Tag Archive | "Office of Commencement"


Order Commencement Regalia by March 19

Faculty who plan to celebrate the achievements of our students during the Spring commencement exercises by participating in the Academic Procession should confirm their attendance at the graduate and undergraduate degree commencement ceremonies listed below and order rental regalia at miami.edu/capandgown by Monday, March 19.


Thursday, May 10: Graduate Degree Ceremonies

1 p.m. Master’s Degree Ceremony

Graduate degree ceremony for all master’s degrees

5 p.m. Doctoral Degree Ceremony

Graduate degree ceremony for all doctoral degrees (except J.D. and M.D.)


Friday, May 11: Undergraduate Degree Ceremonies

8:30 a.m.

College of Arts and Sciences

Division of Continuing and International Education

1 p.m.

School of Architecture

School of Communication

School of Education and Human Development

Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science

Phillip and Patricia Frost School of Music

School of Nursing and Health Studies

5 p.m.

Business School

College of Engineering

For your information, the School of Law and Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine ceremonies will be held as follows:

Saturday, May 12: Law and Medical Degree Ceremonies

10 a.m. School of Law Ceremony (J.D. and LL.M. degrees)

Contact Mercy Hernandez at MHernand@law.miami.edu for more information.

3 p.m. Miller School of Medicine Ceremony (M.D. degrees)

Contact Bridgette Nevils-Taylor at BNevils@med.miami.edu for more information

For additional assistance, please contact the Office of Commencement at 305-284-1824 or commencement@miami.edu. For more information regarding commencement visit miami.edu/commencement.


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Major League Speakers to Share Their Magic

UM News

Alex Rodriguez, left, and Rony Abovitz will share their advice as UM’s fall 2017 commencement speakers.

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (December 1, 2017)—Two extraordinary men—one a gifted athlete and businessman who accomplished what many children dream about, the other a biomedical engineer, artist, and musician who is bringing dreams to life—will be the speakers at the University of Miami’s fall commencement ceremonies on Thursday, December 14, when more than 1,100 students cross the stage for their hard-earned degrees.

Alex Rodriguez, a 14-time Major League Baseball All-Star, will address more than 600 undergraduates at the 10 a.m. ceremony. Rony Abovitz, the founder, president, and chief executive officer of Magic Leap, Inc., will advise more than 500 graduate students at the 2 p.m. ceremony. Both have left indelible marks on UM and South Florida, where they nurtured many of their own dreams.

As a boy, A-Rod, as the New York Yankees’ power hitter and 2009 World Series champion is known, used to sneak into UM’s Mark Light Stadium to watch Miami Hurricanes baseball games. Today, the stadium is called Alex Rodriguez Park at Mark Light Field in recognition of the $3.9 million gift Rodriguez made to renovate the venue and fund an annual UM scholarship for members of the Boys and Girls Club of America. “For me,” Rodriguez said at the 2002 ceremony where the gift was announced, “this is my Yankee Stadium, my Candlestick Park, my Dodger Stadium.”

Though UM’s baseball program recruited Rodriguez in 1993, it had stiff competition— from the U’s own storied football program, which offered Rodriguez a scholarship to play quarterback, and from the Seattle Mariners, which selected him in the first round of that year’s MLB draft.. He was that good at both sports. But the Mariners won out, signing Rodriguez hours before he was to begin classes at UM and launching his legendary 22-year MLB career that ended in 2016 after a dozen years with the Yankees.

On his way to hitting an astounding 696 home runs, smashing more grand slams than anyone in history, joining the elite 3,000 hits club, and earning three American League Most Valuable Player Awards, Rodriguez was simultaneously laying the foundation for his successful investment firm, A-Rod Corp. It began with the purchase of a single duplex in 2003 and today employs more than 500 people.

An Emmy Award-winning sports commentator, Rodriguez is also actively engaged in a variety of philanthropic endeavors. Named a UM Honorary Alumnus in 2004, he received the University’s Edward T. Foote II Alumnus of Distinction Award in 2007, is a member of the UM Board of Trustees, and an avid supporter of the School of Business Administration, where he established the Graduate Entrepreneurship and Innovation Endowed Fund to support students in the Miami Executive M.B.A. for Artists and Athletes program and other M.B.A. students.

