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Appointments

Rudy Fernandez Returns to His Roots

Recently named senior vice president for public affairs and communications and chief of staff to the president, Fernandez plans to take UM’s Division of University Communications “from good to great.”

UM News

Rudy Fernandez

Rudy Fernandez

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (May 25, 2017)Rudy Fernandez cut his teeth in politics and communications some 18 years ago while serving as the spokesperson and press secretary for iconic U.S. Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. It was at a time when two of the biggest stories in recent South Florida history—the Elián González case and the U.S. presidential election recount—dominated the headlines, putting him in a position to shape national headlines.

“The stakes were high,” recalls Fernandez, who was only a couple of years removed from his days as a Harvard undergraduate. “I was speaking for a congresswoman who was up for reelection every two years and managing her communications strategy. So it was fast-paced and sometimes frantic, but I learned a lot.”

With his mettle and savviness sharpened under Ros-Lehtinen, Fernandez would go on to serve as a special assistant to the president in the George W. Bush administration, eventually landing at the University of Miami in 2007 as vice president for government and community relations—a role in which he helped to secure more than $400 million in public funding for the University and led advocacy efforts that resulted in the passage of several landmark pieces of state legislation.

Now, the son of Cuban-born parents is taking his successful work managing external relations in government and expanding it to include other constituents important to UM. With his promotion last week as senior vice president for public affairs and communications, Fernandez has taken aim at elevating UM’s Division of University Communications “from good to great.”

“Over the next 24 months, I want to see our division become, in a way we can verify and quantify, the strongest communications team in the Southeastern United States,” says Fernandez, who will be working closely with Vice President for University Communications Jackie Menendez and will continue in his role as chief of staff to UM President Julio Frenk.

To take the division to the next level, digital content, multimedia storytelling, and learning through analytics will be an increased focus. “We will enhance our ability to tell the great human stories we see every day on our campus, in our hospitals and clinics, and in communities around the world where UM’s teaching and research is making an impact. Whether it’s talented faculty making groundbreaking discoveries or a student who excels in the classroom, in the community, or on the playing field, we will harness new media to share more and better stories of ‘Canes in the world,” says Fernandez, who holds an M.B.A. from UM’s School of Business Administration.

Saying the division needs to be one that is “results oriented,” Fernandez hopes to make greater use of social media and other tools “that weren’t available to communications teams 30 years ago but now help us to spread our content and measure which audiences we reach and how.”

“We can now see how many eyeballs are reading our stories and watching our videos,” he explains. “The news cycle over the last 25 years has changed significantly. You once had to wait for the paper to hit your front door to get the news. Now stories are updated moment to moment. We have to have a communications shop that has that orientation.”

The division Fernandez will lead includes media relations and communications and marketing, and produces print publications such as Miami magazine, as well as electronic publications including the Veritas employee newsletter, and the special online reports on climate change and the Zika virus.

His plan to ramp up the division includes much more than pushing out Tweets and producing more content. “We need to interact with our audience,” says Fernandez, who wrote for the Harvard Crimson as an undergraduate. “From the national media who want access to our experts to alumni who want to share stories of their impact in the world, our communication strategies need to invite people in. And we need to interact with our internal audiences as well. We want to make sure that students are heard and that our incredible schools and colleges help surface stories of our research and teaching in action.”

While pursuing new communications strategies and creating more nimble content across multiple platforms are key ingredients to his plan, Fernandez says the basics—“the blocking and tackling of communications”—still hold true. “Building trust, getting the facts right, producing top-notch content. That will never change,” says Fernandez. “The University of Miami’s story is a story of academic excellence and rising reputation; community connection and rich diversity; spirit and sports; and, as President Frenk says, resilience and renewal. It is a privilege to be charged with telling that story, and together we will do that better than ever before.”

 

 

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Sergio Gonzalez Headed to Brown

UM News

Sergio Gonzalez

Sergio Gonzalez

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (May 17, 2017)—Sergio Gonzalez, the senior vice president for university advancement and external affairs who led the University of Miami’s Momentum capital campaigns and the ‘U’ rebranding effort, has been named senior vice president for advancement at Brown University.

“After more than 15 years of superlative service to the University of Miami, Sergio will certainly be missed, but I am sure you will join me in congratulating him as he embarks on this next chapter of his outstanding career,” President Julio Frenk said in announcing Gonzalez’s new position, effective August 1.

“Over the years, Sergio has led all development, communications, community relations, and alumni relations activities at the University. His efforts in these areas contributed significantly to our progress as a top-tier institution.”

