In Memoriam

Pioneering Oceanographer Mark Donelan Passes Away

UM News


Mark Donelan

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (March 16, 2018)—Mark Donelan, a professor emeritus of oceanography who turned the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science into a hub of international wave dynamics research, passed away in Canada on March 12 after a short illness. He was 75.

Recruited to the University of Miami from a federal research post in Canada in 1996, Donelan pioneered the fields of wave dynamics and air-sea interaction research, and scientists and students from the world over came to Virginia Key to work with and learn from him.

He established the Air-Sea Interaction Laboratory (ASIST) at Rosenstiel and was a leader of two major wave measurement field programs, the Surface Wave Dynamics Experiment (SWADE) and the Shoaling Wave Experiment (SHOWEX). He also pioneered the development of wave forecast models, working to incorporate his deep understanding of air-sea coupling to improve operational forecasts.

“More than anything else, he will be remembered as a consummate scientist with a shining keen intellect, a deep understanding of the physical world and a gentle soul. He strove for excellence in everything he did and expected the same from all those around him,” said Brain Haus, director of the Rosenstiel School’s Alfred C. Glassell Jr. SUSTAIN Laboratory, who worked closely with Donelan. “He was legendary for making changes to get things right, no matter how late or inconvenient, always with a polite, quite grace. It is these qualities that will continue to inspire the many scientists, students and staff from all over the world who had the good fortune to work with him.”

Spanning 50 years, many of his publications were transformative works that remain standards in the field. His latest paper, on the oceanic drag coefficient in high winds, was published just over a month ago. A fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and the American Meteorological Society, he was a recipient of the AMS’s Sverdrup Gold Medal.

Born on the West Indian island of Grenada to Ivy and William Donelan, Donelan was the middle of three brothers who grew up playing on the sandy beaches, in the cool waterfalls, and in the blue ocean.

With a thirst for knowledge and the help of a kind aunt, he immigrated to Montreal to complete a degree in electrical engineering at McGill University (1964). During that time, he met his first wife, June, with whom he had two children, Laura and Maxwell, after moving to Vancouver, where he earned his Ph.D. in physical oceanography at the University of British Columbia (1971).

He later completed his postdoctoral fellowship at Cambridge University, before settling in Burlington, Ontario, where he began a successful 20-year career as a federal research scientist at the Canadian Centre for Inland Waters.

When UM came calling in 1996, he and June happily moved to Miami, where they could spend their weekends sailing around the Keys. After June’s death in 2006, Donelan retired from RSMAS, and began a new chapter in his life by reconnecting with his old sweetheart, Susan Ramsay, who he married in 2009. They settled in the Cowichan Valley, British Columbia, where Donelan continued to study the mysteries of waves, the ocean, and the atmosphere.

In addition to his wife, Susan, Donelan is survived by his children, Laura and Maxwell, stepson Andrew Lacroix, step-daughter-in-law Janelle, stepdaughter Jill, and 11 grandchildren.

There were no firm plans for a celebration of Donelan’s life but his family anticipated an academic celebration in the future. In lieu of flowers, they asked that donations be made to UNICEF and that any fond memories be sent to Susan Ramsay ([email protected]), Laura Donelan, ([email protected]), and Max Donelan-Cloud ([email protected]).




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A Remembrance of Visiting Professor Vincent J. Scully, Jr. on February 19

Dean Rodolphe el-Khoury and the School of Architecture invite the University of Miami community to a remembrance of former Visiting Professor Vincent J. Scully, Jr. at 1 p.m. on Monday, February 19, at the school’s Glasgow Hall.

Scully, who has been described as one of the “world’s greatest influences on architecture,” taught at UM for nearly 20 years after retiring from Yale University. He passed away at his home in Lynchburg, Virginia, late last year, leaving an indelible mark not only on the world of architecture but also  at the School of Architecture, about which he wrote the 1996 book Between Two Towers, which chronicles his support for his new colleagues.

“Arriving just three years after the program became the School of Architecture, his presence among us gave impetus to faculty and students alike to seek a regional identity,” said former Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, former dean of UM’s School of Architecture, who is now director of the school’s Master of Urban Design Program. “He loved the diversity of Miami culture, its affinity with the Caribbean, and he encouraged us to emphasize these as a distinction. We remember gratefully his demanding intellect, generous mentoring, and outrageous sense of humor.”

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Celebrate the Life of William J. Sandler, Jr., on November 5

William J. 'Bill' Sandler, Jr.

William J. ‘Bill’ Sandler, Jr.

Join the University of Miami for a celebration of Dean of Students Emeritus William W. Sandler, Jr.’s life on Sunday, November 5 at 4 p.m. at the Newman Alumni Center.

Sandler, who passed away at age 83 on August 6, served four generations of UM students with pride, dedication, and distinction. After joining the institution in 1962, he helped shape and guide their academic careers in countless ways, from advising fraternities and sororities to playing a major role in the creation of the undergraduate Honor Council in 1986.

During his tenure, his dedication to and deep concern for the welfare of students had many positive impacts, including increased student involvement in leadership roles that enrich the University and the broader community, and the creation of the Sandler Center of Alcohol and Other Drug Education.

Kindly RSVP for the Celebration of Life to [email protected].

