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Cuban Heritage Collection Receives $2M to Expand Its ‘Home Away from Home’

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    By Barbara Gutierrez and Sarah Block
    UM News


    The Goizueta Pavilion’s exhibition gallery features Espejo de Paciencia, a mural by Humberto Calzada.

    CORAL GABLES, Fla. (February 19, 2015) – In 2010, Anita Casavantes Bradford, a doctoral student at the University of California, San Diego, came to Miami to conduct historical research at the Cuban Heritage Collection (CHC) as part of the inaugural class of the Graduate Fellowship Program.

    Her work, and that of many other emerging scholars who have taken part in the program, recently inspired a $2 million gift from The Goizueta Foundation that will lead to the program’s expansion and permanent establishment at the CHC.

    Part of Momentum2: The Breakthrough Campaign for the University of Miami, $1 million of this gift will endow The Goizueta Foundation Graduate Fellowship Program, allowing the CHC to continue awarding research opportunities to doctoral candidates from across the United States. Additionally, The Goizueta Foundation has challenged the University of Miami to raise $500,000 in support of the CHC. Once these funds are secured, the foundation will match with a gift of $1 million for the second endowment to support the continued growth of the CHC’s collections through acquisitions, preservation, and digitization.

    “We are extremely grateful for the generous and continued support of The Goizueta Foundation,” said Sergio M. Gonzalez, UM’s senior vice president for University Advancement and External Affairs. “The foundation is one of our most loyal partners in ensuring that the Cuban Heritage Collection continues to be a first-rate collection.”

    The Goizueta Foundation has invested in the CHC for more than a decade, with the initial donation in 1999 helping to build the collection’s elegant Roberto C. Goizueta Pavilion, located on the second floor of the Richter Library. The foundation’s award of a $2.4 million grant in 2009 supported the initiatives to expand, digitize, and improve access to collections and to create the Graduate Fellowship Program, which it has now endowed.

    The program has grown to support the research of 55 emerging scholars from 33 universities. Many past fellows have earned doctoral degrees and advanced in their professional careers. Doctoral candidates who receive fellowship awards as part of The Goizueta Foundation Graduate Fellowship Program will now be known as Goizueta Fellows.

    Following the three months in which Anita Casavantes Bradford explored the CHC’s vast repository through the program, she went on to complete her dissertation and, most recently, the book The Revolution is for the Children, published by UNC Press in 2014.

    Now an assistant professor of history at the University of California, Irvine, Casavantes Bradford says the CHC played a significant role in the book’s formation. “CHC is one of my homes away from home,” she said. “I have worked in a lot of different archives and there’s absolutely no comparison. The quality of the materials available and their breadth, the professional and highly skilled staff, as well as the state-of-the-art archiving technology, just makes it a pleasure to work there.”

    Maria R. Estorino, the Esperanza Bravo de Varona Chair of the CHC, says the gift from The Goizueta Foundation demonstrates its understanding of how a specialized library collection like that of the CHC supports education. “The Goizueta Foundation Endowed Fund will allow us to keep growing as an important research resource, to build a collection that will continue to attract fellows and other researchers, and contribute to research, teaching, and learning in ever more meaningful ways.”

    Researchers come from all over the world to visit the CHC, one of the world’s largest and most comprehensive collections on Cuba and its diaspora. It includes rare books, manuscripts, photographs, maps, architectural drawings, prints, posters, audiovisual materials, newspapers and journals, and other research materials.

    “It is a point of tremendous pride for the UM Libraries that we are the host for the Cuban Heritage Collection, and we are extremely grateful for The Goizueta Foundation’s support of our mission,” said Charles Eckman, dean and University librarian. Eckman often describes the CHC as a “treasure of the University,” both because of its great depth of resources and because of the programming that engages the community with the collections.

    As a resource of high cultural significance to South Florida, many University and local community members have long taken interest in the CHC’s work. In 1995, a group of volunteers at the Collection came together to establish the Amigos of the Cuban Heritage Collection, which has grown to become an integral partner of the CHC, supporting initiatives that range from expanding the collections to funding fellowships in the program.

    With the collaboration of the Amigos, the University of Miami Libraries will rally support from the community in order to secure The Goizueta Foundation Endowed Fund. Estorino said the challenge grant brings an incredible opportunity to realize a vision.

    “Thanks to the foundation’s support, the collection could make an even greater contribution to research and education at the University of Miami and beyond,” Estorino said. “With an expanding collection and programs that encourage exploration and discovery, I believe our Goizueta Pavilion will become a ‘home away from home’ to many more.”

    For more information on the fellowship program, visit:

    To learn more about how to support the CHC and be part of the challenge, contact Director of Development Karla Hernandez at [email protected] or 305-284-2266.

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