e-Veritas Archive | December, 2013

Frost’s Dean Berg and Three UM Alums Garner 2014 Grammy Nominations

grammyFrost School of Music Dean Shelly Berg earned a Grammy nomination, his second, in the 2014 Best Arrangement Accompanying a Vocalist category for Gloria Estefan’s “What a Wonderful World,” while UM alums Brian Losch got the nod for the Best Engineered Classical Album and Maria Schneider for Best Contemporary Classical Composition for Dawn Upshaw’s Winter Morning Walks (ArtistShare).

In addition, UM Frost alumnus Andrew Scheps, B.M. ’89, was the engineer for Black Sabbath’s new album, 13, (Vertigo/Republic), which earned three 2014 Grammy nominations in Best Rock Album, Best Rock Song and Best Metal Performance categories. Scheps earned a 2011 Grammy Award in the Album of the Year category for his engineering work on Adele’s landmark album, 21(XL Recordings).

UM trustee and alumna Gloria Estefan, a multi-platinum and seven-time Grammy winning international vocal superstar, also was nominated  in the Best Traditional Pop Album category for the critically acclaimed Gloria Estefan: The Standards (Sony Masterworks), on which Berg’s latest nominated arrangement appears.

Berg, a Steinway piano artist and critically acclaimed recording artist, composer, arranger and orchestrator, was nominated in the same best arrangement category last year for  “Out There” on Lorraine Feather’s release, Tales of the Unusual (Jazzed Media). He and Emilio Estefan also co-produced The Standards album, on which Gloria Estefan served as producer.


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Sebastian’s Road Trips Draw to an End; Now It’s the U’s Turn

After 24 years on the road,  Sebastian shows off the new U plate.

After 24 years on the road, Sebastian is happy to show off the new U plate.

After an amazing 24-year run, UM’s beloved mascot Sebastian the Ibis is retiring from his duties on the UM license plate. Any day now, the old plate will disappear to make way for a new plate featuring the now iconic split-U in a design chosen by alumni. But there’s still time to head to a Florida auto tag agency and get the classic tag, which no doubt will become a collector’s item.

The new plate will be available in Florida tag agencies in January 2014, costing just $25 per year more than the standard state tag for vehicles registered in Florida. As was the case with the Sebastian plate, which debuted in 1989, the extra $25 generated from each U tag sale will be directed to University of Miami Alumni Scholarships for UM students.

Over its lifespan, UM’s custom tag has racked up nearly 80,000 sales, raising nearly $2 million for the scholarship fund. And now that the split orange and green U, which was once the domain solely of athletics, has evolved into one of the most recognizable institutional symbols in the world, University officials say it’s time to put it on the road wherever ’Cane-loving Florida motorists go.

“Sebastian is a very important part of our history and of the present-day experience at the U,” said Jacqueline R. Menendez, vice president for University Communications. “But we also recognize the U is iconic. It is our visual identity—diverse, modern, confident, and bold. Sebastian is our mascot and represents us very well, but it’s time to send the U on the road.”

UM alumnus Jim Watt, AB ’66, a former state legislator who happens to be the father of the UM tag and the 119 other specialty plates sold in Florida today, couldn’t agree more. Among the first to have a UM plate—emblazoned with CANES66—he inherited his late father’s UM 52 plate in 1994. Walter Watt wore No. 52 as a star running back for the ’Canes, and for 47 years, held the record for the longest punt return.

The senior Watt also met his wife at UM and their son, who also met his wife at UM—Susan Schlemm was a majorette in the Band of the Hour—attended his first ’Cane game as a baby. Forty years later, as a state representative from Palm Beach County, the junior Watt drove to Georgia on a weekend getaway from the legislative session when he saw a car sporting a University of Georgia license plate.

Thinking the idea brilliant and determined to have his own UM plate, Watt researched the law that created Georgia’s specialty tags and found a huge flaw: the extra fee for each specialty plate was deposited in Georgia’s general fund, not redirected to the school the plate supported.

