2022 at the U: The year in review

By Robert C. Jones Jr.

2022 at the U: The year in review

By Robert C. Jones Jr.
Take a look back at some of the biggest stories at the University of Miami during the past year.

From a new Center for Global Black Studies to a new Climate Resilience Academy; from a visit by Grammy-winning singer, songwriter, and record producer Pitbull to a new dean for the School of Law; and from another No. 1 ranking for Bascom Palmer Eye Institute to a historic win for head coach Jim Larrañaga, 2022 proved to be a banner year for the University of Miami. 

January 

In an effort to assist Gulf Coast areas address sea level rise, a National Science Foundation-funded project, led by College of Engineering researcher Murat Erkoc, will use a mixture of strategies to deal with one of the biggest challenges of climate change. 

The Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine becomes one of the principal investigators in a southeast collaborative awarded a $12.4 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to establish regional research centers to address the prevention, treatment, and management of comorbid chronic diseases among African American and Latino populations. 

A Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center team, led by Lluis Morey, receives a five-year, $1.7 million grant from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences to investigate treatment resistance in estrogen receptor positive breast cancer. 

The Ruiz family commits a $2 million gift to expand the current facility and fund a cutting-edge strength and conditioning complex at Alex Rodriguez Park at Mark Light Field. 

Alumni of the Miami Herbert Business School, Jeff and Mimi Kinkead announce that they have planned a bequest of $1 million in support of scholarships and career development for student-athletes. 

Pratim Biswas, dean of the College of Engineering, is elected by his peers as a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the world’s largest scientific society, for his pioneering contributions to aerosol science and engineering. 

February 

More than 4,500 participants and volunteers join in person and virtually on Feb. 26 to ride, walk, run, or volunteer in support of the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the 12th annual Dolphins Challenge Cancer

In a major step toward becoming a global leader in urology, the Miller School of Medicine officially dedicates the Desai Sethi Urology Institute on Feb. 28. The new institute was established with a $20 million commitment from the Desai Sethi Family Foundation. 

With President Julio Frenk and other high-ranking University officials in attendance, the new Center for Global Black Studies is inaugurated on Feb. 28. The center, which has offices on the third floor of the Solomon G. Merrick Building, serves as a unifying platform to assist in the coordination of initiatives that address structural racism and inequalities throughout society. 

Researchers at the Rosenstiel School of Marine, Atmospheric, and Earth Science find that corals that underwent a stressful temperature treatment in the laboratory for 90 days were more tolerant to increased water temperatures. Their findings offer scientists a new approach to potentially increase the success rate of planting nursery-raised staghorn coral onto degraded reefs as climate change continues to warm ocean temperatures. 

Adding to an already robust history of philanthropic partnerships, prominent South Florida couple Terry and Carla Taylor join the initiative to further position the Miller School of Medicine as a global leader in the field of urology with a $3 million commitment to the Desai Sethi Urology Institute. 

The University’s Lakeside Village is awarded one of the most prestigious green building ratings—a LEED Gold Certification by the U.S. Green Building Council. 

March 

The University community celebrates the naming of the Student Services Building in honor of Harold Long Jr. and H.T. Smith, two distinguished Black alumni, on Friday, March 4. The state-of-the-art building, which is central to the University’s mission and the student experience at the U, becomes the first structure in the school’s history to be named after accomplished Black alumni. 

In an event held in Washington, D.C., on March 15, the University formalizes its partnership with the Organization of American States (OAS) to share research, academic activities, and guidance that will help the OAS in its mission. 

Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center researcher Eric A. Mellon is awarded a $5 million, seven-year grant from the National Cancer Institute to study how advanced imaging during treatment may be used to improve radiation therapy for patients with glioblastoma, a deadly brain tumor. 

Third-year diver Mia Vallée becomes the 14th diver to win a national championship under head coach Randy Ableman, clinching top honors in the 1-meter springboard on March 17 at the NCAA Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships. 

One of the Miami Herbert Business School’s top teams, an all-women group of undergraduates, wins first place among competing schools in Florida in the Chartered Financial Analyst Institute Research Challenge. The worldwide competition challenges university students to assume the role of equity research analysts and determine a company’s valuation for potential investors. 

As part of Student Government’s What Matters To U speaker series, Grammy-winning singer, songwriter, and record producer Pitbull encourages an audience of about 2,000 students to work hard, take risks, and “live for the moment” on March 29 at the Watsco Center. 

Both the men’s and women’s Hurricane basketball squads earn berths in their respective NCAA Tournaments—the men as the No. 10 seed in the Midwest region and the women as the No. 8 seed in the Greensboro region. 

