e-Veritas Archive | August, 2012

Rocking the Vote

Students register to vote at the University Center Rock.

For Aaron, a University of Miami sophomore from Great Neck, New York, it was an opportunity to get “involved in the political process” and help determine the country’s leadership. For his close friend, Elliot, it was more about making a statement—that “not taking part in the political process isn’t smart at all.”

With the national elections getting closer, Aaron and Elliot (both preferred not to give their last names) were two of the many UM students who thronged to the University Center Rock on August 30 to fill out forms that will place their names on the voter registration rolls.

It was all part of the Get Out the Vote and TurboVote kickoff event. “This year we implemented Get Out the Vote and TurboVote as part of our University’s effort to encourage civic engagement,” said Alessandria San Roman, executive secretary for UM Student Government, which coordinated the effort with support from the Division of Student Affairs.

As an official voter registration organization, UM must turn in voter registration forms within 48 hours to comply with new Florida election regulations. “We plan to surpass our record of 2,000 registered voters in the 2004 election,” said San Roman. “Of those 2,000, 62 percent made it to the polls. We plan to increase the turnout percentage this year by using social media, having our volunteers on the field the day of elections, and having our professors encourage students to make it to our local precinct, BankUnited Center.”

Meanwhile, as part of the Knight Foundation-funded TurboVote effort, members of the University of Miami community can request voter registration forms and absentee ballots, as well as receive email and text messages about upcoming elections, all through one website.

San Roman added that the efforts are strictly nonpartisan.

For more information, go to miami.edu/vote or www.facebook.com/UM.GOTV.TurboVote.

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Hurricanes Create a Path of Good Deeds

Students clean up a local park at a Miami River Commission site. More than 250 students participated in Orientation Outreach.

Not even the threat of a hurricane could stop a group of University of Miami students from displaying their civic pride to help the hometown. With Tropical Storm Isaac taking aim at South Florida, more than 250 students volunteered at nine nonprofit organizations across Miami-Dade County on August 25 as part of Orientation Outreach, an initiative in which students participate in various service projects. Read the full story

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With $14.2 Million in New Grants, Researchers Hope to Improve Treatment for Pediatric Heart Disease

Steven E. Lipshultz, left, and James D. Wilkinson.

Miller School of Medicine pediatric researchers have been awarded two multicenter grants totaling more than $14.2 million to identify genetic mutations associated with pediatric cardiomyopathy and develop better and more targeted treatment for children diagnosed with one of the rare but devastating diseases of the heart muscle. Read the full story

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Longtime Trustee and Philanthropist Florence Hecht Passes Away

The traditional midnight breakfast served in the University of Miami’s Hecht-Stanford Residential College cafeteria during final exam week always drew a crowd of students. Serving them food on many occasions was Florence Ruth Hecht, the silver-haired lady with the big smile whom the students always enjoyed seeing.

“The students adored seeing her, and she loved wearing her name tag that read, ‘Florence Hecht,’ ” recalls UM Vice President for Student Affairs Pat Whitely. “They often asked her if she was really Florence Hecht for whom the college was named, and she loved replying, ‘Of course.’ ” Read the full story

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A Daring Descent for a Worthwhile Cause

Anne LeBlanc and UM Provost Thomas J. LeBlanc.

Strapped in harnesses, Executive Vice President and Provost Thomas J. LeBlanc and his wife, Anne Marie, rappelled from the 19th floor of the JW Marriott Marquis in downtown Miami on August 17 in the name of charity. Local politicians and community leaders were among the dozens of people who participated in the two-day “Over the Edge” philanthropic event benefiting the Miami Children’s Initiative, a foundation aimed at improving the lives of children and families in Liberty City.

To view a video of the Over the Edge Miami event, please click here.

“My wife and I were delighted to be invited to rappel down the Marriott Marquis for the Miami Children’s Initiative,” said LeBlanc. “We both feel it is important for University of Miami leadership to support our community, and we were especially pleased to be part of the ‘Over the Edge’ event to raise money for the children of Liberty City. We thank our several sponsors for helping the children and also for the unforgettable experience of standing on a ledge 20 stories up and just leaning back.”

Among the others who went “Over the Edge” was Greenberg Traurig’s Miami Co-Managing Shareholder Jaret L. Davis, who volunteers for numerous philanthropic organizations and serves on the board of directors for Miami Children’s Hospital, City Year – Miami, SEED Foundation, and Friends of Little River.

“Over the Edge Miami was an innovative, exciting, and fun way to show our commitment to the children of Liberty City,” said Davis, who graduated magna cum laude in 1999 from the University of Miami’s School of Law.

Jazz sensation Nicole Henry, a UM alumna, begins her descent.

Others included jazz sensation and University of Miami alumna Nicole Henry, Miami-Dade Superintendent of Schools Alberto Carvalho, Children’s Trust CEO Modesto Abety-Gutierrez; and Miami-Dade Commissioner José “Pepe” Díaz.

In all, 75 people went “Over the Edge” from the 19th-floor pool deck of the JW Marriot Marquis, strapping on harnessing and getting a crash course on how to operate the simple but safe rappelling system before making their descent.

UM was one of the event’s sponsors.

Founded in 2008, the Miami Children’s Initiative is modeled after the Harlem Children’s Zone, a community-based organization serving more than 17,000 children living in a 100-block area of Harlem.


UM School of Law alumnus Jaret Davis of Greenberg Traurig was one of 75 people who went “Over the Edge” for the children and families of Miami’s Liberty City.


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