e-Veritas Archive | January, 2016

President Frenk Charts the Course to the New Century

In an inspiring inaugural address, UM’s first Hispanic president charted a new course for the institution’s next century.

By Robert C. Jones Jr.
UM News

Inauguration3CORAL GABLES, Fla. (January 29, 2016) – Julio Frenk, the former Harvard dean who became the University of Miami’s sixth president last August, used his inaugural address on Friday to chart a new course for the institution, challenging it to achieve greatness in four defining areas and announcing a landmark gift—one of the largest in UM’s history—that will be the linchpin in the success of one of its ambitious goals.

Noting that a 100-day exercise of observation and listening during the first few months of his presidency showed him the University is “driven by a deep commitment to reach new heights,” Frenk said UM must aspire to be a hemispheric, excellent, relevant, and exemplary institution to fulfill its potential by the time it reaches its 100th birthday a decade from now.

“Miami has long served as a bridge between North and South America, and we can take even greater advantage of our strategic location,” the former minister of health of Mexico said during his investiture ceremony, witnessed by nearly 4,000 people inside the BankUnited Center, among them his predecessor, Donna E. Shalala, and his former boss, Harvard President Drew Gilpin Faust. “Our bridges must extend from the Old World embedded within the New World and beyond.”

To achieve its potential, explained Frenk, UM will implement a strategy based on broad partnerships and institutional consortia, using research collaborations, new approaches for sharing knowledge, and student exchange programs as the “raw materials” to build bridges between the institution and the Americas.

“We often call the latter ‘study abroad,’ ” said Frenk in his 22-minute address, “but we might better call it ‘study within,’ the opportunity to live inside another culture in ways that both enrich and transform.”

Wearing black academic regalia with an orange, green and white hood, and with the President’s Medallion draped around his neck, a confident Frenk stood at the podium and spoke of the diverse strengths of the University’s 11 schools and college, but noted that despite their differences, UM’s potential stems from the fact that “we are one U.”

He unveiled a “100 New Talents for 100 Years” initiative, which will fund 100 new endowed faculty chairs between now and the school’s centennial.

He also announced an extraordinary $100 million gift from longtime UM benefactors Phillip and Patricia Frost that served as one of the highpoints of Frenk’s speech. The gift, the details of which will be announced in the coming weeks, will support basic and applied science and engineering—fields in which “any university striving for excellence must have depth,” said Frenk.

The gift is also evidence of the Frosts’ exceptional generosity. Thirteen years ago, when UM embarked upon its first billion-dollar fundraising campaign, the couple (Phillip Frost is a member of the UM Board of Trustees) made an astounding pledge that named the music school in their honor.

Calling students the “most enduring legacy” and “energizing force” on UM’s campuses, Frenk said the University will develop a platform to exploit the current revolution in teaching and learning, and he addressed the issue that is often of utmost concern to them—the debt they incur from attending college.

“If education is to fulfill its crucial function of expanding opportunities, we must build a bridge between excellence and access,” he said, committing to increase financial aid at UM to meet 100 percent of student need.

Renee Reneau, a senior majoring in communications studies, was ecstatic to hear Frenk directly address students’ financial needs. “For me, it was the best part of his speech,” she said. “It’s refreshing to have a president who is focused on that. My brother is a freshman here, so I’m excited for him, and maybe someday when I have kids, it’ll be more affordable to go here.”

Hong-Uyen Hua, a medical student at the Miller School who earned her bachelor’s degree from UM, said she was “wowed” by Frenk’s remarks. “Being a beneficiary of scholarships here at UM eased my experience because I could feel free to pursue whatever I wanted,” she said. “If more students could have access, that would advance and enrich the University.”

With his wife, health economist Dr. Felicia Knaul, son, two daughters, two sisters, and a brother-in-law looking on, Frenk said he was committed  to advancing the University’s relevance.

“From its very origins, this University has been driven by the dual commitment to excellence and relevance, pursuing the highest academic standards while also serving the local and global communities to which it belongs,” said Frenk. “Today, more than ever before, we must build a sturdy bridge that connects scholarship to solutions.”

