Frenkly Speaking: Welcome to the U

Photo courtesy President Frenk
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Photo courtesy President Frenk

Welcome to a new academic year at the U! Each fall gives our campus a sense of renewal – we welcome the newest members of our community and reunite with those returning. We gather to engage in new questions and challenge one another toward more ambitious goals than we could address on our own.

It is this collective effort that makes a university experience so powerful. The opportunity to work, think, discover, live and explore can be transformational, and the people at the University of Miami are serious about the many ways they can have an impact.

People like Kilan Ashad-Bishop, a PhD student at the Miller School of Medicine. Kilan’s lab research focuses on the most aggressive forms of breast cancer. She is a leader on campus in the Black Graduate Student Association, and uses her science background to advocate for marginalized communities affected by climate change. Kilan has been tapped by the City of Miami as a member of the municipal Sea Level Rise Committee.

As each of us sets new goals for achievement on campus, in the community, and in classrooms and laboratories, so too does the University of Miami as an institution.

At the end of last semester, the University of Miami Board of Trustees approved the Roadmap to a New Century, the set of strategies that will guide our institution’s transformation as we approach our 100th birthday. The Roadmap synthesizes conversations and ideas from across our university and builds upon the U’s spirit of moving boldly forward.

On Sept. 17, I hope you will join me at the first annual State of the U town hall meeting, a chance to gather as a community and reflect on our progress and the year ahead. From the new buildings rising on our campuses to the new programs being developed across disciplinary boundaries, the U is creating the future. This is an enormously exciting moment in our history, and I am eager to share the initiatives we are pursuing, answer your questions, and hear your feedback.

The University of Miami is building on its history of resilience and renewal to become a leader in the country, the region and the world. We will continue to focus on breaking ground in key areas where we can make a difference in the world. As Kilan’s work as a student and an advocate models for us, at the U we are leaders in multiple dimensions – research, healthcare, community engagement, climate change and building a more just and inclusive culture. For each of us as individuals, and for our society, this work has never been more urgent.

Let us embrace the unprecedented opportunities before us and approach our challenges together. The University of Miami will continue moving forward, driven by a quest for truth that has made universities essential engines of human progress throughout history.

Welcome Canes, we have much important work to do together.

Frenkly Speaking is a monthly column by President Frenk for readers of The Miami Hurricane. Got a question for President Frenk? Send it to