People and Community University

Best of 2023: A stellar year of achievement at the U

Relive the most memorable moments at the University of Miami during the past year.
A collage of photos showing highlights of the year 2023 at the University of Miami

From a magical march in the NCAA women’s and men’s basketball tournaments to membership in the esteemed Association of American Universities to the gala opening of the new Knight Center for Music Innovation, 2023 proved to be a stellar year for the University of Miami. 


Miami Athletics announces plans to build a new football operations center, the on-campus “forever” home for Hurricanes football, a visually stunning structure that will provide the best necessities and amenities in the areas of sports medicine, strength and conditioning, nutrition, sports psychology, and personal branding services. 

With 100 percent of its 450-plus student-athletes participating in at least one community service activity, Miami earns a Division 1 award. It captures first place in the annual NCAA Team Works Community Service Competition powered by Helper Helper.


Jim Cramer, television personality and host of CNBC’s “Mad Money with Jim Cramer,” visits the Coral Gables Campus on Feb. 2 to film his popular television show and to speak with students at the Miami Herbert Business School. 

The University of Miami Miller School of Medicine establishes the Department of Informatics and Health Data Science to impact how data is applied to education, research, clinical care, private ventures, and service and outreach. 

Scientists at the Rosenstiel School report that some reefs in the tropical Pacific Ocean could maintain high coral cover into the second half of this century by shuffling the symbiotic algae they host. The findings offer a ray of hope in an often-dire picture of the future of coral reefs worldwide. 

Esperanza Bravo de Varona, a Cuban American librarian and archivist who helped create the University of Miami Libraries’ Cuban Heritage Collection, passes away on Feb. 23. She was 95. 

More than 5,000 participants and volunteers joined on Feb. 25 to ride, walk, run, or volunteer in support of Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the 13th annual Dolphins Challenge Cancer event. 

Riders, including Dr. Stephen Nimer (center), en route during the DCC XIII on Saturday, Feb. 25, 2023.
Riders, including Dr. Stephen Nimer (center), en route during the DCC XIII on Saturday, Feb. 25, 2023. 

Hoops hysteria grips the University of Miami campus during the entire month as both the women’s and men’s basketball teams make a magical march in their respective NCAA tournaments—the women advancing to the Elite Eight and the men competing in the Final Four in Houston. 

In a project that could pave the way for greater efforts to protect coastlines from sea level rise and storm surge and serve as an innovative base structure to develop thriving coral reefs, a team of researchers and scientists from the University of Miami sink 27 interlocking concrete structures on March 1 to form two hybrid reef units 1,000 feet offshore of North Beach Oceanside Park, at the northern edge of Miami Beach. 

The men’s basketball team registers a historic 78-76 victory over the Pittsburgh Panthers in front of a sold-out Watsco Center crowd on March 4, clinching an Atlantic Coast Conference regular season co-championship. 

Isaiah Wong is named Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Year, becoming only the second player in the history of the University of Miami men’s basketball program to earn the honor. 

The Smart Cities MIAMI 2023 Conference, co-hosted by the School of Architecture and the Institute for Data Science and Computing on March 30-31, partners with the Climate Resilience Academy to discuss the impacts of climate change and its related stressors on South Florida. 

Final Four basketball graphic

View a multimedia package of coverage from the Final Four NCAA Tournament in Houston. 


Vice President Kamala Harris visits the Rosenstiel School on April 21, exploring climate change research projects and announcing a new initiative to fund climate-related projects in coastal communities. 

University of Miami scientists and students display innovations and research developments during the 2023 eMerge Americas technology conference, April 20–21 at the Miami Beach Convention Center. 

Researchers, scientists, and policymakers from a multitude of disciplines discuss the ways climate impacts well-being—and propose solutions to mitigate its harmful effects during the University of Miami’s sixth Climate and Health Symposium on April 7. 

At the inaugural Computing Day, students, faculty and staff members, and alumni got together to learn about technology-driven projects happening at the University, as well as about future possibilities in the field. 

Miami Herbert Business School graduate students place first in the ‎business sustainability division at the ‎International Business Ethics and ‎Sustainability Case Competition (IBESCC).


