By Sarah Block
Special to UM News
CORAL GABLES, Fla. (March 3, 2016) — University of Miami President Julio Frenk and his wife, Dr. Felicia Knaul, director of the Miami Institute for the Americas and professor in the Department of Public Health Sciences at the Miller School of Medicine, shared in a celebration of Cuban history and heritage at a special dinner welcoming them to South Florida’s Cuban-American community and raising support for the mission of the Cuban Heritage Collection (CHC).
“The more I learn about the Cuban Heritage Collection, the more inspired and excited I feel about its future,” President Frenk said in his address to more than 250 guests, including community and University leaders, longtime supporters, and new friends of the CHC, gathered at the Newman Alumni Center on March 1.
“An Evening with the Cuban Heritage Collection: Welcoming President Julio Frenk and Dr. Felicia Knaul” was hosted by the Amigos of the Cuban Heritage Collection, the fundraising arm of the CHC that supports a wide array of programming aimed at expanding and furthering access to the collection.
Located at the Roberto C. Goizueta Pavilion in the Otto G. Richter Library, the CHC houses the largest repository of historical materials on Cuba outside of the island.
“The Cuban Heritage Collection is more than documents, rare materials, and videos. It is the profound and personal testament of the people of Cuba,” said Amigos Chair Aldo Leiva, who co-chaired the event with Aida Levitan.
Frenk and Knaul visited the CHC soon after their arrival at the University in 2015, each taking part in tours of the archives. Knaul, as director of the Miami Institute for the Americas, said she looks forward to opportunities for scholarly collaboration with the CHC that will continue to “bring researchers from around the world to use this collection in its full depth.”
Proceeds from the event will support the CHC’s pursuit of “The Goizueta Challenge,” a fundraising opportunity that promises a $1 million unrestricted operating endowment from The Goizueta Foundation if the CHC raises $500,000 in donations. Dean and University Librarian Charles Eckman announced during the evening that the CHC had recently reached the halfway mark to the challenge.
“The support of many in this room will help sustain and expand programming such as oral history projects, exhibitions, events, digital collections, and new collection initiatives,” Eckman said.
Sponsors for the event included Mariita and George Feldenkreis; Fragomen, Del Rey, Bersen & Loewy, LLP; Leon Medical Centers; Morrison, Brown, Argiz & Farra, LLC; NBCUniversal Telemundo Enterprises; Ambassador Paul L. and Trudy Cejas; Century Homebuilders Group, LLC; FedEx Express, Latin America and Caribbean Division; Cuban American National Foundation; Enrique J. Sosa, Ph.D; Hogan Lovells, LLP; Iusfinder Abogados, Madrid; Knight Foundation; Professional Bank; The Bared Family Foundation, Inc.; U.S. Century Bank; Bacardi U.S.A., Incorporated; and Trias Flowers.