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Building on a Legacy

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    By Steve Pierre
    University Communications

    From left are Edith, Andrea, Amanda, and Jose Candlelaria.

    From left are Edith, Andrea, Amanda, and Jose Candelaria.

    As a child growing up in Guanajuato, Mexico, Edith Candelaria fell in love with architecture and the idea of pursuing it as a career. “A family friend of ours had a daughter studying architecture, and I remember watching in awe as she built models,” she recalled. Coming to Miami as a teenager, she followed her dreams and received her Bachelor of Architecture from UM in 1990.

    After gaining experience with architectural and engineering firms, Candelaria secured a position with UM Facilities, Design and Construction. Now in her 11th year, the project manager is helping to change the landscape of the University through the completion of various construction projects across the Coral Gables campus. Through her work, Candelaria is helping her daughters, Amanda and Andrea, build their student legacies at the University.

     Amanda Candlelaria  game day festivities as part of the Category 5 student group

    Amanda Candelaria revs up game-day festivities as part of the Category 5 student group

    Andrea, a junior studying ecosystems science and policy, and Amanda, who recently graduated with her baccalaureate and Master of Science degrees from the five-year biomedical engineering program, were able to attend UM through the employee tuition remission benefit.

    “Andrea is our green child and is very involved with the eco board, and Amanda is already working as an associate engineer at an endovascular medical solutions provider,” said Candelaria. “Both of our daughters showed interest in the sciences since they were very young. As a parent, you always want to encourage them to pursue their interests, and that’s exactly what we did.”

    As students, their involvement in academics and organizations at the U has spanned a variety of interests, including orientation, commuter student involvement, and homecoming.

    The Candelarias weren’t strangers to the U, nor to the tuition remission benefit, which covers eligible tuition costs for employees, their spouses, and eligible dependents.

    Edith’s mother-in-law, Aurora Candelaria, worked at UM for 32 years, enabling Edith’s husband and his brother to earn their UM degrees at little cost.

    “Since my husband and I were both alumni, we took the girls to football games, homecoming, everything,” said Candelaria. “We’ve always been a UM family and the girls have always wanted to attend as well. They were both very driven and great students, and they both worked very hard to live up to our legacy.”

    Andrea Candlelaria serves as a counselor for Great Start, a pre-orientation program for commuter students.

    Andrea Candelaria, far right, serves as a counselor for Great Start, a pre-orientation program for commuter students.

    Candelaria attributes her daughters’ success and experiences in pursuing their passions to the tuition benefit. “When I started in 2006, the girls were very young, so it was in the back of our minds, but as the years went by we hoped they would get accepted since it is very competitive,” she recalled. “A degree from UM opens doors—anywhere you travel, anywhere you go, people know the University of Miami. It’s been a blessing for my family.”

    To learn more about tuition benefits, visit


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