University to celebrate contributions of its Black students, graduates

Grammy Award-winner Regina Belle will perform at the University on Friday, Aug. 26.
By News@TheU

Grammy Award-winner Regina Belle will perform at the University on Friday, Aug. 26.

University to celebrate contributions of its Black students, graduates

By News@TheU
In a two-day celebration featuring a benefit concert by Grammy Award-winner Regina Belle, the University of Miami will shine a light on the contributions and legacies of Black trailblazers in its community.

The University of Miami will honor the courage, contributions, and legacies of the University’s first Black graduates during a special UTrailblazers celebration, Aug. 26-27. Headlining the festivities will be a performance by Grammy Award-winning singer, songwriter, and actress, Regina Belle. 

The night of song and celebration with Grammy winner Regina Belle will take place Friday, Aug. 26, at 7:30 p.m., at Gusman Hall on the Coral Gables Campus. Belle is best known for a string of hits including “Make It Like It Was,” “If I Could,” “Baby Come to Me,” and “This Is Love,” as well as her Grammy-winning “A Whole New World” duet with Peabo Bryson. 

This intimate, one-night-only concert will benefit the UTrailblazers/First Black Graduates Endowed Scholarship Fund and will include a special performance featuring students from the Frost School of Music. 

“This UTrailblazers celebration is an opportunity to lift up the stories of the University of Miami’s first Black students, our trailblazers, and shine a light on the accomplishments of those students and future generations of students who are making a difference in the areas of diversity and inclusion,” said Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., a University trustee and alumnus.

Earlier that Friday, at 2 p.m., the University will dedicate The Johnny C. Taylor, Jr. Breezeway and Taylor Family/UTrailblazers Experience—an interactive digital exhibit that commemorates the accomplishments of Black students and faculty and staff members from the 1960s to the present. 

Made possible by a generous gift from Taylor, the outdoor installation features touch-screen technology that allows users to scroll through photographs, documents, newspaper articles, film footage, bios, and other historical artifacts. 

Immediately following the dedication, current UTrailblazers will hold their traditional “Passing of the Baton” ceremony to inspire the newest generation of student leaders at the University to continue to blaze the trail for those to come. The ceremony includes a formal welcome to the newest leaders, a performance by the Oleku African dance team, and a networking reception.  

The celebration continues Saturday, Aug. 27, beginning at 4 p.m. with a self-guided tour of the UTrailblazers display in the Kislak Center titled, “Our Legacy Matters: An Exhibition.” 

The University’s Rathskeller at the Donna E. Shalala Student Center will be the venue for the culminating event, “Party with a Purpose.” It will be held at 7 p.m. and features a fun-filled evening to reconnect with old friends and make new ones. Proceeds will benefit the continued curation of the Taylor Family/UTrailblazers Experience. 

Sponsors for the two-day event include Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., the Kadre Family, Holland & Knight LLP, Southern Glazer's Wine and Spirits, the Rathskeller, and the Division of Student Affairs.

Visit the UTrailblazers website for tickets and more information.