‘Ever Brighter’ campaign a highlight at Homecoming

The Donna E. Shalala Student Center on the Coral Gables Campus was aglow with decorative lighting during Alumni Weekend and Homecoming celebrations on Friday, Nov. 5. Photos: Mike Montero/University of Miami
By News@TheU

The Donna E. Shalala Student Center on the Coral Gables Campus was aglow with decorative lighting during Alumni Weekend and Homecoming celebrations on Friday, Nov. 5. Photos: Mike Montero/University of Miami

‘Ever Brighter’ campaign a highlight at Homecoming

By News@TheU
The public launch of Ever Brighter, the University of Miami’s Campaign for Our Next Century, was celebrated Friday evening during a series of events on the Coral Gables Campus.

There was palpable excitement in the air as attendees at Friday’s Homecoming 2021 festivities added sticky notes to a temporary art installation on display on the Edward T. Foote II University Green, sharing what it means to be part of the ever stronger, ever bolder, ever brighter University of Miami.

Formally announced earlier in the week, the University of Miami publicly celebrated the launch of its most ambitious fundraising campaign in the school’s history—Ever Brighter: The University of Miami’s Campaign for Our Next Century.

The University has already raised more than $1.6 billion toward the $2.5 billion campaign goal. 

During the traditional Hurricane Howl festivities that feature the boat burning on Lake Osceola and a Homecoming fireworks display over the Donna E. Shalala Student Center and the residential colleges surrounding the lake, “Ever Brighter,” the original campaign song written by Rey Sanchez, a professor in the Frost School of Music, was performed on the Lakeside Patio Stage by Jon Secada, multiple Grammy Award-winning recording artist and double-alumnus. He was joined by students from the Frost School.

“For almost a century, the University of Miami has been a beacon of hope and opportunity for South Florida, the nation, and the world,” said Stuart Miller, Lennar Corporation executive chairman, University trustee, and chair of the UHealth Board of Directors who is serving as chair of the Ever Brighter campaign.

“As we approach our centennial, we stand ready to be an ever-greater force for good to leverage our invincible spirit in pursuit of new horizons,” he said, adding that the campaign “is an investment in our future—in the success of our students, the talent of our faculty, the boldness of our research, the excellence of our patient care, and our service to the community.” 

Students, alumni, and other members of the University community proudly sang the Alma Mater as the boat burning and dazzling fireworks show concluded.

Earlier in the day, tents lined the Foote University Green for the “Festival on the Foote Green,” where alumni, students, and visitors had the chance to explore interactive displays that showcased the unique strengths and experiences of the University’s schools, colleges, and units.

At one of the tents, Katarzyna Pasternak, a first-year Ph.D. student studying computer science with a focus on robotics, was introducing festivalgoers to a two-foot-tall autonomous, programmable humanoid robot that has been “trained” to play soccer by the RoboCanes lab.

“There are so many technologies being researched and developed by our labs in [the Department of] Computer Science,” said Pasternak, who also earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University. Philanthropic investments to advance research for our future are important, she added.

The celebrations included performances by a handful of ensembles from the Frost School of Music, including Café Con Leche: The Frost Latin Songwriters Ensemble, Sunshine State: The Frost Country Ensemble, the American Music Ensemble, and the Frost Band of the Hour, as well as the spirit squads.

“As we celebrate this evening, we honor the past that brought the U to this point and look forward with great excitement and anticipation toward our bright future,” President Julio Frenk said at the festival. “This is our moment, as we look toward our second 100 years, to empower the University to be better, stronger, and bolder.”

View some of the celebration photos.

Visit the campaign’s website—Ever Brighter: The Campaign for Our Next Century—for more information.