Speakers 940

Advice for Stepping Out in the World

By UM News

Advice for Stepping Out in the World

By UM News
Frank Jimenez, B.S. '97, President, UM Alumni Association, will be one of several accomplished individuals to address graduates at UM Commencement.

An impressive slate of authors, researchers, humanitarians, artists, and legal and business experts will share their knowledge and experience with undergraduate and graduate students during seven commencement ceremonies taking place over three days, May 10-12, at the Watsco Center on the Coral Gables campus.

Hailing from five different countries, the 2018 Spring Commencement speakers include two Nobel laureates who have elevated the role of literature and the understanding of human diseases, the daughter of another Nobel laureate who is continuing her father’s legacy of fighting for justice and equality, a solo flute virtuoso who was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II for his extraordinary artistry, a physician who scaled the barriers of segregation and discrimination to become one of our nation’s top cancer fighters, and two lawyers who are key leaders in two global companies.

The speakers and the dates and times of their ceremonies are:

Mario Vargas Llosa at the Master’s Degree Ceremony at 1 p.m. on Thursday, May 10

Mario Vargas LlosaA prolific novelist, essayist, journalist, and occasional politician and playwright whose books have been translated into 40 languages, the Peruvian-born Mario Vargas Llosa was awarded the 2012 Nobel Prize in Literature for his “cartography of structures of power and his trenchant images of the individual’s resistance, revolt and defeat.”

Vargas Llosa’s seminal novels, including The Green House (1966), Conversation in The Cathedral (1969), and The War of the End of the World (1981), secured his place among the greatest writers of his generation, and made his one of the most eloquent voices for social and political justice. 

An outspoken critic of the excesses of power in Peru, Vargas Llosa, who is receiving an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters, helped form Peru’s Liberty Movement in 1987 and ran for president in 1990. He has lectured and taught at numerous universities across the U.S., Europe, and South America, and currently writes a column for El País and the magazine Letras Libres, published in Mexico and in Spain.

H. Robert Horvitz at the Doctoral Degree Ceremony at 5 p.m. on Thursday, May 10

H. Robert HorvitzThe son of an accountant and elementary school teacher, the Chicago-born H. Robert Horvitz discovered how healthy cells kill themselves, a finding that has helped reveal the bases of many human diseases—and which he made by studying one of the simplest organisms with a nervous system, the microscopic C. elegans nematode.

Going against some prevailing scientific wisdom, Horvitz believed that the basic biology of any organism, including the tiny, translucent, roundworm, could reveal common features traceable to our evolutionary roots. His hunch proved correct, earning him the 2002 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, which he shares with fellow C. elegans researchers Sydney Brenner and John E. Sulston.

A professor of biology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology since 1986, Horvitz is also a member of MIT’s McGovern Institute for Brain Research and Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research, and an investigator with its Howard Hughes Medical Institute. A past president of the Genetics Society of America and cofounder of four biotechnology companies, he holds numerous patents, has published many scientific articles, and is a member of the National Academy of Inventors, National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Medicine, American Philosophical Society, and Royal Society of London.

Nontombi Naomi Tutu at the Undergraduate Degree Ceremony for the College of Arts and Sciences at 8:30 a.m. on Friday, May 11

Nonrrombia Naomi Tutu and Desmond TutuNontombi Naomi Tutu is representing her father, South African Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, the winner of the 1984 Nobel Peace Prize who is receiving an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from the University for his unrelenting activism against inequality.

Ordained as an Anglican priest in 1960, Desmond Tutu used the power of his pulpit to help bring down his country’s system of apartheid. The first black Anglican Dean of Johannesburg and the first black General Secretary of the South African Council of Churches, he became known and admired internationally for his commitment to seeking a non-violent path to liberation and for supporting economic sanctions against South Africa.

But as a formidable public speaker and activist for race and gender justice in her own right, Nontombi Naomi Tutu, whose fitting first name means “mother of girls,” is a remarkable stand-in for her father.

Born under the long shadow of apartheid, she has spent her entire adult life advocating for the rights of women and people of color. Educated in Swaziland, the U.S. and England, she has led Truth and Reconciliation Workshops for groups dealing with different types of conflict, served as program coordinator for the historic Race Relations Institute at Fisk University, and was a member of the institute’s delegation to the World Conference Against Racism in Durban.
An ordained clergy in the Episcopal Diocese of Tennessee, she has taught at the University of Hartford, University of Connecticut, and Brevard College in North Carolina, teaching and preaching that hate and division injure all of us. 

Sir James Galway at the Undergraduate Degree Ceremony at 1 p.m. on Friday, May 11, for the Schools of Architecture, Communication, Education and Human Development, Marine and Atmospheric Science, Music, and Nursing and Health Studies

Sir James Galway

 One of the world’s most remarkable virtuoso solo flutists, the “man with the golden flute,” as Sir James Galway is known around the world, has performed for numerous dignitaries and received countless awards and honors for his astonishing musical originality.

