Illuminate: Stories of Inspiration and Impact at the University of Miami Winter 2023/24

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WINTER 2023/24

New discoveries for a brighter future

Fueled by philanthropy, the University of Miami’s Centennial Talents shed new light on the challenges of our complex, interconnected world.

Visionary philanthropy for a brilliant future



Julio Frenk

As we enter the new year and continue the countdown to the University of Miami’s centennial, we take a moment to reflect on how far we have come and how much we have achieved in partnership with our visionary donors. The impact of this philanthropy is embodied in the state-of-the-art Knight Center for Music Innovation at the Phillip and Patricia Frost School of Music, which will redefine the performance landscape for the next century, and in Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Diabetes Research Institute, which continue to advance cutting edge research to bring new hope to patients and their families. Your generosity also amplifies the opportunities available to our students through new scholarships, expanded career advancement resources, enhanced athletic facilities, and increased support for student entrepreneurs. Our stellar faculty—as exemplified by our Centennial Talents—push the frontiers of new knowledge across disciplines and in ways that can change our world for the better. The philanthropic spirit of Ever Brighter: The Campaign for Our Next Century, as spotlighted in these stories, continues to fuel sustained scientific, clinical, scholarly, artistic, athletic, and educational excellence. Thank you for helping us shape a brilliant future for the U.

Joshua M. Friedman, CFRE Senior Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations


Senior Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations

Joshua M. Friedman Managing Associate Vice President, Strategic Initiatives and Strategic Philanthropy

Claudia Grillo Executive Director, Development Communications

Tamara Klingler Senior Director, Development Communications

Maria Aizcorbe Julie Levin Director, Development Communications

Pamela Edward Priyanka Sinha Senior Art Director

Sau Ping Choi Editor

Pamela Edward Contributors

Jenny Abreu Ryan Bermudez Stacey Bomser Victor Collado Benjamin Estrada Rebecca Gruby Manny Hernandez Jeanne Krull Michael R. Malone

Maeve McQueeny Amy Pasquantonio Matthew Rembold Sonya Revell Matt Rice Caroline Val Diabetes Research Institute Foundation

Illuminate is published by the University of Miami Division of Development and Alumni Relations. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited. Comments and opinions expressed in this magazine do not necessarily reflect those of the University of Miami or Illuminate staff. ©2024 University of Miami, an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer. All rights reserved.

On the Cover: Rebecca Gruby, professor of environmental science and policy at the Rosenstiel School of Marine, Atmospheric, and Earth Science; holder of the Robert K. Johnson Endowed Chair in Marine Conservation; and director of the Robert K. Johnson Center for Marine Conservation, snorkels in Jellyfish Lake in the Republic of Palau, in the western Pacific. The lake is located within the Rock Islands Southern Lagoon, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and is home to a unique subspecies of golden jellyfish found only in Palau.







Sibling scholars in the spotlight

Chasing dreams, breaking old stereotypes

Elevating student entrepreneurs


Shaping the future of music


A mission to eradicate type 1 diabetes


WINTER 2023/24


Igniting student success

Empowering students to pursue their passions

Turning heartbreak into hope

Centennial talents



A season of celebration


Students in the spotlight on a record-breaking #OneDayOneU Giving Day


A legacy of service



Why we give

Giving back with gratitude

50 years of hope & healing Family Matters


24 2024

Scan to join us

DCC XIV Thousands of cyclists, runners, and walkers will take to the streets of South Florida to raise funds for Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center during DCC XIV, the Miami Dolphins organization’s signature fundraising event. DCC has raised $64.5 million for cancer research at Sylvester since its inception.

Sibling scholars in the spotlight The Stamps Scholarship is the University’s most prestigious merit award, bestowed each year on a select group of exceptionally accomplished students. This year, for the first time, two siblings are among that number. Logan and Hannah Beatty

A senior biomedical engineering major, Logan used part of his enrichment fund to intern in Barcelona, Spain with the Josep Carreras Leukaemia Research Institute, where he prepared samples for strategic mass spectrometry to determine their protein content. He is currently a student researcher at the Diabetes Research Institute Foundation in Miami and will use the rest of the enrichment fund to attend conferences to present his findings. Hannah first learned about the scholarship when her brother won the award. The Stamps Scholarship played a big part in her choice to attend the University. For her, a Stamps Scholar “is somebody who strives for excellence and is a part of a community of other people who are also looking to achieve,” she says. “I really enjoyed my experience at the U and I’m really glad that I’ll get to share that experience with Hannah,” says Logan. “and I look forward to seeing what she does in the future as a

When Logan Beatty was a sophomore at the University of Miami, he received an email asking him to apply to the Stamps Scholars Program, the University’s most prestigious merit award. He initially thought it was spam—it seemed too good to be true. But after some research, he

“Being a Stamps Scholar has allowed me to reach for opportunities that I wouldn’t have otherwise had the ability to take part in.”

applied, interviewed, and was accepted into the program.

Hannah echoes the sentiment. “It’s really awesome that we both have this opportunity,” she says. “The Stamps Scholars Program was established to identify very talented and promising young people to make sure that they have access to the top universities

in the country,” says President Julio Frenk. “We feel very honored

Two years later, Logan’s sister, Hannah, an aspiring software

and privileged that [Scholars] chose the University of Miami

engineer, became a Stamps Scholar. They are the first siblings to

because college is a life-transforming experience, and we take

receive the Stamps Scholarship in the University of Miami’s history.

education very seriously as a means to fulfill whatever dreams they

Funded by the generosity of E. Roe Stamps and his late wife


Stamps Scholar.”

have in life.”

Penny, the Stamps Scholars Program provides merit scholarships

In addition to Hannah, the newest cohort of Stamps Scholars

to an elite cadre of students, covering the full cost of attendance

and their areas of interest are Ivy Enyenihi, of Knoxville, Tennessee,

for four years of undergraduate study. The scholarship also

computer engineering; Arthur Frayzond, of Keller, Texas, finance;

includes support for study abroad, undergraduate research, unpaid

Anastasiia Hadomska, of Searcy, Arkansas, geography and

internships, and other enrichment opportunities.

sustainable development, international studies, and psychology;

“Being a Stamps Scholar has really afforded me the

Messiah Majid, of Accra, Ghana, mathematics; Mira Sayegh, of

opportunity to make my education my own rather than being

Juno Beach, Florida, biochemistry; and Varun Vasireddy, of Saint

limited by financial means or other factors,” Logan says.

Peters, Missouri, neuroscience.


Chasing dreams,

breaking old stereotypes

The inaugural recipients of the Steven B. Schonfeld Computer Science Scholarship are committed to succeeding in a discipline where women are still underrepresented.

support system that encourages me to chase my dreams.” For Shirk, the Schonfeld Scholarship helped strengthen her passion for computer science. “From the extra encouragement from my mentor to getting to see people [at Schonfeld Strategic Advisors] living out

Taylor Shirk, left, and Sophia Knutson

successful careers in computer programming, the program has helped to reignite some of my love for computer science.” The financial support will enable her to extend her studies. “I was planning on trying to finish college a year early, but now that I have that extra support, I can take a few more electives and classes to really solidify what I want to do in computer science and delve more deeply into those topics,” Shirk says. For Shirk, coding presents a satisfying challenge. “Even though the process is tough, and you always run into errors, it’s just so satisfying in the end when everything runs correctly,” she says.

