CORAL GABLES, Fla. (March 7, 2014) — With the solemn beating of a single drum and a tap by an iron arrow, UM’s senior vice president for business and finance and CFO Joe Natoli and 30 other consummate ’Canes were inducted into the Iron Arrow Honor Society last week for embodying good character, leadership, scholarship, and humility.
Natoli, who is currently serving as interim chief operating officer of the Miller School of Medicine and UHealth, was among a group of Iron Arrow inductees tapped Wednesday on the medical campus. His induction,the highest honor attainable at UM, comes eight years after he joined the University and is the second major honor he has received in as many years. In 2013 Natoli won South Florida Business Journal’s CFO of the Year Award in the Nonprofit Company category.
“I was in a board meeting of the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center when I heard the drumbeat approaching,” Natoli recalled. “The tribe entered the room and stopped at my seat. Surprise! I should have known something was up when President Shalala walked into the room earlier in the meeting. It’s a great honor. I have great appreciation for the transformative role the University has played in South Florida and in my life—more proof that it’s great, to be, a Miami Hurricane.”
Javi Salas’s Thursday induction on the Coral Gables campus capped off a “perfect” week for the Miami Hurricanes senior right-handed pitcher. Two days earlier, he tossed a perfect game in Miami’s 17-0 win over Villanova, becoming only the second pitcher to accomplish the feat in program history and only the 23rd in modern NCAA Division I.
For Margot Winick, assistant vice president of media relations and multimedia, being tapped into Iron Arrow “is recognition of my dedication, love, and honor for alma mater.” Winick holds both undergraduate and master’s degrees from the University and teaches at the School of Communication, but she was a ’Cane long before she stepped into a UM classroom. “My family left Brooklyn when my father [Bruce Winick] took a job as a professor at the School of Law in 1974, a few months shy of my fifth birthday. I grew up five miles south of the campus and would come here to play in the arcade and bowling alley when my dad had meetings or take computer camp in the summers.”
Winick was sitting in Starbucks across from the Richter Library last Thursday, preparing to meet with Student Government President Bhumi Patel, when she heard the steady beat of the Iron Arrow drum. “I had just gotten my skinny hazelnut latte and was sitting down with notes I had prepared when I heard the beating of the drums, which got closer and closer and closer,” Winick recalled. “The doors flung open and two students—Michael Piacentino and Raquel Zaldivar—with very stern looks on their faces locked eyes with me, and I knew they had come to tap me. It was quite a surprise.”
Gail Cole-Avent, assistant to the vice president for student affairs and university ombudsperson, was attending the annual UM Women’s Commission breakfast at the Student Activities Center when Iron Arrow members arrived to whisk her and student April Barnes away for induction.
“I saw the Iron Arrow members approaching April, and my first reaction was excitement for her,” said Cole-Avent. “I had no idea that I was going to be included as well. It was pure shock and disbelief. Then I felt a deep sense of humility. I thought about the students who felt strongly about the work that I do on their behalf and that they would want to include me in this honor. I shed some tears with the thought of that connection.”
Among some of the other tappees: Joanne Harvest Koren, a lecturer and director of the Academic Achievement Program at the School of Law; Michelle Gonzalez Maldonado, associate professor of religious studies in the College of Arts and Sciences, whose research focuses on Latino/Latina, Latin American, and feminist theologies; Patricia Cantwell, professor of clinical pediatrics, who specializes in trauma care, emergency medical services, and disaster medicine and participated in search-and-rescue efforts in New York shortly after the terrorist attacks; and Christian Garcia, executive director of UM’s Toppel Career Center, who was recently appointed to the board of directors of the National Association of Colleges and Employers, a Bethlehem, Pennsylvania-based nonprofit that connects college career services and recruiting professionals interested in the employment of the college educated.