Holocaust Educator Honored by Florida Legislators

Miriam Klein Kassenoff is the director of the School of Education and Human Development’s Holocaust Teacher Institute.

UM News


Miriam Klein Kassenoff

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (February 14, 2018) – A Holocaust survivor and educator, Miriam Klein Kassenoff, director of the School of Education and Human Development’s Holocaust Teacher Institute, was honored by the Jewish Legislative Caucus of Florida for her outstanding work in the Jewish community.

Kassenoff, along with two other Floridians, received the recognition during a breakfast on February 13 in Tallahassee as part of the first Jewish American Heritage Week (February 12-16, 2018) established by Representative Emily Slosberg, of Delray Beach, and Senator Daphne Campbell, of Miami-Dade County.

“I am deeply honored that Representative Slosberg and Senator Campbell have chosen me for this very meaningful tribute,” said Kassenoff. “It has been a long journey for me coming from Nazi-occupied Europe as a young Jewish child fleeing, running, and hiding, clutching my parents’ hands, and finally reaching freedom in the United States of America.”

Kassenoff, who studied at Yad Vashem, the International Center for Holocaust Studies in Israel, is a graduate of the international Vladka Meed Teachers Program and leads the Holocaust Teacher Institute at UM.

Every summer the institute convenes teachers from Miami-Dade County Public Schools and provides them with a five-day intensive course on how to teach the lessons of the Holocaust so that the horrific event will not be forgotten.

In addition to serving as an adjunct lecturer at the School of Education and Human Development, Kassenoff serves as the public school system’s Education Specialist for Holocaust Education. She is a frequent speaker and presenter on Holocaust education at conferences and workshops nationwide and has co-authored, with Dr. Anita Meinbach, “Memories of the Night: Studies of the Holocaust,” “Studying the Holocaust through Film and Literature,” and The Grolier Teacher’s Study Guide on Holocaust Studies.”



Posted in Honors, NewsComments (0)

Best Workplace for Commuters

PrintFor the second year in a row, the University of Miami has been named among the Best Workplaces for Commuters for offering exceptional commuter benefits that meet criteria set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and National Center for Transit Research National Standard of Excellence.

Need ideas on how to take advantage of the wide range of options and discounts UM’s Department of Parking and Transportation offers to help faculty, staff, and students choose healthier, cheaper, greener and more pleasant ways than driving their own vehicles to and from campus? Here’s a few from employees who shared how they’ve helped make UM the Best Workplace for Commuters.

Miami-Dade Transit Discount

“For over ten years, I have used the Miami-Dade Transit Metrorail discount program to commute to the Coral Gables campus and currently to the medical campus. The program allows me to commute without stress, and I am able to read a book or listen to music undisturbed.”

Tracy L. Moore
Program Coordinator and Senior Administrative Assistant
Department of Pathology Residency and Fellowship Programs
Miller School Campus


“I cycle 17 miles round trip each day to the Coral Gable campus. I get to say ‘hello’ to people along my way and have even managed to convert some people into saying ‘hello’ back to me now! I find that I have more time and can plan my days better as I always know how long it takes me to get to work and back. I am sedentary at work most of the day and find biking as a great way to stay in shape, and I feel relaxed at the start and end of my shift.”

Caroline Shipman
Police Dispatcher
University of Miami Police Department
Coral Gables Campus

Commuter Benefit Combination

“Most mornings I walk to meet up with my carpool ride to the office. Other days, I’ll take Miami-Dade Transit to University Station and walk to the office from there. Walking in the morning provides exercise that I wouldn’t normally get when driving to campus, and public transportation relieves me of the stress that I have had in the past when driving to campus.”

Dena Chism
Events Coordinator
Department of Parking and Transportation
Coral Gables Campus

Lluvia Resendiz, mobility manager for Parking and Transportation, recognized the importance of commuter benefits for the greater UM community. “Our goal is to continue to help our students, faculty, and staff save time and money while contributing the University’s sustainability initiatives through progressive transit programming,” she said.


Posted in Honors, NewsComments (0)

Honoring the Best of the Best

UM News

Patricia Abril and David Graf

Patricia Abril and David Graf

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (February 9, 2018)—The Faculty Senate voted unanimously at its January meeting to bestow the 2018 Outstanding Teaching Award on Patricia Abril, a vice dean and professor of business law at the Miami Business School, and the Distinguished Faculty Scholar Award on historian and archeologist David F. Graf, a world authority on Rome’s ancient Arabian client-kingdom, Nabataea.

