The “hemispheric university” — emphasis on the — has such a nice, visionary ring to it, doesn’t it? Already, Julio Frenk, named Monday as the University of Miami’s new president, knows where he wants to take this storied institution.
We congratulate Dr. Frenk, confident that he is the right leader to propel UM upward from its already vaunted position.
Like Donna Shalala, the powerhouse leader whom he will succeed as university president, Dr. Frenk comes to UM with real-world, feet-on-the-ground, head-on-his-shoulders experience — in healthcare, government, academia. At each step of the way, his primary task was to transform the lives of his constituents, be they students or the citizens in his native Mexico.
Dr. Frenk, 61, sees science and scientific knowledge as forces for social good. He will begin his tenure at UM in September, arriving from Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health, where he has been faculty dean for the past six years.
He is a prodigious fundraiser, having quadrupled the take for the school. Funds raised went from $26 million in 2010 to $103 million last year. He brought in the largest school-naming gift — $350 million — in Harvard’s almost four-century history.
With support from this community and from the alumni that UM has sent off across the country and around the globe, Dr. Frenk should be able to maintain his fundraising prowess. Ms. Shalala, who conducted a successful $3 billion campaign, set a sky-high bar.
Before joining Harvard, Dr. Frenk served as Mexico’s minister of health, from 2000 to 2006. He remade the country’s public-health system, initiating a universal-health insurance program that covered tens of millions of uninsured citizens. Before that, he founded Mexico’s National Institute of Public Health.
This professional foundation makes him uniquely qualified to further strengthen the University of Miami’s enduring relationship with Jackson Health System, which includes the county’s public hospital, Jackson Memorial.
We commend the members of UM’s search committee, led by Richard Fain, CEO of Royal Caribbean Cruises, for conducting such a meticulous process. Because of the care that they took, the University of Miami, and the community in which it has matured and prospered, are in very good hands.