Dean Isaac Prilleltensky and EtionyAldarondo

Peter Maki, left, and Carey McIntyre in Iraq.

We’ve Got Some ’Canes over Here—in Iraq

I came down to Miami for a football game and purchased the flag on campus just before I shipped out to Iraq, where I’m a U.S. Navy lieutenant with the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization. The support I’ve gotten from my UM friends while I’ve been out here has been fantastic, and I thought this picture of me and Carey “Mac” McIntyre, A.B. ’06, a captain with the U.S. Army’s 541st Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, would be perfect for Miami magazine. Friends for years through the Greek community at UM, we last saw each other at our UM graduation. Three and a half years later, we find ourselves both serving here in Iraq. Mac managed to helicopter down to Baghdad for Christmas. The photo was taken on Christmas Day 2009 on a roof in downtown Baghdad. We’ve got some ’Canes over here! Even in Iraq.

Peter Maki, A.B. ’06
Paradise Valley, Arizona

Looking Back: Kennedy Visits UM

I was there (“Looking Back,” Fall 2009). On Friday, October 28, 1967 at the student union, UM was awarded a half-a-milliondollar grant from the Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. Foundation. Edward Kennedy and, I believe, Eunice Shriver presented the grant. Then-UM president Henry “King” Stanford is next to Kennedy, and I am hidden somewhere in the crowd.

Mike Tramontana, A.B. ’70
Delray Beach, Florida

Editor’s Note: Kennedy and Shriver visited the School of Medicine in 1967, contributing $500,000 from their father’s foundation to the school’s pioneering Mailman Center for Child Development.

Arctic Adventurer

Dean Isaac Prilleltensky and EtionyAldarondo

Michael Lent raises 'Cane in the Arctic.

I wrote On Thin Ice for Disney’s Hyperion Books based on the popular reality series Ice Road Truckers. To that end, I spent three weeks in the Arctic Circle on the ice roads with the reality show’s star, legendary driver Hugh Rowland, aka The Polar Bear. When I was a film student at UM, I dreamed of having these kinds of amazing experiences. I feel truly blessed that my education set the stage for me to have this opportunity. That’s why I brought the Hurricane flag along. It would be fun to know if this is the first time ’Cane colors were raised in the Arctic.

Michael Lent, M.F.A. ’93
Los Angeles, California

Musical Memories

I remember with affection the role the School of Music played in my development, cultural and artistic. Having been a member of the Miami Symphony’s cello section at the end of the 1950s, I was a student of then-professor of cello Herman Busch, the youngest brother of the famed Busch quartet. Herman, with brothers Adolf and Fritz and Rudolf Serkin (the great pianist and father of pianist Peter Serkin), helped to create and found the internationally respected Marlboro Music Festival in the United States. Its fame continues to soar.

John Bitter, dean of UM’s music school from 1950-1963, also conducted the Miami Symphony in those days, bringing world-renowned artists to perform, including violinist Isaac Stern; cellist Leonard Rose; conductors Pierre Monteux, Arthur Fiedler, and Hector Villa- Lobos; and pianist Jorge Bolet. Heady times, indeed. I was one lucky college student, and I never forget it. I wish to express the debt of gratitude I owe to the music school.

It would be valuable to produce some documentary of the school’s worldwide impact upon classical musicians from the middle of the last century to the present.

Leon J. Hoffman, A.B. ’61
Chicago, Illinois


More about Michael

I was glad to see the letter by John Softness, A.B. ’55, in the fall 2009 issue of Miami magazine (“A Giant Talent”) about the show biz achievements of Michael Dunn. When John, Michael, and I were in New York, we’d meet on occasion for lunch. Once, Michael picked out Café des Artistes as our culinary venue. He sprinkled sparkling verbal gems on everything from the food to the murals on the walls. Some other diners recognized him, and he charmed them with his personality—a superstar in a small package.

Don Jeka, A.B. ’54
Mountainside, New Jersey


Piti Piti Zwazo Fe Nich*

We knew publishing a special issue about post-earthquake Haiti was risky. With the immediacy and scope of the crisis, we knew we couldn’t cover every story or address every issue at the level of complexity such a huge and ongoing catastrophe required. But we also knew we had to try. What happened in January will long be ingrained in the fabric of UM—and the lives of the students, faculty, staff, and alumni engaged in Haiti’s continuing struggle to return from the edge of oblivion.

Almost daily after the quake, there were vigils, brainstorming sessions, lectures, fundraisers, task force meetings, art auctions, and clothing drives on campus. For so many here the agony is personal. Despite unprecedented generosity and billions of dollars expected to go toward aid and rebuilding (UM has raised $6.9 million), so many questions, and so much pain, remain. How do we respond to crisis? What is the geography of responsibility? In the age of the GPS, how do we set our moral compass? What do we do when an event exceeds our vision of “worst-case scenario”?

“The way we see Haiti on CNN or the BBC, it’s easy to imagine those images are fully representative of the country,” said associate professor of English Patricia J. Saunders, who co-organized March’s Global Caribbean Symposium. “But 200 years of history precede the quake.”

This is a look at Haiti through the lens of the University—a lens you won’t see on the 24-hour news cycle. This issue is filled with hard lessons learned from tragedy, lessons that will be invaluable when the next “worst-case scenario” arrives. As President Shalala wrote in detailing UM’s own emergency preparedness plan: “Disasters are often unforeseeable—but our responses to them shouldn’t be.”

This is just the beginning of our conversation about Haiti, which in the end is a conversation about hope—the kind adjunct professor Sasha Kramer described from Haiti, where she was teaching when the earthquake hit. Numb from a sea of severed limbs and security zones, she came to a tent village one night and watched young men “setting up a large light rigged to some batteries. As light flooded the crowd of people,” she wrote, “they burst into song—songs of solidarity, songs of grief, songs of thanks that they had survived.”

* “Little by little the bird builds its nest.” (Haitian proverb)

Robin Shear, Editor


Address letters to:
Robin Shear
Miami magazine
P.O. Box 248105
Coral Gables, FL 33124