Both professors will receive their awards at the Faculty Senate Awards Ceremony on Monday, April 16, when Stuart A. Miller, chair emeritus and longtime member of the University of Miami Board of Trustees, also will be honored with the Senate’s James W. McLamore Outstanding Service Award. The Senate selected Miller for one of its highest honors in November.

Abril, vice dean of graduate business programs, will be recognized for her excellence and distinguished record of teaching. She joined the Business School faculty in 2004, after practicing law and working for the Univisión Network in a business capacity. Her popular courses, many of which she developed, include all aspects of business law, business ethics, and negotiation.  She is known among her students for her interactive classes and mentorship.

Her research interests include intellectual property and privacy law, and she has served on national committees shaping legislation on privacy.

A graduate of Harvard Law School, Abril has received numerous awards for excellence in teaching at the Business School, and a number of national awards for excellence in scholarship, research, and career achievement.

Graf, the director of the Joint Saudi-American Jurash Project and the Hellenistic Petra Project (Jordan) in the College of Arts and Sciences’ Department of Religious Studies, will be recognized for his outstanding scholarly achievements. He will present a short lecture on his research at the ceremony, which the University community is invited to attend.

A specialist in the Greco-Roman world in the Levant and Arabia, Graf just returned from a leave in Jerusalem, where, as the Seymour Gitin Distinguished Professor at the Albright Institute for Archaeological Research, he wrote a monograph on the history of the Nabataeans, an ancient people who claimed what is now Petra, Jordan, a UNESCO World Heritage site, as the capital of their kingdom.

A member of the Institute of Advanced Study in Princeton, Graf received his Ph.D. from the University of Michigan. A 2003 Fulbright Scholar in Saudi Arabia and an NEH fellow in Jordan (2014), he has excavated in Turkey, Israel, Jordan, and Egypt. He is the co-editor of the multi-volume Anchor Bible Dictionary (1992), author of Rome and Its Arabian Frontier from the Nabataeans to the Saracens (1997) and more than 130 scholarly articles.

The awards ceremony will be held at 5 p.m. on Monday, April 16, at the Newman Alumni Center.

Posted in Honors, NewsComments (0)

With Feathers and Beak, This Hat Speaks Engagement and Appreciation

By Michael R. Malone
UM News


From left are Campaign and Donor Relations team members Darlene E. Gonzalez, Emily Wilson, Barbara Gonzalez, Hildee Wilson, and Ivette Mancha, who found the hat on ebay.

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (January 30, 2018)—When Ivette Mancha, events director for University Advancement, spotted the vintage Hurricanes’ Ibis hat—big droopy eyes, protruding orange beak and all—on eBay, she knew right away her team would love the idea. Mancha and colleague Hildee Wilson had been tasked with advancing the Campaign and Donor Relations team’s “one action” to better recognize and appreciate team players, and the quirky feathered hat was a sure winner.

“We knew we’d have some fun with it—it was so ‘Cane spirited—and the hat was in great condition,” Mancha remembered. Five of the donor team’s members—including Mancha herself—have since donned the hat as proud winners of what has become the team’s Ibis Recognition Award.

The award stems back to the Gallup faculty and staff engagement survey conducted in 2016. President Julio Frenk announced a summary of those results in a University message on February 16, 2017. While the University engagement level was “higher-than-average” and employees gave a high favorability rating and reported a “sense of purpose, clarity around goals and expectations,” the survey encouraged that University workplace culture be further improved by expanding collaboration and learning, welcoming feedback, and building better connections.

Individuals and departments collectively were tasked to create one action based on the survey results.

Samantha Dietz, executive director of programs in the Office of Institutional Culture, helped facilitate the donor team’s retreat last spring. “We were trained as ‘engagement champions’ and asked to help the teams interpret their results from the survey,” explained Dietz, who helped the team identify the area that would best support a stronger Culture of Belonging. “The conversation focused on the process of growing and developing together—improving engagement—which contributes everything to team success and achievement.”

“As a team we scored well on the survey, yet because we’re always on the move, always planning the next event, we realized that one of the things we sometimes fail to do as much as we want is to recognize each other,” said Darlene Rebello-Rao, assistant vice president for Campaign and Donor Relations. “Our team is held to a high level of excellence, and that can get stressful. Yet we know that together we can get it done—and we don’t want to take that for granted.”

