Recognition for ‘White Sand Black Beach’


Greg Bush and Florida’s first lady, Ann Scott, at the Florida Book Awards ceremony.

Greg Bush, an associate professor of history, has won a prestigious silver Florida Book Award for non-fiction for his book about a pivotal struggle in Miami’s civil rights history, White Sand Black Beach: Civil Rights, Public Space and Miami’s Virginia Key.

Bush, who was honored with other winning authors from across the state in Tallahassee last month, said he never imagined his life would be consumed largely by “what I learned from our history as I became an advocate (and organizer) trying to preserve and enhance the public spaces along Miami’s waterfront.”

In White Sand Black Beach, Bush chronicles the unique story of Miami-Dade County’s “black” beach, the current state of Miami’s public waterfront, and the potential to stimulate civic engagement. As he notes, environmentalists, community leaders, and civil rights activists have come together recently to revitalize Virginia Key, which was begrudgingly designated as a beach for African-Americans in 1945 after activists protested Jim Crow-era laws that denied blacks access to the recreational waterfront.

The beach became a vitally important gathering spot for African-American families and represented a tangible victory in the continuing struggle for civil rights in public spaces. But, as white leaders responded to desegregation by decreasing attention to and funding for public spaces in general, the beach was largely ignored and eventually shut down.

Bush was one of more than 200 writers to compete for the awards, which recognize, honor, and celebrate the best books about Florida published in the previous year. The competition is coordinated by the Florida State University Libraries with assistance from across the state.

For more information on the full list of winners, visit the Florida Book Awards

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Arboretum Director Receives Inaugural Bosey Foote Award

Stephen D. Pearson, Director of UM’s Gifford Arboretum, Receives Inaugural ‘Bosey’ Foote Prize

Deserae E. del Campo
Special to UM News

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (April 21, 2017) – When Roberta “Bosey” Fulbright Foote came to the University of Miami in 1981, the institution’s Coral Gables campus could be described as a large swath of concrete and cement. But Foote, the spouse of UM’s fourth president, Edward T. “Tad” Foote II, changed all that, spearheading an effort to beautify the campus with palms, cycads, and other plant life and becoming an ardent supporter of UM’s John C. Gifford Arboretum, a collection of rare plants and trees maintained for educational and research purposes.

Though she passed away two years ago, her legacy lives on—in the leaves, blades of grass, and flowers that bloom on UM’s campus and in the name of a new award that honors her memory.

Last Friday, as part of the University’s Earth Day activities, Stephen D. Pearson, director of the Gifford Arboretum, accepted the inaugural Roberta “Bosey” Fulbright Foote Prize for Natural Campus Beautification at UM. “I am so happy to receive this honor,” said Pearson, a retired attorney and passionate plant lover who is now in his fifth year as director of the arboretum, which, he said, is rightfully “getting the recognition it deserves.”

Nestled behind the Knight Physics Building, the arboretum is a peaceful oasis that is home to a diverse collection of more than 450 trees and other plants—the perfect place to meditate, be one with nature, and disconnect from the constant campus buzz.

“It is a wonderful place with a collection of plants and trees perfect for research opportunities within the community and the University. It truly is a beautiful treasure,” Pearson said at the awards ceremony, held on the University Center Lakeside Patio prior to UM’s Hug the Lake event.

“For many years, Steve has been a dynamic and passionate advocate for the arboretum,” said UM President Julio Frenk, who presented Pearson with the award. “Congratulations, Steve, for this well-deserved honor, and thank you to the Foote family. We are very grateful for the legacy left by your parents and everything they did to build this great University.”

For more than two decades Pearson has been a member of the board of directors of the Montgomery Botanical Center. During his time as chairman of the City of Miami’s Beautification Committee in the 1990s, Pearson led volunteers in planting flowering and native trees along Interstate-95 and other highways. He was honored with the Outstanding Volunteer Award from the Florida Urban Forestry Council and the National Outstanding Volunteer Award from American Forests and the National Urban Forestry Council.

The Roberta “Bosey” Fulbright Foote Prize was established by her children at the 2016 memorial service for President Foote.


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Going Green, Earning Platinum

Special to UM News

Frost School of Music. HOK architectsCORAL GABLES, Fla. (April 19, 2017—The Frost School of Music at the University of Miami has received platinum LEED certification for the Patricia Louis Frost Music classroom/studios complex on the Coral Gables campus, making the buildings the first in Coral Gables to receive the highest level of LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Designcertification.

