|Below, for your reference, is the full text of President Julio Frenk’s video message (above) to the University of Miami community.|
Each year, in honor of Roberta “Bosey” Fulbright Foote, we recognize members of the UM community who have made a meaningful and lasting contribution to the beauty, significance, and future of our campus.
This year, as the world looks towards overcoming a pandemic and addressing its serious economic and social consequences, I am delighted to take a moment out of our Virtual Earth Week celebration to announce the recipients of the Foote Prize. Once again, we have decided to recognize two recipients for their dedication to the University’s legacy of sustainability.
The first recipient is one of our most dedicated trustees and a longstanding member of the University community, who knew Bosey Foote well.
A former U.S. ambassador to Iceland, Charles “Chuck” Cobb is a deeply committed member and former Chair of the University of Miami Board of Trustees. In fact, he has been the chairman, vice chairman, or past chairman of the UM Board for over 35 years, and he was one of the trustees on the search committee that selected our fourth president, Edward T. Foote, and brought the Foote family to Miami.
In Tad Foote, Ambassador Cobb noted one key quality that the board sought in selecting the president: to be a “leader of change.” The willingness to think differently in order to make a difference is something the Footes have in common with the Cobbs.
Throughout his career in community development and international trade policy, Ambassador Cobb has been forward-thinking, and as a leader at the University he has embraced the importance of landscaping and campus beautification in making our campus environment inviting and sustainable. Ambassador Cobb’s selection for the Bosey Foote Prize captures how steadfast dedication to service can have a lasting impact.
The other recipient of this year’s prize embodies the exciting future of our involvement in caring for the planet we all share.
Our student recipient is junior Sofia Mesa, chair of Student Government’s ECO Agency and sustainability director of UThrift, our campus’ thrift swap, which aims to mitigate fast fashion’s environmental footprint as well as redistribute access to high quality goods to all members of the campus community.
In addition to her schoolwork, Sofia works part time as the internship director at Debris Free, a local nonprofit dedicated to making Miami a zero-waste city. Double majoring in English and ecosystem science and policy on the pre-law track, Sofia is a leader and change-maker supporting education and policy for a more environmentally sustainable planet.
Chuck Cobb and Sofia Mesa both exemplify the vision and commitment to progress Bosey Foote herself embodied.
I have noted before that pandemics are not natural events—they are a result of the unsustainable ways we engage with our environment. As we look to build not just a new normal but a better normal, I am proud and honored that the examples of leadership and commitment at the U stretch from our trusted and innovative governing body to our talented and inspiring students.
My congratulations and thanks to this year’s recipients, and the Foote family, for giving us such compelling inspiration as we celebrate Earth Day.