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UM’s Newest ’Canes Urged to ‘Tackle Big Problems’

By Robert C. Jones Jr.
UM News

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (December 18, 2014) – With final exams now over, the last research papers written, and master’s and doctoral theses already vigorously defended, graduates at the University of Miami’s 2014 fall commencement were issued a daunting challenge Thursday before their college degrees were even conferred: “Help us build and grow a society that is willing to tackle big problems,” Chuck Todd, political director of NBC News and the moderator of the network’s flagship Meet the Press Sunday morning public affairs program, told them.

“You’ve lived through two decades of political paralysis, so this is your challenge—lead us out of this mess,” said Todd.

A self-described political junkie who has earned a reputation as one of the most passionate journalists and sharpest analysts in American media, Todd told graduates that Gen Xers and Baby Boomers had failed them, noting the two wars, financial crisis, and rapid polarization they have witnessed in their lifetime.

“We have left a mess, a real leadership void,” he said. “The greatest strides we’ve made have been in the world of technology. Then again, what have we done with this technology? We didn’t cure cancer.” Social media, which was supposed to bring people closer together, he said, has been used “to help segregate us as a society. … These new social networks, while prolific, have become monolithic. And it’s really had a negative impact on society, especially on our politics. Somehow, despite the access we have to everyone around the world, we’ve allowed ourselves to become more isolated.”


Todd, who was named an Honorary Alumnus at the ceremony, urged UM’s newest ’Canes to realize how much the country needs “you to get us past this division and selfish behavior,” referring to the well-publicized rifts between Democrats and Republicans.

His sage advice to the students: love what you do for a living, always remember that the little things matter, find a way to say “yes,” take risks early in life, and never take family for granted.

A Miami native who turned down a music scholarship to attend UM because his mother wanted him to experience life outside his hometown, Todd reminded students that he still has passion and love for the U. He noted that some of his life’s most memorable moments occurred on the UM campus—from his first French horn solo at Gusman Concert Hall to his first Little League base hit at Mark Light Stadium.

UM, he said, is just as important to his upbringing as his education at George Washington University, where he attended college. “I always say when you go to the University of Miami, it looks like America in the 21st century,” he said.

Two honorary degrees were conferred at the ceremony. Husband and wife economists Alice Rivlin, a senior fellow in the Economic Studies Program at Brookings and the founding director of the Congressional Budget Office, and Sidney G. Winter, professor emeritus of management at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and one of the leading figures in the revival of evolutionary economics, both received honorary doctoral degrees of humane letters.

More than 1,000 undergraduate, graduate, and law students received their newly minted degrees at the ceremony, held at the BankUnited Center. Read profiles of some of UM’s stellar graduates, including the School of Communication’s Iris Barrios and Miami Law’s Vanessa Joseph and Brendan Corrigan.

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Santa’s Sporty Elves Help Kids Give an allCanes Christmas

By Annette Gallagher
UM News

Thirty-seven children were invited on a shopping spree at allCanes.

A record 37 children took part in the allCanes shopping spree.

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (December 15, 2014)—Santa and his elves had a little extra help from Sebastian the Ibis and the University of Miami family Monday night. UM athletics personnel, including Director of Athletics Blake James, men’s basketball head coach Jim Larrañaga, women’s tennis coach Paige Yaroshuk-Tews, men’s tennis coach Mario Rincon, and several UM cheerleaders teamed with coaches’ wives and UM family volunteers to help underprivileged children shop for holiday presents for their families at allCanes.

A record 37 children from the local Police Athletic League, the Boys & Girls Club, and the Bryan Pata Foundation were treated to pizza, crepes, cookies, and other goodies before Santa gave each of them an allCanes gift card loaded with $95.The amount was chosen, explained Edrick Pata of the Bryan Pata Foundation, to commemorate his brother Bryan, a slain UM football player who wore No. 95 during his UM career. Edrick, their mother Jeanette, and Bryan’s two sisters attended the shopping spree.

Former NBC 6 anchor and proud UM alumnus Tony Segreto, who participates in the event every year, emceed the evening. “My ties to UM will be forever, and [allCanes manager] Harry [Rothwell] is a dear friend, but it’s the cause, the looks on the kids’ faces, hearing who they want to shop for. It took a millisecond to say yes because it’s the right thing to do.”

Before the shopping started, Edrick Pata urged the kids to “excel in everything you do, academically, athletically, in whatever you do.”

