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Legendary ’Cane Receives Fond Farewell with Tropical Flair

By Meredith Camel
UM News

Norm Parsons showed his characteristic humility, grace, and warmth at his retirement party.

Norm Parsons showed his characteristic humility, grace, and warmth at his retirement party.

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (September 18, 2004)—Looking dapper in his tuxedo with ’Canes-themed bow tie and cummerbund, Norman C. Parsons, Jr. greeted each person who attended his retirement party on Wednesday, September 17, the same way he greeted people over the past 43 years—with a genuine smile and warm handshake, followed by “How are YOU,” his hands forming the U.

Transformed into a tropical paradise, the Patti and Allan Herbert Wellness Center’s second-floor basketball gymnasium held hundreds of ’Canes who gathered to honor the man they call “Mr. P.,” “Mr. Wellness,” or “Hey Norm!” The guest list was a veritable who’s who of UM history, including President Emeritus Edward “Tad” Foote II, former Provost Luis Glaser, and the man who first hired Parsons as intramural director—former Vice President for Student Affairs William “Bill” Butler.

Also in the crowd were Terry Williams Munz, B.B.A. ’77, recipient of the nation’s first female athletic scholarship, granted in 1973 by then-golf coach, Mr. P., as well as a tapestry of Iron Arrow jackets. Parsons, who initially refused to accept an Iron Arrow invitation until women were invited to join, later served as the honor society’s advisor from 1995 to 2009.

A steel drum band played in the background while faculty, staff, alumni, and friends enjoyed refreshments, reverie, and a five-hole putt-putt challenge. Just outside the pop-up oasis, guests who recorded a personal video tribute received a raffle ticket to win a Norm Parsons bobble-head doll—its hands positioned, of course, in a U. Several speakers shared reasons why Parsons is one of the most beloved Hurricanes of all time.

“Norm has been here longer than most of the buildings on campus,” said Sergio Gonzalez, senior vice president for University Advancement and External Affairs. “Norm, you’re a transformational leader, an icon to thousands of students. You’ve touched the lives of so many people that the world is a better place because of you.”

President Donna E. Shalala called Parsons an “extraordinary citizen of our community” and thanked him for keeping us healthy.

It was Parsons, in fact, who introduced the term wellness to the UM community in the late 1980s and made sure that everyone knew—and lived by—his motto: “You get an education at the University of Miami, but you get a life at the Herbert Wellness Center.”

Patti, B.B.A. ’57, and Allan Herbert, B.B.A. ’55, M.B.A. ’58, recounted how Parsons’ friendship and leadership garnered their support for the center that bears their name, as well as the Love Bridge at the center’s entrance, which is dedicated to those who fell in love at the U. The Herbert Wellness Center staff announced that the annual intramural golf tournament is henceforth named the “Norman C. Parsons, Jr. Intramural Golf Scramble.”

In his characteristic humility and grace, Parsons gave credit to his staff and many others for their dedication and teamwork over the years. He introduced new Executive Director of Wellness and Recreation Scott Levin and encouraged everyone to fill out their “Hey Scott” cards.

Parsons noted that the U also played an important role in finding his true love, wife Linda McDonald, M.Ed. ’78. She was a golf coach at Broward Community College while he was coaching the Lady ’Canes golf team, and they met on the competition circuit. As he teared up, Parsons told a Hawaiian shirt-clad Sebastian to deliver a bouquet of flowers to his “best golf partner.”

And to Bill Butler, he said, “Thank you for hiring me in 1972. You took a hell of a chance on me, and I hope it paid off.”

 

 

 

Posted in Events, HonorsComments (0)

SEEDS ‘You Choose’ Leadership Award Applications Due September 22

Applications for the SEEDS program (Scientists and Engineers Expanding Diversity and Success) “You Choose” Leadership Awards are due September 22. Targeting pre-tenure and tenured faculty, “You Choose” accepts applicants from individuals and groups. The activities are not pre-defined. Previously awarded projects include: mentoring programs, research collaborations, visits from prominent national experts, interdisciplinary seminars, and writing workshops. For more information, view the full application guidelines.

 

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UM Receives CASE Award for Superior Fundraising Program

UM News

Sergio M. Gonzalez

Sergio M. Gonzalez

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (August 27, 2014)—The University of Miami has received a 2014 CASE Educational Fundraising Award, an honor the Council for Advancement and Support of Education bestows on educational institutions with superior fundraising programs. In selecting UM for an Overall Performance Award in the private research institution category, judges analyzed three years of fundraising data and numerous indicators of a mature, well-balanced program, including the breadth and growth of UM’s base of support.

“CASE’s recognition is a testament to the dedication of many people—starting with our president, Donna E. Shalala, and her entire administrative team, and including our amazing staff, volunteers, members of the Board of Trustees, faculty and students, and, of course, our loyal donors,” said Sergio M. Gonzalez, senior vice president for University Advancement and External Affairs. “I am so grateful that our supporters know the value of investing in UM and believe in furthering its progress and impact. Together, we are building one of the world’s greatest research institutions.”

UM, which launched Momentum2: The Breakthrough Campaign for the University of Miami in 2008, has raised $1.3 billion of its $1.6 billion goal from more than 140,000 individuals.

An international association of more than 3,600 educational institutions, CASE serves nearly 74,000 advancement professionals in 82 countries.