As part of its mission of fostering solutions, Frenk said, UM will soon launch an institution-wide effort to expand its expertise in sea level rise, lead the way in the new era of value-based, integrated health care, and help drive the development of an innovation hub that draws on the school’s strengths in the life sciences, nanotechnology, and computational science.

Frenk lauded the University’s storied athletics program, saying academics and success on the playing field “can go hand in hand,” and cited the adoption of recommendations from the Task Force on Black Students’ Concerns and a plan to develop gender-inclusive housing as examples of UM’s commitment to diversity.

But while embracing diversity in whatever form it takes can be an effective way of achieving exemplary status, Frenk cautioned that “diversity by numbers is not enough.” Creating a sense of belonging and promoting empathy are both crucial, he said.

“We need not only virtual connectivity but also real connectedness,” said Frenk, adding that UM will implement policies and practices to foster inclusiveness across its campuses.

He called the subject of diversity deeply personal, noting that his 92-year-old father, a physician in Mexico who still practices medicine, and his family were forced to leave Germany in the 1930s. “I would not be here today if they had not found a welcoming refuge in Mexico, a country that was poor economically but rich in the ways that matter most—tolerance, kindness to strangers, solidarity with those who suffer persecution.”

Frenk is proud to be UM’s first Hispanic president—“Me siento orgulloso de ser el primer rector hispano de esta Universidad,” he said in Spanish—but said he will serve as “everyone’s president.”

He said UM could be a beacon of resilience and a model of renewal. “With resilience and renewal, we can weather the winds of change buffeting higher education and the world at large, and emerge smarter and stronger,” said Frenk.

In additions to thousands of members of the UM community, delegates from 98 universities and learned societies,elected officials and civic and business leaders from across Miami-Dade County and Florida, and diplomatic representatives from 28 countries witnessed the historic occasion.

Student musicians from UM’s acclaimed Frost School of Music performed, and the presidential stage party included Board of Trustees Chairman Stuart A. Miller, academic deans, and UM officers and trustees.

Faust, the Harvard president, praised her former colleague, saying Frenk excelled as the dean of faculty of Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health. “He brought vision, eloquence, a thirst for excellence, and a passion for education,” she said, noting he comes to UM at an “immensely consequential moment for universities.”

“Never before has education been more vital to the prospects of individuals,” she said, adding that institutions of higher education now face a “dizzying array of challenges” such as how they should teach and create fully inclusive environments.

Frenk, she said, always knew “deep in his soul why universities matter.”

The inauguration created a buzz across campus, akin to the kind of excitement that envelopes our nation’s capital during a U.S. presidential investiture, and the University basked in the moment, celebrating the installation of its sixth president with a weeklong slate of events—from a ceremony honoring women’s athletics, to a discussion of historic “firsts” in the institution’s history, to a TED Talks-style series of lectures called ’Cane Talks.

And Greater Miami—the multiethnic, multiracial community Frenk has grown to embrace—shared in the exhilaration of his inauguration, as buildings, billboards, and transportation hubs heralded his investiture in one form or another.

From the iconic Freedom Tower in downtown Miami to the historic Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables, some of the area’s most recognizable structures were illuminated in orange and green, the signature colors of the U. Port Miami and Miami International Airport both rolled out signage congratulating UM’s first Hispanic president, the former illuminating its cruise terminal in UM colors.

Even Uber joined the celebration, displaying a message applauding Frenk’s historic moment when passengers in Coral Gables opened the company’s app.

After delivering his inaugural address, Frenk and his family headed to the Student Center Complex Lakeside Patio, where a community reception was held.



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Early Registration for 2016 Corporate Run/Walk Ends March 2; T-Shirt Designs Due March 4


Grab your running shoes, boost your stamina, and manifest your UM spirit because the 2016 Mercedes Benz Corporate Run is coming on Thursday, April 28 and faculty and staff who register by Wednesday, March 2 will receive $15 off the registration fee, 300 Well ’Canes points, and a chance to win a fitbit or have their registration fee waived.

