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Faculty and Staff Support the U: Retired Air Force Officer Remains on the Frontlines—of UM Information Technology, and Giving

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    As an information technology specialist in the U.S. Air Force, Darren Roach served in the Pentagon and the White House.

    As an information technology specialist in the U.S. Air Force, Darren Roach served at the Pentagon and the White House.

    Retired Lt. Col. Darren Roach, B.B.A ’91, M.B.A. ’92, knows the difference scholarships can make. “I would not have been able to earn an M.B.A. if not for the donors who funded my scholarship,” says the alumnus, who joined the University of Miami a year ago as senior manager of Application System Development in Information Technology. “Now, it’s my turn to give back to our great University.”

    Over the previous two decades, Roach built a distinguished career as an information technology specialist in the U.S. Air Force, serving in the Pentagon and the White House and traveling to more than 50 countries around the world. In 1998 he witnessed history when President Bill Clinton and Ireland’s Prime Minister Bertie Ahern affixed their electronic signatures on a binational trade agreement in Dublin, the first agreement signed electronically by two sovereign nations.

    Now, Roach is using his IT skills and experience on the Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine campus, where he helps Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, Ann Bates Leach Eye Hospital, and the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center migrate from paper records to the UChart electronic medical record system.

    Darren Roach and family make the ever-popular “U” symbol in front of the Sebastian statue at the Newman Alumni Center. From left are Roach, his daughter Veronica, wife Glory, and son Brendan.

    From left, Darren Roach, daughter Veronica, wife Glory, and son Brendan, make the ever-popular “U” symbol in front of the Sebastian statue at the Newman Alumni Center.

    Growing up in Michigan, Roach set his sights on studying technology at the University of Miami. An Air Force ROTC scholarship enabled him to earn his undergraduate degree in the School of Business Administration’s computer information systems department. After earning his M.B.A. in the wake of Hurricane Andrew, Roach married his college sweetheart, Glorirma Rivera, B.B.A. ’92. They have two children—Veronica and Brendan—who are both in high school.

    “I had planned to serve four years in the Air Force, but wound up staying for 20 years,” says Roach, whose post-graduate military roles grew with the rise of the Internet, cell phones, smart devices, and “cyberspace” operations.

    In the mid-1990s, Roach served on the National Security Council staff during the Clinton administration. “My role was to ensure that the president had access to key information when on Air Force One, in a motorcade, or traveling abroad,” he says.

    During the next decade, Roach served in the Air Force’s intelligence training headquarters in Texas and on the U.S. Transportation Command, which carried troops and material to Iraq and Afghanistan after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. He served as a communications officer in an airborne command post, then as a squadron commander in Kyrgyzstan at an Air Force refueling base as part of Operation Enduring Freedom. Along the way, he earned a master’s degree in military operations from the Air Command and Staff College.

    After retiring from the military in 2013, Roach returned to South Florida to be closer to his mother-in-law and his parents. Last month marked his one-year anniversary as a University employee, but his dedication to UM never wavered throughout his Air Force career.

    A proud member of the University of Miami Loyalty Society, which honors donors who make gifts to the University for two or more consecutive years, he began contributing to the Hurricane Club in 1991 and has donated regularly to the School of Business Administration. He and his wife also contribute through the annual United Way campaign, designating their gifts to the business school.

    “So many things at our University have changed for the better in the past 25 years,” Roach says. “Our campus, buildings, faculty, students, and research programs are all moving upward. My wife and I are very grateful to be able to give back to the U.”

    Read about other faculty and staff who support the U.



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