By Deserae E. del Campo

Embracing Miami

By Deserae E. del Campo
Philly-born and shaped by Miami, Ivann Anderson leaves the U with nothing short of bittersweet memories and a smile.

Ivann AndersonAt first glance, the University of Miami was never Ivann Anderson’s top choice after high school, though he now knows the decision he made was wise. Born and raised in Northeast Philadelphia, his heart was set on new culture and exploration. Miami was just the place to offer this. 

“Honestly, I knew nothing about the University of Miami, but when I finally arrived to campus for orientation, I was impressed by UM’s academic offerings, its diversity, and South Florida’s beautiful weather. I just knew it wouldn’t be a problem to immerse myself in all of the history and culture of Miami,” said Anderson. 

But the move didn’t sit well with everyone in his family. According to Anderson, his mom was far from pleased. “She was not happy,” he laughed. “But the good news, is that she comes down to South Florida to visit me at least once a year. We’re very close so it’s always a blessing to have her here with me and to see her able to relax a bit.” 

Anderson says his mom is the most important influence on his life. “She’s taught me that anything I want to do in life is achievable. She’s always worked hard to provide for my family; an altruist in her most basic form. I’m blessed to have so much support from my family that keeps me pushing every day, with mom always leading that charge.” 

Initially, he arrived at UM with aspirations to major in biology and become a pediatrician, though he is graduating today with a double major in Religious Studies and Public Health. “After graduation, my goal is to become a public health officer in the U.S. Air Force, following graduate school,” said Anderson, who has also served as the co-chair of the Standing Committee on Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (SCDEI) at UM. 

Alongside Laura Kohn-Wood, chair of Educational and Psychological Studies in the School of Education and Human Development, Anderson’s work with SCDEI addressed issues related to recruitment, admission, and ongoing administrative support of black students.

“The biggest accomplishment I’ve seen come out of the Standing Committee is undoubtedly the development of an Intergroup Dialogue program for the University of Miami, which will allow students of different identities to craft a greater understanding of social relations, address issues on social justice we currently face, and break down biases while acknowledging the existence of privilege within our society,” he said. 

Anderson is tremendously thankful for the experiences and the forever-lasting brotherhood he has made with his brothers in Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., the first black Greek-letter organization chartered at the University. He also remembers fondly his amazing experiences with Sportsfest, which is a University-wide competition promoting teamwork and sportsmanship, bringing together thousands of members of the UM community for a weekend of recreational sports and other activities. 

There’s one last thing that will always stick with him; his love of University of Miami football and games at Hard Rock Stadium. “Nothing could compare to the sweltering heat endured and the adrenaline rush I'd get from cheering on my Canes! It was all worth it to sing our Alma Mater at the end of the game. These memories will last a lifetime.”