Honoring a legacy

Under a white tent on a sunny Miami day, members of the board of trustees, administrators and family attended the dedication of the Edward T. Foote II University Green last Friday.

The event featured former university president “Tad” Foote, who led the university for 25 years before President Donna E. Shalala began her term in 2001.

“It’s very fitting that this special area of the university’s campus is named after Tad since it’s precisely here where he presided over commencement, admittedly his favorite time and my favorite time of the year,” current UM president Donna Shalala said at the event.

Foote’s first challenges centered on the university’s budgetary crisis. By the time he greeted his first freshmen class, over 1,000 students transferred or dropped from UM because of what Foote once called “Miami’s troubles.”

Foote is credited with increasing the number of full-time faculty members increased by 560, improving the student-to-faculty ratio significantly. He also increased academic standards at the university, thereby reducing class size and making the admissions process more selective.

The School of Architecture and the School of Communication were both erected under his administration.

“In many respects, Tad Foote put the university on the map,” said Vice President for Student Affairs Patricia Whitely. “He strategically allowed us to propel in the 80s and 90s even more to where we are today.”

When asked about the dedication, Foote was humbled.

“Students don’t need any help from me to use the [green], that’s for sure,” he said. “It’s a beautiful place in the center of this campus that has been very important since the beginning of the university as a gathering place. Now that it’s official, it makes me very, very happy and I hope students will continue spending time on this green.”

Ramon Galiana may be contacted at rgaliana@themiamihurricane.com.