United States when he was a year old. While growing up in Miami, he developed a passionate interest in law enforcement and became one of the youngest police officers in Florida at the age of 19.

Serving as a patrolman, detective, and in an undercover capacity, Judge Ferrer performed his police duties while attending both college and law school on a full-time basis. He holds a Bachelor of Professional Studies degree from Barry University and a Juris Doctor from the University of Miami School of Law. Upon earning his degree, he practiced civil litigation in Miami.

In 1995, at the age of 34, he became the youngest circuit court judge in Miami’s 11th Judicial Circuit, the largest trial court in Florida and the fourth largest in the United States. On the criminal and family bench, Judge Ferrer handled thousands of cases, ranging from first-degree murders and drug offenses to divorces and adoptions. He also presided as an appellate judge over appeals from the Miami-Dade County Court, Miami-Dade County Commission, and other governmental bodies.

After 10 years on the bench, he was unanimously recommended by the Judicial Nominating Commission for a vacancy on Florida’s high-profile Third District Court of Appeal. He instead accepted a role as host of the nationally syndicated television show “Judge Alex,” which is in its ninth season and airs in 96 percent of the U.S.

Judge Ferrer also serves as an adjunct professor of law at Florida International University. He teaches annually at judicial conferences and has authored a "bench book" on closing arguments that is used by judges throughout Florida. Judge Ferrer regularly appears as a legal commentator on Fox News, CNN, and other networks.