Born in Northern Ireland, he began playing flute at age 9, and, just two years later, won the junior, senior, and open Belfast flute championships in a single day. Knighted by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, the consummate entertainer who crosses all musical boundaries is a recipient of a Gramophone Lifetime Achievement Award and a Grammy President’s Merit Award.

An impassioned advocate for keeping music in the schools, Galway, who is receiving an honorary Doctor of Musical Arts, works tirelessly to promote music education. Named an inaugural University of Miami Distinguished Scholar in 2017, he has conducted master classes and private and group coaching lessons at the Frost School of Music—in between his busy schedule of concertizing around the world, and engendering hope, compassion, and benevolence through the international language of music. 

Frank R. Jimenez at the 5 p.m. Undergraduate Degree Ceremony on Friday, May 11 for the Business School and the College of Engineering

Frank Jimenez headshotThe son of Cuban immigrants, Frank R. Jimenez thought with little enthusiasm about going to medical school while pursuing a biology degree from the University of Miami in 1987. Instead, he found his calling in law. And what a legal career he has had.

Jimenez, who earned his law degree from Yale Law School in 1991, held a clerkship for a federal judge in California, was a litigation partner in a Miami law firm, served as deputy chief of staff and acting general counsel for former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, chief of staff for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development under Secretary Mel Martinez, and in 2004 as the 21st general counsel of the U.S. Navy at the Pentagon, the chief legal officer of the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps, where he managed more than 600 attorneys worldwide and helped to oversee the Naval Criminal Investigative Service.

Today Jimenez is vice president, general counsel, and corporate secretary of Raytheon Company, a technology and innovation leader specializing in defense, civil government, and cybersecurity solutions with 64,000 employees and sales in 2017 of $25 billion. And, as if he isn’t busy enough, last June Jimenez began a two-year term as president of the University of Miami Alumni Association, and as a UM trustee.

Horacio Gutierrez, J.D. '98, at the School of Law Ceremony at 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 12

Gutierrez and ShapoThe general counsel and vice president for business and legal affairs for the Spotify Group, Gutiérrez has been named one of the country’s top music lawyers for two years in a row by Billboard magazine.

At Spotify, the Venezuelan native and School of Law alumnus is responsible for overseeing the music, podcast, and video streaming service’s global legal, regulatory, and government affairs. He also serves as corporate secretary to its board of directors and heads Spotify’s global licensing function, which is responsible for commercial licensing activities with record labels, music publishers, performance rights organizations, and other rights holders around the world. 

Before joining Spotify, Gutiérrez, spent 17 years at Microsoft Corporation, where, after noticing few Hispanic law students pursuing careers in intellectual property law, he founded the Hispanic National Bar Association/Microsoft Intellectual Property Institute.

A fellow School of Law alumnus, Marshall S. Shapo, who served as editor in chief of the University of Miami Law Review, is receiving an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters for his towering achievements in American injury law that have enabled the public to become more aware of the risks and benefits of products and activities they use or partake in—often as unwitting guinea pigs.

The Frederic P. Vose Professor of Law at the Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law, Shapo began studying products liability law early in his career and, in another dimension of that research, immersed himself in examining how government agencies regulate safety in a multitude of areas, from automobile design to cigarettes to drugs. He soon realized we are all experimental animals, a theme he developed into three books.

A prolific author, he is the recipient of the Association of American Law Schools’ William L. Prosser award for “outstanding contributions in scholarship, teaching and service” in the area of torts and compensation law.

LaSalle D. Lefall Jr. at the Miller School of Medicine’s Ceremony at 3 p.m. on Saturday, May 12

LaSalle LefallDuring his nearly seven decades in medicine, cancer surgeon LaSalle D. Leffall Jr. never let the barriers of discrimination and segregation stand in his way. Rising to the top of his profession, he became the first African-American to serve as president of the American Cancer Society, the American College of Surgeons, and the Society of Surgical Oncology. 

Over his pioneering career, Leffall, the Charles R. Drew Professor of Surgery at Howard University College of Medicine, who is receiving an honorary Doctor of Science, has taught more than 6,000 medical students and trained more than 300 surgical residents, leaving a lasting mark on the medical profession and on patient care.

A specialist in colorectal, breast, and head and neck cancers, he recognized and set out to address the many disparities in the treatment of African-American patients with cancer, launching the American Cancer Society’s program to curb the rise in cancer incidence and mortality rates in minority groups. He also played a major role in establishing the first conference in cancer health disparities. 

The author of the autobiography, No Boundaries: A Cancer Surgeon’s Odyssey, he has received numerous honors and held numerous leadership roles. He chaired both the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation and the President’s Cancer Panel, and received the Commander’s Award for Public Service at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, where he was the principal civilian consultant to the General Surgery Service for 30 years. 

For more information about the 2018 Spring Commencement exercises, visit www.miami.edu/commencement