Rap Star Pitbull To Headline PBSC STEAM Luncheon

The Palm Beach State College Foundation will welcome Armando Christian Perez, professionally known as “Pitbull,” as the keynote speaker for the foundation’s 2017 STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) luncheon presented by Bank of America.

The event is chaired by Yvonne Boice, a South Florida businesswoman and philanthropist, and will take place at 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 1 at the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts’ Cohen Pavilion in West Palm Beach. Tickets are $200.

Now 35, the once Miami street rapper turned Grammy Award winner has recorded hundreds of songs and sold more than 70 million singles, with No. 1 hits in more than 15 countries.

He has had more than 67 million digital downloads, more than six billion YouTube views, and has more than 22 million Twitter followers and 59 million Facebook followers. He has performed in more than 50 countries for millions of people — hence his nickname, Mr. Worldwide.

Pitbull is also a savvy businessman and brand entrepreneur who, in addition to a line of fragrances for men and women and a TV development company, also has partnerships with blue-chip brands such as Bud Light, Dr. Pepper, Dodge, Norwegian Cruise Line and others.

Pitbull is passionate about using and advancing technology. He uses social media to communicate with his fans and supporters, and he is co-founder of eMerge Americas. This conference brings together high-tech firms from throughout the Americas and promotes innovation and the development of disruptive technology across many industries.

What most people don’t know about him is that he is passionate about education. He was initially inspired to pursue his music dream by one of his high school teachers. Now, he wants to make sure other children are inspired and have opportunities to succeed.

“Pitbull understands the impact that education can make and encourages quality education for children from all walks of life,” said Suellen Mann, executive director of the foundation.

At the luncheon, Pitbull, a first generation Cuban-American, will discuss the importance of education, as well as how music, math and science are closely related.

“Both the science and music industries use mathematical principles and logic, along with creative thinking and inspiration,” Mann said. “Pitbull is a master of blending basic sounds, rhythms and tempos to create incredible and popular music. He sings about enjoying life and hopes his music serves as a brief escape from daily concerns.”

In 2013, Pitbull helped create the SLAM (sports, leadership, arts and management) charter school in one of the Miami’s most impoverished neighborhoods.

“SLAM, which educates students in grades 6-12, now has a school in West Palm Beach that could be a direct feeder to Palm Beach State College,” Mann said.

The college offers more than 130 program options for these students.

“The college also recently implemented a holistic academic advising program for first-time-in-college students. Local SLAM graduates enrolling at PBSC will benefit greatly from this program, where success coaches guide students throughout their college career, providing hands-on academic advising, career counseling, life management resources and scholarship opportunities, which are the gateways to excellence,” Mann said.

Sponsors of the event are AlphaMedia, Bank of America, Florida Power & Light, Modernizing Medicine, Palm Beach Gardens Medical Center, the Palm Beach Post and WXEL.

In 2017, the foundation will enter the fifth year of its STEAM initiative to impact the projected shortage of local, skilled professionals in the STEAM fields.

For luncheon tickets, visit www.palmbeachstate.edu/foundation/STEAM or call (561) 868-3450.

ABOVE: Rap star Armando Christian Perez, known as Pitbull.