Had Rodriguez remained a student at UM, he might have crossed paths with Abovitz, who after moving from Ohio to South Florida in middle school, dreamed of walking on to UM’s baseball and footballs teams. He turned down several prestigious schools in the Northeast and Midwest to follow his beloved Hurricanes and earn his B.S. in mechanical engineering in 1994 and his M.S. in biomedical engineering in 1996.

The degrees have served him well. He twice earned recognition as a Technology Pioneer by the World Economic Forum for his biomedical advances, and he stands on the cusp of introducing one of the most highly anticipated new computing platforms.

The oldest child of an Air Force flight engineer, entrepreneur, and inventor and an accomplished painter and educator, Abovitz never saw a separation between technology and the creative arts. He always wanted to be an artist and a scientist, a musician and an engineer. “They were, and still are, one and the same for me,” he says.

That may explain how Abovitz, who was a cartoonist and columnist for The Miami Hurricane, a DJ for WVUM 90.5, and javelin thrower on the varsity track and field team, pivoted from pioneering surgeon-assisted robotics for orthopedic surgery to creating a computing platform that will allow computing “to spill from the computer” and swim before our eyes—transforming the internet of information into the internet of experiences.

All while playing guitar and bass in a virtual “wonky pop rock” band called Sparkydog and Friends.

“Our shared vision at Magic Leap contemplates a connected, creative, and collective world of human experience,” Abovitz says. “We should all imagine the positive future we want, and then go build it. If we can imagine it, it can happen.”

Faculty who wish to participate in the academic procession may RSVP to commencement@miami.edu with their name and which ceremony they wish to attend. Employees who wish to volunteer—and earn one administrative day off—still have time to sign up.

Both speeches and commencement ceremonies can be viewed live online by visiting UM’s Commencement coverage at miami.edu on Thursday, December 14, and clicking on the Livestream link.









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Former UM President Donna Shalala Honored at Fall Commencement


Former UM President Donna Shalala Honored at Fall Commencement

An estimated 975 students received newly minted degrees at the largest fall graduation ceremony in UM’s history.

By Robert C. Jones Jr.
UM News

shalala-commencementCORAL GABLES, Fla. (December 15, 2016) – Enveloped in the joy and excitement of its newest graduating class of ’Canes, the University of Miami welcomed home one of its most beloved daughters on Thursday, bestowing upon her the same honor she so graciously presented to artists and activists, diplomats and doctors, and scientists and scholars during her 14-year tenure as the institution’s unquestionable leader.

Donna E. Shalala—who took over the presidential reins of an already illustrious UM in 2001 and elevated it to new heights, opening academic and research facilities, boosting its national ranking, and raising billions of dollars—received an honorary doctor of humane letters at what was the largest UM commencement ever held at the Watsco Center.

“I may have been president of this University for 14 years, but today, for the first time, I can say I’m really a Miami Hurricane,” Shalala, dressed in academic regalia, said from the Watsco Center, where an estimated 975 students received newly minted degrees.

“Today you transition from a campus climate that nurtures belonging into a world that is, itself, in transition,” UM President Julio Frenk said to those graduates. “You can and must use all you have learned here to build a bond that unites us through compassionate and committed engagement.”

Shalala, who was the nation’s longest-serving U.S. secretary of health and human services, a position she held for all eight years of the Clinton administration, stepped down as UM’s fifth president at the end of the 2014-15 academic year, taking on new responsibilities as president and CEO of her former boss’s nonprofit, the Clinton Foundation.

Though she no longer helmed the University, Shalala was never far from the UM community’s thoughts, especially those of students, hundreds of whom stream through the doors every day of the three-story student center renamed in her honor. On Thursday, Shalala offered them advice, teaching life lessons which she said can actually be learned from a popular college mascot who had always been her “best friend” on campus and “symbolizes all that is good in this community”—Sebastian the Ibis.

