More than 3,000 newly minted graduates will receive degrees at the University of Miami’s spring commencement exercises, May 9-11, at BankUnited Center. During the ceremonies, each graduate will march across the stage and be congratulated by President Donna E. Shalala and their school’s respective dean.
Prior to that, students will receive advice from distinguished luminaries, some of whom will be honored with honorary degrees.
For the complete commencement schedule, click here. Below are short bios of the commencement speakers and honorary degree recipients.
Sylvia Daunert is one of the world’s premier experts in bionanotechnology—a dynamic, rapidly evolving discipline focused on creating infinitesimal but powerful cellular and molecular devices to solve complex problems. “I can look into nature,” she has said, “and imagine things we can do with what nature has to offer…that cannot be produced by using manmade technology alone.” Toward that end, Daunert, professor of biochemistry and the Lucille P. Markey Chair of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Miami’s Miller School of Medicine, has dedicated her life and career to melding the insights and approaches of analytical biochemistry, molecular biology, and bioengineering. Her research team uses recombinant DNA technology to design diagnostic tools and biosensors that have biomedical, environmental, and pharmaceutical applications. Daunert holds several patents covering her team’s discoveries.
For example, to help patients manage Crohn’s and other chronic diseases, the Daunert team is working to develop novel biosensors and drug delivery systems for diagnosis and management of the disease. Her team is employing nanoparticles that act as nanovehicles to carry therapeutic agents to desired locations in the body. The nanovehicles can also carry biosensing and imaging agents, thus allowing for delivery of precise doses of drugs at the right location while imaging and detecting at the same time. She will deliver remarks at the graduate degree ceremony on Thursday, May 9 at 4 p.m.
An innovative and renowned business leader whose family has had an indelible impact on the University of Miami, Stuart Miller, J.D. ’82, is CEO and a director of Lennar Corporation, one of the nation’s largest homebuilders. Miller also serves as vice chair of the University of Miami Board of Trustees. With Miller at the helm, Lennar has expanded its leadership in the homebuilding industry while diversifying into all aspects of construction as well as financial services. He led the firm through a series of successful acquisitions and marketing advances, and spearheaded its creative corporate culture. Today the company builds homes in 18 states.
A member of the University Board of Trustees since 2002, Miller is chair of the Momentum2 campaign at the Miller School of Medicine and is the standard-bearer of his family’s outstanding tradition of generosity and commitment to the University. The Miller School assumed its name in 2004, when the Miller family gave the University $100 million—the largest gift from a family in UM history—to name the school in memory of Leonard Miller, who was a UM lifetime trustee. The family’s generosity is also reflected in the creation of the Sue and Leonard Miller Center for Contemporary Judaic Studies at UM. Stuart Miller will give advice to graduates at the combined ceremony for the School of Business Administration and College of Engineering on Friday, May 10 at 8:30 a.m.
As president and chief executive officer of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Alberto Ibargüen has made a unique impact on contemporary culture and education through a dazzling array of entrepreneurial initiatives that are helping to define the future of global journalism. In every aspect of his personality and career, Ibargüen exemplifies the foundation’s defined mission of sustaining democracy “by leading journalism to its best possible future in the 21st century.”
Ibargüen lived in Puerto Rico until the age of 8, when his Cuban- born father brought the family to New Jersey. After graduating from Wesleyan University, he served in the Peace Corps in Venezuela. Upon his return, he went to the University of Pennsylvania Law School. After graduating in 1974, he became a legal-aid attorney in Hartford for several years before joining the local newspaper, the Hartford Courant, as senior vice president for finance and administration. Ibargüen then worked at Newsday before becoming publisher of The Miami Herald and El Nuevo Herald, its Spanish-language sister paper. In 2005 Ibargüen took on the new challenge of leading the Knight Foundation. Almost immediately he directed more than $100 million to more than 100 projects aimed at every aspect of the business. Knight Foundation grants seeded small-town websites and linked universities with professional news outlets; they supported news organizations’ efforts to use online media and challenged citizens to use Web-based communication to build community. Ibargüen will receive an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters at the Friday, May 10, 12:30 p.m. ceremony for the Schools of Architecture, Communication, Education and Human Development, Nursing and Health Studies, and Frost School of Music.
