In Memoriam

Family, Friends, and ‘Canes Celebrate the Life of Former First Lady ‘Bosey’ Foote

By Robert C. Jones Jr.
UM News

Bosey Foote Celebration of Life

At last Friday’s memorial service, members of the Foote family perform a musical tribute to Roberta “Bosey” Foote.

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (May 29, 2015) – When Roberta “Bosey” Fulbright Foote arrived at the University of Miami in 1981 with her husband, the school’s newly appointed president, Edward “Tad” Foote II, she knew instantly that something needed to be done to beautify the school’s Coral Gables campus.

Back then, Memorial Drive was what UM Board of Trustees member Charles E. “Chuck” Cobb described as a “sea of asphalt,” an expansive area for faculty parking that Bosey Foote wanted to replace with green space. But doing so wouldn’t be easy. Her husband knew that eliminating those parking spaces would quite probably upset some of the faculty. Yet Mrs. Foote persisted, and the asphalt eventually met its end, giving way to the lush plant life that was part of a campus beautification program spearheaded by the University’s first lady.

Last Friday, with the Coral Gables campus in full bloom, family, friends, and members of the University community paid tribute to the woman who made it her mission to turn the school’s grounds into a “campus in a tropical garden.”

“She wasn’t a horticulturalist, but she had an innate ability to know what worked and looked right,” Thaddeus Foote said at the Celebration of Life for his mother, who died of complications from cancer on May 5 at the age of 76. “Thirty-five years later, this campus sings with beauty.”

More than 150 people, including President Emeritus Foote, attended the memorial service, gathering under a tent on what is now fittingly called the Foote University Green to listen to and share stories about the Arkansas-born mother, grandmother, and wife who always believed in making spaces beautiful.

Noting that she volunteered at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, Thaddeus Foote, who took a teaching job at the Coral Gables-based garden, described his mother as “elegant, even while sweating with pruning shears on the side of Old Cutler Road. I can’t tell you how grateful a son I am,” he said, holding back tears. He held up a mango, noting that it was one of his mother’s favorite fruits, and he encouraged everyone to take with them one of the Captiva Island seashells from her collection, which was displayed on a table at the memorial service.

Another son, William Foote, said his mother was “altruistic” and “cared deeply about making the world a better place.” She supported efforts such the Miami Coalition for a Safe and Drug-Free Community, which her husband founded in 1988, and long ago, she became a volunteer for the Frontier Nursing Service, helping to deliver health care to residents in rural communities in the Appalachian Mountains.

It should have come as no surprise that she wanted to help others, William Foote noted. Born Roberta Waugh Fulbright, she was the daughter of the late U.S. Senator J. William Fulbright, the prominent American statesman who initiated the international exchange program for scholars known as the Fulbright scholarship.

Music performed by the two sons and other Foote family members moved many of those in attendance, including Lynden B. Miller, who first met Bosey Foote 67 years ago when the two girls were in the fifth grade in Washington, D.C. Miller called her longtime friend “the sister of my heart.”

“We shared everything,” even the belief in using plants to improve public spaces, said Miller. “We talked on the telephone for hours…We were in each others weddings…We finished each others sentences,” she recalled. In the early 1970s, when Bosey Foote moved to St. Louis, where her husband became dean of the law school at Washington University, the two friends didn’t see much of each other. “But there was always the telephone,” said Miller. “I only wish there was a phone I could call her on now.”




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Feminist Scholar and Liberal Arts Champion Passes Away

Shari (Benstock) Gabrielson Goodmann copy

Shari Gabrielson Goodmann. Photo by Fritz Senn.

Shari Gabrielson Goodmann, a longtime University of Miami faculty member and champion of liberal arts who was widely known for her feminist scholarship and literary biography as Shari Benstock, passed away on May 26 from complications related to early-onset dementia. She was 70.

A faculty member at the University of Miami from 1986 to 2006, Gabrielson Goodmann founded the program in Women’s and Gender Studies and served as chair of the English Department and associate dean for faculty affairs in the College of Arts and Sciences. Read the full story

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Bosey Foote, UM’s Former First Lady, Passes Away

UM News

Bosey and Tad Foote

Bosey Foote stands with her husband, Tad Foote, at the January 2010 ceremony where the University Green was renamed in President Foote’s honor.

In his inaugural address as president of the University of Miami, Edward “Tad” Foote II noted that he wanted to raise the profile of the University, both academically and aesthetically. And during his two decades in office, he often credited his wife, Bosey Foote, with helping in those accomplishments.

“Bosey’s contribution to the University has been tremendous,” Foote once said. “The most obvious example is the campus environment, but no one will ever truly know how important she has been to the University of Miami, except me. We’ve done this together.” Read the full story

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Memorial Mass for the Rev. Theodore Hesburgh, President Emeritus of Notre Dame University, at St. Augustine Church March 26

Fr_Ted_Hesburgh_of_Notre_Dame_Mass_Announcement (1)St. Augustine Church and Catholic Student Center will hold a memorial mass for the Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh, C.S.C., president emeritus of Notre Dame University, at 7 p.m. on Thursday, March 26. The University of Miami community and the public are invited to attend.

Hesburgh, who was president of Notre Dame from 1952 to 1987, a priest of the Congregation of Holy Cross, and one of the nation’s most influential figures in higher education, the Catholic Church, and national and international affairs, died on February 26 at Holy Cross House adjacent to the University. He was 97.

“With his leadership, charisma and vision, he turned a relatively small Catholic college known for football into one of the nation’s great institutions for higher learning,” said the Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., Notre Dame’s president. “In his historic service to the nation, the church and the world, he was a steadfast champion for human rights, the cause of peace and care for the poor.”

Read more about Father Hesburgh’s public service and contributions to education, social justice, national and international affairs, the church, and society at large.

St. Augustine Church is located at 1400 Miller Road, Coral Gables.


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Rod Wellens, Longtime Chair of Psychology, Passes Away

By Annette Gallagher
UM News

UM's Department of Psychology experienced tremendous growth during Rod Wellens' tenure as chair.

Rod Wellens

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (December 19, 2014) — Albert Rodney “Rod” Wellens, professor and longtime chair of the Department of Psychology who left an indelible mark on the University, the community, and the people he mentored, passed away at home and surrounded by his family on December 17 after an illness. He was 68.

Wellens, who joined the University in 1972, became a full professor in 1988 and chair of the psychology department in 1992—a post he held with distinction until 2013. Read the full story

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