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Pre-Castro Years

• The relationship between the University of Miami and its neighbors in the Caribbean, especially Cuba, dates back to its founding in 1926. The UM motto in the early years was: “North American culture for the Latin American and Latin American culture for the North Americans.”

• The University of Miami has enjoyed a long and rich history with the University of Havana. From the beginning, members of the faculty of the University of Havana were invited to teach at UM. As early as 1928, the founding president of UM, Bowman Foster Ashe, attended the bicentennial celebration of the University of Havana as a guest of its rector Octavio Averhoff.

• The first Hispanic-American student to enroll at the University of Miami was Carlota Sarah Wright, who attended her first class in 1928.

• In 1934 five Cuban students received scholarships to the University of Miami. This announcement appeared in one of the local newspapers under the headline: “The University of Miami, A Great Institution and its Ideals of Cultural Exchange with Latin America.”

• In 1937 UM President Bowman Foster Ashe and Jay Pearson, who later became the second president of the University, were invited by the Cuban Minister of Education to discuss plans to open a Pan-American Institute in Havana.

• In 1947 the Cuban Ministry of Education sent a delegation of 70 teachers to visit the University and members of the Naval Academy in Cuba visited the University during the ’40s.

• The University of Miami football team played the University of Havana Varsity team for the first time on Thanksgiving Day 1926, and that same year the Hurricanes traveled to Havana on Christmas Eve. The UM swimming team also competed with the University of Havana in the early years.