Noting that the ibis is the last animal to leave before a hurricane strikes and the first to return after the storm, Shalala called on students to be brave like Sebastian and “have the courage to stand up for your values and stand up for one another.”

“One of my proudest moments on this campus was during the terrible days of 9/11,” said UM’s former president, now a trustee professor of political science and health policy at the University. “Our student leaders reached out to their Muslim and Sikh classmates and made it clear this was a safe campus for them. One of them, the leader of Hillel, our Jewish center, summed it up for all of them when he said, ‘An attack on one of you is an attack on all of us.’ ”

In times of great peril and even greater promise, Shalala told students, “you will be asked to solve some tough challenges and confront our oldest demons.”

She urged them to maintain positive attitudes, no matter what the circumstances. “When any of our teams are behind, Sebastian never loses hope,” she said. “We all suffer setbacks and disappointments in life. The most important thing is to pick ourselves up, brush ourselves off, and keep going. Approach each day with gratitude and curiosity, with open eyes and open ears, open hearts and open minds. When something unexpected comes—and believe me, it always comes—you’ll have the emotional and intellectual tools to handle it.”

The overwhelming majority of graduates at the ceremony enrolled at UM when Shalala was still president, and as they listened to her sage advice, she told them they should emulate Sebastian in treating everyone with kindness, dignity, and respect. “Our world is shaped not only by big events, but by the sum of hundreds of small actions—actions that we take every day,” said Shalala. “Define the future in your individual relationships. The simplest of kind gestures, however insignificant they may seem, can be woven into a brilliant tapestry of compassion, love, and strength.”

While the students of UM’s 2016 fall graduating class are going on to different careers, graduate and professional school, and volunteer service, they all face the great challenge of their lifetime of embracing “what makes us different from one another, recognizing that there’s a lot to gain by practicing tolerance and understanding—and a lot to lose in practicing fear and mistrust,” said Shalala.

She encouraged graduates to take risks. “When I was in your position years ago, I didn’t know exactly where life would take me,” said Shalala, “but I promised myself that I would never play it safe. I’ve kept that promise. As you prepare to leave the University of Miami, my deepest hope is that you won’t play it safe either.

For Toya Brown, who received an accelerated bachelor of science in nursing, graduation day was “the first day of the beginning of the rest of my life,” said the New Orleans native, who plans to take the nursing exam to become board certified and then start applying for jobs in a field she fell in love with because of the compassion nurses must show towards patients.

Brown was one of a multitude of outstanding UM students who graduated Thursday. A total of 16 current and former Hurricane student-athletes also received degrees, bolstering the Department of Athletics’ strong reputation of graduating its scholarship athletes, as is evidenced by the most recent NCAA Graduation Success Rate (GSR) of 90 percent. That figure is well above the national average of 84 percent and ties UM for 15th among Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) institutions.

In addition, UM’s black student-athletes are succeeding in the classroom at some of the highest rates in the country, recording an overall GSR of 90 percent—the fourth best in the nation, behind only Stanford, Duke, and Northwestern, and tied with Notre Dame and South Carolina. UM has been in the top 10 in this category for the past five years.

Commencement was also special for Nilda Peragallo Montano, dean of UM’s School of Nursing and Health Studies, who received the President’s Medal in recognition of her many in achievements. An internationally recognized nursing scientist, Peragallo Montano fostered monumental growth and significant improvement in the curriculum, facilities, and programs at school during her 13 years as dean.

Under her leadership, student enrollment, and the school’s M.S.N. and D.N.P. programs are now ranked among U.S. News & World Report’s 2017 Best Graduate Schools.

With a career devoted to improving the health status of minorities and other underserved populations, she expanded the school’s prominence in the global health arena, leading the 2007 birth of its Center of Excellence for Health Disparities Research, or El Centro, made possible by a National Institutes of Health grant of more than $7 million.

She also led the school’s transition from a small, cramped World War II-era building located on the edge of the Coral Gables campus to the modern 53,000-square-foot four-story M. Christine Schwartz Center for Nursing and Health Studies.

Long a proponent of simulation-based scenarios and the benefits such training offers in preventing mistakes before nursing students head into live clinical situations, Peragallo Montano pushed for the creation of a Simulation Hospital at UM, which opens on the Coral Gables campus next year.

