This afternoon, delegates from 99 institutions across the Americas, diplomatic representatives from 28 countries, and civic leaders from across the state of Florida joined the University of Miami (UM) and the Coral Gables community in the installation ceremony of Julio Frenk, M.D., Ph.D., as the research university’s sixth president at the BankUnited Center on the Coral Gables campus.
In his speech, titled “Charting the Course to Our New Century,” Frenk presented his four defining visions for the future of the University, which will celebrate its centennial in 2025.
“We aspire to be the hemispheric university, the excellent university, the relevant university, the exemplary university,” Frenk said to the more than 3,000 guests in attendance. The ceremony was also simulcast in three languages (English, Spanish, and Creole) to an online audience via LiveStream.
“For all the diverse strengths of our 11 colleges and schools—we are one U,” Frenk stressed in his inauguration remarks. “To enhance our drive for excellence, we will mount a major effort to attract what we are calling ‘100 new talents for 100 years…’ The infusion of new recruitments to our outstanding faculty will help build a critical mass of talent in Miami. This effort will cover the different fields of research, scholarship, artistic creation, and education that our comprehensive University cultivates.”
President Frenk also announced a new major initiative to support basic and applied sciences and engineering with a transformational $100 million gift from Dr. Phillip and Patricia Frost, who served as Presidential Inauguration Honorary Co-Chairs. The Frosts are well-known throughout the community for their generous philanthropic commitments to the arts and education, having also given the $33 million gift that named the Phillip and Patricia Frost School of Music in 2003. More recently, the Frost School of Music celebrated the opening of the state-of-the-art Patricia Louise Frost Music Studios complex as part of UM’s Momentum2 capital campaign.
Frenk echoed his earlier promises – during his Town Hall meeting in September and his subsequent listening exercise – to lead the university and continue to expand the university’s presence is other areas of intense focus in his vision for the university’s future, including meeting 100 percent of student financial need and rising sea level initiatives.
“From its very origins, this University has been driven by the dual commitment to excellence and relevance, pursuing the highest academic standards while also serving the local and global communities to which it belongs,” Frenk said at his inauguration. “Today more than ever before, we must build a sturdy bridge that connects scholarship to solutions.”
Frenk further outlined his vision of the university as a hub of educational and technological innovation, a university health system that will offer value-based integrated health care, and a diverse community that fosters a culture of belonging and inclusion. While Frenk is UM’s first Hispanic president, he committed to serve the University as everyone’s president.
“Our founders conceived of the University of Miami as a vitally relevant catalyst for progress, and as your President, I commit to our full engagement for the good of our community and our world.”
Original fanfare music for the inauguration ceremony was conducted and performed by Frost School of Music Dean Shelton “Shelly” Berg with music students. A community reception immediately followed the investiture, celebrated on the Lakeside Patio of the Student Center Complex on the University’s Coral Gables campus.
“The University of Miami is fortunate to have such a great role model and leader as its President,” said Melinda Gates, co-founder of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “[Dr. Frenk has] transformed the lives of some of the world’s most disadvantaged and most disenfranchised people…ensured they have greater opportunities to lead healthy, productive lives.” Frenk served as Senior Fellow for the Gates Foundation from 2007-2008.
Prior to joining the University of Miami, Frenk was Dean of the Faculty at the Harvard University T.H. Chan School of Public Health since January 2009. While at Harvard, he was also the T & G Angelopoulos Professor of Public Health and International Development, a joint appointment with the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. Frenk served as the Minister of Health of Mexico from 2000 to 2006.
Drew Gilpin Faust, president of Harvard University, delivered guest remarks during Friday’s ceremony.
The inauguration ceremony is the capstone of what has been a week of celebratory events and exhibits, innovative lectures, alumni partnerships, and athletics games honoring UM’s institutional excellence and Frenk, who began his tenure as UM president on August 16, 2015. The inauguration steering committee was chaired by Sergio M. Gonzalez, Senior Vice President for University Advancement and External Affairs.
For full inauguration coverage, including the full transcript of President Frenk’s inauguration speech, visit www.inauguration.miami.edu. Follow the conversation on all social media platforms using #UMFrenk.