 One of the nation’s largest 5K (3.1 miles) races, the corporate run/walk will takes place at Bayfront Park in downtown Miami. Last year, Team UM had its largest team ever–just over 1,450 participants–and the second largest team overall. Be sure to sign up for the city’s largest office party and get ready to experience a night of exercise, food, entertainment and prizes.


T Shirt Design Contest

TshirtContestShow off your design skills and enter the Corporate Run T Shirt Design Contest. Design the customized Team UM T shirt and watch our 2000 team members showcase your design on race day. Designs must include the phrases “Team UM” and “Corporate Run 2016” and also incorporate our theme of “U Got This.” The winning designer will receive a $100 gift certificate to the UM Bookstore and a framed shirt signed by President Frenk. The submission deadline is Friday, March 4. Send all submissions or any questions to teamum@miami.edu.


President’s Cup Office Challenge

The President’s Cup Office Challenge is a UM competition to see who can form the largest team. If you are interested in becoming a Team Leader, please email teamum@miami.edu. The winning team takes home the coveted President’s Cup trophy and the top fiveteam leaders each win a gift card.





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Students Document City’s Great Spaces

Merrick Elevation of Door

Students are documenting elements of the city of Coral Gables’s great spaces, including the front door of founder George Merrick’s house.

School of Architecture lecturers Steven Fett and Edgar Sarli have been awarded a City of Coral Gables Cultural Grant for the publication and traveling exhibition of  drawings and research of city’s architecture, titled “Drawing and Place.” Directed by Teofilo Victoria, Jorge Hernandez, and Adib Cure, the students enrolled in ARC 101, ARC 111, and ARC 121 have been, for the past four years, thoroughly documenting the great public spaces within the city of Coral Gables in the manner comparable to those included in the Manuale del Recupero del Comune di Roma.

The Rome drawings diligently analyze the nature and evolution of the constructive elements found in the traditional buildings of the city. Architectural elements such as walls, roofs, stairs, vaults, fixtures, and ornaments are rigorously documented and drawn, constituting a complete guide to be used in the work of maintenance and restoration of historic buildings. So too, UM students set out to record elements of the greatest public spaces in Coral Gables. Locations include the Granada Plaza, the loggia of the Biltmore Hotel, the Coral Gables Merrick House, the Books & Books courtyard, and City Hall’s covered loggia.

The documentation process has yielded scaled field sketches on graph paper, pencil on velum hand-drafted drawings, and computer generated ink on mylar prints. The exhibition is scheduled for Fall 2016.

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Tunnel Sheds Light On Oppression

Interactive exhibit raises awareness about issues surrounding racism, religion, climate change, human trafficking, and more.

By Robert C. Jones Jr.
UM News

Tunnel of Oppression 3[2]

Um President Julio Frenk and Dr. Felicia Knaul tour the Tunnel of Oppression with a group of students.

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (January 27, 2016) – A wall covered with photos of transgender women of color who have been murdered in the past year. A poster displaying a United Nations statistic that says as many as 4 million men, women, and children are sold into slavery each year. An illustration showing what sea level rise will do to buildings in Miami. And a black and white photo of human remains discovered at a Nazi concentration camp.

Those are among some of the disturbing images and facts on display inside the Tunnel of Oppression, an interactive exhibit on the third floor of the University of Miami’s Shalala Student Center that raises awareness about such issues as race, gender identification, human trafficking, and climate change.

Students, faculty, and staff who tour the exhibit are guided through a series of nine themed rooms designed to educate and challenge people to think more deeply about issues that impact society.

“We get so caught up in our campus bubble sometimes that we forget what’s happening in the real world,” said Saskia Groenewald, a student assistant at the Butler Center for Volunteer Service and Leadership Development and co-chair of the committee that organized this year’s Tunnel of Oppression. “That’s why we made the theme of this exhibit Headlines, to focus more attention on what’s happening today.”

