New Facilities Energize Student Life
Images from the late August opening of the Student Activities Center and Rathskeller.
In addition to top-flight teaching and cutting-edge research, vibrant student life is a vital element at a great university. The University of Miami has long had a strong focus on the student experience—and now, thanks to the magnificent generosity of Momentum2 donors who have funded the construction of major new facilities, student life is being energized throughout the Coral Gables campus.
One new building in particular is sure to transform student life and be a striking focal point in the heart of the campus: the 119,368-square-foot Student Activities Center on the shore of Lake Osceoloa, which opened in August 2013. The facility will be a popular meeting place, a venue for a wide spectrum of activities, and a center for student organizations. It also includes many dining choices, a student media center, retail outlets, new Rathskeller, and an extended-hours combination study and lounge space.
The center was made possible by a $20 million lead gift from the Fairholme Foundation, as well as a student referendum passed in 2006 that levied a fee earmarked for the center’s construction. Initially envisioned by President Donna E. Shalala a decade ago, the center was designed by the renowned Miami-based firm Arquitectonica and Pittsburgh-based WTW Architects.
UM students are Hurricanes for life, and the University helps ensure their post-graduation success through assistance furnished by the Patricia and Harold Toppel Career Center. The center’s services will soon be strengthened at a new building made possible by a generous gift from UM alumna and trustee Patricia Toppel, B.Ed.’58, M.Ed.’59. Boasting twice as much space as the former center, the new facility will feature state-of-the-art technology, such as videoconferencing and 360-degree video recording, and space for interviews, information sessions, career development series programs, entrepreneurship workshops, and panel discussions.
The experience of ’Canes student-athletes is being enhanced at the new 34,000-square-foot Theodore G. Schwartz and Todd G. Schwartz Center for Athletic Excellence, made possible by a major gift from the Schwartz Family Foundation. As part of the Hecht Athletic Center, the Schwartz Center features a first-rate academic center; a 3,500-square-foot football players’ lounge; one of the finest football locker rooms in college athletics; and the Paul J. DiMare Gallery of Champions, a museum dedicated to the legacy of Hurricane sports. A renovated and expanded 10,000-square-foot athletic training center with the latest in sports medicine technology also has been added to the Hecht Athletic Center.