This month also marks exactly 93 years since classes began at the University of Miami, when our very first student assembly was convened on October 18, 1926. From the time of our founding, the U understood that the development of our students is at the very heart of our mission. We exist because of students. We grow to serve students. In turn, our students grow to become a catalyst for broader societal advancement.
Using your voices on campus—whether through a piece in the student newspaper or engagement in other activities—prepares you to be that catalyst in the community. Students at the U practiced that from the beginning. In fact, students began publishing a newspaper, the predecessor of The Miami Hurricane called University News, within a year of that first assembly. Nearly a century later, we continue to benefit from the unique perspective that only a student newspaper can offer.
In recent weeks, I was pleased to welcome students to two events that highlighted the need and opportunity for student voices to make a difference on campus and in the community. Thanks to former U.S. Congresswoman and current Distinguished Presidential Fellow Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, UM hosted the Regional Future Leaders Conference for the Congressional Hispanic Leadership Institute, a national organization that gives students hands-on experience in congressional and corporate offices while earning academic credit hours.
As I shared with attendees at the conference, if there is one thing my own experience has taught me, it’s that leadership is not about titles. Leadership is about embedding integrity in everything we do. It is about embracing a service ethic. It’s about building a legacy for the future. Building that legacy requires the courage to use your voice.
Later the same evening, I was delighted to attend the third “What Matters to U” event, part of a series coordinated by the Student Engagement Planning Agency under UM’s Student Government. Having hosted Bill Nye last fall and Ken Jeong in the spring, this semester’s event featured soccer star Megan Rapinoe.
As the Hurricane reported the next morning, during the discussion, the world-famous athlete and influencer—who reaches 2.2 million followers on Instagram and nearly 900,000 followers on Twitter daily—encouraged students saying, “Your voices are important and powerful.”
I couldn’t agree more. The more you learn, the more equipped you are to educate, to engage, and to engender change in the world. I urge you to make the most of every opportunity to use your voice. Today, join me in celebrating one of those opportunities. Congratulations to The Miami Hurricane on its 90th Anniversary!