Orlando native Michael Kaplan was originally drawn to UM by the diverse learning opportunities offered through the University’s prestigious Foote Fellows Program.
The College of Arts and Sciences is on UM's Coral Gables campus, minutes from downtown Miami and Biscayne Bay.
Soon busy with activities ranging from Model UN to running the scoreboard at volleyball games, he found himself especially intrigued by a freshman seminar known as Books That Matter. Designed for the Foote Fellows by William Scott Green, senior vice provost and dean of undergraduate education, and John Paul Russo, professor of English and classics, the course invites faculty members to discuss a nonfiction work of personal significance.
The seminar’s heady intellectual brew inspired Kaplan to take its concept campus-wide in spring 2009. The resulting program, ULecture, has chalked up more than 25 faculty presentations to date, including one on health care last February with President Donna E. Shalala.
Kaplan, who is balancing a double major in history and political science with a triple minor in theater, sport administration, and business law, has served (among other things) as the 2009-10 Student Government Senator of the Year, a College of Arts and Sciences senator, and chair of the UM Student Government Academic Affairs Committee. He also leads campus tours for prospective students, performs with UM’s Just Kidding improv comedy troupe, and participates on the Model UN traveling team.
“I came to UM because I wanted the freedom to choose,” he recalls. “The University said I could take my education and make it my own. And I knew it was the right decision.”