In addition to the Momentum capital campaigns, which raised more than $3 billion during former UM President Donna E. Shalala’s tenure, Gonzalez was responsible for implementing the “U” as UM’s university-wide visual brand, now considered a national model for university rebranding. He also created the University’s first comprehensive parents program, a widely recognized donor stewardship effort, and a highly successful admissions legacy program.

In a message to the advancement team, Gonzalez said his decision was bittersweet as he had the great privilege of leading University Advancement under two gifted presidents who provided compelling and far-reaching visions for the institution. “It is,” he wrote, “ a wonderful and exhilarating time to be at the U. However, often exciting and different opportunities come your way that you never expected. These require consideration and sometimes result in difficult—and life-changing—professional and personal decisions.”

At Brown, an Ivy league college founded in Providence, Rhode Island, in 1764, Gonzalez will oversee advancement areas across the University, including the Office of Development, Office of Alumni Relations, Corporate and Foundation Relations, the Office for International Advancement, the Brown Sports Foundation, the Brown Annual Fund and others. He will report directly to Brown President Christina Paxson and serve as a member of the President’s Cabinet.

Before joining UM, Gonzalez served as chief of staff for the Miami-Dade County executive mayor and as a senior executive in Miami-Dade County government. He also served as the executive director of the South Florida 1999 Super Bowl Host Committee and the first executive director of the Miami-Dade County Homeless Trust.

A self-described son of Miami, Gonzalez also has been deeply involved in the community, having filled a number of senior roles in key local private and public organizations, including the Dade County Homeless Trust, South Florida Super Bowl Host Committee, and Miami-Dade County Mayor’s Office.

He also served in key community institutions, including the Orange Bowl Committee, Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce, and the Arsht Performing Arts Center Trust, and nationally as a member of the boards of the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) and the National Council of La Raza.

Frenk said a comprehensive search for Gonzalez’s replacement will begin immediately, and will rely on input from faculty, staff, trustees, and other members of the UM community.

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Josh Brandfon Elected to NACA Board

UM News

Josh-Brandfon

Josh Brandfon

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (May 11, 2017)—Joshua R. Brandfon, director of Student Activities, Student Organizations, and Student Center Complex programs at the University of Miami, has been elected to the board of directors of the National Association for Campus Activities (NACA) by the organization’s members. Earlier this year, the national organization dedicated to promoting student learning through engagement in campus life, awarded Brandfon one of its top achievement awards, the NACA Legacy Award.

At UM, Brandfon has helped create a climate that promotes and encourages student involvement and engagement. He also helps oversee the implementation of major university events, including distinguished guest lectures and dignitary visits, and serves as the primary administrator responsible for the management of more than 750 student organization accounts.

Brandfon, who began his relationship with NACA as a member of the Northeast Region Showcase Selection Committee, was a 2006 recipient of a NACA Educational Foundation McCullough Graduate Student Scholarship. Since then, he’s won many NACA awards for his leadership and service: the Outstanding Service Award in 2007, the NACA South C. Shaw Smith Founders Award in 2010, the Outstanding Service Citation in 2012, and this year’s NACA Legacy Award.

Over the years, he has chaired both the South Regional Conference Program Committee and the National Convention Program Committee. More recently, he served on the NACA Research and Scholarship Group, the Strategic Plan Task Force, and the inaugural cohort for NACA LEAP (Leadership and Effectiveness in Association Practices).

“With over ten years of experience with NACA’s various positions, Josh’s extensive knowledge of our association will serve us well as we begin the execution of a new strategic plan,” said Toby Cummings, NACA’s executive director. “Josh is a favorite presenter at our conferences and has been published in Campus Activities Programming magazine. He will be a wonderful addition to the leadership team.”

Brandfon received his B.A. in politics and economics from Brandeis University and his M.A. in educational leadership from the University of Connecticut. He anticipates completing his doctor of education from the University of Miami in 2018.

Established in 1960, NACA is the recognized leader in higher education for providing members with knowledge, ideas, and resources to promote student learning through engagement in campus life. NACA offers a variety of events, educational institutes, publications and networking opportunities for colleges and universities across the country. The association’s programs focus on program planning, risk management, multicultural education, concert management, student and professional leadership development, student government and more. For more information visit www.naca.org.

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Faculty Senate Re-Elects Officers

Faculty Senate Officers

From left are Tomas Salerno, Linda L. Neider, and JoNel Newman

The Faculty Senate re-elected all three of its officers, Chair Tomas Salerno, Vice-Chair Linda L. Neider, and Second Vice-Chair JoNel Newman, to another one-year term for the 2017-2018 academic year at its April 26 election meeting.

