2014: The Year in Review

UM experienced another year of transformative change and progress. Here’s a look at what transpired at the U over the past year.

UM News

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (December 23, 2014) — From a visit by former Secretary of State and first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, to the dedication of a $50 million Marine Technology and Life Sciences Seawater Complex that will enable researchers to study why some storms rapidly and unpredictably intensify, to another No. 1 ranking for Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, 2014 was a banner year for the University of Miami.


Business of Health Care Conference Features Olympia Snowe and Industry Leaders
Leading policymakers and practitioners speak at the School of Business Administration's January 17 conference, “The Business of Health Care: Bending the Cost Curve,” agreeing that better technology integration, greater collaboration among providers, and higher co-pays for patients are among the ways to address the high cost of U.S. health care. Among the conference participants: Olympia Snowe, former U.S. senator from Maine.


Hillary Rodham Clinton Talks Social Change
Appearing at the BankUnited Center on February on February 26, Hillary Rodham Clinton urges students to take an active a role in bettering society. The former secretary of state’s opening remarks were followed by a Q&A sit-down with UM President Donna E. Shalala.

Lauryn Williams Joins Elite Club
Alumna Lauryn Williams, the former track and field superstar who won gold as a member of the 2012 Summer Olympics 100-meter relay team and silver in the 100 meters at the 2004 games in Athens, claims silver with Elana Meyers in women’s bobsled in Sochi on February 19, becoming only the fifth athlete in Olympic history to medal in both the summer and winter games.

UM Dedicates Patricia and Harold Toppel Career Center
The University officially dedicates its new state-of-the-art Patricia and Harold Toppel Career Center on February 7, setting a new standard for helping students prepare for employment. At the dedication, the University honored alumna and trustee Patricia Toppel for her lead gift that made the building a reality.

Champions of Philanthropy Swanee and Paul DiMare Donate More than $12.5 Million to UM
In early February the University of Miami announces a gift of more than $12.5 million from local philanthropists Swanee and Paul J. DiMare towards Momentum2: The Breakthrough Campaign for the University of Miami. The contribution will fund scholarships at the Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine and support a fund to build a new 200-seat recital hall at the Frost School of Music.


Two Distinguished Miami Families Join Forces to Transform Jewish Life at the University
Following a tradition stretching over multiple generations, two of Miami’s most distinguished families, the Bramans and the Millers, join forces to transform Jewish student life at the University of Miami with a lead naming gift to University of Miami Hillel. The gift will enable renovations to and an expansion of the new Braman Miller Center for Jewish Student Life to meet the needs of more than 2,000 Jewish students.

Miller School of Medicine Vaults into the Top 50
Climbing 10 spots in eight years, the Miller School of Medicine jumps to No. 46 in U.S. News & World Report’s 2015 ranking of the best medical schools for research.


President Shalala Receives Harry S. Truman Legacy of Leadership Award
President Donna E. Shalala receives the Harry S. Truman Library Institute’s Legacy of Leadership Award on April 10, joining an elite group of Americans who have been honored for serving the nation with the same qualities our 33rd president demonstrated: courage, wisdom, foresight, and the willingness to be held accountable.

Arianna Huffington, Doyenne of Digital News, Tells Us to Unplug
During a conversation with President Donna E. Shalala, Arianna Huffington, chair, president, and editor in chief of one of the world’s most widely read news and blog sites, talks about the need to unplug and recharge in order to be successful. Held in the BankUnited Center Fieldhouse, the event was co-sponsored by UM and Books & Books.

UHealth Becomes First Academic Medical Center to Use Breakthrough Robotics Technology to Fight Cancer
Thanks to a generous gift to Momentum2, UHealth becomes the first academic medical center in the world to use the new da Vinci Xi Surgical System, putting Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the leading edge of minimally invasive, robotic-assisted surgery for the treatment of urologic cancers.


Stuart A. Miller Takes Helm of Board of Trustees
Longtime University of Miami trustee Stuart A. Miller, who along with his family has had an indelible impact on the University, is named the new chair of the institution’s Board of Trustees. Miller, the CEO of Lennar Corporation and the chair of the Momentum2 campaign at the Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine, which is named for his father, was previously vice chair.

