Briefly Noted

Pat Whitely to Receive Faculty Senate Award for Service

UM News

WhitelyCORAL GABLES, Fla. (December 9, 2016)—One of the nation’s longest-serving, most admired, and innovative student affairs leaders, Pat Whitely has always gone above and beyond the call of duty—so much so that the Student Government Executive Board established the Patricia A. Whitely Unsung Hero Award in 2012 to recognize unheralded change-makers in the UM community.

Now, it’s the Faculty Senate’s turn to honor UM’s vice president for student affairs. In a unanimous vote, the Senate selected Whitely as the 2017 recipient of one of its highest honors, the James W. McLamore Outstanding Service Award, which will be bestowed at the Faculty Senate Awards Ceremony on April 3, 2017.

Appointed to her current role by UM’s fourth president, Tad Foote exactly 20 years ago this very day, Whitely joined the UM staff as a residence coordinator in 1982 and has pursued new strategies to enhance student life and keep pace with the changing world ever since. As a young staff member, she helped plan the establishment of UM’s five residential colleges.

Over the decades and through many promotions, she helped the U enhance opportunities for student engagement, embrace advancing technology and social media, and complete major new facilities, including the Donna E. Shalala Student Center. She also has mentored countless students, faculty, and administrators, celebrating their triumphs, and lending a strong and compassionate shoulder in the most trying times.

In 1992, when Hurricane Andrew barreled toward South Florida with thousands of first-year students and their visiting parents attending orientation Whitely kept them safe and sheltered while getting the campus back up and running.

In 2014, when she took the helm of NASPA, (the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators), the world’s leading association for student affairs professionals, higher education was undergoing rapid changes. But drawing on her vast experience and boundless energy she kept NASPA relevant and results-oriented. Among her many accomplishments, she strengthened NASPA’s strategic support of student affairs professionals in the nation’s community colleges.

Over the years, she has received numerous other awards, many of them from UM students, as well as the NASPA Pillar of the Profession in 2009 and the NASPA Scott Goodnight Award for Outstanding Performance as a Vice President for Student Affairs in 2013—the highest award in her profession.

Early next year, the Senate will select the 2017 recipients for two other honors, the Outstanding Teaching Award and the Distinguished Faculty Scholar Award, which also will be presented next April.



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Behavioral Medicine Pioneers Honored for Contributions to the Field

By Alex Bassil
UM News


Stephen M. Weiss, and Marc D. Gellman

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (December 8, 2016)—Stephen M. Weiss, Ph.D., M.P.H., professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Miller School of Medicine, and Marc D. Gellman, Ph.D., research associate professor of psychology in the College of Arts and Sciences, were honored last week by the International Congress of Behavioral Medicine for their contributions to the interdisciplinary field that combines medicine and psychology.

Weiss, who is widely considered one of the founders of the field, received the ICBM’s Lifetime Achievement Award on December 7 at the ICBM’s 14th Congress in Melbourne, Australia. He has served as president of both the international society and the Society of Behavioral Medicine (USA).

“I’m not old enough for such an honor,” he joked when asked about the award, adding, “Well, perhaps approaching 80 means if you will ever receive such an honor from your colleagues, maybe sooner is better than later.”

Gellman, was honored with the Distinguished Career Contribution Award for his widely acknowledged contributions to the development of behavioral medicine, which is particularly relevant today, given that many illnesses, like diabetes and lung cancer, are often caused by behavior. He is editor-in-chief of the Encyclopedia of Behavioral Medicine and a former board member of both the USA and international societies.

In expressing his gratitude for the award, Gellman said, “It means so much to me to be acknowledged by my international colleagues. This award would not be possible without the exceptional contribution of so many members of the International Society of Behavioral Medicine.”

The international congress attracts global experts in behavioral medicine and related disciplines to foster research collaborations that contribute to the science and practice of behavioral medicine.


