September 28, 2011 — Miami — University of Miami President Donna E. Shalala and Miami Dade College (MDC) President Eduardo J. Padrón jointly announced the transfer of operations of the historic John J. Koubek Mansion and Gardens in the heart of Little Havana from UM to MDC today at a news conference held on the premises.
For three decades, the Koubek Center has served the community as a satellite campus for UM, providing continuing education certificates in Spanish and English. In the early 1960s, the first Cuban refugees started arriving in Miami, and the center began helping doctors, engineers, lawyers, and other professionals prepare for their respective board exams. The center and its gardens have been the meeting place for Cuban and Latin-American cultural and political groups, honoring the wishes of Austrian businessman John J. Koubek, who donated the mansion to UM under the condition that it serve the community.
“Today, the University of Miami honors Mr. Koubek’s legacy by conveying the center’s stewardship to an institution that will continue to fulfill his wishes with distinction and a commitment to excellence—Miami Dade College,” President Shalala said at the press conference.
“The Koubek Center helped to build bridges between people and cultures as well as the University of Miami and the community,” Shalala continued. “Now that bridge spans to a new overseer.”
City of Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado attended the press conference, as did the daughters (Luisa and Aurora) of Luis Botifoll, a UM trustee emeritus and Cuban-American community leader who was a champion of the Koubek Center for many years.
The Koubek Center is a natural fit for MDC as it sits three blocks away from its InterAmerican Campus. The college hopes to use it to expand its cultural and educational reach in the community. MDC already successfully manages the Freedom Tower in downtown Miami and the Tower Theater in Little Havana, which have similar programming interests to the Koubek Center.
“We are grateful for the efforts of the University of Miami and the Wells Fargo Bank Trust, which oversees this gem,” said MDC President Padron. “This transfer will expand MDC’s mission of providing our residents access to world-class education and cultural events. It is a great fit as it sits almost adjacent to MDC’s InterAmerican Campus.”
« Back to News Releases