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News and Events of Interest to University of Miami Alumni


Grand Slam Send-Off

Ringing in a New Tradition
The Sub Club Postcards from Russia
Never Too Late to Reconnect Message on a Bottle

Grand Slam Send-Off

mere five days after our nation celebrated its 228th birthday, in the famed city where our founding fathers adopted the Declaration of Independence, hundreds of University of Miami alumni, incoming freshmen, and parents united in the glory of the great American pastime. Spawned from an idea by President’s Council member Sam Ballam, B.B.A. ’72, to host a reception featuring Philadelphia Phillies baseball players Pat Burrell, ’98, and Jason Michaels, ’98, the July 9 event was the largest-ever University gathering in Philadelphia.

Throughout the summer, the Alumni Association and alumni volunteers had been hosting Summer Send-Off Receptions around the country to connect incoming freshmen and transfer students with other UM students and alumni in their hometowns prior to the fall semester.

Once Jim Morris, head coach of the Hurricanes baseball team, caught word of the plan to invite Burrell and Michaels as guests of honor, he was eager to tag on to the ’Canes in the Outfield event.

“It was a special day for everyone, especially for me because I don’t get a chance to see Pat and Jason all that often,” says Morris, who makes a point of keeping in touch with his former players. “It’s fun to watch the professional players, but it’s also fun to watch the guys who are doing well in business and in life, the ones who come back to visit me with their kids.”

Burrell and Michaels led the UM team to records of 51-18 in 1997 and 51-12 in 1998. Burrell, the College World Series’ Most Outstanding Player as a freshman who hit 61 home runs in his three years at the University, became the No. 1 draft pick for Philadelphia in 1998. Michaels transferred to UM in 1997 and went on to break the record for most doubles in a season and tie the single-season hits mark at 106.

Burrell and Michaels, who play outfield for the Phillies, treated ’Canes in the Outfield guests to a question-and-answer session.

“It was such a fun time for me when I was in school,” Burrell recalls, making special mention of the three College World Series games in which he played. “It paved the way for me to be able to play here at this level.” Those who attended ’Canes in the Outfield also received a VIP tour of Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia’s new 43,000-seat ballpark, and tickets to the Phillies versus Atlanta Braves game later that evening.

“It was such a cool day because Jason and I didn’t know what we would be doing there until we came up the stairs and saw 400 people,” Burrell says. “It’s nice to know the University is interested in keeping in touch with us.”

No doubt the Hurricane spirit helped Burrell and Michaels clinch a 7-6 vic-tory for the Phils.

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The Sub Club

t was 1991 during Fleet Week, the U.S. Navy annual event that now coincides with the Fort Lauderdale Air and Sea show, that 500 sailors and other visiting military, led by Fort Lauderdale police escort, descended upon the Orange Bowl to see the Hurricanes defeat the Penn State Nittany Lions. “It was quite a sight for television, with hundreds of sailors in white cheering for the Hurricanes,” recalls Richard P. McCully, the longtime Hurricanes fan who organized the excursion.

McCully, a federal judge in the Northern District of Georgia who has served in the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary for more than 30 years, is past president of the Broward Hurricane Club and founder of the Atlanta Hurricane and Alumni Club. In 1998 the UM Alumni Association named him an honorary alumnus for his devotion to the alumni community.

Among the sailors attending McCully’s 1991 Fleet Week football frenzy were crew members of the USS Miami, a nuclear attack submarine whose home port is Groton, Connecticut. Three years ago McCully recon-nected with the crew of the sub that shares our namesake. “I started sending them tapes of University of Miami football games to boost morale at sea, and they seemed to like it,” McCully says.

The long-distance relationship between the Atlanta Alumni Club and the USS Miami continued over the years. So it wasn’t too surprising when McCully received a call from Commanding Officer Joseph Wiegand to announce that the sub would be docking in Fort Lauderdale for Fleet Week 2004, its first return to South Florida since 1991. Wiegand invited McCully, current Atlanta Alumni Club president Dan O’Boyle, B.B.A. ’83, and other UM folks to an onboard tour. Amazed by the electronics on the vessel, McCully also couldn’t help but notice a set of practice torpedos painted in Hurricane orange and green.

“Officer Wiegand gave us a picture of the submarine, signed by the crew, to hang in the Altanta club where we gather to watch Hurricane football games,” McCully says, noting that the club returned the favor by sending the USS Miami a personal video message. “During one of our game watch parties, we filmed our 300 members saying, ‘We support you, USS Miami!’”


Never Too Late to Reconnect

andy Johnson, A.B. ’71, was like a lot of University of Miami alumni: “I went to school there, I paid my tuition, and that was it.” He graduated with a psychology degree and began working his way to the top of the mortgage banking business, now serving as chairman and CEO of Tampa-based Market Street Mortgage Corporation. Only recently did Johnson ever look back.

“My oldest son was starting to look at universities, and when we took the tour at Miami I got so excited about it,” he recalls of his first visit to campus in seven years. “So I joined the President’s Council and started getting involved with the College of Arts and Sciences.”

The Randall C. Johnson Lecture Hall in the psychology department’s Fred C. and Helen Donn Flipse Building bears the name of this soft-spoken entrepreneurial powerhouse. “I’m a real believer in psychology as an area of study not just for people who want to be psychologists, but as a good general course to form a liberal arts education,” Johnson says.

Johnson has recently committed $1 million to help fund the new alumni center on the Coral Gables campus. “With this center, the University is saying ‘We want to embrace our alumni.’ And for alumni, the center provides a lot of opportunity for programs. It’s a really good way to leverage a contribution into something that’s meaningful.”

Now Johnson’s youngest son is eyeing the University of Miami, but no matter which school his son chooses, Johnson will stress the importance of keeping a relationship with your university beyond the four years you’re there. “Staying involved goes both ways—the more you put into it, the more you get out of it.”


