Tag Archive | "Iron Arrow"

New Iron Arrow Tappees Humbled and Honored


New Iron Arrow Tappees Humbled and Honored

Thirty one students, faculty, staff and alumni were tapped into the University’s highest honor last week.

By Mike Piacentino
Special to UM News

David Birnbach is

Vice Provost David Birnbach is inked with the University’s colors, part of the Iron Arrow tapping ritual.

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (Oct. 31, 2014) – David Birnbach, vice provost for faculty affairs and director of the University of Miami-Jackson Memorial Hospital Center for Patient Safety, thought he was meeting with Provost Thomas J. Leblanc when the tribe interrupted the meeting.

“At first, as I heard the drum, I thought about who might be the recipient, and it never dawned on me that they were here for me,” said Birnbach. “When the door crashed open and I was flung into the whirlwind of activity, I was at first shocked, then thrilled, and ultimately humbled by the great honor.”

As vice provost, Birnbach oversees the promotion and tenure process, faculty mentoring programs, faculty diversity, and faculty development and recognition programs. Birnbach was recently named senior associate dean for Quality, Safety and Risk.

Thirty one students, faculty, staff, and alumni were tapped last Wednesday and Thursday into the University of Miami Iron Arrow Honor Society.

Iron Arrow was started in 1926, about a month after the University of Miami opened. It honors individuals who show a love of alma mater and embody the qualities of good character, leadership, scholarship, and humility. There are more than 2,900 members.

Christian Garcia, executive director of the Toppel Career Center, had the rare opportunity Thursday to tap his predecessor, Jim Smart, who is now executive director of Housing and Residential Life, into the “highest honor attained at the University of Miami.”

Iron Arrow members frequently use fake meetings or ask soon-to-be-tappees for a quick coffee break in order to secure a tapping time and location. So Smart had his “meeting” with Brenden Kollar, a former resident assistant who is working on the University’s new housing plan. But the meeting was soon interrupted by the familiar beating of the drum, and Garcia and Matt McCabe, a UM alumnus and former resident assistant in Hecht Residential College, pulled their mentor from his chair and presented him for the ritual tapping.

“Much of Toppel’s success is the direct result of Jim’s leadership and vision as director,” said Garcia, who was tapped in the spring 2014. “I jumped at the opportunity to recognize my mentor and predecessor for his passion and dedication to UM.”

Smart was a vocal advocate for the LGBTQ community at UM and served as the founding advisor for the University’s first student organization supporting LGBTQ students. Since then, Smart has continued to ensure that all University of Miami students feel at home during their time at UM.

“Jim is most deserving of this honor,” said Patricia A. Whitely, vice president for student affairs. “He is an outstanding and dedicated leader at the University of Miami and has served our students with distinction for more than 24 years.”

Shane McDermott, a UM senior and offensive lineman for the Hurricanes football team, was tapped into the tribe during a special tapping ceremony on Wednesday evening. In front of his coaches, trainers, teammates, and mother, McDermott was watching film when the tap of the arrow fell upon his chest.

The full Fall 2014 tappee list includes:

Daniel Atherton

David Birnbach

Patricia Byers

Nejla Calvo

Phillip Chan

David Coulter

Douglas “Doug” Crawford

Melissa Damas

Ryan Dauer

Juan Carlos del-Valle

Nicole Garcia

Barry Gelman

Michael Genden

Kysha Harriell

Hope Hua

Erin Kobetz

Ken Lee

Vinay Madhusoodanan

Michael Maguire

Ashley McBride

Shane McDermott

Angelica Melillo

Charles Mercer

Julie Piccione

David Rivero

Mitchell Roffer

James “Jim” Smart

Heather Stephens

Guerdiana Thelomar

Richard Thurer

Kristy Whyte


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Iron Arrow Nominations for 2014 Sophomore Leadership Award Due April 1

Iron Arrow is currently accepting nominations for the 2014 Sophomore Leadership Award. If you know an outstanding sophomore ’Cane who contributes to UM and embodies character, leadership, humility, scholarship, and love of alma mater, send your nomination to Chief Lauren Lee Pettiette at [email protected] by Tuesday, April 1.