The buildings were designed to provide more than  770 Frost School music students and 125 faculty an upscale, state-of-the art space for teaching, learning, performing, and recording–but one that would use resources efficiently, and produce fewer greenhouse gases. The lighting, power and comfort systems alone are designed to save over 50 percent in energy. Other green features include:

    • Electrochromic windows control daylight and reduce glare and solar heat gain
    • Rooftop rainfall is captured in on‐site cisterns for graywater uses inside buildings.
    • Rooftop photovoltaic solar power.
    • Landscaping irrigation system was designed to reduce water use
    • Indoor fixtures and fittings
    • High usage of regional materials and recycled materials

“The Patricia Louise Frost Studios have transformed the life and culture of the Frost School of Music,” said Dean Shelly Berg. “The 80+ spaces are the best possible environment for music teaching, learning, and collaboration.  We are thrilled that this facility leads the way in sustainability.”

The 41,000‐square-foot facility project features two sleek buildings with a reception center and a furnished breezeway terrace. It adds a new grand entrance, highlighted by prominent structures, to act as a gateway and define the edge of the Frost School of Music campus. The buildings sport two extra‐large rehearsal halls plus 77 spacious chamber music and teaching studios. Designed with careful attention to acoustical requirements, each room is a “floating box” within a box; no two rooms share walls, floors or ceilings. This structural independence creates an acoustical isolation, allowing students to learn, practice, perform, and record without interference from other artists practicing in the next room.

Yann Weymouth, the project design director formerly with HOK Architects, said the architectural team used every strategy and cutting-edge tool at its disposal to maximize efficiency, minimize energy and optimize comfort. As he noted, spaces are filled with glare-free natural light to easily read musical scores, using electrochromic glass windows which dim automatically in direct sunlight to cut solar heat load—a first-use in the Southeast. Artificial lighting is from efficient LEDs, which only turn on when light falls below a preset level. The extremely efficient chilled-beam air-conditioning significantly economizes further electricity. The innovative exterior white precast titanium dioxide concrete skin resists mold and catalytically neutralizes outside airborne pollutants. Finally, modern rooftop photovoltaic panels harvest solar energy.

“We set out to help Frost School of Music create the very best possible teaching, practice and learning environment for students and faculty,” Weymouth said. “It was a marvelous experience to have been part of the project, and it is profoundly gratifying that the Patricia Louis Frost Studios received this recognition, setting a leading example of sustainable architecture.”

Coral Gables City Commissioner Vince Lago, a leader in sustainable practices in local government, thanked the Frost School  and the University for its leadership in recognizing the importance of environmentally friendly initiatives and for their ongoing commitment to partner with the city in bettering the community. “These new LEED Platinum buildings set the standard for new construction that teaches us—beyond the classrooms—how to create a more resilient Coral Gables,” Lago said.

In 2016, the Coral Gables City Commission passed a Green Building Ordinance to encourage sustainable and construction best practices, and next week, on Thursday April 27, the Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce will bestow its Green Means Green Award for a green building on the Frost School studios.


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Laurels for Unsung Heroes


Joanne Brown was stunned when Jennifer Rau, left, and Pat Whitely, right, named her the Division of Student Affairs Unsung Hero for the 2016-17 academic year.

By Mike Piacentino
Special to UM News

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (April 7, 2017)—When Joanne Brown received an invitation to attend the Division of Student Affairs Laurel Awards breakfast held on April 6, she thought that her Office of Financial Assistance was nominated for a departmental award. Instead, Brown was stunned to learn that she was named the division’s “Unsung Hero” for the 2016-17 academic year. The Unsung Hero award recognizes an individual outside of the division who makes a fundamental, yet often unrecognized, impact on the student experience.

“There are so many people in our office who work tirelessly to help students so the team being recognized would not have surprised me,” said Brown. “But I had absolutely no idea that I was nominated for individual recognition. It was a complete surprise, but a lovely surprise.”

Brown came to UM in 2005 and worked most closely with undergraduate student scholarships. For the past three years, she has served as the director of financial assistance, ensuring students receive their awards and being flexible when responding to various student needs. According to her nominator, University Ombudsperson and Assistant to the Vice President Jennifer Rau, Brown is always willing to help a student and their family, and she takes the time to make sure they understand all of their options.

