MIAMI, Fla. (April 6, 2014) – Powered by the pitching of Jose Fernandez and the slugging of Giancarlo Stanton, the Miami Marlins notched their fifth win of the 2014 Major League Baseball season Saturday, defeating the San Diego Padres 5-0 at Marlins Park in Little Havana.
But what the box score doesn’t say is that not all of the attention was focused on The Fish. The team would share the spotlight with thousands of University of Miami faculty and staff who turned out at the ballpark for UM Family Night with the Marlins. Face painting, autograph sessions with Marlins players, on-field pregame ceremonies, performances by the UM band, and live post-game music with DJ Laz were among the many activities enjoyed by employees and their families.
Six UM employees threw out first pitches. They included Norm Parsons, executive director of the Wellness Centers on the Gables and Miller School campuses, who is retiring after 43 years of service; Ed Gillis, dean of enrollment management, who is retiring after 22 years; School of Law professor Richard Williamson, who has served as chair of the Faculty Senate for five years; Jessica Driemeier, student services manager for the Intensive English Program on the Coral Gables campus; Natali Latorre, associate director of marketing for Bascom Palmer Eye Institute on the Miller School campus; and Cristy Barrera, office manager in Facilities Administration at the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science.
Hundreds of employees visited the MyU: Faculty and Staff Thank You Tent on the West Plaza, receiving temporary U tattoos and Sebastian bands. They also got a look at the UHealth Physical Therapy Clinic, which, when the Marlins aren’t playing, is open to patients by appointment. UHealth Sports Medicine is the official sports medicine provider for the Miami Marlins and the Miami Hurricanes.
The biggest winners of the day, however, were University of Miami students who received scholarships from the Miami Marlins Foundation. The philanthropic arm of the two-time World Series champion Marlins donated $12,500 in much-needed funds to UM, with $7,500 going to Matthew Friedman, a graduate student in the School of Education and Human Development’s Sport Administration Program, and $5,000 being given to the Suzanne Rayson Scholarship Fund for students enrolled in the School of Communication’s Broadcast Journalism Program.
Jimmy Oves, a technician at University of Miami Hospital, who attended Family Night with his wife, Yuriam, and sons, Alex and Jimmy Jr., summed up the day best: “A perfect way to spend time with my family,” he said. “Everything about it—the activities, the food, and the game—is great.”