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New volunteer leaders step up to serve the U

By Pamela Edward

New volunteer leaders step up to serve the U

By Pamela Edward
The new leaders of the University of Miami volunteer boards bring expertise and enthusiasm to their roles as the U looks forward with optimism to a new academic year.

Alumni volunteer leaders help make the University of Miami shine brightly—in our community and our nation. They serve as ambassadors for the U; encourage alumni engagement, philanthropic giving, and volunteerism; offer strategic insight; foster ’Cane pride and spirit; and work diligently to advance the University’s mission. And the new leaders of our volunteer boards bring expertise, energy, and enthusiasm to their roles as the University looks forward with optimism following an academic year like no other.

Alumni Board of Directors, Alumni Council, and Young Alumni Leaders Council: Engaging and serving the worldwide community of ’Canes
Devang Desai
Devang Desai

As he welcomed the Class of 2021 into the University of Miami Alumni Association at Spring Commencement, Devang B. Desai, A.B. ’97, J.D. ’03, reminded these newly minted alumni that “a great University experience does not end at graduation” and they “were about to start a whole new relationship with the U.”

Desai is also stepping into a new role, as president of the board of directors of the Alumni Association. He looks forward to continuing the work of engaging and supporting the worldwide community of ’Canes.

“This is a tremendous honor,” he said. “I look forward to strengthening the University of Miami network and to ensuring that our alumni feel valued and continue their engagement at all levels of our alumni network to champion an ever-brighter U.”

An experienced litigator, Desai is a partner in the South Florida law firm of Gaebe, Mullen, Antonelli & DiMatteo. He has also served on several nonprofit boards, including the University of Miami Law School Alumni Association, and is an ex-officio member of the University’s Board of Trustees.

Serving alongside Desai will be the Executive Committee and the 31-strong Alumni Board of Directors.

The Alumni Council is the representative body of the Alumni Association and includes representatives from nearly 40 ’Canes Communities, select University of Miami schools and colleges, and special interest groups such as the Black Alumni Society. Each of the affiliate groups elects a president and president-elect, and each plays a vital role in helping the Alumni Board of Directors extend the board’s reach and increase the involvement of alumni across the country and around the world.

Mackenzie Green
MacKenzie Green

Young alumni are represented on the alumni board by MacKenzie Green, B.S.C. ’10. She is also the new president of the Young Alumni Leaders Council, which is relaunching this June. The Council supports the needs of recent graduates with tailored communications and events that foster relationships, facilitate networking activities, and create a strong culture of giving among young ’Canes alumni.

Based in Los Angeles, Green is vice president of social media for Who What Wear/Clique Brands, and was previously social media director of BET+, a streaming platform operated jointly by BET and CBS Viacom. She holds an M.B.A. from Columbia University and has a decade of communications and brand management experience.

She is eager to put her skills to good use for the benefit of young alumni. “My time at Miami was incredibly transformative. The U gave me so much, and I'm excited for the opportunity to give back to it, and the community, in a more substantial way. This is an honor and privilege and I hope to represent my fellow ’Canes to the best of my ability.” Click here to see who will be joining Green on the Young Alumni Leaders Executive Council.

Citizens Board and President’s Council: Building supporter networks and advancing the University’s mission
Ana VeigaMilton
Ana VeigaMilton

For Ana VeigaMilton, B.S.E.E. ’87, J.D. ’93, volunteering and philanthropy are lifelong passions. As president and CEO of the José Milton Foundation, she has worked tirelessly along with her family to make South Florida a better place for all its residents, through support of education, research, and healthcare. Most recently, she led the Foundation’s efforts to support Miami-area first responders and healthcare professionals battling the covid-19 pandemic.

As incoming president of the University of Miami Citizens Board, as well as a member of the University’s Board of Trustees, VeigaMilton brings her hometown philanthropic spirit to her quest to promote the U’s mission and initiatives.

“I am so proud to be a Miami Hurricane, and I believe strongly in the University’s mission,” VeigaMilton said. “Over the next year, I will work with the Citizens Board to make and strengthen connections between the University and the community, and to inspire others to give in ways that can add tremendous value to students, faculty, and the wider University community.”

Established in 1946—and celebrating its 75th anniversary in 2021—the Citizens Board comprises more than 270 South Florida business and civic leaders who actively support the University’s philanthropic and programmatic priorities while also serving as the U’s ambassadors to the wider business and professional community. For the complete list of the 2021-2022 Citizen’s Board Officers, click here.

As with the Citizens Board, membership of the University of Miami President’s Council is invitation-only, and like its counterpart, the Council has advancing the U at the heart of its mission. Counting some of the University’s most prominent alumni among its members, the President’s Council works to educate, engage, and lead as they cultivate other volunteers and friends of the U, support the University’s strategic priorities, and promote the importance of philanthropic investment in our institution.

Dan Smith
Dan Smith

Dan Smith, B.B.A. ’89, a nationally recognized mortgage industry leader and sales solutions expert, is the incoming chair of the President’s Council. Currently president of First Community Mortgage in Murfreesboro, Tenn., Smith has maintained a strong connection to his alma mater through his involvement on the Dean’s Advisory Committee (then called the Board of Overseers) of the Miami Herbert Business School and the Advisory Board for The Launch Pad.  

Entrepreneurship is Smith’s lifeblood, and he brings that spirit to his volunteer leadership at the U. “I like starting and growing things,” he said. “That’s been the thread throughout my career, and you might say it’s my focus with the University of Miami too. If I can in some small way help the University promote initiatives that provide a launch to today’s students and alumni similar to the experience that I had, I’ll be a happy guy." 

Learn who will be joining Smith on the 2021-2022 President’s Council Executive Committee.