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International Students Celebrate Thanksgiving with Global Flare

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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Reach Me Director and Actor Reach Out to Film and Theatre Students

By Barbara Gutierrez
UM News

Reach.Me

Actor Danny Aiello, left, and director John Herzfeld shared tricks of their trade with film and theatre students.

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (November 19, 2014)–On campus for the premiere of their newest movie, director John Herzfeld, a UM alumnus, and veteran actor Danny Aiello treated about 50 film and theatre students to a candid master class in the School of Communication’s Studio A, where they shared tricks of their trade and juicy stories on their film careers.

“My advice to first time directors is, ‘If you don’t know something, fake it,”’ Herzfeld told students Thursday afternoon, hours before Reach Me, which stars Aiello, Sylvester Stallone, and a host of other stars, premiered at the BankAtlantic Center Fieldhouse. “Eventually you will learn how to do it. Never let them see you sweat.”

Director of more than a dozen films, Herzfeld studied at UM where he roomed with Stallone. Even as a student, he said he knew all he wanted to do was make movies. Since then, he has collaborated with Aiello in four films, including 2 Days in the Valley, which he and Aiello recommended to the students as a primer for working in Los Angeles.

Assistant Professor Thomas Musca moderated the lively, casual discussion with Aiello and Herzfeld.

Aiello said that he “loved” working with Herzfeld because the producer allows actors a great deal of freedom. “You want your director to be a minimalist,” Aiello said. “A director should be someone who gives you direction, but never tells you how to do a line. It’s got to be your way of doing the line.”

A respected film and stage actor with close to 80 films under his belt, Aiello lauded Herzfeld for continuing to roll the camera even when a scene has concluded.

“Often you get the gold after the scene is finished,” he said.

More than 900 alumni and students attended the evening premier of Reach Me, which was moved to the Fieldhouse to accommodate the overflow crowd. The film is about a motivational book, which written by a mysterious man, quickly gains popularity, inspiring a group of people, including a journalist, his editor, a former inmate, a hip-hop mogul, an actor, and an undercover cop to re-evaluate their lives by confronting their fears.

The film also stars Kyra Sedgwick, Thomas Jane, Kevin Connolly, Nelly, Kelsey Grammer, Tom Berenger, Danny Trejo, and others.

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UM Honors Generations of Veterans During a Tribute to Our Troops

By Robert C. Jones Jr.
UM News

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (November 11, 2014) — He might not have known it 70 years ago, but Murray Birchansky helped shape world history, fighting as a then-private first class in the 386th Field Artillery Battalion to liberate Northern France.

Decades later, Chris Kuhn would also do his part to make the world safer, serving as a corpsman in the U.S. Navy during Operation Enduring Freedom, the American-led combat operation that is part of the War on Terror.

Birchansky and Kuhn, veterans of two very different wars separated by generations, came together as brothers of a common cause Tuesday when the University of Miami observed Veterans Day during a ceremony that both honored former and current servicemen and women and provided a platform for expressing what service to country means.

“It’s a source of strength and responsibility,” said Kuhn, now a UM student who is president of the University’s Veteran Students Organization. Even though he no longer wears the uniform, he added, he still has a mission to accomplish of ensuring the well-being of those who served.

During UM alumnus Darrin Roach’s 20 years in the U.S. Air Force, he traveled to almost 50 countries. He served on the National Security Council team, staffing the White House Situation Room and sometimes flying aboard Air Force One with President Clinton. The former lieutenant colonel, who now works in the University’s Information Technology department, said being a veteran has made him thankful for many things, chief among them, faith, family, the Air Force, and the University of Miami. Roach also noted the hundreds of veterans, “all with different stories to tell,” who now work at UM.

Every generation of UM President Donna E. Shalala’s family served in the military, and two of her uncles were killed in action during World War II. During UM’s Veterans Day Tribute, she praised alumnus and employee Kenneth B. “JR” Wiggins Jr., an active member of the Florida Army National Guard, who will be deploying next month on an overseas mission.

Karl L. Schultz, rear admiral of the U.S. Coast Guard and director of operations for the U.S. Southern Command, reminded those in attendance that soldiers lost on the battlefield and at sea should not be forgotten. “We must make sure their sacrifices were not in vain,” he said.

America is what it is today—a land of opportunity—because of the “sacrifices and efforts of veterans,” Schultz explained, going on to talk about some of the challenges veterans now face. He explained that nearly 7,000 servicemen and servicewomen have perished in the war on terror, leaving untold numbers of families grieving. Thousands more have returned to the U.S. with visible wounds and post-traumatic stress disorder. The U.S. has an obligation to “heal their wounds and care for their survivors,” said Schultz, who also called for more employment opportunities for vets.

Birchansky, who earned his undergraduate and master’s degrees at UM, was one of three veterans honored by the Consulate General of France in Miami for their War World II service. Birchansky, James R. Lynch, a technician 4th grade in the 108th Anti-Aircraft Artillery Battalion, and Fred L. Rosenkoff, a technical sergeant in the 305th Bombardment Group, all received the French Legion of Honor medal.

 

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Noted Journalist Speaks at UM about the Dangers Foreign Correspondents Face Abroad

In a gripping talk presented at UM’s Miller Center, international journalist Ilene Prusher explained that reporters are no longer only truth-seekers but also targets of extremist terrorist groups.

By Robert C. Jones Jr.
UM News

Ilene Prusher, left, is interviewed by School of Communication faculty members Tsitsi Wakhisi and Joseph Treaster during the Q&A portion of her talk. Prusher, who has worked for Time, The Christian Science Monitor, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and other notable publications, once worked with a group of UM students who participated in the University of Miami-Jerusalem Press Club reporting seminar in Israel in the summer of 2013.

Ilene Prusher, left, is interviewed by School of Communication faculty members Tsitsi Wakhisi and Joseph Treaster during the Q&A portion of her talk. Prusher, who has worked for Time, The Christian Science Monitor, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and other notable publications, once worked with a group of UM students who participated in the University of Miami-Jerusalem Press Club reporting seminar in Israel in the summer of 2013.

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (November 5, 2014) – Ilene Prusher got the disturbing news in an email from a close friend: Daniel Pearl, The Wall Street Journal correspondent taken hostage in Pakistan in early 2002 while investigating an alleged link between shoe bomber Richard Reid and al-Qaeda, had been decapitated by his abductors.

The news shook Prusher to her core. As a staff writer for the Christian Science Monitor, she had crossed paths with Pearl on a few occasions, staying at the same guesthouse in Islamabad while covering the war in Afghanistan. Read the full story

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Homecoming Pageantry and Pride Animate Campus

Floats, fireworks, food trucks, and a resounding football victory helped make Homecoming and Alumni Weekend 2014 a memorable occasion for thousands of alumni, students, faculty, and staff. Reaching a crescendo on Halloween night with a pyrotechnics display, boat-burning ceremony, and parade that featured Hurricanes football great and cancer survivor Jim Kelly as grand marshal, the weeklong slate of homecoming activities included a Hurricanes Help the Hometown day of service, blood drive, organized cheer, Homecoming king and queen competition, alma mater singing contest, concert, and more—all under the theme “Animate Your Story,” which colored Disney’s Pixar Animation with ’Cane spirit. It was Donna E. Shalala’s last Homecoming and Alumni Weekend as UM president. Earlier this year, she announced she is stepping down at the end of the 2014-15 academic year. The Homecoming Executive Committee composed of students organized the week of events. View the slideshow.

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