She is headed to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to lead that institution’s nursing school.


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December 2016 Commencement Dates and Regalia Information

The December 2016 Commencement Ceremony will be held in the Watsco Center on Thursday, December 15 at 10 a.m., for all graduate and undergraduate degrees awarded from all schools and colleges, except M.D. degrees from the Miller School of Medicine. Faculty participating in the ceremony should assemble at 9 a.m.

If you are attending as a dissertation advisor to a Ph.D. candidate, please email commencement@miami.edu and include your candidate(s) name so we may properly plan for seating. If you need further information regarding commencement, call 305-284-1821 or email the director, Lexi Cimmino, at LCimmino@miami.edu.


Faculty who placed an order for rental regalia may pick up their regalia at the Toppel Career Center during the distribution days on Tuesday, December 13 and Wednesday, December 14 between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 8 p.m. For more information please contact the Toppel Career Center directly at 305-284-5451.

Visit miami.edu/commencement for more information regarding the ceremony.

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Donna Shalala to Address the Class of 2016


Donna Shalala to Address the Class of 2016

UM News

Donna E. Shalala

Donna E. Shalala

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (December 1, 2016)—The nearly 1,000 University of Miami students set to receive their newly minted degrees at the Watsco Center on Thursday, December 15 will hear advice from a familiar and beloved figure on campus: UM’s immediate past president and the nation’s longest-serving secretary of health and human services, Donna E. Shalala.

In addition to delivering the commencement address, Shalala—a distinguished scholar, political scientist, administrator, and public servant who currently directs the Clinton Foundation’s philanthropic efforts around the world—will receive an honorary degree for her extraordinary leadership in bettering our institution, our nation, and the world.

During her 14 years as UM’s fifth—and first female—president, Shalala led the charge to elevate every aspect of the U—increasing research expenditures by 62 percent; establishing UHealth-the University of Miami Health System and solidifying the Miller School of Medicine as Florida’s top NIH-funded medical school; launching nearly $2 billion in new construction, including the student center that now bears her name; raising an unprecedented $3 billion in two Momentum campaigns for scholarships, academic and research programs, and facilities; and elevating UM’s iconic split-U logo from one of the most recognizable college athletic brands to a symbol of excellence throughout the University.

Before joining the U, Shalala strengthened a range of U.S. and international institutions, earning a host of honors and shattering many glass ceilings. After earning her B.A. at Western College for Women in 1962, she joined President John F. Kennedy’s new Peace Corps, teaching at an agriculture college in Iran and earning the respect of men unaccustomed to women having a say.

She later earned her Ph.D. degree from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University and held tenured professorships at Columbia University, The City University of New York (CUNY), and the University of Wisconsin-Madison, rising to become president of CUNY’s Hunter College from 1980 to 1987 and chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Madison from 1987 to 1993—the first woman to head a Big 10 university.

Tapped as President Bill Clinton’s secretary 
of health and human services in 1993, and serving through both of his terms, she earned The Washington Post’s admiration as “one of the most successful government managers of modern times.”

In 2007, while juggling her duties at UM, she answered President George W. Bush’s call to co-chair the Commission on Care for America’s Returning Wounded Warriors with former U.S. Senator Bob Dole. Two years later, she led the Institute of Medicine’s Initiative on the Future of Nursing. Her committee’s 2010 report remains the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s most downloaded health report.

A member of the Council on Foreign Relations, Shalala is one of the most honored academics of her generation. A 2011 inductee into the National Women’s Hall of Fame, she has been awarded more than four dozen honorary degrees and elected to seven national academies. She has received numerous other honors, including the nation’s highest civilian award, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, bestowed by President Bush in 2008 for helping “more Americans live lives of purpose and dignity.’’

More recently, Shalala, who remains trustee professor of political science and health policy at UM, received the 2010 Nelson Mandela Award for Health and Human Rights, the 2014 Harry S. Truman Legacy of Leadership Award, and the National Academy of Medicine’s 2016 David Rall Medal.

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