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September 23, 2005

Dear Colleagues and Students,

As I write this, we have endured yet another hurricane. And, sadly, yet again a deadly hurricane is headed toward the Gulf Coast.

I want to thank each of you for your hard work, perseverance, and patience as we have opened and closed the University twice in the first few weeks of the semester. I know it's disruptive, but in both cases it was absolutely unavoidable. The safety and security of our University family is and always will be foremost in our decision-making.

I also applaud your outpouring of generosity in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. You have taken an active role in one of the most comprehensive relief efforts of our time. You contributed desperately needed financial support, medical assistance, supplies, and plain old elbow grease in the relief effort. Perhaps most importantly, you opened up your hearts to fellow citizens in need.

You can continue to show your support in a number of ways. On Saturday, at the
UM-Colorado football game, student volunteers will sweep through the Orange Bowl collecting cash donations that will go directly to Hurricane Katrina relief. You may also make donations to hurricane relief through the University's United Way campaign. Faculty, staff, and students may make one-time donations for Hurricane Katrina relief by contacting Pat Grewe at 305-284-6348. And I urge each of you to increase your annual contributions to United Way, as well, at MyUM. Unfortunately, the need is always greater than the resources available.

As you're aware, we reached out to other institutions of higher learning in the Gulf Coast states. To date, we have enrolled a total of 101 undergraduate, graduate, and professional students who were displaced by Hurricane Katrina. Those tuition dollars are being held in escrow and eventually will be returned to those students' home institutions.

Finally, and on a much lighter note, I'd like to acknowledge the birthday of a very dear friend of mine. Though he certainly doesn't look it, Sebastian the Ibis is turning 50 this year. This milestone will be celebrated during Homecoming Weekend, but you have an opportunity to express your birthday wishes now. He's in the running for Capital One Mascot of the Year - but he's in last place and needs your help! Visit this Web site and vote each day through mid-December: http://hurricanesports.collegesports.com/genrel/090605aac.html.

I am always proud to be a part of this great University, but never prouder than during the past few weeks. This is a wonderful place to live and learn and work (and play).


Donna E. Shalala

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