e-Veritas Archive | January, 2016

President Frenk Charts the Course to the New Century

In an inspiring inaugural address, UM’s first Hispanic president charted a new course for the institution’s next century.

By Robert C. Jones Jr.
UM News

Inauguration3CORAL GABLES, Fla. (January 29, 2016) – Julio Frenk, the former Harvard dean who became the University of Miami’s sixth president last August, used his inaugural address on Friday to chart a new course for the institution, challenging it to achieve greatness in four defining areas and announcing a landmark gift—one of the largest in UM’s history—that will be the linchpin in the success of one of its ambitious goals.

Noting that a 100-day exercise of observation and listening during the first few months of his presidency showed him the University is “driven by a deep commitment to reach new heights,” Frenk said UM must aspire to be a hemispheric, excellent, relevant, and exemplary institution to fulfill its potential by the time it reaches its 100th birthday a decade from now.

“Miami has long served as a bridge between North and South America, and we can take even greater advantage of our strategic location,” the former minister of health of Mexico said during his investiture ceremony, witnessed by nearly 4,000 people inside the BankUnited Center, among them his predecessor, Donna E. Shalala, and his former boss, Harvard President Drew Gilpin Faust. “Our bridges must extend from the Old World embedded within the New World and beyond.”

To achieve its potential, explained Frenk, UM will implement a strategy based on broad partnerships and institutional consortia, using research collaborations, new approaches for sharing knowledge, and student exchange programs as the “raw materials” to build bridges between the institution and the Americas.

“We often call the latter ‘study abroad,’ ” said Frenk in his 22-minute address, “but we might better call it ‘study within,’ the opportunity to live inside another culture in ways that both enrich and transform.”

Wearing black academic regalia with an orange, green and white hood, and with the President’s Medallion draped around his neck, a confident Frenk stood at the podium and spoke of the diverse strengths of the University’s 11 schools and college, but noted that despite their differences, UM’s potential stems from the fact that “we are one U.”

He unveiled a “100 New Talents for 100 Years” initiative, which will fund 100 new endowed faculty chairs between now and the school’s centennial.

He also announced an extraordinary $100 million gift from longtime UM benefactors Phillip and Patricia Frost that served as one of the highpoints of Frenk’s speech. The gift, the details of which will be announced in the coming weeks, will support basic and applied science and engineering—fields in which “any university striving for excellence must have depth,” said Frenk.

The gift is also evidence of the Frosts’ exceptional generosity. Thirteen years ago, when UM embarked upon its first billion-dollar fundraising campaign, the couple (Phillip Frost is a member of the UM Board of Trustees) made an astounding pledge that named the music school in their honor.

Calling students the “most enduring legacy” and “energizing force” on UM’s campuses, Frenk said the University will develop a platform to exploit the current revolution in teaching and learning, and he addressed the issue that is often of utmost concern to them—the debt they incur from attending college.

“If education is to fulfill its crucial function of expanding opportunities, we must build a bridge between excellence and access,” he said, committing to increase financial aid at UM to meet 100 percent of student need.

Renee Reneau, a senior majoring in communications studies, was ecstatic to hear Frenk directly address students’ financial needs. “For me, it was the best part of his speech,” she said. “It’s refreshing to have a president who is focused on that. My brother is a freshman here, so I’m excited for him, and maybe someday when I have kids, it’ll be more affordable to go here.”

Hong-Uyen Hua, a medical student at the Miller School who earned her bachelor’s degree from UM, said she was “wowed” by Frenk’s remarks. “Being a beneficiary of scholarships here at UM eased my experience because I could feel free to pursue whatever I wanted,” she said. “If more students could have access, that would advance and enrich the University.”

With his wife, health economist Dr. Felicia Knaul, son, two daughters, two sisters, and a brother-in-law looking on, Frenk said he was committed  to advancing the University’s relevance.

“From its very origins, this University has been driven by the dual commitment to excellence and relevance, pursuing the highest academic standards while also serving the local and global communities to which it belongs,” said Frenk. “Today, more than ever before, we must build a sturdy bridge that connects scholarship to solutions.”