More than 4,100 graduates receive newly minted degrees during seven spring 2023 commencement ceremonies held May 11 through May 13 at the Watsco Center on the Coral Gables Campus. During each ceremony, distinguished speakers—including Chuck Todd, NBC News political director and moderator of “Meet the Press,” and Alberto Ibargüen, president of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation—take the stage to offer advice to graduates. 

Ben Kirtman, professor of atmospheric sciences at the Rosenstiel School, is named the William R. Middelthon III Endowed Chair in Earth Sciences to support research on disaster preparedness and climate variability—areas that reflect the commitment of philanthropist William R. Middelthon III to advance the school’s vital initiatives. 

A team of doctors and nurses from the Miller School of Medicine visits Great Abaco Island in the northern Bahamas as part of The Wonderful Floating Library, an initiative to bring books to elementary school students and to educate young them about hurricanes as a way to help the children recover from the trauma of Hurricane Dorian, which destroyed the island in 2019.

The School of Law’s Charles C. Papy, Jr. Moot Court Board finishes as the third-best moot court team in the country and No. 1 in Florida for the academic year, as ranked by the Blakely Advocacy Institute at the University of Houston Law Center. 

Guillermo “Willy” Prado, a double University of Miami alumnus who holds key academy and leadership positions at the University, is named interim provost and executive vice president for academic affairs. 

Logan Beatty, a junior studying biomedical engineering, becomes part of a distinguished group of college students to win a Barry Goldwater Scholarship. 


The University of Miami is chosen as one of the newest members of the esteemed Association of American Universities (AAU), a distinguished national organization of leading research universities founded in 1900. The invitation to join the prestigious organization—considered the gold standard in American higher education—comes as the University’s research and sponsored program expenditures totaled more than $413 million in fiscal year 2022, demonstrating a critical focus to address the world’s most complex issues. 

Just months after graduating from the University of Miami, social media influencer Alix Earle makes a gift that will provide scholarships to students who are juniors or seniors at the Miami Herbert Business School. 

Ira Flatow, host and executive producer of “Science Friday,” records a radio show at the Rosenstiel School on June 23 as part of a celebration of cephalopods—a marine invertebrate. 

A new study published by scientists at the Rosenstiel School and Florida International University finds that Miami residents may experience temperatures 6 degrees Fahrenheit higher on average than official reported values of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Weather Service. 

Juliette Valle, who graduated from the Frost School of Music and is a professional performer, becomes the second Hispanic woman to win the Miss Florida pageant. 


Michael Berkowitzwho founded and built the Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities from an idea into an influential global city network and worked across 48 countries to help cities around the world become more resilient to physical, social, and economic shocks and stresses—is named the founding executive director of the University of Miami’s Climate Resilience Academy. 

The School of Law is listed at number eight in the United States by Super Lawyers magazine, which ranks schools based on the quality of the lawyers they produce. This makes the school No. 1 in South Florida. 

A sextet of Miami Hurricanes baseball players—Yohandy Morales (Washington Nationals), Andrew Walters (Cleveland Guardians), CJ Kayfus (Cleveland Guardians), Alejandro Rosario (Texas Rangers), Zach Levenson (St. Louis Cardinals), and Dominic Pitelli (Cincinnati Reds)—are selected during the 2023 Major League Baseball Draft. 

The Atlantic Coast Conference’s 2022-23 Academic Honor Roll includes 235 University of Miami student-athletes, recognizing them for participating in a varsity-level sport while achieving a grade point average of 3.0 or better for the full academic year. 


Bascom Palmer Eye Institute is ranked again as the nation’s best in ophthalmology by U.S. News & World Report, marking the 22nd time that the institute has received the No. 1 ranking since the publication began surveying U.S. physicians for its annual “Best Hospitals” rankings 34 years ago.

More than 100 feet of hexagonal SEAHIVE units, conceived by a team at the College of Engineering, are installed as a seawall at Wahoo Bay Park in Pompano Beach.

Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, part of the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, receives state funds that will allow the center to establish the Florida Cancer Research computational research network to facilitate access and sharing of cancer-related data and bioinformatics resources. 

Forbes, the American business magazine, recognizes the University’s commitment to serving the needs of its workforce by naming it one of America’s Best Employers for Women


The School of Nursing and Health Studies is awarded an unprecedented $23.57 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to join the Environmental influences on Child Health Outcomes (ECHO) Program. The seven-year grant will allow researchers to investigate how stress experienced by parents—fueled by social and economic inequities—can biologically and psychologically affect their children. 