 

 

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The U’s Historic ‘Front Door’ Wins Three Preservation Awards

UM News

1300 Campo Sano now houses

Once the center of campus, 1300 Campo Sano now houses the Departments of Geography and Regional Studies, International Studies, and Political Science.

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (August 21, 2014)—Once boarded up and riddled with leaks, mold, rot, and termite damage, the wooden building that served as the University’s first registration and administration center has won three major preservation awards that honor UM’s restoration of the structure’s 1947 appearance while modernizing it for 21st century use.

Known by its 1300 Campo Sano address, the two-story building long occupied by the College of Arts and Sciences has received the American Institute of Architects Florida/Caribbean Chapter’s Honor Award of Excellence for Historic Preservation, the Florida Trust for Historic Preservation’s Outstanding Achievement Award for Restoration/Rehabilitation, and the Dade Heritage Trust’s Outstanding Restoration of a Historic Site Award.

“The building was the front door of campus, the beginning of the beginning of the modern university its founders dreamed it would be,” said noted historian and preservationist Arva Parks McCabe, a senior member of the UM Board of Trustees who wrote a book about Coral Gables and UM founder George Merrick.

Like the University’s own history, the destiny of the building that was home to the Department of Art and Art History for half a century was inextricably tied to the end of World War II, when millions of veterans seized the opportunity to attend college on the 1944 Servicemen’s Adjustment Act, or GI Bill. Almost overnight, the enrollment at UM, which was still in a temporary location on LeJeune Road to the north, nearly tripled to 5,800.

“It was an optimistic time in history,” Parks McCabe said. “We had won the war and all the GIs came back, and that is why the University of Miami became what it is.”

The heady times, though, created a quandary for UM’s first president, Bowman Ashe: How would UM accommodate the students who would flood the permanent campus?

Enter the U.S. Army, which donated the temporary wooden structures it had quickly erected for the war to universities. When the surplus buildings arrived on the UM campus by rail and in pieces, Ashe turned to South Florida architects Robert Law Weed and Marion Manley—the first woman architect in Miami and a pioneer in her field—to redesign them for the “avant-garde, international-style” they envisioned for Merrick’s “great university for a great city.”

“They integrated modernist elements: repeated large windows, a wide breezeway joining the building, and a very graphic design,” said Janet Gavarrete, associate vice president for campus planning.

The Office of the President, director of admission, and dean of the Graduate School would settle into the breezy, new space at 1300 Campo Sano, and every student would pass through it. By the late 1950s, administrators had moved on, and the art department moved in, turning the building into a hub of creativity for student artists—until 2000, when the aging structure was closed for safety.

About a decade later, the City of Coral Gables cited 1300 Campo Sano for historic preservation, and the University hired alumnus R.J. Heisenbottle, B.Arch. ’84, one of Miami’s best-known preservation architects—to preserve the building’s architecture but bring it up to modern codes and standards. It was a mammoth undertaking.

Extensive roof leaks had destroyed all of the interior finishes, and mold covered most surfaces. Termite damage and wood rot had left the structure so fragile that it had to be supported by metal braces. The mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and life safety systems no longer worked.

The contracting team from Turnkey Construction installed new impact-resistant windows and doors that matched the original ones, utilized salvaged wood for the flooring, and stripped and reinstalled the original siding. They also integrated new air-conditioning technology to minimize ductwork and allow individual temperature control in each room.

The results are remarkable. Today, 1300 Campo Sano is a peaceful yet dynamic, light-filled oasis for the Departments of Geography and Regional Studies, International Studies, and Political Science—and the winner of three awards for historic preservation.

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Nick Shay Named Editor in Chief of International Research Journal

Nick Shay

Nick Shay

UM News

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (August 15, 2014)—Lynn K. “Nick” Shay, a longtime editorial board member of Dynamics of Atmospheres and Oceans, has been named editor in chief of the international journal for research related to the dynamical and physical processes governing atmospheres, oceans, and climate. A professor in the Division of Meteorology and Physical Oceanography at UM’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, Shay assumed the post in July.

A fellow of the American Meteorological Society, Shay was part of a NASA Group Achievement Award for his work with satellite altimetry during the Genesis and Rapid Intensity (GRIP) Program conducted in the fall of 2010.

His research interests include experimental and theoretical investigations of the ocean response and coupled air-sea interactions during hurricanes, airborne oceanographic profiling of upper ocean variability, coastal oceanographic process studies, and high frequency (HF) and satellite radar remote sensing to examine the linkages between surface signatures and upper ocean structure. The author of more than 90 peer-reviewed manuscripts and book chapters, he has chaired or served on 30 student committees.

Shay also has served on the editorial boards of a number of other journals, including the AMS Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanographic Technology and on various panels and committees, including the  board of directors of the Southeast Coastal Ocean Observing Regional Association; National Federation of Regional Association National HF Radar Steering Team; NSF and NOAA Hurricanes at Landfall; NOAA Hurricane Forecast Improvement Project Observing and Coupled Modeling Teams; Gulf of Mexico Coastal Ocean Observing System-Regional Association Observations Committee; and the NASA Hurricane Science Team.

Internationally, he has been the Oceanic Impacts and Air-Sea Interaction rapporteur for the World Meteorological Organization’s (WMO) International Workshop for Tropical Cyclones and a panel member of the WMO Landfall Processes and HFR Oceanography Workshops.

 

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