As part of its mission of fostering solutions, Frenk said, UM will soon launch an institution-wide effort to expand its expertise in sea level rise, lead the way in the new era of value-based, integrated health care, and help drive the development of an innovation hub that draws on the school’s strengths in the life sciences, nanotechnology, and computational science.

Frenk lauded the University’s storied athletics program, saying academics and success on the playing field “can go hand in hand,” and cited the adoption of recommendations from the Task Force on Black Students’ Concerns and a plan to develop gender-inclusive housing as examples of UM’s commitment to diversity.

But while embracing diversity in whatever form it takes can be an effective way of achieving exemplary status, Frenk cautioned that “diversity by numbers is not enough.” Creating a sense of belonging and promoting empathy are both crucial, he said.

“We need not only virtual connectivity but also real connectedness,” said Frenk, adding that UM will implement policies and practices to foster inclusiveness across its campuses.

He called the subject of diversity deeply personal, noting that his 92-year-old father, a physician in Mexico who still practices medicine, and his family were forced to leave Germany in the 1930s. “I would not be here today if they had not found a welcoming refuge in Mexico, a country that was poor economically but rich in the ways that matter most—tolerance, kindness to strangers, solidarity with those who suffer persecution.”

Frenk is proud to be UM’s first Hispanic president—“Me siento orgulloso de ser el primer rector hispano de esta Universidad,” he said in Spanish—but said he will serve as “everyone’s president.”

He said UM could be a beacon of resilience and a model of renewal. “With resilience and renewal, we can weather the winds of change buffeting higher education and the world at large, and emerge smarter and stronger,” said Frenk.

In additions to thousands of members of the UM community, delegates from 98 universities and learned societies,elected officials and civic and business leaders from across Miami-Dade County and Florida, and diplomatic representatives from 28 countries witnessed the historic occasion.

Student musicians from UM’s acclaimed Frost School of Music performed, and the presidential stage party included Board of Trustees Chairman Stuart A. Miller, academic deans, and UM officers and trustees.

Faust, the Harvard president, praised her former colleague, saying Frenk excelled as the dean of faculty of Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health. “He brought vision, eloquence, a thirst for excellence, and a passion for education,” she said, noting he comes to UM at an “immensely consequential moment for universities.”

“Never before has education been more vital to the prospects of individuals,” she said, adding that institutions of higher education now face a “dizzying array of challenges” such as how they should teach and create fully inclusive environments.

Frenk, she said, always knew “deep in his soul why universities matter.”

The inauguration created a buzz across campus, akin to the kind of excitement that envelopes our nation’s capital during a U.S. presidential investiture, and the University basked in the moment, celebrating the installation of its sixth president with a weeklong slate of events—from a ceremony honoring women’s athletics, to a discussion of historic “firsts” in the institution’s history, to a TED Talks-style series of lectures called ’Cane Talks.

And Greater Miami—the multiethnic, multiracial community Frenk has grown to embrace—shared in the exhilaration of his inauguration, as buildings, billboards, and transportation hubs heralded his investiture in one form or another.

From the iconic Freedom Tower in downtown Miami to the historic Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables, some of the area’s most recognizable structures were illuminated in orange and green, the signature colors of the U. Port Miami and Miami International Airport both rolled out signage congratulating UM’s first Hispanic president, the former illuminating its cruise terminal in UM colors.

Even Uber joined the celebration, displaying a message applauding Frenk’s historic moment when passengers in Coral Gables opened the company’s app.

After delivering his inaugural address, Frenk and his family headed to the Student Center Complex Lakeside Patio, where a community reception was held.



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Quick Talks Pack Powerful Punch

’Cane Talks presenters share their exciting visions for a brighter, bolder future through scholarship in action.

By Robin Shear
UM News


In his ’Cane Talk, critically acclaimed playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney, professor of theatre arts and civic engagement, discusses “The Distant Present: A Look at Miami’s Future as a Global Artistic Gateway.”

