Signature event welcomes new students

Welcoming new students during 'Cane Kickoff's 'Canes Take Flight orientation program, Hurricane Bhangra put on a performance at the Watsco Center. Photo: Mike Montero/University of Miami

By Ashley A. Williams

Welcoming new students during 'Cane Kickoff's 'Canes Take Flight orientation program, Hurricane Bhangra put on a performance at the Watsco Center. Photo: Mike Montero/University of Miami

Signature event welcomes new students

By Ashley A. Williams
President Julio Frenk and student leaders formally welcome first-year and transfer students to campus at ’Canes Take Flight.

From student-athletes to activists to scholars, this year’s incoming first-year and transfer students make up the most academically competitive and culturally diverse class that the University of Miami has ever seen.

On Wednesday, UM President Julio Frenk took the stage at the Watsco Center as he and First Lady Felicia Marie Knaul, director of the University’s Institute for Advanced Study of the Americas, welcomed new students and their families to the Coral Gables campus as they prepare to embark on the next chapter of their academic journey.

“The diversity of your class represents the very best of the U: people from all walks of life who share in the fundamental values of a university—mutual respect, civil discourse, and an unwavering belief in the quest for knowledge and truth,” said Frenk, who is raising a ’Cane himself as his eldest daughter enters her senior year at UM.

He went on to encourage students, faculty, staff, and families to come together to reach their ultimate potential and develop a lasting appreciation and respect for one another and for the world beyond. 

“Strive to make a difference on campus by being a leader, even in quiet ways. Your leadership and impact will create a legacy that will connect you to the Hurricane community forever,” said Frenk. “Whether you are living on campus or commuting, it is these experiences that will deepen your learning and enhance our global community.” 

This year, close to 3,000 new students make up the incoming class. Twenty-nine percent of first-year students are Florida residents, with the rest hailing from every other state in the country. UM also welcomed first-year students from around the world—57 countries overall, spanning all parts of the world. 

Hosted by the Department of Orientation & Commuter Student Involvement staff, each year the festive orientation program known as ‘Canes Take Flight welcomes new students with fanfare, and provides a sendoff for their families. 

’Cane Kickoff program coordinators Emma Lam and Michelle Marino explained to the incoming class how they can embrace what it means to be a true Miami Hurricane. From learning about the university’s rich history, to being shown how to properly “put up the U,” to learning the famous “C-A-N-E-S” spell out cheer—everything they needed to know to begin life as a ’Cane was shared.

“’Canes Take Flight is one of our signature events during our ’Cane Kickoff orientation program,” said Patricia A. Whitely, vice president for student affairs. “In addition to being spirited and lively, this student-produced event is an important moment to introduce our new students and their families to our University’s traditions, culture and passions.” 

Also welcoming the new ’Canes were William Scott Green, senior vice provost and dean of undergraduate education; Amy Deem, director of track and field and cross country; Sebastian the Ibis; the Frost Band of the Hour; Sunsations; UCheer; and Hurricane Bhangra, among others.

“This is a university, embedded in our history is the capacity to use learning to overcome adversity,” said Green. “By all rights this place should have died the year it started from a hurricane followed by the stock market crash. Everything that could go wrong did and yet here we are with you going to college at what I promise you is one of the world’s greatest universities.”