December 13 Faculty Senate Meeting Canceled

The Faculty Senate meeting scheduled for Wednesday, December 13 at 3:30 p.m. has been canceled. The next Faculty Senate meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, January 31, at 3:30 p.m. in the SLAB Seminar Room (adjacent to the Dean’s Office) on the Rosenstiel School campus on Virginia Key. For more information about the Senate, its representatives, and meeting information, visit https://fs.miami.edu.


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Business and Finance Honors Nearly 2,000 Years of Service

By Melissa Cabezas
UM News

Before the rise of the internet and personal computers, Walt Bechtel, Grant Basham, and Gerardo Ordaz began their careers at the U. They’ve seen a lot of changes and created many cherished memories. And while they may have started at the U in different places, they all agreed that they kept coming back each day because of the opportunity they were given to be part of something so important.

Not one of them expected to be here for 35 years, but all secretly hoped they would.

The three were among the 120 employees honored December 5 for their dedication and service to the U during the Division of Business and Finance Long Service Awards Ceremony. The annual celebration, hosted by Jacqueline Travisano, executive vice president for business and finance and chief operating officer, honors employees celebrating 10 or more years of service to the University.

“Today, we honor 120 people who have given almost 2,000 years of service to the University of Miami,” Travisano said. “As the newest member of Business and Finance, this is truly inspiring to me. It further validates my decision to join the University of Miami family.”

Travisano’s remarks resonated with Bechtel, as he recalled his first days at the U. “Once I arrived I felt really honored and privileged to be here,” the assistant vice president for information technology said. “In many ways I thought: how long can this run go? I hoped it would go a long time, and 35 years is a long time.”

In addition to their commitment and dedication, Long Service Award recipients are also applauded for their exhibition of ’Cane pride. “RSMAS is a great place to work,” says Basham, noting his open work space. His family, including three children who graduated from the University, are also season ticket holders for Hurricanes football.

“I am so proud and grateful for the opportunity to work at UM,” said Ordaz, who did not speak English when he joined UM. He attributes his career here to his first manager who provided him with an English-to-Spanish translation book. “I am very grateful for the opportunity he gave me.”

“The University is doing some really amazing things,” said Bechtel, who believes that the sense of community at UM is a perpetual pick-me-up. “I’ve had the privilege of leading so many people and learning so much from them.”

And while they didn’t all have the opportunity to answer the infamous “When-will-you-retire?” question, Ordaz’s answer seems to sum it up for all of them.

“The day my car doesn’t start or my hands start to shake, that will be the day I stop coming to work at UM,” he said.

View the photos from the Division of Business and Finance Long Service Awards Ceremony.

Is your department honoring its long standing members? Send your story to InsideUM@miami.edu.


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Major League Speakers to Share Their Magic

UM News

Alex Rodriguez, left, and Rony Abovitz will share their advice as UM’s fall 2017 commencement speakers.

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (December 1, 2017)—Two extraordinary men—one a gifted athlete and businessman who accomplished what many children dream about, the other a biomedical engineer, artist, and musician who is bringing dreams to life—will be the speakers at the University of Miami’s fall commencement ceremonies on Thursday, December 14, when more than 1,100 students cross the stage for their hard-earned degrees.

Alex Rodriguez, a 14-time Major League Baseball All-Star, will address more than 600 undergraduates at the 10 a.m. ceremony. Rony Abovitz, the founder, president, and chief executive officer of Magic Leap, Inc., will advise more than 500 graduate students at the 2 p.m. ceremony. Both have left indelible marks on UM and South Florida, where they nurtured many of their own dreams.

As a boy, A-Rod, as the New York Yankees’ power hitter and 2009 World Series champion is known, used to sneak into UM’s Mark Light Stadium to watch Miami Hurricanes baseball games. Today, the stadium is called Alex Rodriguez Park at Mark Light Field in recognition of the $3.9 million gift Rodriguez made to renovate the venue and fund an annual UM scholarship for members of the Boys and Girls Club of America. “For me,” Rodriguez said at the 2002 ceremony where the gift was announced, “this is my Yankee Stadium, my Candlestick Park, my Dodger Stadium.”

Though UM’s baseball program recruited Rodriguez in 1993, it had stiff competition— from the U’s own storied football program, which offered Rodriguez a scholarship to play quarterback, and from the Seattle Mariners, which selected him in the first round of that year’s MLB draft.. He was that good at both sports. But the Mariners won out, signing Rodriguez hours before he was to begin classes at UM and launching his legendary 22-year MLB career that ended in 2016 after a dozen years with the Yankees.

