UM Dedicates Kornspan Study Lounge

Located on the first floor of the Student Activities Center, the new study lounge will be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

By Robert C. Jones Jr.
UM News

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (November 07, 2013) — As students at the University of Miami’s School of Law during the late 1980s, Scott and Susan Fleischner Kornspan liked interacting with undergraduate and graduate students—an activity that was easily facilitated by the school’s location on UM’s Coral Gables campus.

“I went to Georgetown as an undergrad, and I enjoyed my student life there,” said Susan, J.D. ’90. “As a law student at UM, I wanted to be on campus with the undergrads. For me, there was no demarcation of students. We were all at the same university.”

Now, the alumni couple’s generosity—combined with their belief in the power of an excellent education and their affinity for students, whether they are freshmen or in their third year of law school—has resulted in a new gathering space that, according to Susan, will “allow students to mix in the same environment and enjoy fully all that the U has to offer, both inside and outside the classroom.”

On October 30 UM dedicated the Scott and Susan Fleischner Kornspan Study Lounge, a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week academic space located on the first floor of the new Student Activities Center.

Kornspan Study Lounge Ribbon Cutting
Participating in the ribbon cutting ceremony for the new Kornspan Study Lounge were, from left: Jennifer Lefebvre, a student in the School of Law; Edwing Medina, vice president of the Graduate Student Association; Patricia Whitely, vice president for student affairs; UM President Donna E. Shalala; Susan Fleischner Kornspan and Scott Kornspan; Thomas J. LeBlanc, executive vice president and provost; and Bhumi Patel, president of Student Government.

“We care enough about your academic success at the University to make sure you get opportunities to study all the time,” UM President Donna E. Shalala told student leaders at the ceremony.

“It was important to make this study lounge 24/7 because the students were telling us this is what they wanted,” said Patricia A. Whitely, vice president for student affairs.

Modeled after some of the great study halls at Ivy League schools, the Kornspan Study Lounge accommodates up to 80 students. In addition to natural wood tables and soft upholstered chairs, it has private cubicles and display cases in which ceramic artwork, sculptures, and paintings created by UM students will be showcased.

“A tremendous benefit” is how Student Government President Bhumi Patel described the lounge. “Students are staying up later and later to study, and the fact that this study lounge is part of the Student Activities Center makes it that much more fabulous.”

Scott Kornspan, A.B. ’86, J.D. ’90, said the study lounge and the building in which it is occupied are important to the success of students. “I’ve always felt that a top-tier university deserves first-class facilities, and to see this new study lounge, the Student Activities Center, and some of the other complexes and buildings that are going up around campus, we can all say the University of Miami has outstanding facilities,” said Scott.

Describing his undergraduate stint at UM as the most important of his educational career, he drew a parallel to the present day. “To see the students today who are doing those same kinds of activities that I did 30 years ago and to know that they’re doing them in better, more impressive, and more functional working space—it just makes me so happy,” he said.

Scott served two terms as Student Government president and was chief of the Iron Arrow Society during his third year of law school. He met and fell in love with Susan while the two were students participating in Miami Law’s International Moot Court Program. In addition to their support of the Student Activities Center, the two Boca Raton-based attorneys have also made a bequest in their wills that will fund scholarships for UM student leaders.

During the Kornspan Study Lounge dedication, Susan remembered a particularly challenging time as a law student when she wasn’t sure she would have the money to continue her studies. But she received a donor loan—funds donated by alumni—and earned her law degree.

“Those people invested in me, and so for us to have the opportunity to invest in you and future generations of students is a gift that I just can’t quantify,” she said. “This project was just a natural fit for us as a way to give back because of President Shalala’s student-oriented philosophy and vision, Dr. Pat Whitely’s passion and determination, and [Director of Wellness and Recreation] Norm Parsons’ commitment and spirit.”

Before the study lounge had even opened, one student had already identified what will be her favorite place to sit and bury her nose in a textbook. “I like the cubicles,” said Natalie Cole, a music therapy major who conducts research on the way songs affect adolescents traumatized by emotional events. “They offer the privacy and ample desk space I need. I’ll be using the lounge a lot.”

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

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With UM administrators, deans, students, and guests looking on, Scott and Susan Fleischner Kornspan speak at the dedication ceremony for the new student study lounge made possible by their generous gift.

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