MIAMI, Fla. (April 17, 2016) – Home runs, strikeouts, and stolen bases are usually the highlight of any Major League Baseball game. But on Saturday at Marlins Park in Little Havana, face painting, autograph sessions with players, and scholarship support for students stole the show, as another UM Family Night with the Miami Marlins showcased a multitude of festivities for employees, their family members, and guests.
Started 11 years ago to show the U’s appreciation for faculty and staff, Family Day is always a “hit” with employees, with pregame festivities at the ’Cane Zone on the West Plaza drawing hundreds of orange-clad ‘Canes. In addition to face painting and autograph sessions, employees and their families posed for photos with Sebastian the Ibis and Billy the Marlin and, at the InsideUM booth, received UM towels and foam U giveaways.
Prior to the Marlins’ 6-4 loss to Eastern Division rival Atlanta Braves, two UM employees—Steven Altschuler, the new senior vice president of health affairs at the University of Miami and chief executive officer of UHealth-University of Miami Health System, and alumnus Guillermo “Willy” Prado, the Leonard M. Miller Professor of Public Health Sciences and new dean of the Graduate School—threw out first pitches.
It was also a special day for former Marlins catcher, World Series champion, and Hurricanes baseball great Charles Johnson, who also took to the pitcher’s mound for a ceremonial first pitch and was honored when the first 5,000 fans through the gates received his bobblehead.
But it was UM students who were the biggest winners of the day, as the Miami Marlins Community Foundation awarded scholarships to three deserving ’Canes. Angel Albelo received a $7,500 scholarship to continue his studies in the School of Education and Human Development’s Sport Administration program, while School of Communication students Margot Woll and Erin Regan were awarded the $5,000 Suzanne Rayson Scholarship in Broadcast Journalism. Rayson, who served as the Marlins director of broadcasting from 2002 to 2008, passed away after a battle with cancer.
View the slideshow of the day’s activities.