The University of Miami Clinical and Translational Science Institute receives a $28 million Clinical and Translational Science Award grant from the National Institutes of Health. It is the third CTSA grant given to the Institute, with the amount providing funding for over seven years in support of the institute’s mission to foster clinical and translational science with a direct impact on South Florida’s communities. 

Longtime University of Miami trustee Marta Weeks Wulf, the first woman to chair the University’s Board of Trustees, and who with her husband, the late geologist L. Austin Weeks, gave generously to the Frost School of Music and a multitude of other initiatives, passes away on Sept. 1. She was 93. 

Fireworks over Lake Osceola
The homecoming fireworks celebration over Lake Osceola on Friday, Oct. 27. Photo: Joshua Prezant/University of Miami 

Hundreds of alumni, students, staff, and faculty members, as well as Hurricane fans, flock to the Coral Gables Campus to show their spirit during Alumni Weekend and Homecoming festivities. The Miami Hurricanes football team caps off the week with a 29-26 overtime homecoming game victory over Virginia at Hard Rock Stadium. 

To accelerate research and find a permanent, biological cure for type 1 diabetes, the Diabetes Research Institute Foundation makes an extraordinary commitment of $50 million to support the renowned Diabetes Research Institute at the Miller School of Medicine. 

Dr. Henri R. Ford, dean and chief academic officer of the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, is installed for a one-year term as the 104th president of the American College of Surgeons on Oct. 22. 

Scholars on Cuba and its diaspora share their perspectives on Black identity, new technologies, the growing influence of African religions, music, film, and theater innovations, amid a rainbow of other topics as part of the New Directions in Cuban Studies Conference, held at the Kislak Center in the University of Miami Libraries. 


With cameras flashing, sequins sparkling, and the red-carpet rolled out, the Frost School of Music becomes the center of attention on Nov. 2 with the opening gala for its new Knight Center for Music Innovation. Gloria Estefan, an alumna and Board of Trustees Emeritus member, hosts the evening of performances. The $36.5 million, 25,000-square-foot addition to the music school features a vast array of next-generation features and facilities that will enable Frost students, faculty, and visiting artists to experiment, explore, and develop new modalities in musical performance. 

University trustee and alumna Maribel Perez Wadsworth is named president and CEO of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Wadsworth, whose 26-year career with Gannett Media included numerous accomplishments, takes the helm of a foundation that supports the development of engaged and inclusive communities across the nation. 

The University of Miami signs an agreement with Guyana to build a smart city in the small South American country. Silica City, a technologically modern area that will be a model of sustainability, resilience, and health care, will be designed by the School of Architecture and will integrate artificial intelligence and other emerging technologies into its infrastructure. 

The Rosenstiel School is awarded a nearly $1.8 million grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to assess how climate change stressors such as ocean warming, acidification, and hypoxia are impacting South Florida’s coastal and marine ecosystems. 

The University of Miami is selected as one of 10 higher education institutions by the Department of Energy to establish a new energy center dedicated to advancing research and education and providing training for regional energy professionals. The Southeast Building Training and Assessment Center at the College of Engineering will be funded through a three-year, $900,000 grant. 

The Institute for Advanced Study of the Americas hosts an international conference to explore how migrants have shaped nine global cities, including Miami. 


Ocean conservation expert Rebecca Gruby was named the Robert K. Johnson endowed professor of Marine Conservation at the Rosenstiel School. She will also direct the new Robert K. Johnson Center for Marine Conservation.

During two fall commencement ceremonies on Dec. 14, more than 1,000 students crossed the stage to receive their degrees at the Watsco Center on the Coral Gables Campus. They included former Hurricanes football star and former NFL player, Frank Gore; a Ukrainian, Iryna Shalinska, who escaped her war-torn nation to attend the School of Law; and an 88-year-old philanthropist and former executive, Allan Herbert, who earned his doctorate in economics. 

From participating on panels that address strategies to mitigate sea level rise to collaborating with entities such as the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, a delegation of University of Miami students and faculty members attends the COP28 climate summit in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. 

University of Miami student-athletes set a school record by posting an NCAA Graduation Success Rate of 94 percent, marking the eighth consecutive year and 11th year in the past 12 that Miami has earned a four-year average rate of 90 percent or higher.