Sophia Knutson always loved solving puzzles

financial support, career mentorship through

Shirk was first introduced to computer

and unraveling mysteries. Fascinated by

Schonfeld Strategic Advisors, and a stipend

science watching her older brother code. He

complex problems and creative solutions, she

to support educational expenses for aspiring

inspired her to take computer science classes

was naturally drawn to computer science.

computer engineers and computer scientists,

at their high school in Pennsylvania. She was

with an emphasis on female students.

the only girl in class.

When she enrolled in her first computer science class in high school, she was the only

Knutson, along with fellow junior Taylor

Although women continue to be

female student in the class. “It was 20 guys and

Shirk, are the first students to receive the

underrepresented in her computer science

just me,” Knutson recalls. “It gave me a strong


classes, she’s not discouraged.

drive to break stereotypes.”

“We launched Schonfeld Scholars to

“Most of the women I know in computer

She continued to pursue computer

empower women in STEM,” says Steven

science are absolutely killing it,” Shirk says.

science at the University of Miami and would

Schonfeld. “I’m incredibly proud of our

“I feel like women as a whole just need to be

still find herself in the minority. “I’ll walk into one

inaugural Scholars, Sophia and Taylor. These

reminded that we can do this and that men are

of my classes at the University, and out of maybe

talented young women have bright futures

not any more suited than women are for this

60 people, only five are girls,” Knutson says.

ahead of them, and we look forward to seeing

type of work.”

The Steven B. Schonfeld Foundation

all they will accomplish at the University of

is challenging this gender divide through its newly established Steven B. Schonfeld

Miami and beyond.” Knutson said the scholarship helped

Knutson echoes this sentiment: “I think it’s really important for women in computer science to stick together, and that we foster

Computer Science and Computer Engineering

alleviate some financial burdens, and its

this community to inspire other women so that

Scholarship and Award, which provides

mentorship component offered her “a

they know that they can do it, too.” ILLUMINATE


WINTER 2023/24


From left: Erin Ravindram, Joy Jackson, and Kailyn Nuñez.

Joseph Cherubin, left, and Timothy Arcari

Elevating student entrepreneurs The University of Miami has long empowered aspiring engineers,

A portion of the Alvarez family’s gift will provide funding to

architects, and entrepreneurs from all disciplines to develop design

20 student-led teams each year for the duration of the commitment.

ideas as part of their coursework and capstone projects.

These grants, awarded through a competitive process, will enable the

The next step—the ability to launch student-created concepts in the marketplace—has received a significant boost with a $5 million pledge from University alumnus Angel Alvarez, founder

viable product (MVP), and feasibility testing. From there, an annual “Shark Tank”-style pitch competition

and chairman of ABB OPTICAL, and his family to establish the

will yield five finalists to receive further funding to move their

University Student Startup Accelerator or USTAAR.

MVPs into products, build their intellectual property, refine their

The USTAAR program is open to any student or student team

business plans, and receive guidance on preparing presentations

from the College of Engineering, the Leonard M. Miller School of

to investors. The goal is for these five teams to progress to startups

Medicine, the Patti and Allan Herbert Business School, the School

and reach the market within three years of initiation.

of Law, the School of Communication, the Phillip and Patricia

The pitch competition is the centerpiece of a wide-ranging

Frost School of Music, the School of Nursing and Health Studies,

set of USTAAR initiatives to fuel pan-University student innovation

and other areas across the University and will nurture and support

and entrepreneurship. A startup studio housed in the College

their new ideas from inception to implementation.

of Engineering will provide paid full-time summer employment

Motivated by their own experiences as successful


teams to advance their ideas from concept to prototype, minimum

to students creating products for local industries. A robust

entrepreneurs, Alvarez and his brother, Victor, seek to galvanize

set of related activities and resources, including scholarships

student entrepreneurs—helping them turn their daydreams into

for underrepresented minority student entrepreneurs and

real-life ventures. “Our vision is to be a catalyst that allows students

high-impact, cross-disciplinary training programs focusing on

to see how they can change the world,” explains Angel Alvarez.

various aspects of entrepreneurship, such as prototyping and


intellectual property, will further strengthen

engineering (BME), and Joseph Cherubin,

University, where students apply their learning

the foundation at the University for the next

a senior BME major, created HemoFix, an

and creativity to devise marketable products

century of student entrepreneurs and startup

automated tourniquet that anyone can use in

that can make a difference beyond campus.


an emergency.

Suhrud Rajguru, Ph.D., is the director

Traditional manual tourniquets require

“The program will provide fundamental training, mentorship, and financial support

of USTAAR and one of its most passionate

significant strength to work correctly and

for idea development and commercialization,


have a high failure rate. Surgical tourniquets

with a goal of creating ’Canes-led startups that

are expensive and immobile. Arcari and

bring products to the market,” Rajguru says.

and otolaryngology, Rajguru has overseen

Cherubin’s portable smart tourniquet employs

“The goal is for these student-led startups

dozens of senior design projects in the College

compressed air cartridges so that anyone,

to enhance socioeconomic development in

of Engineering. As assistant vice provost for

regardless of age or fitness, can stanch

South Florida and beyond.”

research workforce development, he is part of

bleeding in an emergency.

As a professor of biomedical engineering

a team that matches researchers and scholars

Arcari and Cherubin wholeheartedly

Working together to oversee this multidisciplinary student startup accelerator

with funding, collaborators, and the tools

credit the support of Rajguru and other

are the Office of the Vice Provost for

necessary for success. And as a successful

faculty, mentoring teams, and donors at the

Research and Scholarship and the College of

entrepreneur, he knows from first-hand

U that enabled them to improve and test their

Engineering with expertise from the Office of

experience how vital early mentoring and

prototype, refine their business model, enter

Technology Transfer, U Innovation, and other

financial support are.

competitions such as eMerge Americas, and

strategic areas of the University.

A $5 million pledge from alumnus Angel Alvarez and his family will propel the University of Miami toward the front ranks of institutions that nurture student-led startups.

Angel Alvarez

“Any startup company knows that the

move their concept toward marketability. “We

“Imagine a future where our students’

first investment is the most critical to get you

are tremendously grateful for all the resources

brilliant ideas not only spark innovation but also

off the ground,” Rajguru says. “The majority

UM has provided us, and we can’t wait to see

translate into real-world solutions, improving

of startups fail because they don’t know where

how far we can take this valuable product in

lives and industries,” says Guillermo “Willy”

to get that. We didn’t have any program to

years to come,” Arcari says.

Prado, interim executive vice president for academic affairs and provost. “This gift fuels that

support students at the level of $20,000 to

Another student team, Joy Jackson,

$100,000” before the Alvarez family stepped

Kailyn Nuñez, and Erin Ravindran, all 2023

vision by bridging the gap between academic

up, along with an earlier donor, scientist and

BME graduates, created the PrepAir Patch,

research and commercialization. Thanks to our

entrepreneur Jonathan Rothberg, Ph.D., who

a noninvasive, minimalistic way to detect

donors’ generosity, we’re empowering students

established the Miami Engineering Rothberg

the respiratory rate of premature infants in

to become the next generation of inventors and

Catalyzer Award.

a neonatal intensive care unit. “As student

entrepreneurs, their boundless creativity guided

entrepreneurs, having the guidance of

by expert mentorship.”

