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Longtime Employees Lauded for Laying the U’s Foundation

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    By Maya Bell
    UM News

    Recognizing "U" 2015

    Frank J. Millero, center, the now-retired professor of ocean sciences, was among the retired and long service employees UM President Donna E. Shalala and Sebastian the Ibis honored at the breakfast.

    CORAL GABLES, Fla. (April 8, 2015) — Frank J. Millero saw the want ad in a trade magazine in 1966, shortly after he earned his Ph.D. in physical chemistry from Carnegie Mellon University. The University of Miami was looking for a scientist to study the chemistry of seawater. “I applied and they sent me plane tickets,” Millero remembers. “It was snowing in New Jersey, so the first thing I did in Miami was buy sunglasses. Then I called my wife and said, essentially, ‘Start packing. We’re moving to Florida.”’

    Forty-eight years later, Millero is a world-renowned marine researcher, the author of hundreds of published papers and the classic text book Chemical Oceangraphy, mentor to dozens of grad students and, even though he retired as a professor of ocean sciences in January, the principal investigator on a six-year National Science Foundation grant to study the global CO2 cycles of the world’s seas. He also happened to be the longest-serving faculty member honored last week at the second Faculty and Staff Retirement and Long Service Appreciation Breakfast for employees who have witnessed almost as many changes at UM as Millero has seen in the oceans.

    Executive Vice President and Provost Thomas J. LeBlanc, who noted he’s only been at the U for a decade, thanked the group feted at the Student Activities Center for laying the foundation for the University’s goal of becoming the nation’s next great research university—a goal he said the new culture-shaping initiative now being introduced across the University is designed to accelerate.

    “For that to be our ambition, given our relative youth, is … a testament to the work that’s already been done,” LeBlanc said. “And that’s really our gift to you, for the work that you’ve done, and that’s for us to try to continually shape our culture so we are all moving in the same direction to achieve our grand ambition sooner than would be the case otherwise.”

    In addition to Millero, nearly 100 honorees attended the breakfast, including five who are just one year shy of his 48 years of service. They were Dr. Burton Goldstein, professor emeritus of public health sciences; Robert H. Morgan, director of the Social Work Division at the Mailman Center for Child Development; Charlotte Rogers, associate professor of English; Gladys Gomez Rossie, an administrative assistant at the Richter Library; and Jaime Suchlicki, professor of history and director of the Institute of Cuban and Cuban-American Studies.

    Echoing comments made by UM President Donna E. Shalala and Vice President for Human Resources Nerissa E. Morris, Joe Natoli, senior vice president for business and finance and chief financial officer, told the honorees they share the credit for the indelible impact UM has had on improving life in South Florida—from its athletic teams that, over the decades, brought a fractured community together, to its partnership with Jackson Memorial Hospital, which serves the area’s neediest residents, regardless of their ability to pay.

    “You all should pat yourselves on the back. You built an extraordinary place,” Natoli said. “Through your efforts we have really changed this community, and we have changed it for the better.”

    Millero, who bought season tickets to the Miami Hurricanes football team as soon as he moved to Miami, is glad he answered that ad to study seawater chemistry. After almost half a century, he still has a copy of the offer letter—for $8,800—for the research scientist position at what was then the Institute of Marine Science and is now the renowned Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science. Said Millero: “The last 48 years have been a rewarding experience for me and my family.”


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