e-Veritas Archive | October, 2014

Homecoming Pageantry and Pride Animate Campus

Floats, fireworks, food trucks, and a resounding football victory helped make Homecoming and Alumni Weekend 2014 a memorable occasion for thousands of alumni, students, faculty, and staff. Reaching a crescendo on Halloween night with a pyrotechnics display, boat-burning ceremony, and parade that featured Hurricanes football great and cancer survivor Jim Kelly as grand marshal, the weeklong slate of homecoming activities included a Hurricanes Help the Hometown day of service, blood drive, organized cheer, Homecoming king and queen competition, alma mater singing contest, concert, and more—all under the theme “Animate Your Story,” which colored Disney’s Pixar Animation with ’Cane spirit. It was Donna E. Shalala’s last Homecoming and Alumni Weekend as UM president. Earlier this year, she announced she is stepping down at the end of the 2014-15 academic year. The Homecoming Executive Committee composed of students organized the week of events. View the slideshow.

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New Iron Arrow Tappees Humbled and Honored

Thirty one students, faculty, staff and alumni were tapped into the University’s highest honor last week.

By Mike Piacentino
Special to UM News

David Birnbach is

Vice Provost David Birnbach is inked with the University’s colors, part of the Iron Arrow tapping ritual.

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (Oct. 31, 2014) – David Birnbach, vice provost for faculty affairs and director of the University of Miami-Jackson Memorial Hospital Center for Patient Safety, thought he was meeting with Provost Thomas J. Leblanc when the tribe interrupted the meeting.

“At first, as I heard the drum, I thought about who might be the recipient, and it never dawned on me that they were here for me,” said Birnbach. “When the door crashed open and I was flung into the whirlwind of activity, I was at first shocked, then thrilled, and ultimately humbled by the great honor.”

As vice provost, Birnbach oversees the promotion and tenure process, faculty mentoring programs, faculty diversity, and faculty development and recognition programs. Birnbach was recently named senior associate dean for Quality, Safety and Risk.

Thirty one students, faculty, staff, and alumni were tapped last Wednesday and Thursday into the University of Miami Iron Arrow Honor Society.

Iron Arrow was started in 1926, about a month after the University of Miami opened. It honors individuals who show a love of alma mater and embody the qualities of good character, leadership, scholarship, and humility. There are more than 2,900 members.

Christian Garcia, executive director of the Toppel Career Center, had the rare opportunity Thursday to tap his predecessor, Jim Smart, who is now executive director of Housing and Residential Life, into the “highest honor attained at the University of Miami.”

Iron Arrow members frequently use fake meetings or ask soon-to-be-tappees for a quick coffee break in order to secure a tapping time and location. So Smart had his “meeting” with Brenden Kollar, a former resident assistant who is working on the University’s new housing plan. But the meeting was soon interrupted by the familiar beating of the drum, and Garcia and Matt McCabe, a UM alumnus and former resident assistant in Hecht Residential College, pulled their mentor from his chair and presented him for the ritual tapping.

“Much of Toppel’s success is the direct result of Jim’s leadership and vision as director,” said Garcia, who was tapped in the spring 2014. “I jumped at the opportunity to recognize my mentor and predecessor for his passion and dedication to UM.”

Smart was a vocal advocate for the LGBTQ community at UM and served as the founding advisor for the University’s first student organization supporting LGBTQ students. Since then, Smart has continued to ensure that all University of Miami students feel at home during their time at UM.

“Jim is most deserving of this honor,” said Patricia A. Whitely, vice president for student affairs. “He is an outstanding and dedicated leader at the University of Miami and has served our students with distinction for more than 24 years.”

Shane McDermott, a UM senior and offensive lineman for the Hurricanes football team, was tapped into the tribe during a special tapping ceremony on Wednesday evening. In front of his coaches, trainers, teammates, and mother, McDermott was watching film when the tap of the arrow fell upon his chest.

