2013: The Year in Review

A few words to describe the past year at UM would include transformative, engaging, inspirational, innovative and community-focused.

By Robert C. Jones Jr.
UM News

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (December 22, 2013) — From visits by a pair of Supreme Court justices to an Atlantic Coast Conference championship captured by the men’s basketball team; from a groundbreaking medical procedure to a charity cycling event that benefits cancer research; and from a No. 1 ranking for its eye hospital to the opening of the “transformative” Student Activities Center, 2013 was a banner year for the University of Miami.

Here’s a look at what transpired at the U over the past year.


Legendary Baseball Coach Ron Fraser Passes Away
Former University of Miami baseball coach Ron Fraser, who produced the program’s first two College World Series titles and went on to coach the 1992 U.S. Olympic baseball team in Barcelona, passes away on January 20. Known as the “Wizard of College Baseball,” Fraser was 79.

Legal Eagle
A poll in the January issue of The National Jurist ranks Patricia D. White, dean of the University of Miami School of Law, the most influential woman in legal education today.


During her conversation with UM President Donna E. Shalala, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, right, related some of the stories from her new book, My Beloved World.

Justices Hold Court
Two Supreme Court justices visit the University of Miami only days apart. During a February 1 conversation with UM President Donna E. Shalala at the BankUnited Center, presented in association with Books & Books, Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor presents a look into her life, relating some of the stories from her new book, My Beloved World. Ten days later, students, faculty, staff, and guests get an insight into the thinking of Associate Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, who teaches a Constitutional Law class at the School of Law and delivers the Robert B. Cole Distinguished Jurist Lecture at the BankUnited Center Fieldhouse.

From left, Sebastian the Ibis; Shelton “Shelly” Berg, dean of the Frost School of Music; trustee Phillip Frost; Patricia Louise Frost; UM President Donna E. Shalala; Leonard Abess, chair of the UM Board of Trustees; and Thomas J. LeBlanc, executive vice president and provost, participate in the groundbreaking ceremony for the new Frost Music Studios.

Musical Celebration
The University of Miami breaks ground February 8 on the new Patricia Louise Frost Music Studios. The structure, scheduled for completion in fall 2014, will include 74 studios for private lessons, chamber music rehearsals, and interactive Experiential Music Curriculum classes.

Life-Changing Procedure
Ricardo Komotar, assistant professor of neurological surgery and director of surgical neuro-oncology at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, uses an innovative laser technique to eradicate a brain tumor from a 64-year-old West Palm Beach man. The laser tumor ablation was performed at University of Miami Hospital, the only facility in the southeastern U.S. offering the procedure.


Coach Jim Larrañaga celebrates UM’s regular-season ACC championship victory.

Month of Madness
It is a marvelous month for the 2012-2013 UM men’s basketball team, which records the greatest season in program history. On March 9, the squad defeats Clemson 62-49 at the BankUnited Center to clinch its first Atlantic Coast Conference regular season title. On March 17, the Hurricanes, led by guard Shane Larkin’s 28 points and Trey McKinney Jones’s six three-pointers, defeat the North Carolina Tar Heels 87-77 to win their first-ever ACC Tournament title. Then, on March 24, playing as the No. 2 seed in the East Region of the NCAA Tournament, Miami edges a feisty Illinois squad by four points to advance to the Sweet 16. A season of hoop dreams is fulfilled not only for the squad but also for its motivational leader, head coach Jim Larrañaga, who wins the ACC, Associated Press, Naismith, and U.S. Basketball Writers Association’s Henry Iba Coach of the Year awards.

The University of Miami’s Center for Southeastern Tropical Advanced Remote Sensing is awarded a $16.5 million contract by the Office of Naval Research to continue collecting, processing, and disseminating data from commercial satellites. The data and imagery will aid U.S. Naval operations around the world and help scientists to better understand oceanographic, sea ice, and terrestrial processes.

MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow appears at the BankUnited Center Fieldhouse on March 24.

Maddow’s Moment
With her new book, Drift: The Unmooring of American Military Power, a New York Times bestseller, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow appears at the BankUnited Center Fieldhouse on March 24 to discuss topics addressed in her book. Held as a conversation with UM President Donna E. Shalala, the event was presented in association with Books & Books.

The Science of Beauty and the Beauty of Science
Richard Dawkins—the influential ethologist and evolutionary biologist who gained prominence with his 1976 book The Selfish Gene, in which he pioneered a gene-centric view of evolution and coined the term “meme”—lectures at the BankUnited Center on March 7. The former University of Oxford professor of public understanding of science presents “The Science of Beauty and The Beauty of Science.”

UM alumnus Will Allen speaks at the BankUnited Center Fieldhouse on March 28.

