UM president remains future-oriented

With a decade of service under her belt, UM President Donna E. Shalala sat down with The Miami Hurricane to discuss her time at UM and where she hopes to take the university in the future.

When she first arrived at UM, the college lacked the “feel of a real residential college.”

“It seemed to me that UM students, paying an enormous amount of money, deserved a place that felt like a college campus,” Shalala said. “I wanted people to hang out, that’s why every year we have done something to improve the ability of students to spend all day here.”

Among the many changes she implemented, Shalala added five minutes between classes, lengthened the Richter’s hours of operation, placed chairs and tables across campus and invited speakers to entertain students. This year, she plans to focus on improving the late night experience.

“Every year we have tried to do something that would improve the livability and improve the campus experience and the intensity of that experience,” Shalala said.

Despite the recent NCAA allegations, Shalala plans to remain at the helm of University of Miami “for a long time” and will spearhead the next capital fund drive.

Although it is still in the silent period, Shalala said the campaign will be announced publicly in January.

“How much it will be, we haven’t set the amount with the trustees, but it will be over a billion dollars,” she said.

UM last capital campaign, which ended in 2008, raised more than $1.4 billion – making the school the first in Florida to surpass the billion-dollar mark.