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (January 29, 2016)—From the professor who dives into pitch-black caves seeking answers to vital environmental challenges to the architecture dean who is exploring ways to embed transformative technology into everything from blankets to bridges to the student who sees our biggest hope for the future in life’s unexpected intersections, the inaugural slate of ’Cane Talks speakers held Friday illuminated the path to the U’s next century.

University of Miami President Julio Frenk kicked off the set of ten presentations on January 29 by noting the proximity of his installation as the University’s sixth president.

“I know many of you are wondering what am I doing here since my own installation is in a few hours. Shouldn’t I be rehearsing my speech or resting my voice?” he joked. “But there’s no way I would miss the launch of ’Cane Talks. The idea behind this is to showcase the enormous breadth and depth of talent in our faculty, the great, amazing students that we have, and the success and devotion of some of our alumni.”

Audience members moved between the Shalala Student Center’s east and west ballrooms, where each presenter had ten minutes to tackle topics ranging from the journey that turned HIV/AIDS into a treatable disease to methods of “training” the brain to perform better in combat and other extreme-stress conditions, to how the Frost School of Music is teaching students to see music in a whole new light.

Dean Rodolphe el-Khoury explained that we are in the midst of a digital technology revolution that he, his students, and faculty at the School of Architecture are helping to advance by working on projects such as a ceiling that would use the detoxifying capacities of moss “to condition the stuffy atmosphere of your hermetically sealed offices.”

At the same time, el-Khoury said, embedded sensors would upload data about air quality, sending an alert about the existence of a pollutant or contaminant, such as an airborne virus, via text message.

“This gives you an idea of what is possible, what will happen when the functionality we now cram into smart devices starts to overflow out into the built environment and to really engage us with our surroundings,” said el-Khoury, who also devised a blanket that senses motion to assist in diagnosing and managing sleep disorders, which affect 40 million people in the United States alone.

UM School of Law professor Osamudia James delivered a powerful talk titled, “How I Became Comfortable as That Lady: Racial Identity, Silence, and Equality in American Public Schools.” She used a personal story of her 6-year-old daughter’s observations about Miami’s “white” and “black” neighborhoods to dive into an explanation of the deep racial inequality entrenched in our society.

“By some measures, American public schools are more segregated today than they were in 1968,” she said, in part as a result of the 1974 U.S. Supreme Court Case Milliken v. Bradley, which “reaffirmed the distinction between ‘unintentional’ and ‘intentional’ segregation.” Detailing significant ramifications of segregation throughout society and, in particular, in the lives of black children—the lives of her own children—she said, “As a lawyer, as a citizen, as a mother, I refuse to pay the price of silence.”

For Mateus Lima, a member of UM’s Class of 2017, moving to the United States as a teen represented a path of promise in education. He talked about his journey from Brazil to America, his exploration of interdisciplinary study as a UM DaVinci Scholar, and his devotion to soccer despite a rigorous academic schedule that includes majors in economics and biology and fulfilling his pre-med requirements.

“These seemingly unconnected influences and interests have led me further than I would have gone if I had chosen one path or the other,” he said.

This is just the beginning of  ’Cane Talks. The University hopes to present 100 ’Cane Talks on a variety of pressing global issues during the next decade leading up to UM’s centennial.

“We might be able to create a tradition so that ’Cane Talks becomes an ongoing event,” said Thomas J. LeBlanc, UM’s executive vice president and provost. “That’s my hope, because there are so many fascinating and wonderful things going on here at the University that people don’t know about. They don’t have time to read about all of it, so if you can attend a ten-minute talk, and it causes you to follow up with some additional readings, or maybe come to some additional lectures, we can get more people engaged in the intellectual work at the University.”

For more information about the presenters and their topics, as well as future links to their video presentations, visit www.canetalks.miami.edu.

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Early Registration for 2016 Corporate Run/Walk Ends March 2; T-Shirt Designs Due March 4


Grab your running shoes, boost your stamina, and manifest your UM spirit because the 2016 Mercedes Benz Corporate Run is coming on Thursday, April 28 and faculty and staff who register by Wednesday, March 2 will receive $15 off the registration fee, 300 Well ’Canes points, and a chance to win a fitbit or have their registration fee waived.

