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May 29, 2015

Dear Miami Hurricanes Family,

There are so many experiences and memories I will treasure of my 14 years at the U. Just a couple of weeks ago, we held one of my very favorite annual celebrations—the May commencement ceremonies—where some 3,500 students fulfilled their hard-earned dreams by graduating from the University of Miami. This year’s festivities were especially bittersweet because I knew they were my last as president, and I was deeply touched by the heartfelt good wishes of the Class of 2015, including the hugs from each and every Miller School of Medicine graduate! I’m so proud of all of you.

I also want to thank everyone for the amazing tribute of renaming the Student Activities Center in my honor—I was humbled and overwhelmed by everyone’s outpouring of love, and it was done with the customary Hurricanes’ flair and fun. It’s wonderful to know that generations of future UM students will work, play, and just chill at “Shalala’s.” I am equally thrilled with the planned Miller School medical education building.

The faculty and staff from the Rosenstiel, UHealth and Miller, and Coral Gables campuses have been gifted, inspiring, and dedicated. I thank you all for “teaching” The Prez all these years.

As I prepare to step down, I realize that saying goodbye to my U family isn’t easy—this institution and this community are an indelible part of my DNA. So instead of leaving with a sense of absence or loss, I want to express the greater sense of abundant gratitude I feel for all of you. With excuses to Rodgers and Hammerstein, here are a few of “My Favorite Things” I will always cherish…

Students at study and faculty teaching
Patients in mending and researchers reaching
Diners on gliders for lakeside swings
These are a few of my favorite things

Hammocks on palm trees, alumni a-many
Touchdowns and homeruns and three-pointers plenty
Orange and green and Sebastian’s white wings
These are a few of my favorite things

When the mood slumps
When the road bumps
When I’m feeling sad
I’ll simply remember my favorite things
And then I won’t feel so bad.

Finally, I want to thank my best friend Sebastian the Ibis for always being such a good sport. Here’s a link to his farewell video message to me, in case you haven’t had a chance to see it—I love that bird!

Thank you for the fellowship, for always rising to the occasion, for making me a part of the one and only U family. I’m sure you will give President-elect Frenk and his family a warm and gracious ’Canes welcome when they arrive in Miami. It’s great to be a Miami Hurricane!

I intend to return to the faculty when my leave is over. Until then, my thanks and best wishes.