October 17, 2012 — Coral Gables — It adorns everything from letterhead and T-shirts to the helmets worn by the school’s football players. Now, the University of Miami’s iconic symbol—the green and orange split U—can be found in one of the most popular locations on campus.
UM has unveiled a 7-foot statue of its ever-popular U logo. Weighing nearly a thousand pounds, the steel and aluminum icon sits on the Foote University Green between the Iron Arrow mound and the Rock, serving as a reminder of the institution’s spirit and traditions.
“We’ve spent five years getting the U on everything, and now we have it, clearly, on the most important spot at the University,” UM President Donna E. Shalala said at the October 12 unveiling ceremony, referring to the branding campaign that uses the U logo to promote the University’s academic, health, and athletic programs.
“It’s the perfect location,” said Nawara Alawa, president of UM Student Government, which spearheaded the drive to get a statue of the U on campus. “Every student is going to pass that statue at least once a day. We’ve asked students that if they’re ever on their way to something important—like a test or an interview—to touch the statue for good luck, support, and a show of spirit for their University of Miami family.”
At the ceremony, President Shalala thanked the Berkowitz family, UM parents and donors who are helping to make the new Student Activities Center a reality, as well as Vice President for Student Affairs Pat Whitely, who “creatively” came up with a way to finance the statue; it is being funded through the Student Activities Center project.
With more than 200 students, administrators, trustees, faculty and staff, and Alumni Association and Iron Arrow members looking on, Bhumi Patel, Student Government executive-at-large, spoke eloquently about the importance of the U family, which extends beyond students to faculty, alumni, and others. “ ‘I stand by the U’ means we stand by each other,” she said before a blue tarp was removed to show the giant freestanding split-U, half-orange, half-green, shining atop a 32,000-pound concrete base.
Sebastian led the crowd in several ’Canes cheers and students sang out, “It’s great to be a Miami Hurricane.” The event also helped kick off UM’s 2012 Alumni Weekend and Homecoming festivities.
Standing under a shade tree by the Rock, Alfonso Dager, B.S.C.P.E. ’07, president of the College of Engineering Alumni Society, called the statue “excellent,” noting that it would give students and visitors alike a great photo opportunity while on campus and echo the U as a global brand.
Next to Dager, current engineering student Gerald Cowen, a member of Student Government, knew the statue was coming but still expressed enthusiasm about its realization. “I’m excited,” he said, watching Sebastian sweep a student up off her feet for a photo in front of the new icon. Cowen said the new U statue, along with recent renovations to the University Center, solidify the identity of and bring a heightened sense of school spirit to what is “statistically the most popular corner of campus.”
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