“That was a big mistake,’’ Watt said. “I am an attorney, but I know enough about marketing to know that alumni would buy more plates if they knew the money was going back to their alma maters. Georgia took the incentive away.”

With Watt guiding the legislation, Florida did not make the same mistake, and today the UM plate is the 16th most popular specialty plate in the state, eclipsing the Miami Dolphins. Boasting tens of thousands more alums, UF, the state’s largest public university, is No. 1.

Watt gladly voted for the new plate – he and daughter Jennifer Watt Frankl were among the 6,000 alums who took part in the online contest – because he knows the incalculable value of the U. “I will be very proud to have the U on my plate,’’ he said.

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Time Chasers Preserve and Share the History of South Florida’s Black Communities

Among the original materials in the Collaborative Archive of the African Diaspora is this photo of a family

Among the original materials in the Collaborative Archive of the African Diaspora is this 1890s photo of a community gathering at Miami pioneer  Ralph Munroe’s Coconut Grove boathouse.

By Sarah Block
Special to UM News

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (January 8, 2013) — Beatrice Skokan, manuscripts librarian at the University of Miami Libraries Special Collections, is a time chaser. As an archivist, Skokan is a collector, especially of materials that reflect the day-to-day history of a community.

“There is a strong sense of urgency to acquire and preserve them, and make them accessible, before they are thrown away,” she says, adding that providing access to materials should come before ownership.

That’s part of the philosophy behind the Special Collections initiative known as the Collaborative Archive of the African Diaspora (CAAD). Formed in 2010,  CAAD is a searchable Web portal for manuscripts and other original cultural materials related to South Florida’s historically black communities, and is accessible through the University of Miami Libraries website.

By inputting key words in the portal, researchers are directed to any relevant holdings from the CAAD partnering research institutions, which in addition to UM Libraries, include The Black Archives History and Research Center of South Florida, the Broward County Library African-American Research Library and Cultural Center, Florida International University Special Collections, Florida Memorial University Special Collections, Historic Hampton House Community Trust, HistoryMiami, and the Virginia Key Beach Park Trust.

“Before the CAAD, a lot of materials were being actively collected by these local institutions, but they were lacking resources and expertise to make materials accessible and to preserve them,” said Yolanda Cooper, who envisioned the CAAD after being appointed to the position of deputy university librarian in 2006.

It began as a quest for a new archive in Special Collections. Cooper and other librarians reached out to the community and started acquiring the materials to build it. “First we got the Bob Simms Collection, and that led to collections for Dr. John O. Brown and the Rev. Theodore Gibson, and then Thelma Gibson,” Cooper said. All are known for significant civil rights activism and community leadership.

From its first acquisition, the Libraries began to attract interest in the community, and formed a partnership with the Black Archives History and Research Center of South Florida, which was founded in 1977.

“We also saw the importance of materials remaining in the community,” Cooper said. The Libraries provided the technology and training to partnering institutions to improve access, and in areas like preservation techniques and using cataloguing software. In just three years, CAAD has grown, and gone digital.

Guy Forchion, executive director of the Virginia Key Beach Park Trust, said that since the CAAD portal opened online, there has been a noticeable rise in foot traffic in the archive, which focuses particularly on the history of Miami’s once official beach for African Americans.

“For a smaller cultural and history organization, the CAAD has made it possible to reach a constituency of students, researchers, and scholars that may not have normally accessed the rich cultural history of Miami’s historic beach park,” Forchion said.

Each of the participating institutions has its unique areas of focus under the broader African diaspora umbrella, but search results produce plenty of overlap. “The collaboration crosses geographical, cultural, and institutional boundaries,” Skokan said.

Topics varying from civil rights and political activity in Miami to Caribbean ephemera show up in different contexts across the partnership. For instance, CAAD users who search the key word “beach” will find a handful of digitized photos from the trust, as well as aids for finding a non-digitized photography collection from 1937 at HistoryMiami related to relaxing outdoors.

Earlier this year UM Libraries received a grant from Blue Cross Blue Shield to further develop the CAAD. The funds enabled the Libraries to purchase collection materials, improve formatting for audiovisual materials, and hire student interns to process collections.

