University of Miami Names New Board of Trustees Chair and Members

Stuart A. Miller takes the helm of UM’s board; Hilarie Bass and Richard D. Fain elected vice chairs.

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (May 16, 2014) — The University of Miami has named Stuart A. Miller, a dedicated member of the UM Board of Trustees since 2002, as its Chair. Elected as Vice Chairs are Hilarie Bass and Richard D. Fain. Additionally, the Board elected the following members: Michael J. “Pete” Piechoski and Doyle N. Beneby as Alumni Trustees, and Amy Halpern as Student Trustee. The Board of Trustees is responsible for governing the University of Miami, one of the top private research universities in the United States.

From 2012-2014, Stuart Miller, J.D. ’82, served as Vice Chair of the UM Board. He is a legacy Trustee member, as his father, the late Leonard M. Miller, served as Chair of UM’s Board from 1995-1999, and had been active on the Board since 1983 until his death in 2002. An innovative and renowned business leader whose family has had an indelible impact on the University of Miami, Stuart Miller is Chief Executive Officer and a Director of Lennar Corporation, one of the nation’s largest homebuilders.

With Stuart Miller at the helm, Lennar, co-founded by his father, has expanded its leadership in the homebuilding industry while diversifying into all aspects of construction, as well as financial services. He led the firm through a series of successful acquisitions and marketing advances, and spearheaded its creative corporate culture. Today, the company builds homes in 18 states.

Miller also serves as the Miller School of Medicine’s Chair of Momentum2: The Breakthrough Campaign for the University of Miami, and is the standard-bearer of his family’s outstanding tradition of generosity and commitment to UM. Thanks to a gift of $100 million, the largest gift from a family in the University’s history, in 2004, UM School of Medicine was renamed the Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine in his father’s honor.

The Miller family’s long-standing commitments have also extended to the enrichment of Judaic culture and studies through the Sue and Leonard Miller Center for Contemporary Judaic Studies, and earlier this year, a naming gift to build the future Braman Miller Center for Jewish Student Life at UM Hillel. Stuart Miller is also a generous supporter of the UM School of Law and Hurricane Athletics.

“I look forward to working with Stuart Miller, who has been a dedicated Trustee, as he steps into the new role of Chair,” said University of Miami President Donna E. Shalala. “Leonard Abess has dedicated his tenure as chair to personally champion the incredible research and teaching taking place here at UM. I thank him for his leadership and his ongoing commitment to the University.”

Outgoing UM Board Chair Leonard Abess has served as a Trustee since 1997 and was appointed chair in 2011. Like Miller, he followed in family footsteps that are deeply rooted at the University. His late father, Leonard L. Abess Sr., served as a UM trustee, as did his maternal grandfather, Arthur Ungar. In the 25 years that Leonard Abess served as CEO of City National Bank of Florida, he turned it into a multibillion-dollar financial institution. When he sold City National Bank in late 2008, it was the only U.S. financial institution with over $1 billion in assets to garner five stars, the highest possible rating, for safety and soundness.

Proud parents of a recent graduate, Abess and his wife Jayne are spearheading the University’s industrious effort to reach the next level of academic excellence by serving as the Chairs of Momentum2, the University’s $1.6 billion fundraising campaign. Devoted environmentalists, the Abess family established an endowment that named the University’s Leonard and Jayne Abess Center for Ecosystem Science and Policy in 2006. They continue to support the center’s mission of finding innovative, interdisciplinary solutions to the world’s most complex environmental problems.

Vice Chairs
Hilarie Bass, J.D. ’81, President of the international law firm Greenberg Traurig, has served as a Trustee since 2003. Recently, she provided a $1 million commitment to the law school. In her honor, the popular study area at the school will be renamed as “The Bass Bricks.” Bass serves as a member of the School of Law’s Visiting Committee and Momentum2 Campaign Committee Co-Chair and the School of Education and Human Development’s Campaign Chair.

Richard D. Fain, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ltd., has served as a Trustee since 1997. Royal Caribbean’s partnership with the UM Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science fully funds the scientific research program on Royal Caribbean’s Explorer of the Seas cruise ship, the first ever cruise ship outfitted with ocean and atmospheric science laboratories. Fain has also generously donated to the RSMAS Scientific Dive Center and the Hillel building campaign fund.

Alumni Trustees
Michael J. “Pete” Piechoski, BBA ’76, is Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Peter Kiewit Sons’ Inc. in Omaha, Nebraska, one of North America’s largest construction and engineering companies. Piechoski recently pledged a multimillion-dollar gift to support the President’s and Provost’s strategic initiatives.

Doyle N. Beneby, MBA ’97, is the President and CEO of City Public Service of San Antonio (CPS Energy), the nation’s largest municipally owned energy utility, providing both natural gas and electric service.

Student Trustee
Amy Halpern, from Chesterfield, Mo., is a rising senior, majoring in business law and marketing. A member of Iron Arrow, Omicron Delta Kappa, Mortar Board, Order of Omega and Rho Lambda Honor Societies, Halpern serves as the Panhellenic Association President and is the Program Coordinator of IMPACT Leadership Retreat, an annual leadership conference for rising leaders run by the UM Butler Center for Service and Leadership.

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