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Rhonda DuBord, a Champion for Women’s Issues and a Leader of Positive Change, to Retire

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    At the UM Women’s Commission Breakfast in March, Rhonda DuBord accepts the Rita Deutsch Spirit of Excellence Award from Rita Deutsch, right, the longtime associate dean of students in the College of Arts and Sciences who retired last year. Photo by Andrew Innerarity

    CORAL GABLES, Fla. (May 21, 2014) — During her 33 years at the University of Miami, Rhonda DuBord, associate director of the Department of Wellness and Recreation, has been a leader of positive change for students, employees, children, and women.

    DuBord’s decades of devotion were cited during the UM Women’s Commission Breakfast in March, when she received the second annual Rita Deutsch Spirit of Excellence Award.

    Second-in-command to Norm Parsons at UM’s wellness facilities, DuBord has been a member of the Women’s Commission since 1981. She served as treasurer from 1985-90 and president from 1990-93 and 1994-95, and co-chaired its annual awards breakfast for the past several years.

    And while she looks forward to her retirement at the end of May, DuBord clearly has much to look back on with pride as well.

    A former director of women’s intramurals, DuBord was instrumental in the University’s implementation of Title IX and the establishment of a childcare center on campus, now known as Canterbury. “Rhonda has tirelessly supported women’s issues and educated our University community about women’s concerns,” says Parsons.

    DuBord’s exemplary efforts have earned numerous distinctions, including induction into the Omicron Delta Kappa national leadership honor society and receiving the May Brunson Award, named for UM’s first Dean of Women, in 1996.

    Today DuBord is responsible for 46 club sports, more than 360 student employees, and the award-winning Mini ’Canes Recreational Sports Camp. She is also a 2011 recipient of the National Intramural-Recreation Sports Association’s National Service Award for her outstanding contributions as chair of the National School of Recreational Sports Management.

    “Rhonda’s work on behalf of students and club sports has been exceptional,” says Parsons. “Under her leadership, the number of club sports has grown from 5 to 46, involving thousands of students annually in a wide variety of recreational, instructional, and competitive programs.”

    DuBord also oversees the largest number of student employees on campus, with a student payroll of over $1 million, yet she still finds time to treat each of them as “her” student, mentoring them personally and professionally, says colleague Patty Swift, the Herbert Wellness Center’s assistant director for business and marketing.

    And DuBord keeps up the pace year-round, devoting summers to the award-winning Mini ‘Canes Recreational Sports Camp she created going on 20 summers ago. It has received numerous awards for being the best day camp in South Florida and was nationally recognized in 2012 for the broad scope of wellness programming included in its curriculum.

    With DuBord retiring at the end of May, this summer will be a bit different. “Rhonda will be greatly missed by all,” says Parsons. “But she will never be forgotten, as the U is such a better place because of her.”

    Though she’s leaving campus, it’s unlikely DuBord’s bond with the U will fade anytime soon. Her husband, Robert J. DuBord, retired from his position as associate director of Housing and Residential Life just last year, after 32 years at UM himself, and their daughter Lesley DuBord, B.S.I.E. ’05, is a UM graduate.

    DuBord’s future plans include, of course, plenty of recreational activities. “We plan to travel, garden, fish, spend time at our beach condo in Fort Pierce, and play pickle ball,” says DuBord, adding that she has taught at UM since 1982 and will return to teach a Sports Administration class in the fall. “The U has been very good to me and my family! I have acquired a lifetime of memories and still keep in touch with former students and colleagues through Facebook.” 



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