Urban Farmer Gives Advice on Food
Six-foot, seven-inch alumnus Will Allen, who was the first African-American student-athlete to play basketball for the University of Miami and now leads a Milwaukee-based urban agricultural organization called Growing Power, shares with a UM audience his strategies on how to transform the production and delivery of healthy foods to underserved communities. Allen’s talk was part of the Office of Civic and Community Engagement’s Urban and Environmental Sustainability Initiative.


U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, left, was a surprise guest lecturer in UM President Donna E. Shalala’s class.

A Lesson from the Nation’s Chief Health Care Officer
To the surprise of students, U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius appears as a guest lecturer in UM President Donna E. Shalala’s class, U.S. Health Care Crisis: The Politics of Health Care Reform, on April 1. Sebelius discusses how the Affordable Care Act will benefit Americans.

Cuban dissident blogger Yoani Sanchez, left, looks at some of the rare documents in UM’s Cuban Heritage Collection as then-CHC director Esperanza Bravo de Varona explains the significance of the materials.

Cuban Blogger Visits UM
Yoani Sánchez, the Cuban dissident blogger who has achieved international fame for her criticism of the Castro government, visits the University of Miami on April 2, touring the school’s Cuban Heritage Collection at the Richter Library and meeting with students.

Game, Set, Championship
The University of Miami women’s tennis team defeats Florida State on April 28 to capture its first Atlantic Coast Conference championship.

Goodall Gives Reason for Hope
Famed British primatologist Jane Goodall, Hon. ’93, speaks to an audience of thousands at the BankUnited Center on April 29, telling the story of her groundbreaking studies of chimpanzees in Tanzania, discussing problems that imperil our planet, and giving reasons for hope that the world can overcome serious challenges.


Pap Corps Annual Gift Reaches $3.6 Million
Motivated by its more than 21,000 volunteers, The Pap Corps: Champions for Cancer Research presents its annual gift—this time a check for $3.6 million—to the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the Miller School of Medicine. Presented at The Pap Corps May 9 President’s Meeting at the Boca West Country Club in Boca Raton, the check is part of the group’s $25 million commitment to Momentum2: The Breakthrough Campaign for the University of Miami.


Holtz Children’s Hospital Ranks Among Nation’s Best
Holtz Children’s Hospital at the University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Medical Center is ranked in six pediatric specialties in U.S. News & World Report’s 2013-14 Best Children’s Hospital rankings, making it one of the nation’s top medical centers for children.

Hurricanes Make the Grade
Two University of Miami athletic teams earned perfect scores in the Academic Progress Rate report released in June by the NCAA. Women’s golf and women’s cross-country achieved marks of 1,000, with all Miami programs registering an APR score of at least 945.

Shane Larkin Selected in First Round of NBA Draft
All-American point guard Shane Larkin, who helped the Miami Hurricanes win the ACC regular season and tournament championships, is selected with the No. 18 overall pick by the Atlanta Hawks in the 2013 NBA Draft, held June 27 in Brooklyn, New York. Larkin is then traded to the Dallas Mavericks.


Bascom Palmer Marks a Decade as No. 1 in Ophthalmology
After a triumphant golden anniversary celebration last year, Bascom Palmer Eye Institute at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine has achieved another historic milestone. For the 10th consecutive year, the renowned institute is ranked No. 1 nationally in ophthalmology in U.S. News & World Report’s annual “Best Hospitals” rankings.


Coral Gables Campus Goes 100 Percent Smoke-Free
Continuing a commitment to provide a safe and healthy environment for faculty, staff, students, and visitors, the University of Miami’s Coral Gables campus goes fully smoke-free on August 1. Inhaling, exhaling, burning, or carrying any lighted cigarette or electronic cigarette, cigar, pipe or other such device that contains tobacco or other smoke-producing products is now prohibited in all areas of the campus.

Sapp Answers Call from the Hall
Former University of Miami standout defensive lineman Warren Sapp, who recorded 569 tackles, 96.5 quarterback sacks, eight forced fumbles, and four interceptions during a stellar 13-year career in the NFL, becomes the sixth Hurricane to join the Pro Football Hall of Fame when he is enshrined on August 3 in Canton, Ohio.

Dorman Captures Gold
University of Miami diver Sam Dorman captures his first career national championship on August 13, earning gold in the 1-meter event at the 2013 AT&T National Diving Championships hosted by the University of Iowa.

The new Student Activities Center features offices and cubicles for UM’s many diverse student organizations.

UM Opens a Student Center for the Ages
Two years after it broke ground on the project, the University of Miami formally opens on August 26 its much-anticipated Student Activities Center, a three-story, 119,000-square-foot facility that includes offices for student organizations, a new Rathskeller, media suite, and 24/7 study center.


A stout Hurricanes defense forced five Gator turnovers as UM defeated Florida 21-16.

Hurricanes Bag the Gators
In what was likely the final regular season matchup in a historic rivalry, the Miami Hurricanes defeat the Florida Gators 21-16 on September 7 before a capacity crowd at Sun Life Stadium. UM quarterback Stephen Morris threw two touchdown passes, and a stout Miami defense forced five turnovers.

