Big Ideas Come to Campus

Busy agenda keeps UM community active, engaged

From Grammy winners to a celebrated mathematician, the world truly did come to UM during the past several months.

Shing-Tung Yau, William Caspar Graustein Professor of Mathematics at Harvard, addressed a standing-room-only crowd of students, faculty, and string-theory enthusiasts for the 2012 McKnight Zame Distinguished Lecture in the CAS gallery. Yau’s latest book, The Shape of Inner Space, discusses his groundbreaking work on the curving of space within a closed vacuum.

Condoleezza Rice signs her book for a UM student. The former secretary of state and Billy Joel, below with the Hurricane Productions staff, were just two of the global thinkers and entertainers who have come to campus in recent months.
Raising political discourse were visits from former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, former UN Ambassador John R. Bolton, and President Barack Obama, among many others.

Academy Award winner Goldie Hawn explored the Cognitive Neuroscience Brainwave Recording Lab of Amishi Jha on the Gables campus. Jha, an associate professor in the Department of Psychology, has served as a scientific advisor for the Hawn Foundation, dedicated to cultivating mindful attention and joy in children.

Titanic producer Jon Landau and Chronicle screenwriter and Motion Pictures alumnus Max Landis, ’08, made appearances, sharing insider insights with aspiring industry professionals at the School of Communication.

At the Frost School of Music, Grammy-winning jazz musicians Dave Holland and Terence Blanchard, artistic director of the school’s Henry Mancini Institute, worked with students.

A new Real Estate Impact Conference, hosted by the schools of Business Administration and Architecture in February, featured keynote speaker Sam Zell, CEO and chair of Equity Group Investments, talking about global investment trends with Florida developer Jorge Perez, chair of The Related Group, who said, “After listening to Sam, I believe the old real estate maxim, ‘location, location, and location’ has been replaced by ‘timing, timing, and timing.’”

Piano Man Billy Joel, who has some of his own Miami real estate and named a song for the Magic City, spent two hours rocking the piano and talking with his student audience of more than 1,800 during “Billy Joel: An Evening of Questions & Answers … and a Little Music,” at the BankUnited Center in March. Hurricane Productions distributed free tickets for students to see the six-time Grammy winner and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, who shared anecdotes about his life in music and played solo versions of many audience favorites such as “Vienna,” “New York State of Mind,” and “Scenes from an Italian Restaurant.”

“I always wanted to be a teacher,” said Joel, “so this is my way of doing it.”