One from the Heart

Stories of U reconnects the UM family across the miles

As the saying goes, everyone has a story. At the University of Miami, with nearly 160,000 living alumni, that’s a lot of stories. In fact, it’s so many that even if we managed to tell one a day, it would take 425 years to share them all—and of course by then there’d be so many more.

Yet the University of Miami Alumni Association (UMAA) has embraced a venture on just such a monumental scale, inviting all UM alumni to tell their “Stories of U.”

“We want to learn about the moments and people who have shaped our alumni community’s lives,” says Donna A. Arbide, M.B.A. ’95, UMAA executive director. “Our goal is to share and celebrate their individual and collective experiences through pictures, essays, and audio and video recordings.”

Alumni can submit materials to the interactive website or ask the UMAA team to interview them.

The site, which launched in January, is already populated with stories that span the globe and multiple generations.

Three-time Super Bowl champion Russell Maryland, A.B. ’90, discusses his first days at UM and how he went on to transform himself from a “guy nobody wanted” to the number-one draft pick of Jimmy Johnson, Dallas Cowboys’ then-coach and his first coach at UM. “That was just a phenomenal day for me,” recalls Maryland, a 2011 College Football Hall of Fame inductee.

Gerald Del Amo, B.B.A. ’03, and Giselle Ortiz Del Amo, B.B.A. ’04, J.D. ’07, recount how Greek life and Hurricane games brought them together and how their wedding entrance was set to the UM fight song.

David Isaacs, A.B. ’71, whose writing credits range from M*A*S*H to Mad Men, talks about an “amazing” day he had as an intern at Channel 7. He was in the field with a reporter who was covering a truck hijacking case when a police stakeout led to gunfire and a caught-on-camera capture. “I remember thinking, ‘Wow, this is why I want to do this. This is so exciting!’”

UMAA board member Winston Warrior, B.B.A. ’93, M.B.A. ’96, hopes the shared memories from Stories of U will help “reignite that spirit in us as adults that all of us ’Canes had when we were students here at the U.”

Clearly that spirit burns brightly in former classmates Ainslee R. Ferdie, B.B.A. ’54, J.D. ’54, and Martin J. Rosen, B.B.A. ’54, who, in their video, reminisce together about fraternity high jinks, football games, being allowed by the dean to kiss their dates goodnight outside the new women’s dorm, and their later military service.

Arbide encourages more alumni to contribute recollections. “Whether it’s the birth of a child, the trip of a lifetime, or the person who inspired you to be who you are today,” she says, “stories that are honest and come from the heart have the power to uplift, ignite, touch, and transform.”

For more information or to arrange your interview, call 305-284-2872 or 1-866-UMALUMS (862-5867) or visit