Graduates Celebrate Their Accomplishments and Dreams
With much pomp, pride, joy, and a tinge of sadness from those ending their magical and challenging collegiate ride, more than 3,500 graduates and undergraduates receive their University of Miami degrees in six commencement ceremonies held over three days at the BankUnited Center in May.

Visionary Architect of the ‘Internet of Things’ Named Architecture Dean
Rodolphe el-Khoury, whose innovative approach to designing and building focuses on ways in which architecture and technology can be combined to enhance people’s lives, is named dean of the School of Architecture. El-Khoury, director of urban design at the University of Toronto’s John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design, assumes his new post on July 1.

Pap Corps Makes Largest Gift Ever, $4.5 Million, to Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center
The Pap Corps, Champions for Cancer Research presents its largest annual gift ever, a check for $4.5 million, to the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center. The gift, presented at The Pap Corps President’s Meeting at the Boca West Country Club in Boca Raton on May 15, will provide critical seed money that scientists and researchers need to apply for grants from the National Cancer Institute, the American Cancer Society, and other funding organizations.


Holtz Children’s Hospital Ranks Among the Best
Holtz Children’s Hospital at the University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Medical Center is ranked among the nation’s top children’s hospitals in U.S. News & World Report’s 2014-15 Best Children’s Hospitals rankings. Holtz was recognized for its programs in diabetes and endocrinology, gastroenterology and GI surgery, nephrology, cardiology and heart surgery, urology, pulmonology, and neonatology.

Art Historian Named Director of the Lowe
The University announces that Jill Deupi, the director and chief curator of University Museums at Fairfield University, will take the helm of the Lowe Art Museum in August, with a goal of connecting the museum’s “remarkable collections to the contemporary art world and current cultural trends.”

Wimbley Sweeps ACC Freshman of the Year Award
Shakima Wimbley is voted the Atlantic Coast Conference Women’s Outdoor Track and Field Freshman of the Year, giving the sprinter a sweep of the conference’s 2014 individual honors in her sport. Wimbley had already won the ACC Freshman of the Year award for indoor track.


Bascom Palmer Eye Institute Ranked No. 1 for 11th Year in Row
For the 11th consecutive year, the Miller School of Medicine’s Bascom Palmer Eye Institute is ranked the nation’s best in ophthalmology by U.S. News & World Report. Bascom Palmer has ranked No. 1 a total of 13 times and has been in the top two since the annual rankings began 25 years ago.

Miami Transplant Institute Performs State’s First Triple Kidney Exchange
With six simultaneous operations, the Miami Transplant Institute at the UM /Jackson Memorial Medical Center performs Florida’s first successful three-way paired kidney exchange, enabling three families with a loved one waiting for a kidney transplant to find a compatible donor in one of the other families.

RoboCanes Place Second at World RoboCup
The RoboCanes, a team of autonomous, soccer-playing robots programmed by computer science students to learn from experience, make real-time decisions, and communicate as a group, take second place at the 2014 RoboCup, the world’s largest artificial intelligence and robotics event, which was held in Brazil after the FIFA World Cup.


Medicine, Law, and Business Rank Among the Best for Hispanic Students
The University stands out among the “cream of the crop” for Hispanic students seeking advanced degrees, according to HispanicBusiness Magazine, which rates the Miller School of Medicine, the School of Law, and the School of Business Administration among the nation’s best graduate programs for Hispanic students in its 2014 Annual Diversity Report published online August 20.

Inspiring Future Lawyers
Noting that their future profession is “the envy of the rest of the world,” Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy on August 25 challenges Miami Law’s new students to be “trustees” of the legal system. Joined by dozens of second- and third-year students, the first-year students heard from Kennedy, who is often the swing vote on many high court decisions, in lieu of the more traditional “Dean’s Chat.”

