Couple Gives Back with Gratitude
Courtesy UM University Communications
Wayne and Patricia Case met at the University of Miami more than 50 years ago, when he was a student at the Miller School of Medicine and she was a senior in the College of Arts and Sciences. Looking back, they marvel at the countless ways, large and small, that the University made a meaningful difference in their lives.
There were the scholarships that helped Wayne through his undergraduate studies and at the Miller School, where he earned his medical degree in 1971, having applied and been accepted as a junior.
There was the time Patricia, a sophomore with little money and no family safety net, received a resident assistant position—and the stipend that went with it—through the intercession of May Brunson, then dean of women.
“Dean Brunson was a lifesaver,” declared Patricia, who earned her Bachelor of Science degree in 1969. “She found out I didn’t have any money. I was living on a dollar or two a day, and she said, ‘Okay, we’re going to fix this.’ I became one of the first female RAs.”
Throughout, there have been Hurricane sports, of which the Cases have been avid fans since their student days and loyal donors for more than 30 years. So, when they contemplated a more substantial legacy, they decided to make an estate gift to Hurricane Athletics.
The Cases’ bequest will support the areas of greatest need in athletics, be they scholarships, support programs for student-athletes, facilities improvements, or related needs. The gift is part of the University’s Ever Brighter: The Campaign for Our Next Century. The most ambitious in the institution’s history, the $2.5 billion campaign is set to conclude in 2025, when the University will celebrate its centennial.
“Our mission is to support our student-athletes in their efforts to achieve personal, academic, and athletic excellence,” said Dan Radakovich, vice president and director of athletics. “We are grateful to Wayne and Patricia Case for their generous gift, which will help us provide student-athletes with the resources and support they need to reach their full potential.”
As a teenager in Hialeah, Florida, in the early 1960s, Wayne followed the Miami Hurricanes football and basketball teams. “I would go to football games—George Mira was there at the time—but I also had this little crystal radio, and I would listen to basketball when Rick Barry [now in the NBA Hall of Fame] was playing,” he recalled.
The Cases are longtime football season ticket holders and recall games at the Orange Bowl, where they had seats on the 50-yard line, with particular fondness. One particular game stands out in their memories: the 1984 Orange Bowl, when the Hurricanes defeated Nebraska 31-30 to win their first of five national championships.
“When we beat Nebraska, I had a little portable TV with me, on which I could get the main stations,” said Patricia. “When Nebraska didn’t convert the two-point play at the end of the game, all the fans around us jumped all over me to see the replay. It was so exciting.”
The Cases always have been big believers in the power of physical activity and team sports to instill positive character traits in young people and help manage academic and career pressures. They both played sports in high school and encouraged their three children to do the same, which Patricia said that she believes played a role in their later success.
Their two daughters are both doctors who earned their medical degrees from the Miller School, and their son is a pastor of a thriving church in Atlanta.
As Patricia explained, “we tried to teach them that you are not the team—you are part of the team. You do your part, and you help others do their part, and you’ll be successful.” It’s a philosophy that the Cases hope will live on through future student-athletes at the U.
The Cases regard their gift as affirmation that the University has given them much more than they have given back. “Miami took me in, enveloped me, and cared for me,” Patricia reflected. “We didn’t have silver spoons for sure—they were plastic. So, we built things together. We were very fortunate and felt we should share that.”