In the College of Engineering, Rajguru has already worked with student teams

professors and faculty is an incredible asset,”

Rajguru enthusiastically agrees. “At the

whose design concepts show commercial

Ravindran says. “This support grants us the

University of Miami, we have amazing students

promise. His most recent cohort of senior

flexibility to think beyond monetary limits. The

who are very talented and who come up with

design projects yielded some remarkable

senior design classes and expo have served as

brilliant ideas. This gift will be completely

ideas, including from two teams that received

an invaluable experience in learning, start to

transformative and make the University a

Rothberg Catalyzer Awards.

end, what it means to be innovators.”

destination for these student entrepreneurs,

USTAAR will broaden these

while creating a major impact and societal

Timothy Arcari, a graduate student in the joint B.S./M.S. program in biomedical

opportunities to reach all corners of the

benefit in South Florida and beyond.” ILLUMINATE


WINTER 2023/24


With its supreme sound and next-generation technology, the Knight Center for Music Innovation ushers in a thrilling new era of music performance and instruction on campus and for the broader community.

Shaping the future of music 6


Cameras flashed, sequins sparkled, and the red carpet welcomed

and supporters. Among the medalists were Phillip and Patricia

a distinguished audience as the Phillip and Patricia Frost School of

Frost, whose landmark gift 20 years ago to name the Frost School

Music hosted the opening gala for its new Knight Center for Music

was honored during the performance.

Innovation in November. Alumna Gloria Estefan, a University of Miami trustee emerita,

The celebration extended beyond the building’s stunning curved walls, with more guests gathered on the grounds to

acted as master of ceremonies and performed at the gala, which

experience all the evening’s festivities projected via WindowCast,

featured a starry cast of Frost School alumni: singer and actress

one of the many unique features of the new center.

Dawnn Lewis, jazz singer Carmen Lundy, recording artist Jon Secada,

Years in the making, the Knight Center is named in

soprano Sandra Lopez Neill, bassist Steve Bailey, drummer Lee Levin,

recognition of a generous lead gift from the John S. and James L.

pianist Asiya Korepanova, and producer/ songwriter Matt Serletic.

Knight Foundation, whose president and chief executive officer,

Frost School Dean Shelton G. “Shelly” Berg, Board of

honorary alumnus Alberto Ibargüen, was among the speakers at

Trustees member and accomplished organist David Weaver,

the gala opening.

acclaimed jazz pianist and composer Gonzalo Rubalcaba, and

The $36.5 million, 25,000-square-foot Knight Center was

an ensemble of Frost School student singers and musicians also

designed by architecture firm H3 and is an extraordinary fusion


of design and technology. Its distinctive profile houses two

The gala culminated with the awarding of the inaugural Frost Centennial Medals to a distinguished group of Frost School alumni

primary performance spaces as well as dressing, practice, and production rooms.



WINTER 2023/24


The 200-seat Robert and Judi Prokop Newman Recital Hall

performances. During the opening gala, guests experienced the

is anchored by a wall-sized picture window that looks across Lake

technology at work through a multimedia presentation of the Frost

Osceola toward Lakeside Village. The recital hall is an acoustically

School’s first 100 years.

sensitive room that will serve as a laboratory for students, faculty

The Hormel Music Innovation Stage is also home to a

members, and musicians to explore innovative methods and

massive west-facing window made of “smart glass” that can be

techniques for creating music. The facility encourages individuals

switched from transparent to opaque, and that allows for vision

to imagine the possibilities of the future of music, providing a space

to be directed inward or outward, from which the WindowCasts are

for creativity to flourish.


Ariel Fausto, design principal

“Frequent WindowCasts will display

for H3, points to the recital hall’s

performances from the Newman

two intentions. “As a state-of-the-art

Recital Hall in high-definition video

musical venue, the hall serves to prepare

on a 20-by-40-foot window to a

students for professional life, so there

plaza, requiring new considerations

is that inward focus, but simultaneously,

of stage presence, lighting, and sound

it is leveraging technology and a

reinforcement,” notes Berg. “The

building in a way that makes music more

Hormel Music Innovation Stage

accessible to the entire campus,” Fausto

will incubate experimentation with

explains. “The visual transparency of

volumetric video capture, surround audio, and technologies yet to

passersby to see at any moment when a performance is happening

be identified.”

and telegraphs the energy from within the building.”


augmented and mixed reality, AI,

the recital hall—created by the large window facing the lake—allows

Honorary alumnus and Frost Centennial Medalist Emilio

The Thomas D. Hormel Music Innovation Stage features an

Estefan expresses pride in the musical legacy of his adopted home

open floor and a ceiling grid to allow for various sound and lighting

city and the role the Knight Center will play. “What I love about

configurations. It is a high-tech, hybrid black box with acoustical

Miami is that we come from different places, but the way we feel

panels that can be used for projection mapping, visually creating a

about Miami and the pride we all share, we are blessed to live in this

3D effect. The space can be configured for a wide array of different

incredible country that gives you the opportunity to show your


The University of Miami and the Frost School of Music gratefully acknowledge the support of the following donors who helped to make the Knight Center for Music Innovation a reality, including those whose names are now part of the Knight Center’s fabric:

Adam and Chanin Carlin Overture Café culture, especially through music,” he says. “And that’s always been the University of Miami for us.” University of Miami President Julio Frenk believes these performance spaces elevate the caliber of cultural institutions across Miami and provide a platform for elite artists and musicians to engage with the burgeoning Miami music community through the University. “This is a wonderful building in many respects, especially because it continues to activate Lake Osceola as the heart of the campus,” says Frenk. “This is a physical presentation of our pursuit of excellence and our focus on innovation and creativity with the support of our benefactors. So, it symbolizes the coming together of generosity, creativity and innovation, and talent and excellence.” Alumnus Reynaldo “Rey” Sanchez, professor of music and associate dean for strategic initiatives and innovation, performed at the gala and received a Frost Centennial Medal. Sanchez explains that music, at its core, is all about engagement with others: “If there’s no engagement between the performers and the music, the performers with each other, and the performers and the audience, then we don’t have anything. So that’s what the technology is helping us achieve.” The Knight Center is designed not just to capture existing innovations but also to spur new ones. “The center is fully designed to be cross-genre, not just tricked out for one kind of music,” Sanchez says. “That was the whole thing, because we don’t know what music is going to sound like in 20 years.”

C and A Johnson Family Foundation Charles Castleman Star Dressing Room Diane and Daniel Hennelly Staircase Dorothy and David Weaver Auditorium Judy and Woody Weiser Window on the Water Marta Weeks Wulf Miller Family Foundation Patti and Allan Herbert Promenade Robert and Judi Prokop Newman Recital Hall Ron and Marianela Stone Production Room Sally K. Albrecht Dressing Room Sasha and Edward Bass SGB Practice Room The H. David Garrity Trust The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation The Swanee and Paul J. DiMare Lobby Thomas D. Hormel Music Innovation Stage Tommy and Mayumi Adams Box Office ILLUMINATE


WINTER 2023/24


Scan to learn more.

A $50 million pledge from the Diabetes Research Institute Foundation will accelerate curefocused research for type 1 diabetes— and bring real hope to those living with this devastating disease.

A mission to eradicate type 1 diabetes In 1971 a group of parents of children with type 1 diabetes mobilized

cure by restoring natural insulin production and normalizing blood

in support of cure-focused research into the autoimmune disease

sugar levels without imposing other risks.

that had afflicted their families. They established the Diabetes Research Institute Foundation (DRIF) as the fundraising arm for the renowned Diabetes Research

Fishlinger, chairman of the National Board of Directors of the

Foundation (DRI) at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.

