May 17, 2017

To the University of Miami Community,

Last week 3,700 graduates received their degrees and became the newest alumni of the University of Miami. As they embark on the next chapter of their lives, our graduates bring the extraordinary talents of the U into the world, and they follow in the footsteps of thousands who have done so before them.

commencement ceremony

Our first commencement ceremony 90 years ago had seven graduates. Since then, UM has grown to attract talent from all corners of the globe to engage in teaching, learning, research, innovation, athletics, and service. This year's exceptional honorary degree recipients included two former heads of state and government, a Nobel laureate, the first woman to lead the National Academy of Sciences, a transformative business leader and philanthropist, and a physician who has revolutionized our understanding of disease patterns in society. I invite you to hear their special advice to our graduates here.

As I reflect on the work we have done together this year to advance the Roadmap to Our New Century, I am inspired by what our community of talent has achieved.

  • We've drawn new leaders to our campuses, including Jacqueline Travisano, Ed.D., C.P.A., who joins us as executive vice president for business and finance and chief operating officer, and Edward Abraham, M.D., as dean and chief academic officer of the Miller School of Medicine. Our current leadership searches have attracted exceptional candidates, and we anticipate announcing new appointments in the coming weeks.
  • We have launched not only new graduates into the world, but also other members of our team who are pursuing the next chapters of their careers. We are grateful for the contributions Tom LeBlanc, Sergio Gonzalez, and others have made to our institution.
  • The research happening on all of our campuses continues to have a direct impact on the world, and this year we continued to build the ’Cane Talks program to share innovative faculty research, scholarship, and practice. You can view this year's ’Cane Talks at:
  • As part of the STEM@UM initiative, we announced the launch of the Frost Institutes for Science and Engineering, made possible by the transformational $100 million gift by Dr. Phillip and Patricia Frost. The first individual institute will be the Frost Institute of Chemistry and Molecular Sciences.
  • We held the inaugural UTrailblazers weekend-long campus celebration recognizing our first black graduates. More than 400 alumni and friends attended a gala and helped raise almost $100,000 to fund the First Black Graduates Project Endowed Scholarship.
  • Helping us to attract new talent to our athletic fields, we recently broke ground on the state-of-the-art Carol Soffer Football Indoor Practice Facility, made possible by the Soffer family's generous $14 million gift, which led $32 million in overall contributions.
  • The new Distinguished Presidential Scholars and Fellows program brought four fascinating experts to campus for an extended residency this year as the first of many visiting thinkers in the years to come.

Building a community of talent requires not only the people we see at the podium or on the stage. These achievements are possible because of UM's dedicated faculty and staff, who work each day, often in unsung roles, to help make our great institution even greater. Their work is one reason the University of Miami was ranked 15th in the nation on the Forbes list of America's Best Employers. This is a landmark achievement for our organization and speaks to the culture of talent we are building together.

Thank you for all you have contributed this academic year through your work, your feedback, and your commitment to the U.

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