Thomas Friedman Urges Students to Find Their ‘Unique Value Contribution’
At UM’s New Student Convocation on August 20, three-time Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and bestselling author Thomas Friedman gives freshmen a look at the world they live in—one in which “average is now over” and jobs must be invented and reinvented.


President Shalala Announces Her Decision to Step Down
UM President Donna E. Shalala announces on September 8 that she plans to step down at the end of the 2014-2015 university year and remain on the faculty as a professor of political science and health policy.


$50 Million Gift to Name UHealth’s Medical Center on Gables Campus
The Lennar Foundation, the charitable arm of The Lennar Corporation, one of the nation’s largest builders of quality homes, gives a lead gift of $50 million to name the UHealth at Coral Gables ambulatory center. Breaking ceremonial ground on the Coral Gables campus on October 23, the 200,000-square-foot Lennar Foundation Medical Center will provide easy access to UHealth’s leading physicians for surrounding communities as well as UM students, faculty, and staff. It is slated to open in fall 2016.

UM Dedicates Cutting-Edge Facility for Hurricane and Marine Life Research
On October 2, the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science dedicates its new $50 million Marine Technology and Life Sciences Seawater Complex, which includes a 38,000-gallon, 75-foot-long water tank, which the Glassell Family Foundation supported to enable researchers to study why some storms rapidly and unpredictably intensify into mega-hurricanes.

A New Place to Call Home: UM Hillel’s Braman Miller Center for Jewish Student Life Breaks Ground
On the final day of the Jewish harvest festival of Sukkot, University of Miami Hillel officially breaks ground for its Braman Miller Center for Jewish Student Life. Thanks to a lead naming gift of $2.5 million from two of Miami’s most distinguished families, the Bramans and the Millers, UM Hillel is being renovated to meet the needs of more than 2,000 Jewish and non-Jewish UM students.


$2 Million Gift Will Advance Research at UHealth Sports Performance and Wellness Institute
The UHealth Sports Performance and Wellness Institute announces a $2 million gift from longtime philanthropists Petra and Stephen A. Levin that will allow Lee Kaplan, chief of the Division of Sports Medicine, to advance the Institute’s research as its first endowed chair.

Marine Scientists Awarded More than $29 Million for Gulf Oil-Spill Research
UM scientists are awarded two research grants totaling more than $29 million from the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative to lead the Consortium for Advanced Research on the Transport of Hydrocarbons in the Environment and to study the toxic effects of crude oil on fish in the Gulf of Mexico.


UM’s Newest ’Canes Urged to ‘Tackle Big Problems’
Meet the Press moderator Chuck Todd gives the nearly 1,000 members of the fall class of 2014 a tough assignment before they received their diplomas on December 18: “You’ve lived through two decades of political paralysis, so this is your challenge—lead us out of this mess,” he said.

Hemispheric Leaders Convene at UM to Discuss the Future of the Americas
UM President Donna E. Shalala, who was U.S. secretary of health and human services in the Clinton administration, welcomes her former boss, Bill Clinton, and a roster of distinguished international leaders to the Coral Gables campus on December 11 to discuss what the next 20 years will hold for the Americas in advance of the seventh Summit of the Americas to be held in Panama next April.

Hundreds Honor an Icon at the First Edna C. Shalala 5K Run/Walk
Inaugurating the Edna C. Shalala 5K Run/Walk, more than 900 people race, jog, and walk across the University of Miami campus on December 13 to honor the legacy of UM President Donna E. Shalala’s mother and benefit the Edna C. Shalala Women’s Athletics Fund, which was established on the occasion of her 100th birthday. An accomplished lawyer, nationally ranked amateur tennis player, and avid supporter of women’s athletics, Mother Shalala, as she was affectionately known, passed away December 2 at age 103.

Former Hurricane Donates $1.5 Million to Athletics
Former Hurricanes running back T. Kendall “Ken” Hunt, whose promising football career ended abruptly after he was accidentally shot in the leg at a sport-shooting range, donates $1.5 million to endow a full scholarship in perpetuity for the running back position. His gift, part of the Momentum2 campaign, is the largest ever made to the Athletics Department by a former student-athlete.

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