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ACCelerating UM Creativity and Innovation

UM News

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (September 30, 2017)—With dozens of national championships in multiple sports, members of the Atlantic Coast Conference, including the University of Miami, are known for their athletic prowess. But like UM, ACC institutions are also leaders in creative exploration and research occurring at the nexus of science, engineering, arts, and design, a fact that the first “ACCelerate: ACC Smithsonian Creativity and Innovation Festival’’ will highlight this month.

ACCeerate-LogoTaking over all three floors of the west wing of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C., October 13-15, ACCelerate will showcase 15 dramatic and musical student performances and 47 interdisciplinary projects developed by the ACC’s 15 universities to address a host of global challenges.

Chosen by an ACC steering committee and through a peer-review process, the projects include three from UM: the Rehabilitative Lower-Limb Orthopedic Analysis Device (ReLOAD), which uses music to help amputees and others regain or correct their disrupted walking patterns; the Echo Earth Experience, an immersive game that employs virtual reality to enable players to simulate how different species use echolocation to survive; and Digital Mapping of Informal Settlements, which combines drone-based aerial photography and computational methods to document communities that are literally off the map.

For the performances, the Frost School of Music Jazz Band and Jazz Voice Department were selected to perform two tributes to Ella Fitzgerald, commemorating the legendary vocalist’s 100th birthday. Presented in partnership with the Ella Fitzgerald Foundation, the concerts also coincide with the Smithsonian’s recently opened Ella Fitzgerald Exhibit.

The Frost School’s Lab Top Ensemble, comprised of Contemporary Media students who create dynamic electronic music via laptops and other electronic controllers, also were invited to perform at a private reception for the festival.

“This unique event will be a wonderful opportunity for us to exhibit the skills and talents that make UM unique,” William Green, senior vice provost and dean of undergraduate education, said. “We are grateful to the Frost School of Music, the School of Architecture, the School of Communication, the Center for Computational Science, and the Department of Physical Therapy for their participation in this distinctive event.”

More than a year in the making, the first-of-its kind festival will precede the annual meeting of the ACC Academic Consortium, the academic arm of the ACC, from which the idea germinated. At his first ACC meeting as Virginia Tech’s new provost and executive vice president, Thanassis Rikakis proposed the festival, which is being presented by Virginia Tech’s Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology and the Smithsonian’s Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation.

“The ACCelerate festival is perfectly aligned with the ACC’s vision of being at the forefront in educational achievement and innovation,” said ACC Commissioner John Swofford. “I applaud this outstanding initiative that showcases the incredible work taking place at our 15 member institutions.”

Free and open to the public, the festival’s installations, performances, and talks center around six broad themes: Civic Engagement, Arts and Technology, Sustainability and Environment, Biomimetics, Health and Body, and Making and Advanced Manufacturing.

Part of the Health and Body section, the ReLOAD installation showcases the collaborative work of researchers, students, and clinicians in UM’s Departments of Physical Therapy, Music Engineering, Athletics, and the Miami VA Hospital. Together, they developed a patent-pending device that captures and analyzes the walking patterns of a people who are recovering from a lower-limb injury or amputation, and corrects their gait with bio-feedback and music.

Part of the Biomimetic section, the Echo Earth Experience will feature the virtual reality game that School of Communication students helped develop for Samsung Gear VR. Wearing the virtual reality goggles, players transform into a beluga whale and try their hand at navigating and foraging by using echolocation. Once they master listening to find food, players advance into the next level—avoiding threats.

Part of the Civic Engagement section, the Digital Mapping of Informal Settlements showcases the work of the School of Architecture and the Center for Computational Science, which teamed up to map Las Flores, a sprawling slum outside Barranquilla, Colombia, that was not on any map, or on the minds of community decision makers, and to document historic structures in Nassau, Bahamas using drone-based aerial photography and computational methods.

For more information, visit acceleratefestival.com.