A couple of the kids were able to shop with a genuine Miami Hurricane. DeMarcus Van Dyke, who played for the ’Canes through 2010, was in town and answered the allCanes call for volunteers. “We are family at Miami,” he said. “Anytime I’m needed, I’m there—whatever I can do to help the kids.”

Van Dyke said he was initially a little intimidated when he met Bryan Pata during his senior year of high school, but found him to be “the nicest guy in the world.”

Kelly James, wife of Blake James, joined other coaches’ wives, including Kelly Golden, Al Golden’s wife; Kenia Coley, offensive coordinator James Coley’s wife; Amber Carroll, wide receivers coordinator Brennan Carroll’s wife; Tawny Brown, linebackers coach Hurlie Brown’s wife; Shakeira Scott, tight ends coach Larry Brown’s wife; and Liz Larrañaga, Jim Larrañaga’s wife, in helping the children pick presents for their families.

“It was awesome!” said Liz Larrañaga, who took part in the special night for the first time. “The children are respectful and so appreciative and it’s nice to see them smile. It’s always a good thing when everyone is smiling!”

Harry Rothwell, manager of allCanes, said the evening marked the 14th year that allCanes has given back to the community in this way. “Once people volunteer at this event, they keep doing it. It makes you feel good, and who doesn’t love that?”

To fund the festivities, allCanes absorbs some costs directly, sells $5 donation stockings, and involves corporate partners. This year, UHealth, Milam’s Supermarkets, Flanigan’s, The Big Cheese, and The Crepe Maker all contributed to the evening’s success.

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Pooches Take the ‘Ruffness’ Out of Finals Week

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (December 9, 2014) – Solving differential equations, studying the applications of epistemology, and examining the principles of nuclear magnetic resonance and multidimensional spectroscopy can tax the brain circuits of even the brightest college kids. Fortunately, University of Miami students who have had their heads buried in the books for the past few days got a little relief last Tuesday from a few fury and friendly friends. During the popular Puppies on the Green event, adorable canines of all kinds fetched and frolicked with students, providing the perfect prescription to relieve the pressures and pain of final exams. UM’s Pre-Vet Society organized the K9 love-in, and One By One Dog Rescue, an organization dedicated to rehabilitating, training, and caring for mistreated and abandoned dogs, provided the pooches, all of which were up for adoption.

The pups weren’t the only de-stressors available to students. While some undergraduates and graduates found the solitude of the Richter Library to be the ideal study surroundings, others decided to do a little hanging out in the Palm Court area, relaxing in orange and green hammocks strung between trees while reading textbooks, writing final essays, or just catching a few winks. And on Friday, December 5, ’Canes Night Live, UM’s late-night programming board, held its final ’Canes After Dark of the fall semester—a Winter Wonderland-themed event featuring trucked-in, manmade snow on the Foote Green, hot cocoa, ornament making, and more. View the slideshow below.

 

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The Lure of the Caribbean: UM Alumnus Hermes Mallea Talks about the Elegance of the Caribbean Playgrounds of the Rich and Famous

By Peter E. Howard
UM News

Hermes-MalleaCORAL GABLES, Fla. (December 03, 2014) — Hermes Mallea spent nearly an hour showcasing the Caribbean playgrounds of the rich and famous with the pace of a speed-dating encounter that took you from Bermuda and Barbados to Jamaica and Antiqua and Cuba’s hedonistic heights.

He showed how architects spun a web of elegance and simplicity in their work through nonstop slides and photos of properties as varied as Palm Beach’s haughty Mar-a-Lago to Laurance Rockefeller’s fabled RockResorts in the U.S. Virgin Islands. There were the Victorian gingerbreads and those with European influence, and the breezy haciendas sans air conditioning or door locks. Read the full story

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International Students Celebrate Thanksgiving with Global Flair

Hailing from 20 countries from Angola to Venezuela, many of the 359 students in UM’s Intensive English Program celebrated Thanksgiving Friday by sampling turkey and other traditional Pilgrim fare while sharing the cuisines and cultures of their homelands. Allen Hall was transformed into a veritable United Nations for the annual extravaganza, with music and dances from around the world in the courtyard, and the aromas of lamb Machboos from Kuwait, zongzi (rice dumplings) from China, brigadeiro (chocolate truffles) from Brazil, and other tempting dishes wafting from the classrooms. Housed in the Division of Continuing & International Education, the Intensive English Program has been an integral part of the University  community for 63 years. The program immerses students in American culture while preparing them for academic success through quality English-language instruction.

 

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