H.T. Smith, an alumnus and member of the Board of Trustees, and Leslie Long, widow of alumnus Harold Long, were honored Friday with the dedication of the Student Services Building in honor of Smith and Harold Long. Photo: Mike Montero/University of Miami
H.T. Smith, an alumnus and member of the Board of Trustees, and Leslie Long, widow of alumnus Harold Long, were honored with the dedication of the Student Services Building in honor of Smith and Harold Long. Photo: Mike Montero/University of Miami

April

Thanks to a generous gift from Gloria Estefan, singer, songwriter, and University alumna and trustee emerita, an innovative voice studio is dedicated within the Department of Otolaryngology on April 6. The Estefan Voice Studio—the first clinical space of its kind in Florida and one of only a few in the nation—is used for leading-edge vocal research. 

The University launches its new Climate Resilience Academy on Earth Day. The academy is a functional research and coordinating hub that supports the University’s academic units and pursues an interdisciplinary approach that links with private and public partners to solve impacts of climate change and other complex global issues. 

The University of Miami Debate Team captures the ACC Debate Championship on April 30, defeating Wake Forest University in a virtual competition. 

May 

A brilliant barrister who argued a case before the Supreme Court and innovated in the classroom, David Yellen is named dean of the School of Law. 

For the fourth time in program history, the Miami Hurricanes women’s track and field team wins the Atlantic Coast Conference women’s outdoor track and field championship. 

Dr. Mario Stevenson, a renowned expert in molecular virology, is officially installed as the inaugural holder of the Raymond F. Schinazi and Family Endowed Chair in Biomedicine during a dedication ceremony held May 9 in Coral Gables. 

More than 4,200 graduates from the University’s 12 schools and colleges are awarded degrees during spring commencement exercises May 11 through May 13 at the Watsco Center on the Coral Gables Campus. 

Following the 2022 regular season, six members of the Miami Hurricanes baseball team receive all-Atlantic Coast Conference accolades

June 

The Rosenstiel School expands its name to the Rosenstiel School of Marine, Atmospheric, and Earth Science to better reflect its research and teaching endeavors—and the scope and scale of the educational opportunities the school offers. 

Recognizing the value of coral reefs in reducing erosion, flooding, and storm damage, the United States Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency selects the Rosenstiel School as a top recipient of funding for its nationwide Reefense research program. 

Dr. Wael El-Rifai—associate director of basic science, co-leader of the Tumor Biology Program at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, professor, and associate vice chair of the DeWitt Daughtry Family Department of Surgery—was presented with the John and Judy Schulte Senior Endowed Chair in Cancer Research on June 8. 

July 

Bascom Palmer Eye Institute is once again ranked No. 1 in ophthalmology in the 2022 U.S. News & World Report “Best Hospitals” rankings, while Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center moves into the top 50 for the first time, and neurology/neurosurgery vaults into the top 25. 

The Office of Civic and Community Engagement partners with Miami-Dade County housing leaders to create an innovative tool that will identify affordable and workforce housing units. 

More than 200 student-athletes achieve the Atlantic Coast Conference 2021-22 Academic Honor Roll, which requires student-athletes to participate in a varsity-level sport and compile a 3.0 or better grade point average for the entire academic year. 

Heroes Helping Heroes, the UHealth–University of Miami Health System plasma program that collects donated plasma from patients who have recovered from COVID-19 and transfuses the units to sick patients who are still fighting the virus, recently received recognition from the Miami-Dade County Board of Commissioners. 

Six Miami Hurricanes are chosen in 2022 MLB First-Year Player Draft. 

After a successful 2017-2022 research, mentoring, and program cycle, the Center for AIDS Research at the Miller School of Medicine receives renewed funding of more than $7 million from the National Institutes of Health for another five-year cycle. 

August 

The University honors its first Black graduates and introduces The Taylor Family/UTrailblazers Experience during a two-day event that included a dedication ceremony, a benefit concert featuring Grammy-winning artist Regina Belle, and a celebration at the Rathskeller. 

The Chen Family Foundation, which has multiple generations of University alumni, donates $3 million to establish the Chen Family Endowed Chair to Advance Primary Care and Health Equity Research. 

The University of Miami makes Forbes’ 2022 Best Employers for Women list, a recognition that positions the University among the top places to work in Florida. 

The University unveils its newest undergraduate degree—in Innovation, Technology and Design—and 21 students enroll in the first class of the interdisciplinary degree, which is housed in the College of Engineering. The program allows students to earn their bachelor’s degree in three years, but also requires them to complete internships and design challenges, where student teams must create prototypes and business plans to solve real-world problems. 