Diabetes Research Institute Foundation. “This major infusion of

Since its inception, the DRIF has amassed thousands of

funding will capitalize on the research gains we have made so far at

dedicated supporters and grown into one of the world’s foremost

DRI. It will save lives and redefine the field for generations to come.”

diabetes organizations. It is also one of the largest donors in the University’s history. To accelerate research and find a permanent, biological cure

Since its inception, the DRI has pioneered many of the techniques used in diabetes centers around the world. Having already shown that islet transplantation can eliminate the need

for type 1 diabetes (T1D), the DRIF has made an extraordinary

for insulin therapy in people with type 1 diabetes, the DRI is

$50 million commitment to support the DRI. This transformative

building upon these promising outcomes by addressing the major

generosity will further position the DRI as a global leader in

challenges that have limited this cell replacement therapy to the

diabetes research, under the leadership of world-renowned

most severe cases of T1D.

immunologist, Matthias von Herrath, M.D., the scientific director of the DRI. “For more than five decades, the Diabetes Research Institute

“I’m standing on shoulders of giants with deep gratitude,” says Dr. von Herrath, the Stacy Joy Goodman Chair at the Miller School. “Gratitude for being allowed to continue the journey I

Foundation has encouraged the discovery of new ideas and the

started 30 years ago in a quest to find either a cure or complete

continuation of innovative research projects,” says University of

prevention of type 1 diabetes.”

Miami President Julio Frenk, M.D., M.P.H., Ph.D. “The foundation incredible generosity is continuing to propel the University into


“This is our moment. We are at a crossroads, an inflection point in our trajectory to eradicate type 1 diabetes,” says Bill

Since arriving in early 2023, Dr. von Herrath is already having a transformative influence on the DRI and its work.

the upper echelon of institutes dedicated to the discovery and

“Dr. von Herrath is an innovative leader who will drive the

treatment of T1D—not just in South Florida, but worldwide.”

DRI’s collaborative, fast-track approach to advancing cutting edge

Thanks to the foundation’s support, DRI is in the forefront

disciplines with a real potential to deliver a cure for type 1 diabetes,”

in diabetes research that employs a multidisciplinary approach

says Henri R. Ford, M.D., M.H.A., dean and chief academic officer

integrating medicine and technology. As one of the largest

of the Miller School. “Like the rest of our team, he is committed to

and most comprehensive research centers dedicated to curing

the clinical translation of immune-based interventions into leading-

diabetes, the DRI is aggressively working to develop a biologic

edge patient care.”


From left, Miller School of Medicine Dean Henri Ford, M.D., M.H.A.; Michael Burton, CEO of DRIF; Marc Goodman, member, DRIF national board; Matthias von Herrath, M.D., scientific director of the Diabetes Research Institute; Bill Fishlinger, chair, DRIF national board; President Julio Frenk.

With DRIF support, DRI will continue focusing on the development of novel

to help patients with the disease.

transplantation, immunotherapy, regenerative

For more than a decade, Dr. von Herrath

medicine, and stem cell-based therapies,

therapies and technologies to restore natural

has been principal investigator for a study

aims to restore insulin production, protect

insulin production in individuals with T1D. This

funded by the National Institutes of Health

newly generated insulin-producing cells, and

multi-disciplinary organization brings together

(NIH), and recently received another NIH

address the underlying autoimmune response

scientists, clinicians, and industry partners to

research grant for a breakthrough diabetes

responsible for T1D.

advance the understanding and treatment of

study. In 2012 he joined Novo Nordisk, Inc.,

this complex autoimmune disease.

a Danish pharmaceutical company,

“It is an honor to witness the

where he served as vice

extraordinary talent and unwavering

president and senior

commitment of our researchers at the

medical officer.

Diabetes Research Institute,” says DRIF CEO Michael J. Burton. “DRIF plays a critical role in supporting the momentum of research leaders like Dr. von Herrath as they tirelessly work towards finding a cure for diabetes. Our commitment will accelerate groundbreaking research and bring hope to millions of families affected by this disease.” A native of Germany, Dr. von Herrath

“Thanks to DRIF, we can strengthen our international collaborations,

“This is our

accelerate progress towards a cure, and improve the quality of life for millions

moment. We are at of people with T1D research worldwide … I got an inflection point into type 1 diabetes achievements in diabetes are globally research because I in our trajectory recognized,” says Roy really thought it might E. Weiss, M.D., Ph.D., a problem that we to eradicate type 1 canbetackle Kathleen and Stanley in our lifetime.” Glaser Distinguished Chair Fishlinger of DRIF diabetes.” “Matthias’

in Medicine, Rabbi Morris I.

shares Dr. von Herrath’s

earned his medical degree in 1988 from

Esformes Endowed Chair in Medicine

Freiburg Medical School, where he also

and Endocrinology, professor, and chair of

of a major disease, which is one of the most

completed a Ph.D.-equivalent thesis on

the Miller School Department of Medicine.

complex things in science. But I have no

biochemistry. After post-doctoral training

“He is perfectly positioned to amplify our

doubt that through the collaboration of this

in Freiburg and at Scripps Research Institute

current advancements and leverage our rich

University, this medical school, the Diabetes

in La Jolla, California, Dr. von Herrath

translational research towards finding the cure

Research Institute, and the foundation, there

joined Scripps in 1995 as a senior research

for type 1 diabetes.”

will be a cure for type 1 diabetes. And when

associate. He founded the Type 1 Diabetes

Dr. von Herrath says that the DRI’s

Center at La Jolla Institute for Immunology

diversified research, encompassing islet

optimism. “Our objective is the cure

that day comes, this University will be at the forefront of that breakthrough.” ILLUMINATE


WINTER 2023/24



years of of hope & healing

Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center celebrates an extraordinary record of lifesaving cancer research and patient care.

Fifty years since its inception, Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer

University of Miami President Julio Frenk in addressing the gala’s

Center stands as a beacon of hope and healing for cancer patients

250-plus attendees. “Our scientists employ many of the same skills

and their families throughout South Florida and far beyond.

needed to end the human burden of cancer: innovation, knowledge

In November, Sylvester celebrated its anniversary at Superblue Miami, an immersive art experience that illustrated the connection

building, the design of inroads into understanding and treating complex diseases, as well as mindfulness and whole-body wellness.”

between art and science and shined a spotlight on Sylvester’s

President Frenk introduced Sylvester Director Stephen D.

medical masterpiece, the Transformational Cancer Research

Nimer, M.D., who has led the center’s rise to one of the nation’s

Building (TCRB).

premier cancer centers.

Against a backdrop of breathtaking art installations, Sylvester

Dr. Nimer, also the Oscar de la Renta Endowed Chair in

researchers mingled with other guests, sharing insights into their

Cancer Research and executive dean of research at the Leonard

work and the leading edge science taking place at the region’s only

M. Miller School of Medicine, spoke passionately of the many

National Cancer Institute-designated cancer center.

milestones Sylvester has celebrated over the years.

“Art is incredibly relevant as a complex creative skill,

“Becoming the region’s only NCI-designated Cancer

combining imagination, inspiration, function and form,” said

Center in 2019 was an important milestone,” Dr. Nimer declared



Four members of the Sylvester family carry on their father’s and grandfather’s remarkable legacy.

