Tag Archive | "University Communications"


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Rudy Fernandez Returns to His Roots

Recently named senior vice president for public affairs and communications and chief of staff to the president, Fernandez plans to take UM’s Division of University Communications “from good to great.”

UM News

Rudy Fernandez

Rudy Fernandez

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (May 25, 2017)Rudy Fernandez cut his teeth in politics and communications some 18 years ago while serving as the spokesperson and press secretary for iconic U.S. Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. It was at a time when two of the biggest stories in recent South Florida history—the Elián González case and the U.S. presidential election recount—dominated the headlines, putting him in a position to shape national headlines.

“The stakes were high,” recalls Fernandez, who was only a couple of years removed from his days as a Harvard undergraduate. “I was speaking for a congresswoman who was up for reelection every two years and managing her communications strategy. So it was fast-paced and sometimes frantic, but I learned a lot.”

With his mettle and savviness sharpened under Ros-Lehtinen, Fernandez would go on to serve as a special assistant to the president in the George W. Bush administration, eventually landing at the University of Miami in 2007 as vice president for government and community relations—a role in which he helped to secure more than $400 million in public funding for the University and led advocacy efforts that resulted in the passage of several landmark pieces of state legislation.

Now, the son of Cuban-born parents is taking his successful work managing external relations in government and expanding it to include other constituents important to UM. With his promotion last week as senior vice president for public affairs and communications, Fernandez has taken aim at elevating UM’s Division of University Communications “from good to great.”

“Over the next 24 months, I want to see our division become, in a way we can verify and quantify, the strongest communications team in the Southeastern United States,” says Fernandez, who will be working closely with Vice President for University Communications Jackie Menendez and will continue in his role as chief of staff to UM President Julio Frenk.

To take the division to the next level, digital content, multimedia storytelling, and learning through analytics will be an increased focus. “We will enhance our ability to tell the great human stories we see every day on our campus, in our hospitals and clinics, and in communities around the world where UM’s teaching and research is making an impact. Whether it’s talented faculty making groundbreaking discoveries or a student who excels in the classroom, in the community, or on the playing field, we will harness new media to share more and better stories of ‘Canes in the world,” says Fernandez, who holds an M.B.A. from UM’s School of Business Administration.

Saying the division needs to be one that is “results oriented,” Fernandez hopes to make greater use of social media and other tools “that weren’t available to communications teams 30 years ago but now help us to spread our content and measure which audiences we reach and how.”

“We can now see how many eyeballs are reading our stories and watching our videos,” he explains. “The news cycle over the last 25 years has changed significantly. You once had to wait for the paper to hit your front door to get the news. Now stories are updated moment to moment. We have to have a communications shop that has that orientation.”

The division Fernandez will lead includes media relations and communications and marketing, and produces print publications such as Miami magazine, as well as electronic publications including the Veritas employee newsletter, and the special online reports on climate change and the Zika virus.

His plan to ramp up the division includes much more than pushing out Tweets and producing more content. “We need to interact with our audience,” says Fernandez, who wrote for the Harvard Crimson as an undergraduate. “From the national media who want access to our experts to alumni who want to share stories of their impact in the world, our communication strategies need to invite people in. And we need to interact with our internal audiences as well. We want to make sure that students are heard and that our incredible schools and colleges help surface stories of our research and teaching in action.”

While pursuing new communications strategies and creating more nimble content across multiple platforms are key ingredients to his plan, Fernandez says the basics—“the blocking and tackling of communications”—still hold true. “Building trust, getting the facts right, producing top-notch content. That will never change,” says Fernandez. “The University of Miami’s story is a story of academic excellence and rising reputation; community connection and rich diversity; spirit and sports; and, as President Frenk says, resilience and renewal. It is a privilege to be charged with telling that story, and together we will do that better than ever before.”



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Farewell e-Veritas; Look for the New Veritas Next Week

This is the final issue of e-Veritas, which will be replaced starting next Monday, April 3, with Veritas, a more streamlined and flexible weekly newsletter aimed at keeping faculty and staff on all campuses and satellites up to date on University news, events, announcements, and opportunities.

Designed by the web services and creative teams in University Communications, the new Veritas is leaner, cleaner, better organized, and easier to navigate. Since it is no longer necessary to distinguish the electronic newsletter from its original print version, the “e” is being dropped, but the newsletter will be easier to read online. The text and design will adjust to your device—whether a desktop, laptop, smart phone, or tablet.

Many of these changes came from you. Last spring, more than 1,800 readers responded to a University Communications survey seeking feedback and suggestions on the redesign. Two of them—Nadia G. Myrthil, formerly a clinical research coordinator at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, and student Melanie Canizares—were randomly selected in a drawing to receive the two iPads raffled to survey respondents.

We look forward to hearing their and your feedback on Veritas, which can still be contacted at e-Veritas@miami.edu.

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University Communications Recognized for Excellence

Projects created by University Communications—from newsletters to dedicated websites—win awards from global marketing association.

UM News

climate-change-awardCORAL GABLES, Fla. (October 24, 2016) – The University of Miami’s central communications office has received several top awards for its work during the past year, including its Climate Change Special Report website and invitation to the UM Alumni Association’s We Are One U Tour.

The Climate Change Special Report, a dedicated website launched on Earth Day 2016, highlights the research and science of the University’s faculty, students, and alumni in the area of sea-level rise and other impacts of climate change, along with sustainability and resilience.

The special report contains more than 50 articles, video, photo galleries, and graphics, and quotes or names more than 70 faculty sources. University Communications spent more than six months creating the report.

The We are One U Tour is the Alumni Association’s global outreach to alumni living throughout the U.S. and in major cities around the globe. The invitation to the first stop in New York City in September was designed as a circular globe that opened like an accordion with the details of the stop inside.

The Climate Change Special Report and We Are One U Tour invitation were Platinum Award winners – the top category of the MarCom Awards administered and judged by the international Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals.

The association received more than 6,000 entries this year across the globe from corporate marketing and communication departments, advertising and public relations agencies, production companies, and universities. The MarCom Awards is considered one of the oldest and most prestigious creative competitions in the world.

Gold Award winners included Miami: The University of Miami magazine, a newsletter created by UM Libraries called Access, and the Impact of Philanthropy endowment report created for University Advancement.

The ’Cane Talks website, which showcases videos of lively ten-minute presentations by leading thinkers in the UM community addressing major topical issues, received an Honorable Mention Award.



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