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Secretary Of Health And Human Services Donna Shalala Named Next President Of University Of Miami

Nov. 20, 2000

CORAL GABLES, Fla. — The University of Miami Board of Trustees today appointed U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Donna E. Shalala to succeed Edward T. Foote II as president of the University beginning June 1, 2001.

Throughout her career, Secretary Shalala — the longest serving Secretary of Health and Human Services in U.S. history — has been a scholar, educator and administrator. As chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Madison from 1987-1993, she was the first woman to head a Big Ten University.

During her tenure at the University of Wisconsin, she helped raise more than $400 million for the institution’s endowment and spearheaded a $225 million public-private partnership program to renovate and expand the university’s research facilities. While presiding over one of the largest and most prestigious state universities in the nation, she recruited world-class scientists and at the same time upgraded undergraduate education and restructured the university’s athletics program.

In her nearly eight years as Secretary of Health and Human Services, Shalala has overseen some of this country’s most important initiatives providing essential services to the American people in recent years. These include directing the federal welfare reform process and extending the life of the Medicare Trust Fund. As a proponent of scientific research, she has taken a leadership position in strengthening the scientific budget of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

The UM Trustees’ vote today concludes a nine-month national search conducted by a presidential search committee appointed by Board of Trustees Chair Carlos M. de la Cruz, Sr. and led by Ambassador Charles E. Cobb, Jr., a member of the board’s Executive Committee and former board chair. Also participating in the process was a Consultative Committee comprised of academic deans and members of the Faculty Senate. Nominations were solicited from the University’s constituencies including faculty, staff, students, alumni, civic leaders, friends and supporters.

“Donna Shalala is a compelling leader who not only has a reputation of being able to get things done, but has the capacity of working with people of diverse points of view,” said de la Cruz. “She is a seasoned chief executive with outstanding credentials in both academia and government. I am certain that Dr. Shalala will lead the University of Miami forward and fully expect that she will quickly make a tremendous imprint not only on our institution but the entire South Florida community.”

Shalala said she looks forward to returning to academia. “I am thrilled to lead the University of Miami and become part of the South Florida community,” she said. “I look forward to working with Miami’s gifted faculty, alumni and students. This is an important and challenging time for higher education.”

Shalala said she will work to strengthen the ties between the University and the South Florida community and enhance UM’s relationships on the national and international levels.

“For more nearly 20 years, Tad Foote has been a visionary leader who has established the University of Miami as one of the nation’s leading private research institutions,” Shalala said. “I eagerly await the opportunity to build on this momentum.”

Shalala has visited UM on a number of occasions. In 1998, she delivered the Jane Roberts Lecture Series address on the Coral Gables campus and met with students and faculty working on a School of Architecture community outreach project in East Little Havana.

Ambassador Cobb said the Presidential Search Committee selected Shalala from an impressive pool of potential candidates. But, early in the search process, the committee concluded that Shalala would bring extraordinary talents to the University.

“She is a gifted leader who will guide the University of Miami in its quest for continued excellence in teaching, research and community service,” Ambassador Cobb said.

Cobb said Shalala worked diligently to reinvigorate the scientific leadership and increase research funding for NIH during her tenure as Secretary of Health and Human Services. Since 1993 the NIH budget has increased by nearly 75 percent, up $4.2 billion in the last three years alone.

“The University of Miami’s School of Medicine, which together with Jackson Memorial Hospital, constitutes the second largest institution of its kind in the nation, will benefit tremendously from her expertise in health policy and finance,” Cobb said.

Cobb said during the search process, Shalala’s candidacy for the UM post was supported by leading political figures on both sides of the aisle in Washington and Tallahassee. “Secretary Shalala consistently receives high marks for superb management skills as evidenced by the fact that Business Week named her one of the five best managers in higher education,” Cobb said.

In addition to her U.S. Cabinet post and the chancellorship of the University of Wisconsin, Shalala has held a number of other senior level academic and government positions.

Shalala served as president of Hunter College, City University of New York, from 1980-1987 and as assistant secretary at the Department of Housing and Urban Development during the Carter Administration. From 1975-1977, she served as treasurer of New York City’s Municipal Assistance Corporation, the entity that helped rescue the city from the brink of bankruptcy. She is an acknowledged scholar of government and health care policy, having earned her Ph.D. from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University in 1970. She has held professorships at Columbia University, the City University of New York and the University of Wisconsin. She also served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Iran.

Secretary Shalala has been an active member of the Washington, D.C. community, participating in events to benefit the arts including serving as a member of the Kennedy Center Board of Trustees. In 1999, she led the most successful National Capital Area Combined Federal Campaign ever, raising a record $44 million for local and national charities. Earlier this year, she led the official U.S. delegation to the 2000 Olympics in Sydney.

Shalala will become the fifth president of the University of Miami as well as a member of the faculty. She joins UM as the university prepares to celebrate its 75th anniversary in the fall of 2001. She succeeds Foote, who has served as president since 1981, during which time UM joined the ranks of the nation’s top research universities. Research funding last year was at the highest ever at $193.9 million and private philanthropy to the university exceeded $100 million.

President Foote called Shalala’s appointment an outstanding choice for the university he has lead for nearly two decades. “I am delighted by our good fortune that Donna Shalala will be my successor. We have been friends for many years. Dr. Shalala brings extraordinary experience and an international reputation as a fine leader.”

Under President Foote’s leadership, the University has added the School of Architecture, School of Communication, School of International Studies, as well as the Dante B. Fascell North-South Center, bringing to 14 the total number of schools and colleges.

The University’s School of Medicine is best known for research in cancer, diabetes, ophthalmology, pediatrics and spinal cord injury. The Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science is among the highest regarded marine science institutes in the nation.

UM currently enrolls 13,963 undergraduate and graduate students from the 50 states and 108 foreign countries. Through its schools and colleges, the University offers approximately 170 undergraduate, 190 graduate, and professional programs in law and medicine. With more than 8,000 employees and an annual budget in excess of $1 billion, the University of Miami is the second largest private employer in Miami-Dade County.

The University has four major campuses: a 260-acre campus in suburban Coral Gables, a medical campus near downtown Miami, the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science’s campus on Virginia Key in Biscayne Bay, and the south campus on a 136-acre site for research and development projects.

The University also operates programs at the Koubek Center in Little Havana and the James L. Knight Center in downtown Miami, and is establishing research facilities at a new 77-acre site in South Miami-Dade.

For more information about the University of Miami, visit our website at

Intercollegiate Athletics at the University of Wisconsin during the tenure of Chancellor Donna Shalala (1987-93), newly named President of the University of Miami:

1987 University Capital Campaign results in 9 of 14 athletic facilities being renovated or newly opened1988 McLain Indoor Training Facility opens1990 Improvements to Camp Randall Stadium (football)1990 Barry Alvarez hired as Head Football Coach1990 NCAA Hockey Champions1992 Second Camp Randall Stadium improvements projectFootball Attendance Increases by 85% since 19901992 Wisconsin Field House Renovations1993 McClimon Track and Soccer Complex Opens1994 Wisconsin receives its first ever Rose Bowl invitation

Donna Shalala also served as a member of the Knight Commission to study Intercollegiate Atheltics.