 

 

 

 

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Recognition for Beautifying the City Beautiful

The Lennar Foundation Medical Center and University of Miami Hillel’s home at the Braman Miller Center for Jewish Student Life were among the outstanding commercial projects recognized by the Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce’s City Beautiful Awards.

The lobby of The Lennar Foundation medical Center brings the outside in.

The lobby of The Lennar Foundation Medical Center brings the outside in.

With its open, airy, light-filled lobby complete with soaring ibises, The Lennar Center was recognized for its outstanding interior, while UM Hillel, which underwent a major expansion to provide an inviting space for all students and the community to study, pray, eat, and spend time with friends, received the award for outstanding restoration.

The 200,000-square foot ambulatory care center, which opened on Ponce de Leon Boulevard last December, was made possible by a $50 million gift from the family of Leonard M. Miller, the namesake of the medical school.

The Braman Miller Center expansion on Stanford Drive was made possible through another generous gift from the Miller family and from another of Miami’s most philanthropic families, the Bramans, along with Hillel International.

The City Beautiful Awards, which celebrate the unique architecture and outstanding aesthetic found among Coral Gables’ businesses, “serve to strengthen our community through the recognition and celebration of our city’s top businesses,” Mayor Raul Valdes-Fauli said.

Also honored this year were 8/18 Fine Men’s Salons on Miracle Mile, for it outstanding visual merchandising, and Zucca Miami, the new restaurant in the Hotel St. Michel on Alcazar Avenue, for its interior dining space.

This year’s judges included Dona Spain, Coral Gables’ historic preservation officer; Ahmed Alvarez, principal at Zyscovich Architects; and Robert Chisolm, chairman of the board at R.E. Chisholm Architects, Inc.

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The U’s Green Achievements Earn a Silver STARS

UM News

CORAL GABLES, FLA. (July 20, 2017) –The University of Miami has earned a STARS silver rating in recognition of its sustainability achievements from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE).

The STARS (Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System) rating is a transparent, self-reporting framework for colleges and universities to measure their sustainability performance and encourage sustainability in all aspects of higher education.

UM’s rating comes as a result of the University’s dedication to engaging students, faculty and staff in various sustainability programs and policies, according to Teddy Lhoutellier, UM’s sustainability manager. The UM community’s collective efforts have led to improved energy conservation, waste diversion and public engagement.

“We can define sustainability in a pluralistic and inclusive way, encompassing human and ecological health, social justice, secure livelihoods, and a better world for all generations,” Lhoutellier said. ”STARS attempts to translate this broad view of sustainability to measurable objectives at the campus level. Thus, we are very proud to have achieved a silver rating. It will help us build our new Sustainability Action Plan for our next application in 2019.”

Among the University’s most significant achievements was the 2015 debut of the Patricia Louise Frost Music Studios, the first higher education building in the region to achieve LEED Platinum certification. With a 70 KW solar system, electro-chromatic windows and a rainwater harvesting system for irrigating the landscape and flushing the toilets, the Frost Studios serve as a benchmark and illustrate the University’s commitment to environmental responsibility in all areas of construction.

With more than 800 participants on six continents, AASHE’s STARS program is the most widely recognized framework in the world for publicly reporting comprehensive information related to a college or university’s sustainability performance. Participants report achievements in four overall areas: academics; engagement; operations; and planning and administration.

The University of Miami’s STARS report can be viewed on the STARS website.

 

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The President’s Medalist

UM News

Sergio Gonzalez, left, and UM President Julio Frenk

Sergio Gonzalez, left, and UM President Julio Frenk

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (July 14, 2017)—Joining an elite pantheon of leaders who transformed the U, Sergio Gonzalez, the outgoing senior vice president for University Advancement and External Affairs, was awarded the University of Miami President’s Medal at a ceremony held Thursday at Ibis House.