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Assistant Professor in Religious Studies Awarded Library of Congress Fellowship

By Deserae del Campo
Special to UM News

catherine-newellCatherine Newell, an assistant professor in the College of Arts and Science’s Department of Religious Studies, was recently awarded the David B. Larson Fellowship in Health and Spirituality at the John W. Kluge Center at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.

“Catherine’s fellowship is a testament to the relevance of interdisciplinary studies, and to the importance of her field of research for our students, our larger community, and our continued understanding of the complexity of our path to staying healthy or coping with illness,” said Maria Stampino, senior associate dean for academic affairs. “The college is proud that Catherine will represent us in our nation’s capital, in one of the foremost research centers.”

Starting in May 2017, Newell will have access to a rich collection of historical and current documents at the Library of Congress to research a project she has titled “Food Faiths: Health, Wellness, and the Science of Spiritual Eating.”

In her fellowship proposal, Newell’s explains how her research explores the way individuals “internalize scientific knowledge regarding health and diet, which they incorporate into their lives as a basis for personal spiritual practice.” Her research also explores the world of spiritual eating in which science is used to justify a diet and/or lifestyle by people who identify themselves not by a religion but by their diet—i.e., vegan, gluten-free.

“It’s an honor to receive this fellowship,” said Newell. “At the Library of Congress, I’ll have access to archival material, from historical letters to contemporary documentation, to help me conduct in-depth research for my book that I hope will contribute to the study of spirituality and health in modern times.”

During her seven month as a resident scholar at the Library of Congress, Newell will make a public presentation about her research and collaborate with other scholars conducting research at the library. The David B. Larson Fellowship endorses academic research on the relation of religion and spirituality to physical, mental, and social health.



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Survive Cancer? Join the Sylvester Singers Survivor Choir

The music therapy program at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center invites cancer survivors of all ages, abilities, and experience levels to join the Sylvester Singers Survivor Choir. Enjoy free lessons with no commitment and the physical and mental benefits of social singing. All styles of vocal music are welcome.

Rehearsals begin in January and will be held on Mondays from 2:30 to 4 p.m. in the Support Services Building, 1430 NW 11th Avenue, Miami. Parking fees will be covered. For more information, email SCCC music therapist Marlen Rodriguez-Wolfe, a graduate of the Frost School of Music, at marlenr@med.miami.edu.

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Aida Levitan Elected Chair of Amigos of the Cuban Heritage Collection

Aida Levitan

Aida Levitan

UM News

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (December 2, 2016) – Aida T. Levitan, a nationally recognized marketing communications leader and philanthropist, has been elected chair of the Amigos of the Cuban Heritage Collection (CHC) at the University of Miami Libraries. She is the first woman to take on the role since Elena Díaz-Versón Amos served as the organization’s founding co-chair from 1995 to 2000. During her two-year appointment as chair, Levitan, a UM alumna, will work to generate awareness of the CHC and its archival resources while collaborating with UM Libraries leadership and UM Advancement in fundraising efforts to develop programs related to the CHC’s mission.

The Amigos is a volunteer group founded in support of the CHC’s efforts to document and preserve the history of Cuba and the Cuban diaspora. In addition to Díaz-Versón Amos, former Amigos chairs include Aldo Leiva, Horacio Stuart Aguirre, Carlos P. Quintela, Ignacio Carrera-Jústiz, José F. Valdivia, Jr., and Henry King Stanford.

Levitan led the No. 1. U.S. Hispanic advertising and public relations agency and is now the president of ArtesMiami, Inc., dedicated to supporting and promoting Hispanic artists and cultural organizations. She is also president of The Levitan Group, Inc., a consulting firm that provides strategic branding services to international and local companies.

A recipient of numerous national and local awards, Levitan is vice chair of the Smithsonian Latino Center and serves on the boards of U.S. Century Bank and the Spanish Cultural Center. She is trustee emerita of the Pérez Art Museum Miami and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

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