Please include with your nomination form and a typed, one-page statement expressing how the nominee exemplifies the five pillars of Iron Arrow. Feel free to include additional materials, such as a resume, letters of recommendation, and other supporting documents.


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The Tradition Continues with a Drumbeat and a Tap by an Iron Arrow


The Tradition Continues with a Drumbeat and a Tap by an Iron Arrow

By Robert C Jones Jr.
UM News

Elation: Joe Natoli is congratulated on his Iron Arrow tapping.

Elation: Joe Natoli is congratulated last Wednesday on his Iron Arrow tapping. Photos by JC Ridley.

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (March 7, 2014) — With the solemn beating of a single drum and a tap by an iron arrow, UM’s senior vice president for business and finance and CFO Joe Natoli and 30 other consummate ’Canes were inducted into the Iron Arrow Honor Society last week for embodying good character, leadership, scholarship, and humility.

Natoli, who is currently serving as interim chief operating officer of the Miller School of Medicine and UHealth, was among a group of Iron Arrow inductees tapped Wednesday on the medical campus. His induction,the highest honor attainable at UM, comes eight years after he joined the University and is the second major honor he has received in as many years. In 2013 Natoli won South Florida Business Journal’s CFO of the Year Award in the Nonprofit Company category. Read the full story

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Iron Arrow Nominations for the Spring Semester Due February 3

Iron Arrow is currently accepting recommendations for the spring 2014 semester. If you know of an outstanding ‘Cane—an alumna or alumnus, a faculty or staff member, an administrator, or a student—email a a brief description of his or her accomplishments and an explanation of why you feel the person deserves the University’s highest honor to [email protected] by 6 p.m. on Monday, February 3.

Please limit  descriptions of the person to one  typed page. You also may submit his or her updated resume. Remember to keep your recommendation(s) confidential.


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Students and Faculty Alike Are Surprised by Iron Arrow Induction


Students and Faculty Alike Are Surprised by Iron Arrow Induction

2013 Iron Arrow Fall Tappings

James Tien, dean of the College of Engineering, was among 34 ‘Cane loyalists inducted into Iron Arrow last week.

Mike Piacentino was brought to campus very early on November 7 under the ruse that a local television station wanted to interview him about the new Student Center Complex on its morning news show.

The chief of staff for student government – a senior majoring in public relations – waited outside the Whitten University Center, taking a seat in one of the gliders on the UC Rock.

In the distance, the beat of a single drum echoed across Lake Osceola, and a line of more than 20 people – members of the Iron Arrow Society – came into view. Why would anyone get tapped to join Iron Arrow at 6:45 in the morning, Piacentino wondered.

The group passed by the Rock, out of Piacentino’s vision, but soon returned, stopping in front of the glider. Right next to Piacentino. He turned to the woman who had driven him to campus. There is no interview, is there? he said.

Piacentino was one of 34 people from the University of Miami’s three campuses to be tapped into the society. They included Thomas J. LeBlanc, UM’s executive vice president and provost, and James Tien, dean of the College of Engineering. The new members and all Iron Arrow members in town marched in Friday’s Homecoming Parade.

“I was very surprised,” said Tien. “It’s the highest honor UM can give you, so I’m humbled by it. And since I’m not an alumnus, it’s an even greater honor.”

Iron Arrow was started in 1926, about a month after the University of Miami opened. It honors individuals who show a love of alma mater and embody the qualities of good character, leadership, scholarship and humility. There are more than 2,900 members.

After being “tapped” by an arrow to join the society, the new members are marched to the Iron Arrow mound on the Foote Green, where, in a ritualistic ceremony, the members bang drums.





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