Tag Archive | "commencement"

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


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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Pick Up Regalia for Fall 2014 Commencement on December 16-17

The Fall 2014 Commencement Ceremony will be held in the BankUnited Center on Thursday, December 18, at 10 a.m. for all graduate and undergraduate degrees awarded from all schools and colleges, except medical degrees from the Miller School of Medicine.

Faculty can pick up their regalia at the Toppel Career Center during the distribution days on December 16 and 17. For more information, please contact the Toppel Career Center directly at 305-284-5451.

If you are attending as a dissertation advisor, please e-mail commencement@miami.edu and include your candidate(s) name. If you need further information regarding commencement, call 305-284-1821 or email Lexi Matiash at LMatiash@miami.edu.

Save the Dates for May 2015 Commencement
Thursday, May 7, 2015
Graduate Degree Ceremony

Friday, May 8, 2015
Undergraduate Degree Ceremonies

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Meet the Press’s Chuck Todd to Speak at Fall Commencement


Meet the Press’s Chuck Todd to Speak at Fall Commencement

UM News

Meet the Press - Season 67

A Miami native, Chuck Todd has been passionate about politics almost as long as he’s been a fan of the Miami Hurricanes.

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (November 22, 2014)—Chuck Todd, the political director of NBC News and the moderator and managing editor of the network’s flagship “Meet the Press” Sunday morning public affairs program—the longest-running broadcast in television history—will be the speaker at the University’s fall commencement ceremony at 10 a.m. on Thursday, December 18.

A self-described political junkie who has earned a reputation as one of the most passionate journalists and sharpest analysts in American media, Todd has held the role of political director since March 2007, leading all aspects of the news division’s political coverage and analysis across every platform.

He is also the editor of First Read, NBC’s must-read guide to political news and trends in and around Washington, D.C., and the coauthor of the definitive election result analysis book for the 2008 presidential campaign, How Barack Obama Won, published by Vintage. His second book, The Stranger: Barack Obama in the White House, was released in November 2014 by Little, Brown and Company.

A native of Miami who has been passionate about politics since middle school—almost as long as he’s been a Miami Hurricanes fan—Todd previously served as NBC News Chief White House Correspondent (2008-2014) and hosted MSNBC’s “The Daily Rundown” (2010-2014). Upon his appointment to “Meet the Press,” influencers and competitors praised him as “a tireless reporter” with “an encyclopedic knowledge of politics” and the ability to “break down barriers and get people off of their talking points.”

He will address more than 1,000 undergraduate, graduate, and law students who will receive their newly minted degrees at the BankUnited Center.


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Graduates Cheer UM as the Perfect Place to Pursue Academics and Service

By Robert C. Jones Jr.
UM News

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (May 9, 2014) – Shadowing physicians at an AIDS clinic in Los Angeles as they made their daily patient rounds helped open Meera Nagarsheth’s eyes to community and social problems that plague marginalized groups. “I was able to put a face to an issue,” she said, recalling the college spring break she spent volunteering in California’s most populous city.

During her four years as a University of Miami student, Nagarsheth “put a face” on many other problems and tried to change them, conducting research on health disparities in underserved areas and tutoring youth at community centers in Overtown and South Miami.

On Friday, as she waited in a staging area to receive a bachelor of science degree in microbiology and immunology at UM’s commencement ceremony for the College of Arts and Sciences, Nagarsheth reflected on her college career and the path that lies ahead. “UM was the perfect place to blend community service, academics, and social justice,” she said. “I looked at everything as a learning experience, and I never studied to pass a test but to gain a skill set.”

She was one of more than 2,100 students who accepted newly minted degrees at three undergraduate ceremonies that day. On Thursday nearly 800 students were awarded master’s or Ph.D.s at a graduate degree ceremony. The Miller School of Medicine and School of Law were set to hold exercises on Saturday.

As much as Nagarsheth, 22, was proud to receive her degree—her parents, she says, place great importance on higher education—she knew that her walk across the BankUnited Center stage was just the first step in her life’s mission to effect change. “I view education as a tool kit,” she explained.

A first generation Indian American, she will conduct research over the next year before starting classes at UM’s Miller School of Medicine, which has allowed her to defer her enrollment.

LaVette Richardson, who accepted her Bachelor of Science in Nursing at UM’s midday graduation ceremony, shares Nagarsheth’s desire to help others. She would eventually like to return to her hometown of Mobile, Alabama, to “make a difference.”

“It’s about helping others,” Richardson said simply.

Arianne Alcorta produced a documentary on the Venezuela uprising in hopes that it will shed more light on the protests, political demonstrations, and civil unrest occurring in her native country. She graduated Friday with a degree in journalism and theatre arts, and will enroll at Columbia University for graduate school, intent on continuing projects that raise awareness.

Nagarsheth’s, Richardson’s and Alcorta’s enthusiasm for making a difference was echoed by the day’s commencement speakers and honorary degree recipients, starting with political theorist Danielle S. Allen, the UPS Foundation Professor in the School of Social Science at the Institute for Advanced Study, who, at the morning ceremony, urged graduates to strive for the four core elements of participatory readiness: interpretative skills, expression, bonding, and bridging relationships with “people who are so different from you.”

Sylvia Earle, National Geographic Explorer-In-Residence and ambassador for the world’s oceans, told students that “whatever you do, do not become one of those doom and gloom individuals who have given up.”

“There’s plenty of room for hope,” she said. “This is the sweet spot in time when we can turn things around.”





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Volunteer Signup for May Commencement

Volunteer signup for the May 2014 Commencement ceremonies is open. Please click here to sign up and help make these ceremonies a memorable and fitting celebration for our graduates and their guests. The ceremonies will be held at the BankUnited Center May 8, 9 and 10. If you have any questions or experience problems registering, please contact Events Management at 305-284-3213 or eventsmanagement@miami.edu.

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