“Her phone number was the first one I memorized at the U,” said Rau, who was also honored with a Laurel, The Patricia A. Whitley Student Affairs Enrichment Award. “I remember my first week on the job when Joanne called me back at 6 p.m. about a student — apologizing for the hour but wanting to make sure the student received the assistance they needed.”

Brown credits much of her and her team’s success to the solid partnership between the Office of Financial Assistance and the Division of Student Affairs

“From time to time my work with students spills over beyond just finances,” Brown said. “I had a student who suddenly had no adequate housing mid-semester. But helping the student find funds for campus housing is only good if that student could then get into campus housing. It was helpful to be able to pick up the phone and call a colleague in the Department of Housing and Residential Life to ensure that the student had a safe place to live.”

In its 19th year, the Laurel Awards is an annual celebration hosted by the Division of Student Affairs to recognize the outstanding efforts of the division’s staff, student employees, and campus partners. Awards recognize both outstanding individuals as well as departmental initiatives that make a transformative impact on the student experience. Criteria for the various awards emphasize employees who model UM’s DIRECCT values and deliver service excellence on a consistent basis. In addition to Brown and Rau, this year’s other Laurel Award winners were for:

Outstanding Job Performance
Leslie Leonard, Student Life
Frances Cabrisas, Student Center Complex

Exceptional Work with Students
Alexander Martin, Student Activities and Student Organizations
Christine Stroface, Housing and Residential Life

Outstanding New Student Affairs Employee
Van Bailey, LGBTQ Student Center
Whitney Plazter O’Regan, Dean of Students Office

Outstanding Job Performance (Students)
Sylvia Reyes, Graduate Student, Student Activities and Student Organizations
Peter Khoury, Undergraduate Student, Housing and Residential Life

Outstanding Collaborative Initiative
Theater in Action: Bystander Intervention

Outstanding Department Initiative
Tunnel of Oppression

“The Laurel Awards is a time to celebrate and reflect on the past year’s accomplishments,” said Michael Baumhardt, co-chair of the 2017 Laurel Awards and associate director of programs for Student Activities and Student Organizations. “Together with the planning committee, we were honored to recognize our accomplished and deserving staff.”

The Laurel Awards is also a time for the division to recognize departing staff and graduate students. This year’s awards recognized two departing senior administrators: Provost Thomas J. LeBlanc and Ricardo Hall, associate vice president and dean of students. Each received a replica “U” statue.

“Both Provost LeBlanc and Dean Hall have made a direct and positive impact on the student experience at the University of Miami,” said Patricia Whitely, vice president for student affairs. “I will miss their input and perspective on the multitude of decisions we make every day, and I wish them well on their future endeavors.”

Learn more about the Laurel Awards and view all the previous winners on the Laurel Awards website.


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Faculty Senates Honors the Best of the Best

From left are Pat Whietley, Gaetano Ciancio, and June Tuefel Dreyer

From left are Pat Whitely, Gaetano Ciancio, and June Teufel Dreyer

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (April 4, 2017)–When Tad Foote, the University of Miami’s  fourth president, appointed a “rookie” named Patricia A. Whitely to replace UM’s legendary vice president for student affairs in 1997, he was taking a chance. But 20 years later, with the long-retired William Butler sitting in the audience, the Faculty Senate reaffirmed the wisdom of Foote’s choice by awarding Whitely one of its highest honor, the James W. McLamore Award for Outstanding Service.

“I was so grateful to have found my passion over 35 years ago, when I was a senior at St. John’s University in New York,’’ Whitely said in accepting the award last week at a ceremony in the Newman Alumni Center. “I am so fortunate to have had such amazing mentors who believed in me and gave me unique opportunities along the way.”

But it was Whitley who was recognized for what she has given countless students and the broader University community during her tenure as one of the most admired and innovative student affairs leaders in the nation—selfless dedication in creating a culture of belonging for all, and compassionate, rational, and thoughtful leadership in times of crisis.

“The reason we can all sleep calmly at night is because we know you have an ever-watchful eye on everything happening to our young students on campus,” UM President Julio Frenk told Whitely.

