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Faculty Senates Honors the Best of the Best


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    From left are Pat Whietley, Gaetano Ciancio, and June Tuefel Dreyer

    From left are Pat Whitely, Gaetano Ciancio, and June Teufel Dreyer

    CORAL GABLES, Fla. (April 4, 2017)–When Tad Foote, the University of Miami’s  fourth president, appointed a “rookie” named Patricia A. Whitely to replace UM’s legendary vice president for student affairs in 1997, he was taking a chance. But 20 years later, with the long-retired William Butler sitting in the audience, the Faculty Senate reaffirmed the wisdom of Foote’s choice by awarding Whitely one of its highest honor, the James W. McLamore Award for Outstanding Service.

    “I was so grateful to have found my passion over 35 years ago, when I was a senior at St. John’s University in New York,’’ Whitely said in accepting the award last week at a ceremony in the Newman Alumni Center. “I am so fortunate to have had such amazing mentors who believed in me and gave me unique opportunities along the way.”

    But it was Whitley who was recognized for what she has given countless students and the broader University community during her tenure as one of the most admired and innovative student affairs leaders in the nation—selfless dedication in creating a culture of belonging for all, and compassionate, rational, and thoughtful leadership in times of crisis.

    “The reason we can all sleep calmly at night is because we know you have an ever-watchful eye on everything happening to our young students on campus,” UM President Julio Frenk told Whitely.

    Also honored at the ceremony were the Miller School of Medicine’s Gaetano Ciancio, a renowned transplant surgeon and urologic oncologist who received the Outstanding Teaching Award; and the College of Arts and Sciences’ June Teufel Dreyer, a professor of political science and one of the world’s foremost authorities on China, who received the Distinguished Faculty Scholar Award. Dreyer also presented a lecture titled “Whither China?”

    As Senate Chair Tomas A. Salerno and Richard Fain, chair of the UM Board of Trustees, noted, the Senate has a difficult time choosing just three honorees from UM’s wealth of talent, but these three stand out from an outstanding crowd.

    During her 35 years at UM, Whitely has made countless contributions to the lives of students, their parents, faculty, staff, and those she has mentored.  She has received awards and recognition from nearly every major student organization on campus. The Women’s Leadership Symposium was named after her in 2016, as was the Emergency Assistance Fund in 2011.

    She is the professional staff’s 24/7 first responder to a crisis and the person who reaches out with compassion and care to families and students whose lives have been touched by death, accidents, illness, disasters, and other unwanted challenges.

    The recipient of the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) prestigious Scott Goodnight Award for outstanding performance as a vice president for student affairs in 2013, she was elected chair of the NASPA Board of Directors the following year and continues to serve the association in various advisory capacities.

    And somehow she still finds the time to teach graduate courses in higher education as an adjunct faculty member in the School of Education and Human Development and leads the popular noncredit Senior Reflections Seminar each spring.

    A globally renowned physician and teacher, Ciancio has performed transplants and urology oncology surgery around the world and helped establish transplant programs in Latin America and the Caribbean, including in Haiti, where he performed that nation’s first kidney transplant.

    At the Miller School, where he is the Brandon and Kyle Simonsen Professor of Surgery and Urology, chief medical and academic officer of the Miami Transplant Institute, and director of kidney and kidney-pancreas transplantation, Ciancio has received multiple teaching awards in both urology and transplantation. A two-time recipient of the Attending of the Year Award of Excellence for his leadership in the Department of Urology, he received the Urology Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012 and the Charles Lynn Urology Teacher Award in 2015, and he was the first recipient of UMMG Faculty Heroes Recognition Award.

    Giselle Guerra, the medical director of transplant services who nominated Ciancio for the teaching award, said his passion for his work is “intoxicating” as is how he goes about fulfilling his major life goal: “to give life so they in turn live life.”

    “As the only transplant doctor dual certified here at the University, he pushed to expand the growth and opportunities for fellows across all specialties,” Guerra said. “However, his dedication in teaching doesn’t stop there.  There is never a single month where you don’t find one or several observers coming from other countries…to learn from his medical, surgical, and…his fine culinary skills.”

    Beyond his clinical efforts, Ciancio is the author and co-author of two books, 26 book chapters, and over 340 articles published in medical journals for topics involving the field of solid organ transplantation and urologic oncology.

    “You are a brilliant surgeon who has dedicated yourself tirelessly to the University of Miami, your patients, and the young physicians who will follow in your footsteps,” Frenk told Ciancio. “Thank you for providing the leadership and guidance that is helping to transform today’s medical students and residents into the leading clinicians and educators of tomorrow.”

    Educated at Wellesley College and Harvard University, Dreyer joined the University of Miami faculty in 1973, where she remains an active and original scholar of exceptional achievement. The author or editor of seven books and numerous scholarly articles, she is a sought-after speaker and consultant for government agencies in the United States and abroad. Appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, she has served on the U.S.-China Security Review Commission.

    Her book on Chinese politics, China’s Political System: Modernization and Tradition, is a veritable classic used in universities around the world, including in the People’s Republic of China. Its tenth edition is scheduled for publication by Routledge in 2018. Her new book, Middle Kingdom and Empire of the Rising Sun: Sino-Japanese Relations Past and Present (Oxford University Press, 2016) chronicles the complex history of Chinese-Japanese relations from ancient through contemporary times. A work of unusual breadth, distinctive learning, and judicious insight, it has earned stellar reviews and Dreyer the Japan Institute for National Fundamentals Annual Japan Study Award.

    Her election as vice president of the American Association of Chinese Studies further testifies to the esteem in which she is held by her colleagues.

    “You are a model of scholarship and learning, and your achievements represent the University’s highest aspirations for its research faculty,” Frenk told Dreyer.

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