Harcourt M. Sylvester Jr. was a humanitarian and a visionary. Through a foundation established in honor of his parents, his keen foresight and generous philanthropy helped elevate Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center. Today his daughters and granddaughters carry on the family legacy, ensuring the Harcourt M. and Virginia W. Sylvester Foundation continues its steadfast mission to advance cancer care. Jayne Sylvester Malfitano (pictured) serves as president and director, and her sister Laura Sylvester serves as vice president. They are now joined by their daughters, Clare Malfitano and Jena Smith, who joined the foundation board in 2022. The four women share a sense of pride in all that has been accomplished over the 30 years since their family name became synonymous with cancer care in South Florida, most notably Sylvester’s 2019 National Cancer Institute designation. “Our father certainly had a vision, but I don’t think he could have foreseen Sylvester becoming what it is today,” says

Jayne Sylvester Malfitano



Jayne, who also chairs Sylvester’s Board of Governors. “With

From top: Kinga Lampert, Jayne Malfitano, Lisa Heiden-Koffler, and Georgia Nimer; Student performer from Frost School of Music; Allison Garfinkel, Elizabeth Jenkins, and Laurie Jennings; Dr. Jashodeep Datta, Stuart Miller, Trudy Cejas, and Paul Cejas.

at the gala. “The successful recruitment of more than 260 cancer research and physician faculty, who with their teams represent more than 1,600 more people focusing on cancer than we had a decade ago, another milestone. And lastly, the ongoing construction of the Transformational Cancer Research Building, a building devoted to innovative cancer research and cancer care.” “The funds raised tonight will bolster our efforts to complete this building by the beginning of 2025, and we cannot wait to send a clear signal to Florida and the rest of the world that Sylvester has become a destination for cancer care,” said Dr. Nimer as he expressed his gratitude to the gala attendees for their generosity in raising $3.255 million toward bringing this vision to fruition. Event co-chairs Georgia Nimer, Lisa Heiden-Koffler, and Kinga Lampert, who is also a member of the Sylvester Board of Governors, meticulously planned the gala. They, along with Jayne Sylvester Malfitano, Sylvester Board of Governors chair and president and director of the Harcourt M. and Virginia W. Sylvester Foundation, were outfitted in fashions provided by longtime Sylvester supporter, Oscar de la Renta. Lampert spoke for everyone present when she said: “it is our honor to help accelerate the work of the amazing team at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center.”

towards finding life-saving treatments.

that comes responsibility. The responsibility

closely with Mr. Sylvester’s beliefs. He

of furthering his legacy and making sure

wanted to reach underserved populations

“I hope there will be more cures and

that it goes in what we all continue to feel is

and provide access to cancer screenings

preventative options for people not to go

the direction our dad and our grandfather

and health information.

through this in the first place,” says Jena.

would have wanted.” It is a responsibility that each family member takes seriously.

“I think that’s why the Sylvester Game

“As a legacy, what we hope Sylvester will

Changer vehicle is so close to my heart,”

continue in honor of our grandfather and

says Laura, noting her father’s progressive

parents is that they stay true to their goals

“I was born the same year the

thinking. “He always said he wanted to get

of providing the best care possible and

cancer center opened, so Sylvester has

into areas where people did not have the

advancing research to create a world

always been a very organic part of my

means to get out to get mammograms or

without cancer.”

life,” says Clare. “It’s important to me to

other testing. The Game Changer vans do

honor and continue the legacy of our

just that. He is probably looking down and

supporters of our mission,” says Sylvester

grandfather, and honor our parents who

happy that this has come to fruition.”

Director Stephen D. Nimer, M.D., who is

“The Sylvester family has been stalwart

have been so involved, and then bring in

Having seen how cancer impacts

also the Oscar de la Renta Endowed Chair

our generation and make as much of an

families, hers included, Jena appreciates

in Cancer Research and executive dean

impact as we possibly can and as broad

this commitment to enhancing survivorship

of research at the Miller School. “We will

a reach as we can.”

efforts. She also values the groundbreaking

forever be grateful for their generosity,

discoveries Sylvester scientists are making

passion, and partnership.”

Broadening Sylvester’s reach aligns



WINTER 2023/24


Igniting student success Randy McKean and his family’s gift to the Toppel Career Center reflects a commitment to removing barriers and fostering student success at the University of Miami. college student in the 1960s. He vividly recalls the obstacles he encountered while preparing for his own graduation. “When I graduated from Auburn University, the clothes I had were hand-medowns from the local neighborhood drive, and they were about five sizes too big,” he says. This memory of struggling to find appropriate attire for such a significant milestone in his life reminded him of the challenges that many students face—and fueled a desire to ensure that no student has to grapple with the same problems. “The McKean family’s generous gift addresses the challenges students face in presenting themselves professionally and building networks during internships, job searches, and graduate school pursuits,” says Christian Garcia, associate dean and executive Randy and Judi McKean with their grandchildren.

director at Toppel. “This contribution ensures that students can look and feel their best, fostering valuable professional

Randy McKean has a vision: to help remove students’ impediments to success so that they can take advantage of different programs and opportunities that they otherwise might not be able to afford. This vision is now reality with McKean’s pledge to establish the McKean Family Endowed Professional Growth Fund at the Toppel Career Center. The fund will provide stipends for students to cover expenses related to educational, personal, and professional advancement. Examples might include business attire for graduate school and employment interviews or travel to conferences and competitions. Randy’s wife Judi McKean, B.Ed. ’64, fondly recalls her time at the

The family’s gift is not McKean’s first foray into helping University students be the best that they can be. As Steven

“If you’re able to help students get an internship or gain experience, that could have an outsized positive impact on their trajectory.”

University. “I went to the University of Miami when it was a small school. It’s wonderful to see the growth of the University since then

McKean explains, Randy has years of experience mentoring and working with accounting students at the Patti and Allan Herbert Business School. “He has made a multi-decade effort in mentoring students. So, the intention with this gift is to find a way to perpetuate that impact for a long time beyond all of us,” Steven says. Randy’s commitment to the University is also apparent through his leadership and ambassadorship as past president of the Citizens Board, where he played a pivotal role in

advancing the board’s mission and strengthening its impact. The McKean family hopes that the gift will inspire others in

and the passionate people who are involved. We’ve always been a

the community to step up and do their part to improve students’

very spirited family when it comes to the U,” she says.

college experience. “There are many opportunities to bridge the

The gift is a family initiative, with Randy, Judi, and sons David and Steven sharing the desire to make a lasting impact. McKean is inspired in part by his personal experiences as a 14

development and expanding their networks.”


gap between on-campus life and the challenges of adulthood, and I hope this gift serves as an inspiration for other donors to consider these aspects of student development,” Steven McKean says.

Retired United States Secret Service agent

century and what Larry did for 30 years,”

Later, she was chosen to serve on

Rosanna Lucotti-Roberts, a 1986 graduate of

Lucotti-Roberts says,“It’s who we are and

the president’s detail in Washington, D.C.,

the Patti and Allan Herbert Business School,

what we’ve been.”

protecting former Presidents Bill Clinton and

and her husband, retired police chief Lawrence

For Roberts, his life was motivated by

George W. Bush.“The mission was to keep the

Roberts, have dedicated their lives to the

his conscience:“For 30 years, I got up in the

service of others.

morning, went to work, and tried to do the right

“I spent 25 years in the Secret Service.

thing,” says the former police chief of Franklin

There were many long hours and a lot of stress,

Township, New Jersey.

but it was rewarding,” Lucotti-Roberts reflects.

Their planned bequest to establish the Rosanna Lucotti-Roberts and Lawrence Roberts

president safe,” she says.

Endowed Business Scholarship at Miami

Similarly, Lucotti-Roberts was motivated to

Herbert and the Rosanna Lucotti-Roberts

leave things better than she found them. From

proud of what stares back, and nobody could

and Lawrence Roberts Endowed Criminology

a young age, she believed that “you get back

take that away from you.”

Scholarship in the College of Arts and Sciences

what you give—and then some—because it’s

will help future generations to do the same.

so rewarding to help.”

“Rosanna Lucotti-Roberts and Lawrence

“When you look at yourself in the mirror, you’re

Her career also brought her to her husband.

