Distinguished Alumni Lecture Series founders secure the program’s

Pamela Edward, 02-20-2023

Alumnus Stuart M. Bloch (or “StuBloch”) and his wife, Ambassador Julia Chang Bloch, have lived lives of service, advocacy, and barrier-breaking achievement. Now, they have affirmed their longtime commitment to the University of Miami, our alumni, and lifelong learning with a bequest to the Distinguished Alumni Lecture Series.
stubloch julia bloch
StuBloch and Ambassador Julia Chang Bloch at the spring 2023 edition of the Distinguished Alumni Lecture Series. The Blochs were presented with a replica of the iconic bronze statue of Sebastian the Ibis that stands outside the Newman Alumni Center.


In the six decades since he graduated from the University of Miami, Stuart M. Bloch, or “StuBloch,” now retired after a successful banking career, has maintained strong connections with his alma mater. He was the founding chair of the President’s Council, chair of his 25th and 50th class reunions, and a champion of the Newman Alumni Center.

In 1995, StuBloch and his wife, Ambassador Julia Chang Bloch, made a gift to the University to establish the Distinguished Alumni Lecture Series (DALS). Their goal was to create a forum to highlight the wealth of talent, accomplishment, and social and cultural impact of the University and its alumni.

On Feb. 16, during the spring 2023 edition of DALS, came the announcement of a $1 million bequest from the Blochs to strengthen the DALS endowment. 

In presenting to the Blochs a replica of the iconic bronze statue of Sebastian the Ibis that stands in front of the Newman Alumni Center, Josh Friedman, senior vice president of development and alumni relations, remarked, “StuBloch’s and Ambassador Julia Chang Bloch’s vision and generosity made this lecture series possible. [DALS] not only recognizes the excellence of our alumni, by shining a light on their professional achievements, it also reflects the light of this University, and it demonstrates the Blochs’ belief in the transformative power of education.”

Before the presentation, the DALS audiences—in person and virtual—were treated to a rollicking conversation with Tony Award-winning Broadway producer Kenneth Greenblatt, B.B.A. ’68, who received the 2023 Distinguished Alumni Award.

Greenblatt traced his journey from New York to Miami, where he studied business and earned the only wrestling varsity letter ever awarded by the U, then back to New York, where he followed his father into the textile business before producing his first Broadway show in 1981.

As he recounted, Greenblatt loved Broadway from an early age. “My grandmother took me to a show every year,” he said. “And I used to leave holding her hand and saying ‘Grandma, we are going to do this again in 364 more days,’ and she said yes. And I loved every show I ever saw. So, when I sold my textile company, someone asked if I would like to invest in a Broadway show. I said that if I could come and see rehearsals, I would say yes.”

That production, “Nine,” won the Tony for best musical, a feat Greenblatt repeated in 1984 with “La Cage aux Folles,” whose co-author was University of Miami alumnus Jerry Herman. Greenblatt won his third Tony, for best musical revival, for the 2005 production of “La Cage aux Folles.”

Students from the B.F.A. Musical Theater program performed songs from Greenblatt’s productions, including “Grand Hotel” and “Baby,” as well as “Nine” and “La Cage aux Folles,” under the direction of David Williams, alumnus and senior lecturer in the Department of Theatre Arts.

Greenblatt thanked the Blochs for their support of the lecture series. “It means so much to me, because I can do this in front of my family and friends, and it is an honor,” he said.

For his part, StuBloch was delighted with the evening, and said that it was a perfect example of what he and Ambassador Bloch were trying to achieve with DALS. “We’ve never had a more entertaining evening, nor a more deserving alumnus,” he remarked. “As we grant these awards, it makes alumni know they went to a university they can be proud of, and it lets students know that they went to a university where they can achieve something significant. And it lets those who are thinking about going to University that Miami is the place to go—they produce great people.”

StuBloch also acknowledged two transformational figures from the University’s history: Henry King Stanford, the University’s third president, whom StuBloch knew well, and Donna Shalala, fifth president, who was in the audience.

President Stanford once called StuBloch “the most audacious student.” The Miami Hurricane, which chronicled StuBloch’s exploits as a campus leader, called him, simply “the doer.”

Audacity and action were the hallmarks of StuBloch’s time as an undergraduate. As president of the undergraduate student government, he lobbied against the heavy-handed rules that controlled campus life in the early 1960s, and for greater transparency of both student government and University administration.

A tireless champion and changemaker

For StuBloch, A.B. ’64, who has worked to promote positive change as an undergraduate and alumnus, it’s still all about the U.  Read more >

Taking his cue from President Stanford, who championed an integrated University community, StuBloch was a staunch advocate for diversity and inclusion. He spearheaded collections of food and clothing for newly arrived Cuban students and promoted them in student government and honor societies, and he advocated for women in student leadership positions.

By the time he graduated in 1964, StuBloch had been inducted into Iron Arrow, served as president of his fraternity, interned at the Peace Corps as special assistant to its then-director, Sargent Shriver, and represented the University at the 1963 March on Washington.

StuBloch considers his most significant achievement his 53-year marriage to Julia Chang Bloch, whom he met while a law student at Harvard, and whose distinguished career in public service culminated in her appointment as Ambassador to Nepal in 1989, making her the first Asian-American in U.S. history to hold such rank.

Ambassador Bloch broke barriers beginning at a young age. Growing up in San Francisco, she was elected class president of her sixth grade, a rarity for a female at the time, let alone a girl of Chinese descent who didn't speak English. She graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, with degrees in communications and public policy before joining the Peace Corps and volunteering to teach English in Sabah, Malaysia.

After coming back to the United States, Ambassador Bloch pursued a master's degree in government and East Asian studies at Harvard on a Ford fellowship. She had to contend with gender discrimination when, unlike her Chinese-speaking male classmates, she wasn't flown to Washington, D.C. for job interviews, and most job offers were for clerical work.

Prior to her appointment, Ambassador Bloch held several positions, including professional staff member on the Senate Select Committee on Nutrition and Human Needs, deputy director of the Office of African Affairs of the United States Information Agency, assistant administrator of the Food for Peace and Voluntary Assistance Bureau of the United States Agency for International Development, and assistant administrator of the Asia and Near East Bureau of the United States Agency for International Development.

Throughout her career, Ambassador Bloch won numerous honors and distinctions, including the "Woman of the Year" award from the Organization of Chinese American Women, the "Leader for Peace" Award from the Peace Corps, and an honorary doctorate of humane letters from Northeastern University.