Collection purchases included photographic prints of Haitian life by Maggie Steber  (The Audacity of Beauty), and a pre-Civil War letter carried by a North American slave, declaring his permission to travel.

The grant also allowed the development of a new collection, Haitian Oral Histories, featuring video interviews with various notable artists and activists in South Florida’s Haitian community. Personal history, such as letters or interviews, are common primary source materials, but the video format was chiefly inspired by its cultural relevance to Haiti’s rich tradition of storytelling.

Cooper said that such primary resource materials provide a different dimension to research, and may expand the archives’ reach beyond the research community to include primary and secondary education.

“It gives students an opportunity to be involved,” she said. “It builds critical thinking skills; they can come up with their own questions as they’re looking through the material, organize information, and build a narrative.”

In a way, students’ interaction with Special Collections is ultimately how various documentary materials are brought to life—it is University student interns who process and help catalog materials in order for them to become accessible.

However, to Cooper, who recently assumed a new position as University Librarian at Emory University in Atlanta, access to such materials should also thrive in the communities where they were originally found, which is why CAAD was established.

“We have been able to leverage our expertise in order to pull together these various resources, help each other, and better serve the community,” she said.

She also expressed her hope that CAAD will “extend beyond South Florida to encompass an even broader scope of documentation of the black experience,”  emphasizing that the “experience” includes active history—the whole picture, of which no piece is too small.

The CAAD portal is accessible through the University of Miami Libraries website at caad.library.miami.edu.

Sarah Block can be reached at 305-284-8825.

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Faculty and Staff Support the U: Law Professor Pays It Forward by Supporting Student Scholarships

Elliott Manning

Elliott Manning

When Elliott Manning left his home in Atlanta, Georgia, to start his freshman year at Columbia College in New York City in 1951, he received a Ford Foundation scholarship to help cover the $640 annual tuition. With the help of financial aid, Manning later completed his juris doctor at Harvard Law School and became an expert in tax law.

Today, the University of Miami Professor of Law and Dean’s Distinguished Scholar for the Profession continues to pay it forward by contributing to School of Law scholarships through the University’s Annual Fund.

“I’ve been supporting the Annual Fund for 30 years,” says Manning, who joined the UM School of Law faculty in 1980. “I know the importance of scholarships from my own personal experience. As a young man from the South who had never been north of Virginia Beach before, being able to go to college at Columbia was a life-changing experience.”

Before joining the UM faculty, Manning was a senior partner in the New York firm of Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton LLP, and hadn’t considered an academic career. “But I took a sabbatical and taught for a semester at Stanford University,” he says. “I found I liked teaching, and when the University of Miami needed someone to run the Graduate Program in Taxation, my wife and I came here.”

During his time at UM, Manning has written several books and numerous articles on various federal income tax topics and is happy to share this tip: “When you donate to the Annual Fund or make other charitable contributions to the University, you can get a tax deduction that can save you up to a third of your contribution,” he says. “That’s a nice benefit for supporting a worthy cause.”



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Apply for the New Ph.D. in Community Well-Being Program by February 1

Students who are interested in pursuing research in community psychology beginning next fall have until Saturday, February 1, to apply for the new Ph.D. in Community Well-Being program offered by UM’s Department of Educational and Psychological Studies at the School of Education and Human Development.

The program provides 24 months of funding (tuition and stipend) to engage students who already have their master’s degree in community psychology, public health, education, social work, or another related field. Upon completion of the two years of coursework, there is a possibility of additional funding for dissertation work.

Faculty have expertise in ecological, critical, and participatory action approaches to promoting well being, social change, and social justice. Ongoing research covers a range of topics, including issues of race, ethnicity, and culture; mental health interventions, prevention, and promotion; and the role of community-based organizations.

Faculty includes Etiony Aldarondo, Dina Birman, Scotney Evans, Blaine Fowers, Laura Kohn-Wood, Guerda Nicolas, Isaac Prilleltensky, and Courte Voorhees.

For more information, contact Birman, the program director, at [email protected] or graduate program recruiter Fareza Khan at 305-284-6351.


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