At the University, Lucotti-Roberts made

“I was the only Spanish-speaker in the

Roberts exemplify the spirit of dedication and

lifelong friends through the Roadrunners

Newark field office at that time,” she recalls.

service we champion at Miami Herbert Business

Club, now called the Association of Commuter

“The Drug Enforcement Administration called

School,” says Ann Olazábal, the school’s interim

Students, which held fundraisers, toy drives,

me to translate for an informant. I went to the

dean.“Their generous bequest ensures that

and other philanthropic events to support

meeting, and Larry was one of the two agents.”

future generations can pursue their passions

the community. Giving back gave her a deep

“One of the brightest things I did was

and make a difference, just as they have.”

sense of satisfaction and led her to a career

marry Rosanna,” says Roberts.“Without a

in public service.

doubt, that was one of my

Leonidas Bachas, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, says the couple’s generosity

“When I was 25, I [joined] the United

proudest moments.”

will open doors for students with a passion

States Secret Service,” Lucotti-Roberts recalls.

for criminology, criminal justice, and law.“This

“When they called me to offer the job, they said

visits the University

generous gift illustrates a deep commitment to

‘Newark, New Jersey, field office. Yes, or no?’ I

often—as Lucotti-

supporting our students and preparing them for

would have gone to Iowa or Alaska. It was an

Roberts says,“I love my

future successes in the field,” he adds.

immediate ‘yes.’ So, I packed up my car with all

University, and I

my belongings and drove up I-95.”

always will.”

“Criminology is what I did for a quarter

The couple still

Empowering students to pursue their passions

Alumna Rosanna Lucotti-Roberts and her husband, Lawrence Roberts, spent their careers serving the public. Now, they are cementing their legacy with a bequest to establish scholarships in business and criminology.



WINTER 2023/24



TALENTS As the University of Miami anticipates its centennial next year, we are achieving the bold ambition President Julio Frenk


Throughout their lives, the late John and Judy Schulte were ardent supporters of the University of Miami and Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center. John served on Sylvester’s Board of Governors for 15 years, and

proclaimed at his inauguration in 2016: to

the couple believed wholeheartedly in Sylvester’s mission to

increase substantially, with philanthropic

to Sylvester was a bequest to establish the John K. and Judy H.

support, the number of endowed faculty positions at the University.

reduce the human burden of cancer. The Schultes’ greatest gift Schulte Endowed Chair in Cancer Research. The third of three Schulte Chairs is now held by Neha Goel, M.D., M.P.H., member of Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer

An endowed chair is the highest honor a university can bestow on a member of its faculty.

Center and associate professor of surgical oncology in the DeWitt Daughtry Family Department of Surgery at the Miller School of Medicine. Dr. Goel’s translational research focuses on

Endowed chairs enhance a university’s ability

breast cancer, novel translational approaches to understanding

to attract and retain the most accomplished

addressing these disparities.

cancer disparities, and scientific outreach and engagement in

scholars, and better enable chairholders to advance the frontiers of knowledge and discovery in their respective disciplines. As of December 31, 2023, the number of


Centennial Talents stood at 99. These

The Goizueta Foundation is among

endowments were funded by individuals and

the Cuban Heritage Collection at

organizations who share President Frenk’s vision of attracting stellar faculty now and

the most generous supporters of the Otto G. Richter Library. In 2019 the foundation established the Roberto C. Goizueta Distinguished Presidential Scholar-in-Residence program. The late Mr. Goizueta

in perpetuity.

was a celebrated Cuban American businessman who served as

Spotlighted here are faculty members recently

Odette Casamayor-Cisneros, Ph.D., the inaugural Goizueta

named to endowed positions, and the donors

and writer with more than 20 years of transnational research

whose generosity made these awards possible.

chairman, president, and CEO of The Coca-Cola Company.

Distinguished Presidential Fellow, is an accomplished scholar and teaching experience. Her principal role during her year-long

appointment is to conduct in-depth research on a project of

especially at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, where Eric is a

scholarly or artistic merit based on a particular area or areas of the

member of the Board of Governors.

Cuban Heritage Collection. She is also responsible for developing programming that engages with the University and greater

Eric and Lizzie established the Eric and Elizabeth Feder Family

public, including delivering public lectures and organizing panel

Endowed Chair in Urologic Cancer Research at Sylvester as part

discussions or performances.

of their commitment to advancing innovative cancer research and compassionate care. The chair was recently awarded to Bruno


Nahar, M.D., a member of Sylvester and an assistant professor of urologic oncology at the Miller School’s Desai Sethi Urology Institute. At the institute, Dr. Nahar continues to make significant

Carole Fewell created the

advancements in the field. His research and clinical focus lies in the

Robert J. and Marian G. Fewell

study and treatment of malignant conditions affecting the prostate,

Endowed Chair in Medical

kidney, and bladder, and he is a renowned expert in the field of focal

Oncology Research to honor her

therapy and robotic surgery.

parents, prominent South Florida philanthropists and passionate supporters of the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. Holding the chair is renowned oncologist Pasquale Benedetto, M.D., Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center member, Leonard M. Miller


Professor and professor in the Department of Medicine at the Miller

The late Robert K. Johnson

School. The late Robert “Bob” Fewell was Dr. Benedetto’s patient for

cultivated a lifelong passion for

more than 20 years. Carole Fewell credits Dr. Benedetto’s medical

the great outdoors. The foundation

acumen and personalized attention for allowing her father to live to

he created to carry on his legacy

be almost 96.

memorialized his love of the water and marine conservation by establishing The Robert K. Johnson

Among Dr. Benedetto’s numerous accomplishments, he is a

Center for Marine Conservation at the Rosenstiel School of

recognized expert in the treatment of testicular cancer, and a leading

Marine, Atmospheric, and Earth Science, as well as The Robert K.

investigator in kidney cancer trials that included early demonstration

Johnson Endowed Chair in Marine Conservation for the center’s

of the effectiveness of immunotherapy and the development of the


first targeted therapy for metastatic kidney cancer. Rebecca Gruby, Ph.D., whose commitment to ocean

Bruno Nahar

sustainability and coastal communities dates from her growing up surfing along the Florida coast, is the newly installed Robert


K. Johnson Endowed Chair in Marine Conservation and director

Eric and Lizzie Feder and their

training in environmental governance. She has worked on

children, Blake and Perry, longtime

issues spanning marine protected areas, small-scale fisheries,

South Florida residents, have made

marine ecosystem-based management, the blue economy,

an impact in their community

ocean philanthropy, and justice and equity in the marine

through their philanthropy,

conservation field.

of the Robert K. Johnson Center for Marine Conservation. Professor Gruby is a social scientist with interdisciplinary



WINTER 2023/24


A season of celebration

Throughout the fall, alumni, supporters, and friends of the University of Miami gathered on and off campus to enjoy the company of fellow ’Canes and honor those who make the U shine. Here are some highlights.

’Canes Lounge

Alumni Weekend and Homecoming

’Canes Take Over N.Y.C.

Women of the U: Hall of Fame edition

UM Sports Hall of Fame & Museum/ Hurricane Club ’Canes Take Over N.Y.C.