Donations in Sandler’s memory may be made to the Sandler Center by mailing a check payable to the Univeristy of Miami to: Dean of Students, 1306 Stanford, Drive, UC # 2250, Coral Gables, FL, 33146.

For more information call 305-284-4922.

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In Memoriam: William W. Sandler, Jr.

UM News

William J. 'Bill' Sandler, Jr.

William W. ‘Bill’ Sandler, Jr.

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (August 10, 2017)—Former Dean of Students William W. Sandler, Jr., an epic figure at the University of Miami who counseled, mentored, and befriended four generations of students during his 43 years at the U, passed away August 6 at his Key Biscayne home. He was 83.

Sandler, who began his career at the University in 1962 as a counselor for men in the old Dean of Men’s Office, continuously rose through the administrative ranks, serving as dean of student personnel or dean of students for a quarter century, until his retirement in July 2006.

Sandler always considered himself first and foremost an advocate for students. He was instrumental in shifting the Division of Student Affairs’ focus to giving students a role in University governance and a voice in issues that mattered to them. During his time, those issues included fewer regulations on their personal lives, representation on the Board of Trustees, a rathskeller on campus, overseas conflicts, and the plight of black students.

As he put it, “We learned to work more closely with students. We became student advocates rather than university administrators.”

Pat Whitely, vice president for student affairs, who considered Sandler a mentor, said he had a profound impact on countless students and student affairs administrators like herself.

“He was known for his kindness, patience, and unflappable manner, regardless of the student challenges facing him,” Whitely said. “It was such a privilege to work closely with him.”

Over his tenure, Sandler advised fraternities and sororities, developed the Student Discipline System, instituted a student-run honor code, oversaw the Campus Chaplain’s Association, and cofounded the Center for Alcohol and Other Drug Education, which today bears his name.

Arriving at the U in the days when Interstate-95 didn’t exist, stop signs halted traffic on US 1, and campus life was disrupted by student unrest and major hurricanes, Sandler witnessed many transformative changes in the community, the student body, and the campus. He and his wife, Anita, started their own family in Building 29, one of the old World War II-era apartments on Walsh Avenue that were torn down to make way for what is now the Watsco Center. He and his daughters, Lisa Zingler and Kristine Sandler, who attended the U, were often seen walking around Lake Osceola, feeding the ducks and watching the mullet jump.

“I’ve seen a lot of changes since ’62,” Sandler said before his retirement. “They’ve all been great things. The University has become great and well respected in those years.”

Originally from Sunbury, Penn., Sandler attended Mansfield University and Pennsylvania State University, where he studied education and counseling psychology. He met his future boss and mentor, Dean Noble Hendrix, at an education convention in Philadelphia and was delighted to learn the young university had three dean openings. He immediately applied for a vacancy, anxious to take his young bride from the cold to the tropics.

He left the U briefly in the mid-1960s to become dean of students elsewhere but quickly returned because he had sand in his shoes—and the growing reputation and promise of the U in his heart. “If I go anywhere…with a U on my shirt I get all kinds of people talking to me,” he proudly noted. “It really is great to be a ’Cane.’’

Inducted into the Iron Arrow Honor Society in 1974, Sandler had many other honors over his lifetime, including the Lambda Chi Alpha Order of Merit, the Panhellenic Council’s Administrator of the Year Award, and the National Lambda Chi Alpha Award for Distinguished Service.

In addition to his wife of 55 years and his daughters, he is survived by grandchildren Lauren Zingler Davis, Shawn Zingler, Ricky Saborido, and William Saborido.

A celebration of his life  will be held at 4 p.m. on Sunday, September 17, at the Newman Alumni Center. Donations in his memory can be made to The Sandler Center For Alcohol and Other Drug Education, 1306 Stanford Drive, UC #2250, Coral Gables, FL 33146.



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Celebrate Educator Liz Rothlein’s Life on February 4


Liz Rothlein

Liz Rothlein

Educator Liz Rothlein, who taught at the School of Education and Human Development for a quarter- century, including 13 years as associate dean, passed away on January 6 in her home in Warne, North Carolina, where she lived after retirement and volunteered for Meals on Wheels. She was 80.

Schooled in Ohio, Rothlein, who earned a doctoral degree in education from Ball State University, moved to Miami in 1976, authoring or co-authoring approximately 30 teacher education books for children, numerous journal articles, and presenting at many local, state, and national conferences.

Some of her noted credits and recognitions include Teacher of the Year, official listing as an outstanding Teacher of America, and teaching plaudits from the Bahamas and Oxford, England, summer exchange student visitation programs.

She is survived by her husband of more than 40 years, Ash Rothlein; two daughters, Terri Wild and Kimberly Brandt from a previous marriage to Floren Christman; two step-sons, Jay and Steve Rothlein; four grandchildren, Amanda, Jason, Tyler, and Sophie; sister Linda Foley; and brothers Jim and John Brandt.

A celebration of her life will be held in the Hurricane 100 Room at the University of Miami Watsco Center on Saturday, February 4 between 3 and 6 p.m. For more information, call Marilyn DeNarvaez at 305-284-3711. For directions check the website www6.miami.edu/hurricane100/ .

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