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August 20, 2018

Dear University of Miami Family,

Welcome to a new academic year filled with promise. The University of Miami is moving toward new horizons just as each of us looks forward to new opportunities in our own lives.

Last year was transformational for our institution.  We consolidated our leadership team, attracting dedicated and talented people who will help guide our University to a new century. We made great financial improvements, allowing us to look to the future with the reassurance that we are on strong and stable footing. Our class of 2022 is among the most competitive and diverse in our history, and I know they will bring fresh ideas and energy to our ’Canes family.

In the spring of 2018, our Board of Trustees approved the Roadmap to Our New Century, the set of strategies that will guide us to our centennial as a leading institution. The Roadmap synthesizes voices from across our University, and I am grateful for the thinking and hard work that so many have contributed to this plan.

On September 17, I invite you to learn more about the University’s standing and our journey to our centennial at the first annual State of the University town hall meeting, a campus-wide event to gather and celebrate our progress and reflect together on the path forward.

Leaders do not stand still; this is a hallmark of our culture at the U. The University of Miami is poised to be the epicenter for research, teaching, and health care in the Americas. This ambition defines the ’Canes spirit, and we have launched a number of bold initiatives to move us forward.

As you walk across campus, you will likely notice construction crews hard at work. The Student Housing Village will redefine campus living and create an integrated environment for learning, living, design, and sustainability. The construction of the Phillip and Patricia Frost Science and Engineering Building will mark the first of several institutes that will form a science quad in the heart of the Coral Gables campus. This ambitious series of investments will enable UM to deepen its commitment to research that tackles the most pressing challenges we face.

Soon you will be able to engage with emerging world-class musicians in the new John S. and James L. Knight Recital Hall at the Frost School of Music, which has built an international and local community of musicians and audiences. If you are interested in underwater research, the new scientific diving pool at the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science will help students gain a better understanding of marine environments and coral reefs. Recently, the Hurricanes football team had the opportunity to practice in the new Carol Soffer Indoor Practice Facility. The state of the art facility gives our student athletes the additional space and resources they need to be the best in their game.

Capital improvements will help us advance the work that will enhance our reputation as a destination for learning, research, health care, and creativity in key areas. 

But we all know that what makes the University of Miami great is its people. Our legacy of action would not exist without the steady belief in reaching for something greater, a belief that has been carried not just by one person, but by many over generations.

For example, the talented faculty at the Miller School of Medicine has begun the important All of Us campaign in partnership with the SouthEast Enrollment Center and the National Institutes of Health. The program aims to build upon our expertise in genetics and our location in one of the most diverse cities in the world to create a medical database that reflects the diversity of the United States.

Last year was a triumphant one for our student athletes, and like all of you, I am ready to cheer for the Hurricanes as they continue to embody the very best in athleticism, academic achievement, and a commitment to service.

We will always strive to improve how we work together. This fall, the team at the Office of Institutional Culture will launch a new Culture of Belonging Barometer that will seek feedback from our students on their experiences at the U. I am committed to advancing a Culture of Belonging where each member of our community feels valued and respected, and has the opportunity to add value. Stay tuned for more information; I hope you will share your ideas as we continue creating the conditions to encourage respect and diversity in all forms.

Change and growth are not always easy, and university communities face urgent challenges. Rising tuition costs have created untenable burdens for many families. Cuts to federal funding have made it harder for faculty to pursue research. Debates about free speech have shaken some campuses. It is essential that we confirm the fundamental values upon which universities are based––mutual respect, learning, and the quest for knowledge and truth.

The fall is a special time on campus. We gather together––returning and new members of our community––to share new strengths and engage in new questions. At the start of each academic year we have the opportunity to set new goals for ourselves.

As we all consider what we want to bring to this year and what we seek to learn and understand, I am inspired by the conviction that this institution is poised to move toward a greater role in the country, the region, and the world.

I look forward to seeing you and hearing about your aspirations for yourselves and for our U.

We do not stand still. Our work has only just begun.

We Are One U,