At times, Jim Larrañaga seems more management expert than coach. Tucked into two cabinets behind his office desk are several Franklin Covey daily planners brimming with Larrañaga’s thoughts, personal goals, observations, and appointments, even his team’s practice sessions—highlights of daily activities spanning two decades. For the 63-year-old Larrañaga, such meticulous attention to detail has proven to be a winning formula. In just his second year at the helm of the University of Miami men’s basketball program, he led the Hurricanes to the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) regular season and tournament titles, a No. 2 national ranking (the highest ever in program history), and a Sweet 16 appearance in the NCAA Tournament. By the time the astonishing 2012-2013 season ended, Larrañaga had added some impressive hardware to his trophy case: the ACC, Associated Press, and Naismith Coach of the Year Awards, as well as the U.S. Basketball Writers Association’s Henry Iba Coach of the Year Award.
Over the course of UM’s ACC Championship season, Larrañaga’s senior-laden team knocked off such perennial powers as Duke, North Carolina, and Michigan State en route to a 29-7 record. At a school known for its storied football program, hoops hysteria swept campus. Sellout crowds for basketball games at BankUnited Center became the norm. Even a Larrañaga T-shirt with the slogan “40 Minutes of L” was printed. Larrañaga will deliver the commencement address at the Friday, May 10, 5 p.m. exercise for the College of Arts and Sciences and Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science.
Hilarie Bass graduated summa cum laude from the University of Miami’s School of Law in 1981 and was editor of the Law Review. She was recently named a president of the international law firm Greenberg Traurig after serving as global operating shareholder and previously completing an eight-year term as the national chair of the firm’s 600-member litigation department. During her more than 30-year career, she has successfully represented clients in commercial cases in jury and non-jury trials involving hundreds of millions of dollars in controversy.
This dedicated UM alumna received the Outstanding Fundraiser Alumni Award in 2009 and was named Outstanding Law Alumna in 2012. Among the many areas of the University that have benefited from her generous support are the School of Law, the Department of Athletics, the Phillip and Patricia Frost School of Music, and the College of Arts and Sciences. She is campaign chair for the School of Education and Human Development’s Momentum2 campaign. Bass will speak at the School of Law commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 11, at 10 a.m.
Helene D. Gayle, M.D., M.P.H., is president and CEO of CARE USA, a leading international humanitarian organization whose poverty-fighting programs reached 83 million people last year in 84 countries. Since joining CARE in 2006, Gayle has led efforts to reinforce CARE’s commitment to empowering girls and women to bring lasting change to poor communities. Under her leadership, CARE has strengthened its focus on long-term impact, increased policy and advocacy efforts, and deepened connections between poverty and the environment. She has leveraged the power of CARE’s corporate and NGO partners to significantly expand CARE’s reach across the globe. “We have no choice but to try to make an impact,” says Gayle, named one of Forbes magazine’s “100 Most Powerful Women.”
An expert on health, global development, and humanitarian issues, Gayle spent 20 years with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), focused primarily on combating HIV/AIDS. She was appointed as the first director of the National Center for HIV, STD and TB Prevention, and achieved the rank of Rear Admiral and Assistant Surgeon General in the U.S. Public Health Service. Gayle also served as the AIDS coordinator and chief of the HIV/AIDS division for the U.S. Agency for International Development. She then founded the HIV, TB and Reproductive Health Program at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, directing programs on HIV/AIDS and other global health issues. Gayle will receive an Honorary Doctor of Science at the Miller School of Medicine commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 11 at 5 p.m.