Serving on the Senate since 2008, Salerno, chief emeritus of cardiothoracic surgery, vice chair of the Peer Review Committee of the University of Miami Hospital, and vice chair for the Department of Surgery, faculty mentoring and development, was re-elected chair for the fourth time.

First elected to the Faculty Senate in the late 1980s and re-elected in 2012, Neider was re-elected to her fourth term as first-vice chair. She is a professor in the School of Business Administration’s Department of Management and Department of Health Sector Management and Policy, director of the M.S. program specializing in leadership, and curriculum coordinator for the Human Capital in the Global M.B.A. Program for the Americas.

JoNel Newman, professor of clinical legal education in the School of Law and director of the Health Rights Clinic,was re-elected to her second term as second vice-chair. She has been a Senate member since 2011.

All of the newly elected Senate officers will begin serving their one-year terms on June 1.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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UM Names New Executive VP and COO

Nova Southeastern University’s Jacqueline A. Travisano will be UM’s Executive Vice President for Business and Finance and Chief Operating Officer.

UM News

TravisanoCORAL GABLES, Fla. (March 23, 2017) – Jacqueline A. Travisano, a business and financial expert in higher education currently at Nova Southeastern University, has been named executive vice president for business and finance and chief operating officer of the University of Miami.

At NSU, Travisano—whose career encompasses 26 years of service leadership at higher education and nonprofit organizations—oversees assets in excess of $1.3 billion and an annual operating budget of $625 million.

In her new position, Travisano will be responsible for all financial functions, including accounting, financial reporting, budgeting and planning; treasury services, (including investing endowment, pension assets and working capital, credit strategies and external financial relationships); information technology; supply chain; campus planning; and facilities design and construction at UM.

Travisano begins her new post on June 1.

Named one of South Florida Business Journal’s Influential Business Women of 2014, Travisano also will oversee campus and facilities management; emergency preparedness; parking; research administration; auxiliary operations, including on-campus retail; entertainment and dining facilities; and human resources.

“Jackie fills a critically important role at the University of Miami that is in direct response to the ambitious goals we’ve established as we move toward our centennial, which is less than a decade away. She will be an integral member of our leadership team who will have a positive impact on the future of our university,” said UM President Julio Frenk, adding that the University found the ideal candidate for the position “right in our own backyard.”

“Dr. Travisano has a strong track record as a successful agent of change,” said Richard D. Fain, chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean Cruises, who chairs UM’s Board of Trustees. “I am confident that she will be a strong and energetic leader at the U.”

“I am grateful and humbled by the opportunity to join the University of Miami, one of the top research universities in the country,” said Travisano. “This is such an exciting time for the University, and I look forward to celebrating many successes as a member of the ’Cane family.”

David Ertel, chief financial officer and chief strategy officer for health affairs at UM, will continue to serve as interim senior vice president and chief financial officer until Travisano assumes her duties.

Travisano has served as NSU’s executive vice president and chief operating officer since 2011, setting the overall direction, management, and effective administrative operations of the university in support of its mission, core values, and Vision 2020 initiative. NSU is a private not-for-profit university with more than 23,000 students and graduate programs in medicine, dentistry, optometry, pharmacy, law, nursing, education, and business.

Immediately prior to joining Nova, Travisano served as vice president for business affairs and chief financial officer at St. John’s University in Queens, New York.

In 2015, the 1,000 Plus Club for Cancer Research recognized her as Woman of the Year. That same year, she was named Student of the Year by the NSU Abraham S. Fischler College of Education, where she earned a doctorate in higher education leadership.

Three years ago, the National Diversity Council honored her with its Glass Ceiling Award, and in 2013 and 2014 the Boys and Girls Club of Broward County recognized her as one of Broward’s Top 100 Women. In 2012, the Florida Diversity Council honored her as one of the state’s most powerful and influential women.

Travisano’s charitable works include service on the Board of Directors for the ARC of Broward County and the Honorary Board of the Special Olympics of Broward County, and service on the Board of Directors for the March of Dimes of Broward County. Travisano is also an active member of the Royal Dames for Cancer Research. In 2014, she served as chair of the 45th Annual Royal Dames Tiara Ball, raising more than $400,000 for Nova’s Rumbaugh-Goodwin Institute for Cancer Research.

In addition to her doctorate in higher education leadership from NSU, Travisano is a certified public accountant and holds an M.B.A. from Chatham University and a B.S. in business administration from Robert Morris University.

She and her husband, Peter, live in Davie, Florida, and have four children and two grandchildren.

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