Student Center Complex Mural Chronicles UM’s History

From President Bowman Foster Ashe to Donna E. Shalala.

Coral Gables (November 02, 2011) — As part of the renovation of the Student Center Complex, including the renovation of the Whitten Center and the building of the new Student Activities Center, scheduled in 2013, the University of Miami story is captured in photographs and put to art on a section of vinyl longer than an NBA basketball court. The mural now graces one of the walls in the heart of the institution’s Coral Gables campus and depicts the history of the ‘Canes spirit.
The U: Dynamic History, Vibrant Traditions” is a 165-image, 108-foot-long mural of UM’s 85-year history. Divided into five sections, it is a collage of different eras, reflecting student life during each of the five UM presidential administrations—from Bowman Foster Ashe to Donna E. Shalala. There will be a community event on November 8th at 2 PM in celebration of the mural.
“Everything from the first UM home game at the Orange Bowl to the first Ibis,” says Dr. Patricia A. Whitely, vice president for student affairs and a key figure in spearheading the project. “Iconic buildings, homecoming celebrations, prominent visitors—it’s all there. I’m thrilled about it. We all worked countless hours to make sure the mural reflects the student experience and the leadership of the five presidents.”
Mural highlights include a black and white photo of Winston Churchill at the University of Miami’s 1946 commencement ceremony in Burdine Stadium; a 1950s-era photograph of fraternity members competing in a sack race; vintage photos of students attending a classroom lecture, studying in an on-campus apartment, and enjoying a pep rally; photos of Hurricane national championship athletic teams; an image of President Edward “Tad” Foote walking the Coral Gables campus in 1992 to inspect the damage caused by Hurricane Andrew; and a photo of President Donna E. Shalala at her swearing-in ceremony.
Nearly 10 feet high at its tallest point, the mural adorns the west wall of the Whitten University Center, starting from the entrance next to the WVUM radio station and running south toward the temporary location of the Rathskeller.
UM Student Government President Brandon Mitchell, along with other student leaders, came up with the idea of a mural after running on a campaign platform that included a “Spirit the U” initiative, which is aimed at raising the enthusiasm and spirit level on campus.
“We came up with the idea as a way to promote the tremendous tradition we have at the University of Miami,” says Mitchell. “Everyone from students and staff to visitors and prospective students will be able to go back in time and see what it’s always been like to be a Miami Hurricane.”
Taggart calls the project “a successful collaboration,” noting the efforts of the Division of Student Affairs, Real Estate and Facilities, Athletics, University Communications, and the Richter Library in helping with the mural.
Portraits of UM’s five presidents, accompanied by a short bio on each, are included on the mural, which was designed by ARQUITECTONICA, the Miami-based architecture, interior design, and planning firm that also designed UM’s new Student Activities Center and the interior renovations of the University Center—projects that are currently under way.
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The University of Miami’s mission is to educate and nurture students, to create knowledge, and to provide service to our community and beyond. Committed to excellence and proud of our diversity of our University family, we strive to develop future leaders of our nation and the world. http://www.miami.edu.

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University of Miami’s mission is to educate and nurture students, to create knowledge, and to provide service to our community and beyond. Committed to excellence and proud of our diversity of our University family, we strive to develop future leaders of our nation and the world.