“Superior fundraiser, caring member of the UM and South Florida communities, and Hurricane for life: In recognition of your dedication and unselfish devotion to the University community and beyond, I am honored to present to you the University of Miami President’s Medal and our eternal gratitude,” Frenk told Gonzalez.

Established by former President Donna E. Shalala and embossed with the seal of the University, the medal honors individuals for their outstanding leadership, distinguished accomplishments in their fields of expertise, and contributions to society, which for Gonzalez are many.

During his nearly 16 years at the University, Gonzalez, who is heading to Brown University, spearheaded both of the University’s Momentum capital campaigns, raising more than $3 billion to carry out the vision he shared with Shalala and the Board of Trustees to transform UM into an elite teaching
 and research university.

He also led the implementation of the University’s renowned split-U athletics mark as the University-wide brand and created the University’s first comprehensive parents program.

And as Frenk noted, as chair of his Presidential Inauguration Steering Committee, Gonzalez “orchestrated a historic experience that engaged the entire University family in unprecedented ways.

“From celebratory events and exhibits, to innovative lectures like the ’Cane Talks series, to alumni partnerships and athletics games, the week was an incredible welcome for me and my family, as well as a compelling demonstration of teamwork and the University’s capacity for achievement at the highest level,” Frenk said.

A native son of Miami, Gonzalez’s good works extend far beyond the U and into the broader community, where he has long been active in civic engagement and community service. 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.

In 2009 the Aspen Institute selected him as a Henry Crown Fellow, and in 2010 the Ronald McDonald House Charities honored him as one of 12 Good Men of South Florida. He also filled senior roles for the Orange Bowl Committee, Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce, and the Arsht Performing Arts Center Trust. Nationally, he serves on the boards of the Council for Advancement and Support of Education and the National Council of La Raza, the largest Hispanic advocacy organization in the country.

At Brown, an Ivy league college founded in Providence, Rhode Island, in 1764, Gonzalez will oversee advancement areas across the institution, 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.

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Picking Florida’s Federal Judges

 UM News

Georgina Angones

Georgina Angones

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (July 14, 2017)—Florida’s two U.S. senators, Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio, have reappointed Miami Law’s Georgina A. Angones, assistant dean for law development and alumni relations, to the federal Judicial Nominating Commission for the Southern District of Florida.

University of Miami Trustee Manny Kadre, a businessman and lawyer who has served on the commission in the past, was also appointed to the commission, as its chair.

As JNC members, Angones and Kadre will help review applications, interview candidates, and recommend up to three nominees to fill each vacancy on the federal bench in the Southern District of Florida. Encompassing nine counties from Monroe to Indian River, the Southern District currently has four vacancies, which the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts considers emergencies because of the district’s heavy caseload.

“There is a shortage of judges so we’re going to be very busy,” said Angones, who earned her bachelor’s degree at UM in 1972 and has served in a number of capacities at the University since 1973.

That decision will ultimately rest with President Donald Trump, but Nelson and Rubio will have a say, too. Each of Florida’s three JNCs submit their recommendations to the senators, who can decide which names, if any, to forward to the White House for the president’s consideration.

Another UM alumnus, Lieutenant Governor Carlos Lopez-Cantera, B.B.A. ’96, has a major role in the judicial nominating process. In May, Rubio appointed him statewide chair of the commission, which in addition to the Southern District, oversees the nominating processes in Florida’s Middle and Northern federal court districts.

Angones, an active civic leader who is past chair of the Miami Coalition of Christians and Jews, has served on the boards of the Miami Dade Public Library, The Archdiocese of Miami Vision 2000, Miami Children’s Hospital Board of Trustees and the Junior League of Miami.

Kadre, the chief executive officer of MBB Auto Group, earned his law degree from Fordham Law School and was one of U.S. District Judge Federico Moreno’s earliest law clerks. A 1978 graduate of Miami Law, Moreno was president of the Student Bar Association during his time at UM.

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