Also honored at the ceremony were the Miller School of Medicine’s Gaetano Ciancio, a renowned transplant surgeon and urologic oncologist who received the Outstanding Teaching Award; and the College of Arts and Sciences’ June Teufel Dreyer, a professor of political science and one of the world’s foremost authorities on China, who received the Distinguished Faculty Scholar Award. Dreyer also presented a lecture titled “Whither China?”

As Senate Chair Tomas A. Salerno and Richard Fain, chair of the UM Board of Trustees, noted, the Senate has a difficult time choosing just three honorees from UM’s wealth of talent, but these three stand out from an outstanding crowd.

During her 35 years at UM, Whitely has made countless contributions to the lives of students, their parents, faculty, staff, and those she has mentored.  She has received awards and recognition from nearly every major student organization on campus. The Women’s Leadership Symposium was named after her in 2016, as was the Emergency Assistance Fund in 2011.

She is the professional staff’s 24/7 first responder to a crisis and the person who reaches out with compassion and care to families and students whose lives have been touched by death, accidents, illness, disasters, and other unwanted challenges.

The recipient of the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) prestigious Scott Goodnight Award for outstanding performance as a vice president for student affairs in 2013, she was elected chair of the NASPA Board of Directors the following year and continues to serve the association in various advisory capacities.

And somehow she still finds the time to teach graduate courses in higher education as an adjunct faculty member in the School of Education and Human Development and leads the popular noncredit Senior Reflections Seminar each spring.

A globally renowned physician and teacher, Ciancio has performed transplants and urology oncology surgery around the world and helped establish transplant programs in Latin America and the Caribbean, including in Haiti, where he performed that nation’s first kidney transplant.

At the Miller School, where he is the Brandon and Kyle Simonsen Professor of Surgery and Urology, chief medical and academic officer of the Miami Transplant Institute, and director of kidney and kidney-pancreas transplantation, Ciancio has received multiple teaching awards in both urology and transplantation. A two-time recipient of the Attending of the Year Award of Excellence for his leadership in the Department of Urology, he received the Urology Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012 and the Charles Lynn Urology Teacher Award in 2015, and he was the first recipient of UMMG Faculty Heroes Recognition Award.

Giselle Guerra, the medical director of transplant services who nominated Ciancio for the teaching award, said his passion for his work is “intoxicating” as is how he goes about fulfilling his major life goal: “to give life so they in turn live life.”

“As the only transplant doctor dual certified here at the University, he pushed to expand the growth and opportunities for fellows across all specialties,” Guerra said. “However, his dedication in teaching doesn’t stop there.  There is never a single month where you don’t find one or several observers coming from other countries…to learn from his medical, surgical, and…his fine culinary skills.”

Beyond his clinical efforts, Ciancio is the author and co-author of two books, 26 book chapters, and over 340 articles published in medical journals for topics involving the field of solid organ transplantation and urologic oncology.

“You are a brilliant surgeon who has dedicated yourself tirelessly to the University of Miami, your patients, and the young physicians who will follow in your footsteps,” Frenk told Ciancio. “Thank you for providing the leadership and guidance that is helping to transform today’s medical students and residents into the leading clinicians and educators of tomorrow.”

Educated at Wellesley College and Harvard University, Dreyer joined the University of Miami faculty in 1973, where she remains an active and original scholar of exceptional achievement. The author or editor of seven books and numerous scholarly articles, she is a sought-after speaker and consultant for government agencies in the United States and abroad. Appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, she has served on the U.S.-China Security Review Commission.

Her book on Chinese politics, China’s Political System: Modernization and Tradition, is a veritable classic used in universities around the world, including in the People’s Republic of China. Its tenth edition is scheduled for publication by Routledge in 2018. Her new book, Middle Kingdom and Empire of the Rising Sun: Sino-Japanese Relations Past and Present (Oxford University Press, 2016) chronicles the complex history of Chinese-Japanese relations from ancient through contemporary times. A work of unusual breadth, distinctive learning, and judicious insight, it has earned stellar reviews and Dreyer the Japan Institute for National Fundamentals Annual Japan Study Award.

Her election as vice president of the American Association of Chinese Studies further testifies to the esteem in which she is held by her colleagues.

“You are a model of scholarship and learning, and your achievements represent the University’s highest aspirations for its research faculty,” Frenk told Dreyer.

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