e-Veritas Archive | March, 2014

Olympic Champion Lauryn Williams Inspires Scholarship Recipients

Back from the Sochi Winter Olympic Games, where she won a silver medal in the two-woman bobsled, UM alumna and track and field legend Lauryn Williams advises students to learn the value of team work.

By Robert C. Jones Jr.
UM News

Lauryn Williams shows off her Olympic medals to scholarship recipients.

Lauryn Williams shows off her Olympic medals to scholarship recipients.

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (March 28, 2014)—Before Lauryn Williams started training to become a bobsledder, her only knowledge of the sport came from the movie Cool Runnings, the 1993 comedy loosely based on the true story of the Jamaican national bobsled team that competed in the 1988 Winter Olympics.

But a chance meeting with a bobsledder at an airport peaked Williams’ interest so much, that the champion Olympic sprinter and University of Miami alumna decided to take up the discipline. Over the next six months she would experience a steep learning curve—along with a few mishaps, such as crashing in her first training run with driver Elana Meyers—enroute to winning a silver medal at the 2014 Sochi Games. Read the full story

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Volunteer Sign-up for May Commencement Now Open

Volunteer sign-up for the May 2014 Commencement ceremonies is now open. Please click here to sign up and help make these ceremonies a memorable and fitting celebration for graduates and their guests. The ceremonies will be held at the BankUnited Center. If you have any questions or experience problems registering, please contact Events Management at 305-284-3213 or [email protected].

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Doing the Robot: Robotic ‘Instructor’ Helps Elementary School Students Get Fit

By Richard Westlund
Special to UM News

A new take on doing the robot:

A new take on doing the robot: Following directions from NAO, a programmable humanoid robot, students at Pinecrest Elementary perform various exercises as part of an after-school program launched by UM’s School of Education and Human Development.

PINECREST, Fla. (March 26, 2014) – By incorporating a robot “teacher” into a multidisciplinary health and fitness project, a University of Miami School of Education and Human Development team is taking an innovative approach to addressing the national problem of childhood obesity.

“We have launched a wellness-based after-school program in collaboration with the YMCA of Greater Miami to improve fitness, health, and cognitive function in elementary school children,” said Chantis Mantilla, doctoral candidate in the school’s Department of Kinesiology and Sport Sciences and director of the THINK (Translational Health in Nutrition and Kinesiology) program. Read the full story

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Two Distinguished Miami Families Join Forces to Transform Jewish Life at UM


The new Braman Miller Center for Jewish Student Life will help inspire and shape future Jewish leaders.

From UM News

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (March 25, 2014) — Following a tradition stretching over several generations, two of Miami’s most distinguished families, the Bramans and the Millers, have joined forces to transform Jewish student life at the University of Miami with a lead naming gift to University of Miami Hillel.

Hillel is the largest Jewish organization on campuses worldwide. The gift will enable fundamental renovations and the building of the new Braman Miller Center for Jewish Student Life to meet the needs of more than 2,000 Jewish students at the University of Miami.

“Our families are proud that the Braman Miller Center for Jewish Student Life will be the center of Jewish life on campus at the University of Miami for many years to come,” said Debra Braman Wechsler and Jeffrey Miller, co-chairs of UM Hillel’s Capital and Endowment Campaign. “UM Hillel is extremely important to us, as we have deep roots in the community and in the University.”

Through their philanthropic gifts, the local Braman and Miller families will support UM Hillel in focusing its efforts on providing students with a new, state-of-the-art, welcoming, and spacious facility to attract both Jewish and non-Jewish students alike. The vision includes spaces designed to inspire, such as a rooftop lounge with a balcony, a Café Hillel serving Kosher food, a renovated chapel, worship spaces, as well as offices and a multipurpose room for event programming.

“This modern ‘home away from home’ will help to inspire and shape the future leaders of the Jewish community,” said UM President Donna E. Shalala.

These spaces will provide students with room to engage, grow, socialize, and connect with their peers, making UM one of the most dynamic Jewish communities in North America. The expected completion date of this project is summer of 2015.

Over the years, members of both families have served on the University’s Board of Trustees. Miller family members have been ardent, long-time supporters of Judaic culture and studies. Their commitments have extended to the Sue and Leonard Miller Center for Contemporary Judaic Studies at UM, which provides an objective, in-depth exploration of the issues and trends that have affected the Jewish people over the last 100 years.

“The Hillel at the University of Miami not only represents the center of Jewish life on the UM campus, but it is also an important source of pride and connection between the entire Jewish community and the University,” said Jacob Solomon, president and CEO of the Greater Miami Jewish Federation. “As a result, to have the building bear the names of two of the most respected and loved families in Miami is beyond perfect! All of us at Federation are so excited about what’s happening with the UM Hillel and are so proud to be a part of it.”

UM Hillel currently provides Jewish students with a vibrant community where they can deepen their identity, strengthen their relationships, and challenge themselves with new perspectives. Hillel celebrates a weekly Shabbat on campus, participates in Alternative Breaks and other community service events, coordinates Birthright Israel trips, and offers its students a variety of leadership and professional development opportunities.

“I am excited and committed to build a world-class facility that will enable us to foster a strong sense of community and pride for our students,” said Noreen Gordon Sablotsky, chair of UM Hillel’s Board of Directors.

The naming gift is part of Momentum2: The Breakthrough Campaign for the University of Miami and Hillel’s Capital and Endowment Campaign. Hillel is an agency of the Greater Miami Jewish Federation and participates in Create a Jewish Legacy Miami. The Capital and Endowment Campaign is still ongoing, and gifts are needed to complete this worthy project.

To learn more, contact Shana Kantor, 305-665-6948 or [email protected].


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Three University of Miami Student Publications Take Top Media Honors

UM News

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (March 21, 2014) — Three student publications—Ibis Yearbook 2013, Distraction Magazine, and The Miami Hurricane newspaper—were recognized among the best in the nation last week, with the yearbook and magazine each earning Gold Crowns from the Columbia Scholastic Press Association (CSPA), and The Miami Hurricane taking the College Media Association’s (CMA) top David L. Adams Apple Award for the best newspaper of its size.

Ibis and Distraction received the CSPA’s highest honor during a March 14 ceremony in New York City. The next day, at the annual CMA Spring Conference, also held in New York City, The Hurricane won its first first-place Apple Award in the Best Newspaper category for a four-year school with 5,000 to 10,000 students.

“We are honored, proud and humbled to have been selected,” said Stephanie Parra, editor-in-chief of The Miami Hurricane, who attended the ceremony. “This award inspires us to continue to excel.”

Randy Stano, advisor to Ibis and Distraction, noted that the Gold Crown is the CSPA’s highest and most rigorous honor. “These publications go through a second round of judging after the normal critiques and medalists honors,” he said. “The second set of 12 judges have no clue as to the previous rating or honor for the entries.”

UM was one of three universities to walk away with two Gold Crowns. Distraction also received third place in the CMA’s 2014 Apple Awards for “Best Magazine Spread, four-year school.”

Ibis Yearbook picked up its eighth Gold Crown overall—fifth in a row—and 11th Crown honor in the past 12 years. The 2013 Ibis was led by Sandra Montalvo, editor-in-chief, and Katherine Lee, managing editor.

In the past three years, The Miami Hurricane has garnered top recognition from multiple outlets, including the Associated Collegiate Press (ACP). The Hurricane also was selected as one of the regional winners for best all-around newspaper by the Society of Professional Journalists.

“I’m extremely proud of the fine work produced every week by The Miami Hurricane, from students who are passionate about serving the UM community with good journalism,” said Bob Radziewicz, the paper’s faculty advisor.


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