UM President Julio Frenk, the son of German-Jewish immigrants who fled to Mexico to escape the persecution of Nazi Germany, and his wife, Dr. Felicia Knaul, whose father was a Holocaust survivor, toured the tunnel on Tuesday with a group of students.

Frenk called the exhibit a “powerful experience” and applauded the students who organized it, saying their efforts help raise awareness about harsh realities.

As many as 800 students will tour the exhibit, an official event of UM’s presidential inauguration week, during its three-day run, according to Vice President for Student Affairs Pat Whitely.

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Shark Hotspots and Commercial Fishing Overlap

Researchers who tracked movements of sharks and longline fishing vessels in North Atlantic found significant overlap driving shark declines.

Mako SharkMIAMI, Fla. (January 25, 2016)—A new study from an international team of scientists found commercial fishing vessels target shark hotspots, areas where sharks tend to congregate, in the North Atlantic. The researchers suggest that sharks are at risk of being overfished in these oceanic hotspots.

Neil Hammerschlag, research assistant professor at the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science and Abess Center for Ecosystem Science and Policy, was part of the scientific team that published its findings in the January 25 issue of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The authors report in the study that catch quotas for sharks by commercial fishers might be necessary to protect oceanic sharks.

“Our research clearly demonstrates the importance of satellite tagging data for conservation,” said Hammerschlag, director of the UM Shark Research and Conservation Program who conducted the satellite tagging and tracking of several shark species in the northwestern Atlantic for the study. “The findings both identify the problem as well as provide a path for protecting oceanic sharks.”

During a four-year period from 2005 to 2009, the researchers tracked more than 100 sharks equipped with satellite tags from six different species in the North Atlantic while concurrently tracking 186 Spanish and Portuguese GPS-equipped longline fishing vessels. They found that the fishing vessels and sharks occurred in ocean fronts characterized by warm water temperature and high productivity, including the Gulf Stream and the North Atlantic Current/Labrador Current Convergence Zone near Newfoundland.

“Many studies have tracked sharks, and many studies have tracked fishing vessels, but fine-scale tracking of sharks and fishing vessels together is lacking, even though this should better inform how shark fisheries should be regulated,” said David Sims of the Marine Biological Association, and the senior author of the study.

According to the researchers, about 80 percent of the range for two of the most heavily fished species tracked—the blue and mako sharks—overlapped with the fishing vessels’ range, with some individual sharks remaining near longlines for over 60 percent of the time they were tracked. Blue sharks were estimated to be vulnerable to potential capture 20 days per month, while the mako sharks’ potential risk was 12 days per month.

“Although we suspected overlap might be high, we had no idea it would be this high. Space-use overlap on this scale potentially increases shark susceptibility to fishing exploitation, which has unknown consequences for populations,” said Nuno Queiroz of the University of Porto, Portugal, the lead author of the study.

Tens of millions of ocean-dwelling sharks are caught by commercial fishing operations each year. The researchers suggest that a lack of data on where sharks are likely to encounter fishing vessels has hampered current shark conservation efforts.

The researchers propose that because current hotspots of shark activity are at particularly high risk of overfishing, the introduction of conservation measures, such as catch quotas or size limits, will be necessary to protect oceanic sharks that are commercially important to fleets worldwide at the present time.

In addition to Queiroz and Hammerschlag, co-authors of the study, titled “Ocean-wide tracking of pelagic sharks reveals extent of overlap with longline fishing hotspots,” include Nicolas E. Humphries, Gonzalo Mucientes, Fernando P. Lima, Kylie L. Scales, Peter I. Miller, Lara L. Sousa, Rui Seabra, and David W. Sims. Instituations contributing to the research were the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom, Universidade da Porto in Portugal, National Oceanography Centre Southampton, University of Southampton, Fundación CETMAR, University of Miami, Plymouth Marine Laboratory, University of California Santa Cruz, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade do Porto.

Hammerschlag’s work was supported by the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund, Batchelor Foundation, and West Coast Inland Navigation District in Florida. The research study was part of the European Tracking of Predators in the Atlantic (EUTOPIA) initiative.

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