On his way to hitting an astounding 696 home runs, smashing more grand slams than anyone in history, joining the elite 3,000 hits club, and earning three American League Most Valuable Player Awards, Rodriguez was simultaneously laying the foundation for his successful investment firm, A-Rod Corp. It began with the purchase of a single duplex in 2003 and today employs more than 500 people.

An Emmy Award-winning sports commentator, Rodriguez is also actively engaged in a variety of philanthropic endeavors. Named a UM Honorary Alumnus in 2004, he received the University’s Edward T. Foote II Alumnus of Distinction Award in 2007, is a member of the UM Board of Trustees, and an avid supporter of the School of Business Administration, where he established the Graduate Entrepreneurship and Innovation Endowed Fund to support students in the Miami Executive M.B.A. for Artists and Athletes program and other M.B.A. students.

Had Rodriguez remained a student at UM, he might have crossed paths with Abovitz, who after moving from Ohio to South Florida in middle school, dreamed of walking on to UM’s baseball and footballs teams. He turned down several prestigious schools in the Northeast and Midwest to follow his beloved Hurricanes and earn his B.S. in mechanical engineering in 1994 and his M.S. in biomedical engineering in 1996.

The degrees have served him well. He twice earned recognition as a Technology Pioneer by the World Economic Forum for his biomedical advances, and he stands on the cusp of introducing one of the most highly anticipated new computing platforms.

The oldest child of an Air Force flight engineer, entrepreneur, and inventor and an accomplished painter and educator, Abovitz never saw a separation between technology and the creative arts. He always wanted to be an artist and a scientist, a musician and an engineer. “They were, and still are, one and the same for me,” he says.

That may explain how Abovitz, who was a cartoonist and columnist for The Miami Hurricane, a DJ for WVUM 90.5, and javelin thrower on the varsity track and field team, pivoted from pioneering surgeon-assisted robotics for orthopedic surgery to creating a computing platform that will allow computing “to spill from the computer” and swim before our eyes—transforming the internet of information into the internet of experiences.

All while playing guitar and bass in a virtual “wonky pop rock” band called Sparkydog and Friends.

“Our shared vision at Magic Leap contemplates a connected, creative, and collective world of human experience,” Abovitz says. “We should all imagine the positive future we want, and then go build it. If we can imagine it, it can happen.”

Faculty who wish to participate in the academic procession may RSVP to commencement@miami.edu with their name and which ceremony they wish to attend. Employees who wish to volunteer—and earn one administrative day off—still have time to sign up.

Both speeches and commencement ceremonies can be viewed live online by visiting UM’s Commencement coverage at miami.edu on Thursday, December 14, and clicking on the Livestream link.









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Looking for a Graduation Gift? Consider a Love Brick

Green love brickLooking for the perfect graduation gift? Why not congratulate your favorite graduate with a love brick on the Patti and Allan Herbert Wellness Center’s Love Bridge, and contribute to the well-being of future graduates?

A gift that lasts a lifetime and for generations, love bricks are a special way to recognize students who hold the University in their hearts as they embark on their careers. Proceeds from the purchase of this special gift fund CHAMP, a program that provides free fitness consultations for students.

To purchase a brick, fill out the online form. For more information, visit the Love Bridge website or contact Carmen Gilbert at 305-284-8512 or cburgess@miami.edu.



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Mindful Living

This Faculty and Staff Assistance Program (FSAP) seminar is offered monthly to explore the basic tenets of mindfulness, review the significance of mindful living, and guide participants through a mindfulness practice. Being mindful increases engagement with the present moment and allows for a clearer understanding of how thoughts and emotions impact our health and the quality of our lives. This month’s seminar will highlight helpful hints for enjoying holiday season without the traditional stress. This seminar will be facilitated by a UM FSAP consultant.

Miller School campus: Tuesday, December 12, 12-1 p.m., Don Soffer Clinical Research Center, room 692

Rosenstiel campus: Wednesday, December 13, 12-1 p.m., Library Media Room

Coral Gables campus: Thursday, December 14, 12-1 p.m., McKnight Building, room 201AB

FSAP Health and Wellness seminars are offered as part of the University of Miami’s Well ‘Canes Program. Register through ulearn.miami.edu. For help with ULearn registration, or to receive email announcements of upcoming seminars, please call the FSAP at 305-284-6604.




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