Golf Tournament

Ever True to the U Parents Council Reception

Parents Council Reception

Golden Ibis Society Brunch

2023 Publix Jenkins Scholar Dinner

and Learn

Golden Ibis Society Brunch and Learn

Pancakes with Pat and Washington D.C. ’Canes



WINTER 2023/24


A legacy of service Alumnus Bruce Heard is honoring his late wife’s work with children and families with a bequest that will help students gain practical experience with nonprofits working to achieve positive outcomes in our communities. Linda Heard, who graduated from the University of Miami in 1965,

The establishment of the nonprofit development endowment

led a life marked by service to others. Working for the State of

fund is significant because it will provide the necessary resources to

Florida for more than 30 years, she served as a social worker and

support these organizations’ efforts.

juvenile probation officer, focused on child and family welfare. In loving memory of his wife, Bruce Heard, also an alumnus,

“Nonprofit organizations play a critical role in addressing socioeconomic challenges in the community; however, they often

has made a $2.5 million bequest to establish the Bruce and

struggle to find the means to operate effectively and efficiently,”

Linda Heard Nonprofit Development Endowment Fund, which

Heard says. “With the nonprofit development endowment fund,

will enable the Patti and Allan Herbert Business School to fund

my hope is that nonprofits will be able to access the support and

students interested in interning with politically unaffiliated

expertise they need to be successful, especially since they will have

nonprofit institutions.

access to a pool of talented students with fresh perspectives who

“ This bequest is not only a powerful

testament to the importance of service and compassion but also will be a catalyst for positive change.”

“Donating this gift in Linda’s memory is a way for me to honor her legacy and carry forward the values she held dear. I believe that we can continue her mission of making a difference and inspire

community.” Heard believes it is important that students intern with

others to do the same. It is my hope that this gift will touch the lives

politically unaffiliated nonprofit organizations. He explains that

of many,” Heard says.

nonprofit groups are tasked with addressing social and economic

The endowment also will support the creation of classes

issues that are influenced by policy decisions, and as such, it

in nonprofit management, which will provide a theoretical

is crucial that they remain politically neutral to maintain their

understanding of the challenges facing nonprofit organizations

credibility and effectiveness.

and the strategies that can be used to address them. Students will be able to partner with local nonprofit groups

“I think that nonprofit organizations have become politicized in recent times. It concerns me because this hampers their

in critical areas like health care, cultural arts, economic self-

effectiveness in helping those in need. Nonprofits should be

sufficiency, and physical fitness. The goal is to allow students to

driven by their mission to serve and uplift,” Heard says. “When

apply academic knowledge and achieve positive outcomes for the

we prioritize the well-being of others, we can bring about positive



“The Bruce and Linda Heard Nonprofit Development


are eager to develop new approaches to addressing problems in the

Heard also hopes that his contribution will cement a culture

Endowment Fund will enable Miami Herbert students to transform

of philanthropy and generosity that will inspire others to give

academic knowledge into tangible community impact,” says Ann

back to their communities: “I’m all about giving back and taking

Olazábal, interim dean. “This bequest is not only a powerful

responsibility for our communities. Donating to the University is my

testament to the importance of service and compassion but also

way of showing how important social responsibility is to me. I hope

will be a catalyst for positive change.”

my contribution inspires others to join in and give back.”


Giving back with gratitude To Wayne and Patricia Case, their planned gift to University of Miami Athletics represents a fraction of what the U has given them—as students, alumni, parents, and lifelong fans. Wayne and Patricia Case met at the

will support the areas of greatest need in

football and basketball teams.“I would go

University of Miami more than 50 years ago,

athletics, be they scholarships, support

to football games—George Mira was there

when he was a student at the Miller School

programs for student-athletes, facilities

at the time—but I also had this little crystal

of Medicine, and she was a senior in the

improvements, or related needs.

radio, and I would listen to basketball when

College of Arts and Sciences. Looking back,

“Our mission is to support our student-

they marvel at the countless ways, large and

athletes in their efforts to achieve personal,

small, that the University made a meaningful

academic, and athletic excellence,” says

difference in their lives.

Dan Radakovich, vice president and director

ticket holders and recall games at the Orange

There were the scholarships that helped

Rick Barry [now in the NBA Hall of Fame] was playing,” he recalls. The Cases are longtime football season

of athletics.“We are grateful to Wayne and

Bowl, where they had seats on the 50-yard

Wayne through his undergraduate studies

Patricia Case for their generous gift, which

line, with great fondness. One particular

and at the Miller School, where he earned his

will help us provide student-athletes with the

game stands out in their memories: the 1984

medical degree in 1971, having applied and

resources and support they need to reach

Orange Bowl, when the Hurricanes defeated

been accepted as a junior.

their full potential.”

Nebraska 31-30 to win their first of five

There was the time Patricia, a

As a teenager in Hialeah,

national championships.

sophomore with little money and no family

Florida, in the early

safety net, received a resident assistant

1960s, Wayne followed

portable TV with me, on which I could get the

position—and the stipend that went with it—

the Miami Hurricanes

main stations,” says Patricia.“When Nebraska

“When we beat Nebraska, I had a little

through the intercession of May Brunson, then

didn’t convert the two-point play at the end of

dean of women.

the game, all the fans around us jumped all

“Dean Brunson was a lifesaver,” declares Patricia, who earned her Bachelor of Science degree in 1969.“She found out

over me to see the replay. It was so exciting.” The Cases regard their

I didn’t have any money. I was living on a

gift as affirmation that

dollar or two a day, and she said, ‘Okay,

the University has given

we’re going to fix this.’ I became one of

them much more than

the first female RAs.”

they have given back.

Throughout, there have been

“Miami took me in,

Hurricane sports, of which the Cases

enveloped me, and cared

have been avid fans since their

for me,” Patricia reflects.

student days and loyal donors for

“We didn’t have silver

more than 30 years. So, when they

spoons for sure—they

contemplated a more substantial

were plastic. So, we built

legacy, they decided to make an

things together. We were

estate gift to Hurricane Athletics.

very fortunate and felt we

The Cases’ bequest

should share that.”



WINTER 2023/24


Turning heartbreak into hope After high school senior Andrea Camps was killed in a senseless act of gun violence, her family members channeled their grief into fulfilling her lifelong dream: to help sick children. From left, Sergio Berben; Alejandra Camps; Gabriel Camps; Leslie Hutchins, Alex’s Place child life specialist; Alexander Camps; and Maria Lacayo-Camps.

they are going to get something special after, they’re all smiles.” That is exactly what the Camps family envisioned when they came up with the idea of Andrea’s Smiles for Hope, a name chosen because Andrea had a smile that would light up the room. Her nickname was Ms. Dimples. “Our daughter always wanted to help children. She had a passion for it,” says Andrea’s father, Alex Camps. “In doing this, it feels like we are accomplishing some of what she would have done had she become a nurse. It is really rewarding, and it helps us cope.” Maria Lacayo-Camps says the family is proud of what they have started in her daughter’s memory, noting that she recognized the true impact of their actions after delivering the Thanksgiving gift baskets. Through the generosity of their supporters, Andrea’s Smiles for Hope was able to make 250 baskets—enough for all Andrea Camps was an aspiring pediatric nurse whose beautiful

the families at Alex’s Place, as well as those of patients at Holtz

spirit lives on through a charity the Camps family established after

Children’s Hospital, part of the Jackson Health System—and

her death: Andrea’s Smiles for Hope. Through care packages

then deliver the extras to local charities serving Lotus House and

filled with treats and toys, the charity aims to bring smiles to

Miami’s migrant population.

pediatric patients receiving treatment at Alex’s Place at Sylvester

“Just looking around at all the baskets, I was like, ‘Andrea, are

Comprehensive Cancer Center, a part of UHealth – University of

you watching this?’” says Lacayo-Camps. “I cannot believe all we

Miami Health System.

have done in her name. It is rewarding and very fulfilling.”