The full Fall 2014 tappee list includes:

Daniel Atherton

David Birnbach

Patricia Byers

Nejla Calvo

Phillip Chan

David Coulter

Douglas “Doug” Crawford

Melissa Damas

Ryan Dauer

Juan Carlos del-Valle

Nicole Garcia

Barry Gelman

Michael Genden

Kysha Harriell

Hope Hua

Erin Kobetz

Ken Lee

Vinay Madhusoodanan

Michael Maguire

Ashley McBride

Shane McDermott

Angelica Melillo

Charles Mercer

Julie Piccione

David Rivero

Mitchell Roffer

James “Jim” Smart

Heather Stephens

Guerdiana Thelomar

Richard Thurer

Kristy Whyte


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Faculty and Staff Support the U: From Creativity to Business Skills, Associate Dean Helps Music Students Have It All

Steven Moore

Steven Moore

As associate dean of undergraduate studies at the Phillip and Patricia Frost School of Music, Steven Moore understands the importance of student scholarships. “Talented students should have an opportunity to attend the University of Miami regardless of their financial situation,” he says. “That’s why I support our students by giving to the Frost School and the University through United Way.”

At the Frost School, Moore seeks to develop well-rounded students who can create, communicate, and inspire others through music. “We also want to cultivate their entrepreneurial skills, providing opportunities for them to develop multiple streams of income. Today, a musician might have a performing job but also teach students,  arrange and record music, or focus on music production. Having a range of skills helps keep life interesting.”

Moore has built his own varied career in the music field. He learned the trumpet at an early age and became an award-winning conductor and teacher at the high school and collegiate levels. A strong believer in music literacy, he wrote Play It from the Heart: What You Learn from Music about Success in Life, a book published by the National Association for Music Education.

Moore enjoys conducting and recently led the Frost School’s string chamber orchestra in a concert celebrating Spanish composer Joaquín Rodrigo. Making music with others has been my life’s passion,” he says.

Moore came to the University in July 2013 with his wife, Kimberly Sena Moore, a music therapist with the Frost School, and their two children. Formerly chair of the Department of Music at the University of Central Missouri, he shares Dean Shelly Berg’s vision of building the very best and most relevant school of music in the country.

“We already have a world-class faculty and student body here,” he says, encouraging other faculty and staff to give back to the University and help continue its forward momentum.

“Helping to fund scholarships is just one of the ways to contribute,” he says. “Many people have a passion for the arts, medicine, or science, for example, and want to support those fields. But I would suggest making an unrestricted donation that can be put to good use wherever the need is the greatest.”

Read about other faculty and staff who support the U.

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Alumnus’ Gift to Launch Speaker Series on the First Amendment


James Hoffman

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (November 11, 2014)—James Hoffman, A.B. ’80, has made a $50,000 pledge that will create the James Hoffman Family Endowed Speaker Series in the School of Communication at the University of Miami. The gift will be used to fund an annual lecture on the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

“Our founders knew how tyranny operated, and this knowledge offered them the insight to craft the First Amendment to the Constitution,” said Hoffman, a businessman in the Denver area. “This led to a set of rights that became the fabric of the new society. It is essential that students are forever mindful of these rights that guarantee our democracy.”

Hoffman, a longtime UM volunteer and past president of the UM Alumni Association’s Denver Alumni Club, and his wife, Joy, are pleased to present this gift to the School of Communication “with the hope of continuing free expression in all its forms.”

Professor Sam Terilli, chair of the Department of Journalism and Media Management, expressed his gratitude to Hoffman and his family for this commitment.

“The First Amendment and journalism are inextricably linked not just through the free press clause, but through all of the freedoms encompassed by the amendment,” Terilli said. “These freedoms are the subject of daily news coverage and public debate. This series will allow us to offer students, faculty, and the public a wonderful opportunity each year to look beneath the surface and understand the deeper issues.”


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Pride and Spirit Abound as UM Community Celebrates ’Canes Spirit Day

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (October 29, 2014) — Decked from head to toe in orange and green, scores of faculty, staff, and students strutted their UM pride Wednesday as the University of Miami’s Coral Gables, Miller School of Medicine, and Rosenstiel School campuses celebrated ’Canes Spirit Day. From a Spirit Day photo booth to a dunk tank competition, activities abounded during the fun-filled day, which was organized by the Department of Auxiliary Services, Logo Licensing. On the Gables campus, the Foote Green came alive with free giveaways, music, and food. But it was a friendly contest that gave participants the chance to dunk UM leaders in a tank of water that proved the most popular of the day’s activities. Graduate School Dean Brian Blake and Dean of Students Ricardo Hall were among those who got drenched for a good cause, as the proceeds to participate in the contest benefited the United Way of Miami-Dade. View the slideshow.


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