The Ibis Recognition Award didn’t cost a lot of money, and the team has enjoyed the opportunity to experience and appreciate each other in a new, fun way. It has served in a light-hearted way to promote shared culture and values, while advancing the team’s mission to support philanthropy at the University through stewardship, events, development communications, and campaign planning.

To date, Emily Wilson, Darlene Gonzalez, Barbara Gonzalez, and Mancha have all been recognized with the award. Another awardee will be named soon to wear the long-beaked peak performance hat.

Wilson, the inaugural Ibis Recognition winner, suggested it would add to the fun to document the Ibis’ activities as it travels desk to desk. So the team began filling a photo album—Ibis with the turn-over chain, bundled up on a chilly day, sipping a macchiato, on holiday, on game day—wherever the “champion” takes it.

What’s clear is that wherever the Ibis goes with someone on the Campaign and Donor Relations team, the hat helps to lift everyone’s wings just a bit and to encourage team appreciation and classic ’Cane spirit.



Posted in Features, Honors, InsideUMComments Off

Knight Foundation Champions Bring Art to Life

UM News

Frost School Dean Shelly Berg, at the piano, performed with outstanding Frost School students at the December 4 awards gala.

The University’s MusicReach program, Lowe Art Museum, and Flaming Classics film series are all beneficiaries of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation’s 2017 challenge grants and arts champions—thanks to Frost School Dean Shelly Berg, Miami-based artist Sebastian Spreng, and the manager of the Bill Cosford Cinema, Trae DeLellis.

Berg and Spreng are among the 25 arts and civic leaders the Knight Foundation honored as Knights Arts Champions this month for their vision, courage and tenacity in building Miami’s cultural community. As part of the recognition, each champion receives $10,000 to contribute to an artist or organization of their choice. Berg chose the Frost School’s Donna E. Shalala MusicReach Program, which pairs underprivileged school children and teens with music mentors, while Spreng chose the Lowe, which is planning to exhibit his Sebastian Spreng: The Dresden Files next year.

DeLellis and Flaming Classics co-creator Juan Barquin, a film critic and co-editor of Dim the House Lights, were awarded a $25,000 Knight Arts Challenge grant for their curated film series that pairs classic films from the queer canon with live performances from local drag artists. Under the requirements of the grant, they must find matching funds to continue building community, entertaining, and educating with their project.

The Knight Foundation established the Knight Arts Challenge Miami 10 years ago to enable Miamians to bring their artistic ideas to life. This year’s 43 winners, who hail from an array of backgrounds and disciplines across South Florida, will share a total of $2.5 million for projects aimed at making art general in Miami—allowing it to be seen, felt and heard throughout the city’s many neighborhoods.

DeLellis, who is a graduate student in the School of Communication, said he and Barquin are ecstatic that such a prestigious organization identified drag as a legitimate art form worthy of its investment.

“Over the last 10 years, the Knight Arts Challenge has palpably changed the cultural landscape of the city, and it’s an immense honor to now be a part of that narrative,” DeLellis said.

Berg, who performed with a combination of outstanding Frost School jazz students at the December 4 event where the awards were announced, called the Knight Foundation the true arts champion. “Over the last decade they have identified, nurtured and helped to sustain the viability of a great many deserving artists and arts organizations in Miami and elsewhere. During that time, the Frost School’s success has been substantially fueled by the generosity of the Knight Foundation,” he said.

A longtime admirer of Spreng’s, Jill Deupi, director of the Lowe, said she looks forward to featuring the Argentine-born visual artist and music journalist’s haunting mediations on the destruction of the iconic German city of Dresden during World War II next year.

“Created using cutting-edge digital technology, these evocative and captivating images bridge the present and past, and remind us of humanity’s power to both create and destroy,” she said.

And building bridges, Knight Foundation President Alberto Ibargüen said, is what the winners of the 10th anniversary Knight Arts Challenge are all about. “They embody what the arts do: they inspire and create common experiences that connect us to each other and to home, Miami,” he said.

View a full list of the winning ideas and the arts champions.

Posted in Honors, NewsComments Off

  • Features
  • Tags
  • Popular
  • Subscribe
  • Subscribe to the Veritas RSS Feed
    Get updates to all of the latest Veritas posts by clicking the logo at the right.

    You can also subscribe to specific categories by browsing to a particular section on our site and clicking the RSS icon below each section's header.

UM Facebook

UM Twitter