UM Maintains Top-Tier Status in Latest U.S. News Rankings
For the fifth year in a row, the University of Miami is ranked in the top 50 in U.S. News & World Report’s annual “Best Colleges” issue. UM comes in at No. 47 in the “Best National Universities” category, retaining its position as the No. 1-ranked school in Florida and solidifying its status as a top-tier national institution.

Charles Eckman Named Dean of Libraries
Charles D. Eckman, who launched initiatives and programs that helped dramatically improve the research libraries at some of North America’s top universities, is named the University of Miami’s new dean of libraries, a role in which he will provide leadership and management responsibilities for the institution’s vast holdings of books, journals, digital materials, and rare collections.


The new Schwartz Center for Athletic Excellence was dedicated on October 4.

UM Dedicates Schwartz Center for Athletic Excellence
Donors, trustees, coaches, administrators, and guests gather on October 4 to dedicate the new Theodore G. Schwartz and Todd G. Schwartz Center for Athletic Excellence—a facility that serves the University of Miami’s more than 400 student-athletes with resources such as a new academic center and expanded training facilities.

Miami Project’s Mary Bartlett Bunge Elected to Institute of Medicine
Mary Bartlett Bunge, professor of cell biology, neurological surgery and neurology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine’s Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, is elected to the National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine, an extraordinary honor that reflects the height of professional achievement and commitment to service in health and medicine.

NCAA Ruling
The University of Miami receives the NCAA Committee on Infractions report on October 22, concluding a more than three-year process that included an investigation conducted by the NCAA and an appearance by senior University officials before the Committee on Infractions in June.


Student Center Complex Dedicated
From students and alumni to administrators, trustees, and donors, the University of Miami community gathers on November 7 for the official dedication of the Student Center Complex. At the heart of campus, the complex encompasses the renovated Whitten University Center, redesigned UC Patio, 7-foot U Statue, and the new 119,000-square-foot Student Activities Center.

UM students, from left, Ryan Murphy, Celia “CC” Schieffelin, and Jason Goldenberg ride into Sun Life Stadium on November 3 after completing the Dolphins Cycling Challenge’s 13-mile ride from the Dolphins training facility in Davie.

Cyclists ‘Gear’ Up to Fight Cancer
More than 2,800 cyclists take to the roadways November 2-3 for the fourth annual Dolphins Cycling Challenge, a charity that features rides of different lengths and benefits the lifesaving treatment and research programs at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Magic Johnson, center, stands with UM Center for AIDS Research leaders, from left, Mario Stevenson, Margaret Fischl, and Savita Pahwa, and Miller School Dean Pascal J. Goldschmidt.

Symposium Brings NBA Legend Magic Johnson Together with Stars of AIDS Research
Some of the brightest minds in the battle against HIV and AIDS in the United States convene at the BankUnited Center on November 7 for the 17th Annual Center for AIDS Research Scientific Symposium, which included an appearance by Earvin “Magic” Johnson — the NBA legend who, diagnosed with HIV more than 20 years ago, is now one of the nation’s leading advocates for people living with the once-fatal disease.

Questioned by School of Law Dean Patricia D. White, Alan Dershowitz regaled the audience with his stories.

Dershowitz on Dershowitz: Celebrated Lawyer Tells Tales of Life and the Law
Alan Dershowitz, Harvard Law School professor, political commentator, and author, takes center stage with UM School of Law Dean Patricia D. White at the BankUnited Center on November 15, regaling the audience with tales about the famous and not-so-famous, name-dropping an A-list of clients and acquaintances, such as Vice President Joseph Biden, Larry King and, oh yes, O.J. Simpson.

Leslie Moonves, president and CEO of CBS, meets with students in the School of Communication studios.

Moonves’ Miami Visit
On November 4 Leslie Moonves, president and CEO of CBS Television, spends a day at the School of Communication, sharing his philosophy and acumen with students.


Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos Calderón converses with UM President Donna E. Shalala during the Q&A session of his visit.

Colombian President Discusses the Road to Peace on Historic UM Visit
On his way to meet President Barack Obama in Washington, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos Calderón visits the University of Miami on December 2 to promote the growing opportunities amid growing peace in his nation, South Florida’s second largest trading partner. Prior to Calderón's address at the Newman Alumni Center, UM President Donna E. Shalala awards him the UM President's Medal, which honors individuals for their outstanding leadership and distinguished accomplishments in their fields of expertise as well as for their contributions to society.

Actor, Activist, and Online Icon George Takei Inspires Students to be Agents of Change
George Takei, well known for his role as Mr. Sulu in the original Star Trek television and film series, visits the University of Miami on December 3, bringing his message of social and political activism to more than 400 University of Miami students.

Robert C. Jones Jr. can be reached at 305-284-1615.

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