 One of the nation’s largest 5K (3.1 miles) races, the corporate run/walk will takes place at Bayfront Park in downtown Miami. Last year, Team UM had its largest team ever–just over 1,450 participants–and the second largest team overall. Be sure to sign up for the city’s largest office party and get ready to experience a night of exercise, food, entertainment and prizes.


T Shirt Design Contest

TshirtContestShow off your design skills and enter the Corporate Run T Shirt Design Contest. Design the customized Team UM T shirt and watch our 2000 team members showcase your design on race day. Designs must include the phrases “Team UM” and “Corporate Run 2016” and also incorporate our theme of “U Got This.” The winning designer will receive a $100 gift certificate to the UM Bookstore and a framed shirt signed by President Frenk. The submission deadline is Friday, March 4. Send all submissions or any questions to [email protected].


President’s Cup Office Challenge

The President’s Cup Office Challenge is a UM competition to see who can form the largest team. If you are interested in becoming a Team Leader, please email [email protected]. The winning team takes home the coveted President’s Cup trophy and the top fiveteam leaders each win a gift card.





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Save the Date and Volunteer for the Miami Brain Fair March 12

Save the date for the Miami Brain Fair on Saturday, March 12 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the BankUnited Center Fieldhouse on the University of Miami Coral Gables campus. The Brain Fair is a community education event designed to teach adults and children how the brain works and about the neuroscience research at the University of Miami. Visit themiamiproject.org/brainfair to volunteer.


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Take These 10 Steps to Boost Your DCC Fundraising

Special to UM News

An important part of participating in the Dolphins Cancer Challenge  on Saturday, February 20, is raising vital funds for cancer research at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center. Remember that every penny raised by riders, walkers, runners and virtual participants goes to Sylvester and that’s what the DCC is all about. With two and a half weeks to go, now is your time to give your fundraising efforts one last push. Here are 10 ways to boost your fundraising:

1) Ask your friends, family, and coworkers
Asking for money is not easy, but consider this: by asking for a donation, you are inviting people to join the fight against cancer by supporting Sylvester’s innovative cancer research. Cancer has touched all of us in one way or another, so the mission of the DCC, and your commitment to supporting it, will resonate with everyone you ask.

2) Make your own donation
Reinvigorate your fundraising momentum by donating to your own team. Lead by example and encourage others to donate as well.

3) Aim high and be specific
Ask for a specific and larger amount from those you know can make bigger gifts. Don’t forget to specify that 100 percent of every dollar raised is donated to cancer research at Sylvester.

4) Expand your reach by using social media
Tag your friends and potential donors on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram by using the hashtag #TeamHurricanes. Make sure to repost Sylvester’s DCC posts.

5) Send emails
Send emails to your network of potential donors directly from haku on the DCC website or draft your own message from your preferred email account. Include a link to your personal fundraising page. Sending periodic emails to your donor base is a great way to update them on your fundraising progress or training, and also to remind them to make a contribution if they have not done so already.

6) Include fundraising links in your email signature
In your personal and/or work emails, include a link to your personal fundraising page. Also consider including links to the websites of the DCC (DolphinsCancerChallenge.com) and Sylvester (Sylvester.org) for those who want to learn more about both organizations.

7) Ask about matching gifts
Ask your donors if their employers offer a matching gift program for an easy way to double the impact of their donation and strengthen the fight against cancer.

8) Host a fundraising brunch or dinner
Invite your friends, family, and coworkers to a brunch or dinner at your favorite local restaurant. Tell them why you are riding/running/walking in the DCC and ask them to support you by making a donation. And while you’re there, ask the restaurant to make a contribution as well.

9) Make a video
Make a short video explaining what inspired you to participate in the DCC or train for the big day and upload it to your team page as well as your social media channels. Ask your friends to share the video on their channels as well.

10) Meet in person
Catch up with your potential donors in person. They will appreciate the time you take to meet with them and your conversation will go a long way in motivating them to make a donation.

If you have not signed up for the DCC yet, make sure to do so as soon as possible by visiting TeamHurricanes.org.


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