As the first anniversary of Andrea’s death approached, the

family’s dedication and kindness, which extends beyond the

patients. On what would have been her 19th birthday, family and

patients and families at Alex’s Place.

friends gathered to assemble the baskets, delivering them to


Patients and families have great appreciation for the Camps

family decided to honor her with Easter baskets for the young

Sylvester Director Stephen D. Nimer, M.D., who is also

Alex’s Place the following day. The Easter basket rally is a tradition

the Oscar de la Renta Endowed Chair in Cancer Research and

for the Camps family and has expanded to six other events

executive dean for research at the Miller School of Medicine,

throughout the year.

expressed his deep gratitude.

“Recognizing the holidays and occasions throughout the

“It is remarkable how the Camps family was able to turn their

year that the children miss when they are not in school and with

personal tragedy into something so special and meaningful for the

their friends brings joy to our patients,” says Alex’s Place child life

patients and families at Alex’s Place,” Dr. Nimer says. “At Sylvester,

specialist Leslie Hutchins. “It is the little gifts like this that help make

we appreciate the generous in-kind support of members of our

their day. It makes going for treatment a little more bearable. No

community like the Camps family, which helps buoy the spirits of

one wants to get needle poked, but when the children know that

our youngest cancer patients.”


Students in the spotlight on a record-breaking

#OneDayOneU Giving Day

In October, ’Canes alumni and supporters joined forces for #OneDayOneU Giving Day. When it was over, nearly 4,000 donors across 49 states and eight countries raised an impressive $5.25 million—a 64% increase over last year! “When our ’Canes family unites, we create

from the captivating, high-energy Hurricane

generosity. Angel Alvarez and his family

extraordinary opportunities for our students

Bhangra dance club to the beloved Frost

pledged $1 million in matching funds for the

and institution.” No words rang truer than

Band of the Hour.

University Student Accelerator (USTAAR)

those of University of Miami Senior Vice

Frost Band of the Hour received an extra

program. This commitment is part of their

President of Development and Alumni

boost from one of its former band leaders,

larger mission to nurture student ideas from

Relations Josh Friedman when describing the

Carmine Parente, who pledged $1 million in

inception to market readiness. (See pages 4

outcome of the University’s 2023 Giving Day.

matching funds to support scholarships. As

and 5 for more about USTAAR.)

In its fifth year, this annual fundraising event,

someone who firmly believes in paving the way

which harnesses the collective power of

for future generations, Parente’s gift was driven

Athletics saw a surge of support as well.

’Canes, delivered record results in support of

by his hope that every aspiring band member

Established in 2011 to honor President Donna

everything from scholarships and community

can participate without financial constraints.

Shalala’s mother, a champion of women’s

“As a band member, you learn how

athletics and a skilled amateur tennis player,

service to student entrepreneurship,

The Edna C. Shalala Fund for Women’s

athletics, and research. Among the many

to follow, you learn how to lead, how to

the fund continues to uplift the U’s nine

highlights were:

communicate with people, how to work with

women’s intercollegiate teams.

A spirited effort by student organizations to leverage Giving Day reaped many successes and attracted over 400 donors

men and women, all those things I learned

“The immense impact of Giving Day

helped me be successful in my life,” he says.

is a testament to the generosity of our

Student entrepreneurs—who can be

contributors, the power of unity, and a

who contributed more than $41,000.

found in every school and college across

celebration of the extraordinary potential

Beneficiaries spanned a range of interests,

the University—also benefited from donor

within the University of Miami,” Friedman said. ILLUMINATE


WINTER 2023/24


Young alumni step up to help future generations of students

WHY WE GIVE “Honored to help” Just months after graduating from the University of Miami Patti and Allan Herbert Business School, TikTok star Alix Earle, B.B.A. ’23, began giving back to her alma mater in a transformative way. Earle has leveraged her education in marketing to gain a massive following on TikTok and Instagram, with over nine million followers across both platforms. Filled with gratitude to the institution that proved formative to her success, she created a scholarship aimed at breaking down financial barriers for

and travel expenses. The conference resulted in her first internship, which then blossomed into a second internship and, later, a job. Since graduating, Overton has reciprocated that generosity by gradually increasing her contributions to the NSBE. To those considering making their own donation to a cause important to them, she urges this: “Imagine if you didn’t have access to something that you thought would be career-changing or life-changing [due to financial constraints]. Now, imagine being able to provide students with that type of access. It can really make a big difference, and every contribution matters.”

business-minded students—especially

Life-changing philanthropy

young women. The Alix Earle Scholarship will provide financial assistance to

The University of Miami was Willie Herenton’s, B.A. ’21, first-choice

outstanding students who demonstrate significant potential in

college. He worked hard in high school and was admitted to his


dream school.

“I feel very lucky to have had the opportunity to go to the U and I’m

A lifelong student-athlete, Herenton joined the basketball team

very proud of being part of the UM family,” she says. “If I can help

during his sophomore year and was

someone in need complete their degree at the University of Miami,

awarded a full scholarship.

I’m honored to help. I know the impact that UM has had on me, and it means the world to me to be a part of that for someone else.”

“Every contribution matters” For Kimberly Overton, B.S.B.E. ’20, M.S.B.E. ’20, the University of Miami

on Herenton. After graduating from the College of Arts and Sciences, he decided to pay it forward for the next generation of business leaders.

felt like home, and its message that ’Canes care for ’Canes felt

“The academic vigor at the U is

intuitive to her.

unsurpassed,” says Herenton. “The

As an undergraduate and graduate student in the College of Engineering, she volunteered her time with the

diversity in my courses and the opportunity to live in a booming city like Miami prepared me to embrace the world differently.”

University’s chapter of the National

He established the Willie W. Herenton Business Scholarship at the

Society of Black Engineers (NSBE).

Miami Herbert Business School so that he could “enhance the life

When the NSBE held a conference


The experience had a lasting effect

of someone else.”

connecting job recruiters with

“It is a privilege to provide a scholarship to help someone else

engineering students, Overton was

attend my amazing alma mater,” he says. “I love the University

able to attend thanks to alumni

of Miami, and this is a chance to give back and contribute in a

donations supporting her registration

life-changing way.”



Georgina “Georgie” Angones, B.A. ’72, is passionate about changing the lives of University of Miami students through scholarships. “Education is the great equalizer,” she says. “As a first-generation college student, I know how difficult it is to work and go to school at the same time.” In 2010, Georgie, assistant dean, law alumni and community relations at Miami Law, and her husband Frank, B.A. ’72, J.D. ’76, a distinguished trial lawyer and the first Cuban American president of The Florida Bar, established the Francisco R. and Georgina Angones Endowed Scholarship. “We recently made a provision in our wills to further endow the Angones Scholarship,” she says. “Our goal is to leave an important legacy for the U, which welcomes students from all backgrounds with an open heart.”

“ We believe strongly in giving back to the U, and paying it forward for future generations.” –Georgie Angones

To learn about the many simple and easy planned giving vehicles available to make a lasting impact at the U, please contact Kyle Paige, executive director, Office of Estate and Gift Planning, at 305-284-2914 or




Division of Development and Alumni Relations P.O. Box 248073 FL 33124-1530 Coral Gables, Florida 33124-1530

As one of only

71 member institutions of the Association of

American Universities, the University of Miami is in brilliant company.

The AAU represents 3% of all colleges and universities in the U.S.


of federal research funding went to AAU universities in 2021.

39% 53% of all National Academies members…


of all American Academy of Arts and Sciences Fellows…


AAU universities were among the top 50 worldwide for producing venture-capital-backed entrepreneurs.


of all research doctorates are awarded by AAU universities.

of all recipients of the Nobel Prize…


of all recipients of the National Medal of Science…

…are affiliated with an AAU university.

The four-year graduation rate at AAU universities is 44.7% higher than at all U.S. bachelor’s degree-granting institutions.

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