Stepping Out Into the World

By UM News

Stepping Out Into the World

By UM News
University of Miami graduates will hear from a group of extraordinary leaders during this year’s commencement exercises.

A slate of renowned academics, researchers, activists, artists and business leaders, including two Nobel laureates, will share their knowledge and experience with undergraduate and graduate students at commencement ceremonies from May 10 to 12 at the Watsco Center on the Coral Gables campus.

Global citizens with remarkable achievements and game-changing accomplishments in several fields of study and business, the speakers will share their knowledge and advice on paths traveled, defining success and celebrating values with the more than 3,600 graduates walking across the stage this year.

The speakers include:

Sir James Galway

Sir James GalwayOne of the most remarkable and well-known virtuoso solo flautists in the world today, he is a University of Miami Distinguished Presidential Scholar and has performed for dignitaries that include Pope John Paul II and three U.S. presidents.

Born in Northern Ireland, he was knighted by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Known as “the man with the golden flute,” he currently resides in Switzerland with his family and is a past recipient of a Gramophone Lifetime Achievement Award and a Grammy President’s Merit Award.

He launched his successful career as a soloist in 1970, and is known as a consummate entertainer whose appeal crosses all musical boundaries. He became a household name when he recorded John Denver’s “Annie’s Song” in 1978, and his recordings have sold over 30 million copies. Known for his definitive treatments of classical repertoire and masterworks by Bach, Vivaldi and Mozart, he also features contemporary music in his programs, including new flute works commissioned by and for him. With a discography of over 70 recordings on major labels, he also has performed on television shows, and with The Muppets.


Horacio Gutiérrez, J.D. ’98

Horatio Gutiérrez, J.D. ’98General Counsel and Vice President for Business and Legal Affairs for the Spotify Group, the Venezuelan native has been named one of the country's top music lawyers for two years in a row by Billboard magazine.

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

He spent 17 years at Microsoft Corporation, including as general counsel and corporate vice president for legal affairs, and he founded and developed the Hispanic National Bar Association/Microsoft Intellectual Property Institute, after noticing so few Hispanic law students were pursuing careers in Intellectual Property law. He holds degrees from the University of Miami, Harvard Law School and the Universidad Católica Andrés Bello in Caracas, Venezuela.


H. Robert Horvitz

H. Robert HorvitzA 2002 Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine, his pivotal discovery on how healthy cells kill themselves has helped reveal the bases of many human diseases. A professor of biology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, he is also 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, and is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and American Academy of Microbiology.


LaSalle D. Lefall Jr.

LaSalle D. Lefall JrBorn in Tallahassee, he is the Charles R. Drew Professor of Surgery at Howard University College of Medicine and has spent nearly seven decades in the field of medicine and is the first African-American to serve as president of the American Cancer Society, the American College of Surgeons, and the Society of Surgical Oncology. While its president, the American Cancer Society launched a 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 to ensure that all patients receive the best care.

During his distinguished career, he has specialized in colorectal, breast, and head and neck cancers, and has taught more than 6,000 medical students and trained more than 300 surgical residents.

In 1948, at the age of 18, he earned a Bachelor of Science degree, summa cum laude, from Florida Agricultural and Mechanical College. Four years later, he received his M.D. degree from Howard, graduating first in his class. He completed his surgical training at Freedmen’s Hospital, now Howard University Hospital, in 1957. His career in surgical oncology is chronicled in his autobiography, No Boundaries: A Cancer Surgeon’s Odyssey.


Mario Vargas Llosa

Mario Vargas LlosaA 2010 Nobel Laureate in Literature, he is an accomplished writer, journalist, essayist, politician and college professor who is part of an influential group of Latin American writers who advocated for political and social justice around the world. His seminal novels, including The Green House (1966), Conversation in The Cathedral (1969), and The War of the End of the World (1981), earned him a place among the greatest writers of his generation.

In announcing his Nobel Prize, the Nobel committee noted his “cartography of structures of power and his trenchant images of the individual’s resistance, revolt and defeat.”

An outspoken critic about the excesses of power in his native Peru, he helped form Peru’s Liberty Movement in 1987. He ran for president in 1990 but lost. He has lectured and taught at numerous universities across the U.S., Europe and South America, and currently writes a regular column for El País and the magazine Letras Libres, published in Mexico and in Spain.


Nontombi Naomi Tutu

Nontombi Naomi TutuThe daughter and third child of Archbishop Emeritus Desmond and Nomalizo Leah Tutu, she is an educator and activist who has served as a coordinator for programs on Race and Gender and Gender-based Violence in Education at the African Gender Institute at the University of Cape Town, and as a development consultant in West Africa. She has taught at the University of Hartford, University of Connecticut and Brevard College in North Carolina, and served as program coordinator for the historic Race Relations Institute at Fisk University, and was a part of the Institute’s delegation to the World Conference Against Racism in Durban. 

A native of South Africa, she was educated in Swaziland, the U.S. and in England and divides her time between South Africa and the U.S. She has established Nozizwe Consulting, which means Mother of Many Lands, with the company’s guiding principle aimed at bringing different groups together to learn from and celebrate their differences and acknowledge their shared humanity.

As part of her consulting work, she has led Truth and Reconciliation Workshops for groups dealing with different types of conflict. She also has offered educational and partnership trips to South Africa for groups as varied as high schools, churches, hospices, K-12 teachers, and women’s associations.