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April 15, 2005

Dear Colleague:

I am constantly encouraged, but never surprised, by the passion I encounter among faculty and staff here at UM. Our employees are dedicated, caring, productive, and generous. This is never more evident than during times of crisis like hurricanes and other challenges, but is also evidenced daily in your pursuits related to research, teaching, patient care, and the business of running this university.

Together, we have now raised more than $858 million toward our billion-dollar goal for the Momentum campaign. That's a spectacular achievement, and we should all be very proud. We are now in the home stretch, and it's time to catch our second wind. Many of you have already made generous campaign contributions. As a matter of fact, 100 percent of our vice presidents and deans and almost all of our medical school department chairs have made a campaign commitment.

This month we will launch the faculty and staff component of the campaign, giving each of you an opportunity to show your support. Dean Colson, chairman of the Board of Trustees, will be contacting you soon and will send each of you a pledge card -- or you may give online at www.miami.edu/campaign/donors/faculty-staff.html. Every gift to the campaign, no matter how large or how small, is greatly appreciated. I hope each of you will give what you can and help close the gap toward our goal.

We recruited two new deans this spring. Classics scholar Michael Halleran, currently divisional dean for arts and humanities at the University of Washington, was named dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, and Sam Grogg, dean of the American Film Institute, was named dean of the School of Communication. These tremendously talented individuals arrive on campus this summer. We also recruited a director for our newly named Center for Hemispheric Policy. Susan Kaufman Purcell was previously vice president for the Council of the Americas; a distinguished political scientist and native New Yorker, she arrived on campus last week.

Two other major searches are under way -- executive vice president and provost of the University and senior vice president and dean of the Miller School of Medicine -- the two most senior-level academic positions at the University. The search for a new provost is nearing completion. The medical school dean search, chaired by Provost Luis Glaser, is about to begin.

Our aggressive construction agenda continues. In January we dedicated the spectacular new Marta and Austin Weeks Music Library and Technology Center at the Frost School of Music. University Village is emerging out of the ground along Red Road and will be completed in time to welcome 800 resident students there in fall 2006. The medical school's Clinical Research Institute and Wellness Center, the M. Christine Schwartz Center for Nursing and Health Studies, the Jorge M. Perez Architecture Center, and the School of Communication Student Center are on schedule, and we expect to occupy all of them in the fall.

This summer we will break ground on Smathers Four Fillies Farm in the Village of Pinecrest. Consisting of 32 beautiful homes nestled within a lush 32-acre compound, these residences will be available for sale to UM faculty members only. The project is scheduled for completion by summer 2006. Eligible faculty members will be receiving more information about purchasing these homes in the next few days.

Several other major construction projects are in design and will begin construction soon, including the School of Business Administration's Miguel B. Fernandez Family Entrepreneurship Building and the Miller School of Medicine's new wet lab research building. With the University's recent purchase of Gables One Tower on South Dixie Highway, several UM administrative offices will move all or part of their operations there this summer, including University Communications, General Counsel, University Advancement, and the Miller School of Medicine billing offices. And, thanks to a generous grant from the Bernard Osher Foundation, the Institute for Retired Professionals has been renamed the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute and will soon move to the site of the old Faculty Club on Brescia Avenue.

Commencement is rapidly approaching. We have a terrific line-up of honorary degree recipients and speakers that we will announce publicly in the next few weeks. Acclaimed film director, screenwriter, and actor Spike Lee will be the speaker for the Class of 2005 Convocation at the UM Convocation Center on Thursday, April 28, at 6 p.m. For the latest information on Commencement and related activities, please visit www.miami.edu/commencement.

It is a privilege to work with such incredibly talented people. Thank you for your continued commitment to our wonderful University. Feel free to e-mail me at dshalala@miami.edu regarding any of the information in this edition of Dialogue or any other University issue.


Donna E. Shalala

Office of the President
P.O. Box 248006 Coral Gables, Florida 33124-4600
305-284-5155 Fax 305-284-3768