Students in the ITD program must complete at least one team design challenge each semester, where they create and present a prototype and business plan. Recently, they rehearsed their final presentations in the McArthur Engineering Building. Photo: Joshua Prezant/University of Miami
Students in the ITD program must complete at least one team design challenge each semester, where they create and present a prototype and business plan. Photo: Joshua Prezant/University of Miami

September 

During his State of the U Town Hall on Sept. 15, President Julio Frenk updates the University community on the Roadmap to Our New Century, saying that the institution remains on course to meet the goals of its ambitious strategic plan by 2025. 

The Mario Cristobal era begins when the Hurricanes football team steamrolls Bethune-Cookman 70-13 on Sept. 3 at Hard Rock Stadium, totaling 605 yards of offense. 

At a groundbreaking ceremony on Sept. 9, University officials and community leaders celebrate the start of construction for the University of Miami’s UHealth at SoLé Mia, a state-of-the-art medical facility that will expand health care services for North Miami, Aventura, and the surrounding area. 

The Miller School of Medicine receives a U.S. patent for a device that diagnoses mild traumatic brain injury—also known as a concussion—that has huge implications for the millions of people who suffer head injuries each year in the country. 

UHealth opened an 18,000 square foot satellite facility in Downtown Doral, the first phase of a plan that will culminate in the opening in 2024 of a six-story, 150,000-square-foot facility that will be modeled after the health system’s flagship Lennar Foundation Medical Center in Coral Gables. The new UHealth at Doral facility will offer a range of health care services. 

October 

In a visit to Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center in Plantation, Florida, on Oct. 15, first lady Jill Biden addresses the significance of breast cancer early detection, clinical research, and the delivery of quality care in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. 

Dr. Henri Ford, dean and chief academic officer of the Miller School of Medicine, and Dr. Omaida Velazquez, professor and chair of the DeWitt Daughtry Family Department of Surgery, are elected to the prestigious National Academy of Medicine—one of the highest honors in the fields of health and medicine that recognizes individuals who have demonstrated outstanding professional achievements and commitment to service. 

Faculty members began moving their labs into the new Phillip and Patricia Frost Institute for Chemistry and Molecular Science on the Coral Gables campus. The specialized research facility, which will have a grand opening in the spring, is anticipated to become a focal point for groundbreaking research and discovery at the molecular level. 

The Shalala Student Center was buzzing as members of the University community took part in the Hurricane Howl celebration that featured fireworks, boat burning, music, and other activities as part of Homecoming 2022. Photo: Joshua Prezant/University of Miami
The Shalala Student Center was buzzing as members of the University community took part in the Hurricane Howl celebration that featured fireworks, boat burning, music, and other activities as part of Homecoming 2022. Photo: Joshua Prezant/University of Miami

November 

The University celebrates Homecoming and Alumni Weekend, welcoming alumni, parents, fans, and friends back to campus to honor longstanding traditions during a week of events on campus. 

From Nov. 13 to 20, The UCreates—The University of Miami’s platform dedicated to arts and humanities—partners with the Miami Book Fair to celebrate literacy and arts from around the world. ‌

Miami Hurricanes men’s head basketball coach Jim Larrañaga notches the 700th victory of his illustrious career against Providence, the reigning Big East Conference champions and his alma mater. 

Best known for his groundbreaking work on Broadway hits “Hamilton” and “In the Heights,” renowned orchestrator, composer, and music director Alex Lacamoire hosts a master class at the Frost School of Music on Nov. 11. 

Fourteen students and two professors from the School of Law join heads of state, ministers, negotiators, climate activists, mayors, civil society representatives, and CEOs at the largest annual gathering on climate action—the 27th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change—in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, Nov. 6 to 18. 

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency selects the University of Miami as a member of its “Green Power Partnership” in recognition of the University’s continued commitment to utilizing clean energy. 

The Patti and Allan Herbert Business School earns this year’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design platinum certification by implementing practical and measurable strategies and solutions in areas including water savings, energy efficiency, waste reduction, and indoor environmental quality.

The Hurricanes women’s volleyball team earns a berth in the 2022 NCAA Division I Women’s Volleyball Championship. 

December 

In two separate ceremonies on Dec. 16, more than 1,000 exuberant students receive degrees, both undergraduate and graduate, as part of the University of Miami Fall 2022 Commencement

Ann M. Olazábal, professor and vice dean of Lifelong Learning and Executive Education, is selected as interim dean of the Miami Herbert Business School. She will serve in the post beginning Jan. 1, 2023.