MIAMI – February 28, 2018 – The College of Communication, Architecture + the Arts (CARTA) at Florida International University (FIU) has announced that “Sir Ivan” Wilzig has joined the College’s Board of Directors. Wilzig is a graduate of both the University of Pennsylvania and the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law. He is also a successful banker–turned–singer, TV celebrity, and social activist. After twenty years of working in his family’s multi-billion dollar commercial banking business and serving on the bank’s Board of Directors, Ivan left the banking world and reinvented himself as recording artist Sir Ivan. Against all odds, he became a Top Ten Billboard Recording Artist.
The music journey began when Sir Ivan played a demo tape for Dave Jurman, Senior Director of Dance Music at Colombia Records. Dave was so impressed with Ivan’s talent that he introduced him to Ernie Lake, half of the two–time Grammy nominated producing team known as SoulSolution. As his first single, Sir Ivan chose the iconic John Lennon song, “Imagine”, as the lyrics and message closely mirrored his desire for world peace. The reason these lyrics resonated so strongly with Ivan is because his father was an Auschwitz concentration camp survivor during the Holocaust. Tom Silverman, owner of Tommy Boy Records, signed the single. It was released on September 4, 2001 and it broke the Top 40 on the Billboard Club Play Chart.
It marked the first time in music that a recording artist had converted any Beatles or John Lennon ballad into a techno dance record. Thirty years after Lennon’s original release, Sir Ivan had made the song popular again for a new generation. Inspired by the success of “Imagine”, he decided that all of his music would be about universal love, human rights and peace. The fight for civil rights, women’s rights and gay rights are still being waged today and Sir Ivan is leading the battle through his music and his non-profit organization, The Peaceman Foundation, which was created in 2005 to fight hatred and violence. Since then, Sir Ivan and The Peaceman Foundation have donated over $500,000 to various charities, including many LGBT charities, anti-bullying charities, and organizations that help those directly affected by violence, such as those who suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).