Showing Appreciation

ichtenstein and Monet were not the only names admired at the Lowe Art Museum this spring. A special ceremony recognized recipients of the 2004 UM Alumni Association Awards for their exemplary contributions to the University.

The Honorable Robert L. Shevin, J.D. ’57, whose career includes service as a Florida representative, senator, attorney general, and appellate judge, received the Edward T. Foote II Alumnus of Distinction Award. Patricia Herbert, B.B.A. ’57, and Allan Herbert, B.B.A. ’55, M.B.A. ’58, longtime supporters of students through scholarships and mentorship, received the Henry King Stanford Alumni of the Year Award. The University also honored the Herberts this year with a plaque on the Love Bridge, the walkway to the Wellness Center dedicated to couples who met and fell in love at the University. Richard C. Milstein, A.B. ’68, J.D. ’74, and Robert B. Stevenson, B.S. ’72, received the William R. Butler Community Service Award. Milstein is known for his pro bono legal work in support of human rights and social service issues. Stevenson is an Ohio-based dentist who provides volunteer services to communities in need locally and abroad. John G. Clarkson, M.D. ’68, senior vice president for medical affairs and dean of the School of Medicine, received the Inside Out Award for helping to connect and reconnect patients, students, alumni, faculty, and staff to the University.

The Orange: Outstand-ing Service Award went to Denise Mincey-Mills, B.B.A. ’80, UMAA vice president and member of the Executive Committee, for dedication to her alma mater. The Green: Out-standing Fundraising Award went to President’s Council, an advisory group of distinguished alumni. The White: Outstanding Affiliate Group Award went to the UM Ambassadors, student representatives who help increase visibility of the UMAA.

Students of Distinction were Minal Ahson, bachelor’s candidate 2005, and Michael A. Johnston, B.S.I.E. ’04. Ahson founded a campus organization to increase compassion for the homeless and an HIV/AIDS awareness group. Johnston, student government president in 2002-2003, implemented campus improvements and a student voter registration campaign.

Ringing in a New Tradition

erhaps no other piece of jewelry is as symbolic as a ring. It is the ultimate badge of devotion to another person, and for those who wear a class ring, it is a prominent gesture of school pride.

Introduced in 1835 by the United States Military Academy as a way to unify graduates, class rings are an integral part of tradition at secondary and postsecondary schools worldwide. But class ring sales at the University of Miami have dwindled over the years, with fewer than 200 sold annually by three different vendors on campus. Minimal interest coupled with no standard University ring design and no accompanying ring ceremony have diminished the unifying power of this symbol.

Now the University of Miami Alumni Associa-tion has a plan to turn class rings into a shining example of the strong traditions built and maintained by those who bleed orange and green. This semester, a class ring committee of students, faculty, administrators, and alumni will begin designing a single official University of Miami class ring, or a small collection of rings, sold exclusively by Balfour.

Alumni and qualifying students who purchase a ring will receive them in a formal ceremony officiated by the University president and key administrators. A portion of the ring purchase price will help fund the ring ceremony as well as other student programs.

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Postcards from Russia

any people love to travel, but too many of us wait until retirement to do it. “Traveling is much easier the younger you are,” says Ilien Hechtman, B.S.Ed. ’81. “We started traveling when our youngest son was 4; by the time he was 13, he had been to the equator, the International Date Line, and the Arctic and Antarctic Circles.”

Seasoned world travelers, Hechtman and husband Keith, B.S. ’79, M.D. ’83, decided to spend their first visit to Russia with other University of Miami alumni. They received a brochure announcing the Passage of Peter the Great, an all-inclusive cruise from St. Petersburg to Moscow this summer, and booked their trip the very next day. “We knew that anything endorsed by the University of Miami Alumni Association had to meet certain standards,” Ilien Hechtman says. “The itinerary was excellent, and the timing happened to be the perfect two weeks for us.”

Aboard the 120-passenger M/S Repin, the Hechtmans and their youngest son Blake were joined by five other UM alumni and a sizeable alumni contingent from the University of Kentucky and Duke University. Entertain-ment aboard the M/S Repin included bala-laika players, opera singers, pianists, and accordion musicians, all clad in authentic Russian garb. There were lectures on Russian culture, including demonstrations on crafts and cuisine. On land, tour guides led the group through the sites of historic St. Petersburg, the surprisingly cosmopolitan Moscow, and a large number of rural communities along the way.

Ilien Muller met Keith Hechtman, a senior, in her freshman year at the University. They were registering for classes in the Ashe Building, making eye contact as they shuffled through the long lines that preceded the EASY system of online registration. He finished his task and waited outside to ask her if she had a boyfriend. They were married the following year, bringing into the marriage their hopes, dreams, and a detailed list of places they just had to see in their lives.

“Travel enriches your life and makes you appreciate the life you have in the United States,” Ilien Hechtman says. “Keith and I feel it’s critical to our children’s education for them to see other cultures, and it’s more important for them to see the real thing than to see it made of fiberglass in Disney World.”

Hechtman’s travel advice to other UM alumni: “Don’t think twice. Just book it and go.”

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Message on a Bottle

ever judge a wine by its label, unless the label says it’s part of the University of Miami Alumni Association’s First Edition Collector’s Series. This portfolio of premium bottles from top-rated California wineries has been hand-selected by the UMAA for our alumni to give as gifts, serve at special occasions, or simply enjoy any day of the week.

Offered at special prices through California-based Signature Wines, the UMAA wines are sold in individual cases of a specific varietal or in special collections of mixed cases and four-bottle sets. A portion of the proceeds from each sale helps fund UMAA programs, scholarships, and events. For more information, visit the Web site at

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