Community Voices

Beloved UM Professor Murray Mantell honored for ‘Legacy of Excellence’

Dr. Murray Mantell addresses guests who gathered in his honor at an April 12 luncheon at the Robert and Judi Prokop Newman Alumni Center. The event is one in a series to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the University of Miami College of Engineering.
Dr. Murray Mantell addresses guests who gathered in his honor at an April 12 luncheon at the Robert and Judi Prokop Newman Alumni Center. The event is one in a series to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the University of Miami College of Engineering. Photo provided to the Miami Herald

Making a positive difference in the lives of others is one of the greatest accomplishments of an individual.

More than 100 students, alumni and faculty gathered for “Celebrating a Legacy of Excellence: A Tribute to Murray I. Mantell, PhD” at the University of Miami Newman Alumni Center Multipurpose Room. That number is fitting as Mantell, professor emeritus and founding chair of the Department of Civil Engineering, is celebrating his 100th birthday this year.

The event was part of the department’s yearlong 70th anniversary celebration to raise funds for the Murray I. Mantell Endowed Scholarship. The scholarship “provides support to students majoring in engineering who have demonstrated academic achievement, a strong extracurricular activities record and need” with priority given to juniors and seniors. Recipients continue the legacy of excellence, dedication and ethics that Mantell established.

He is a beloved professor who challenged the minds of his students and taught them professionalism, and as a scholarship donor. He also has had a major impact on our community and in the engineering profession around the world.

Mantell attended UM from 1935 to 1938 as a physics major, but had to leave because UM did not yet offer an engineering degree. He went to the University of Florida where he earned a BS in mechanical engineering and a Master of Engineering, a diploma in naval architecture from The Citadel, an MS in Civil Engineering from the University of Southern California, and a PhD from the University of Texas.

He returned to UM in 1946 as a faculty member in the Department of Engineering Science and the rest is a history of his legacy. For more about the Murray I. Mantell Endowed Scholarship, contact Bronwyn Mills at 305-284-1068 or bmills@@miami.edu.

Memorabilia Collectors Club

Years ago, a collection of Mary and William Brickell memorabilia was deeded to Florida International University by Carmen Petsoules.

“The problem was that after Carmen died, the material went into storage and then the storage bill went unpaid,” said historian Seth Bramson in email. “The collection was bought at auction and turned up in a horse trailer in Southwest Ranches where, eventually, it was found by a local historian and collector and through a series of confluences and coincidences was re-donated to FIU by that collector.”

The journey of these historical items will be discussed at the Miami Memorabilia Collectors Club meeting 6:30 p.m. Monday at Denny’s Coral Gables, Number One, Miracle Mile and the corner of Douglas Road. The group is celebrating its 27th year and to help them do that will be guest speakers FIU Dean of Libraries Anne Prestamo, Associate Dean Bryan Cooper, and University Archivist Vicki Silvera.

Everyone is welcome and invited to attend to learn more about this important local treasure, said club President Bramson. “Parking is tight, so those attending are urged to carpool and, if necessary, to use one of the city’s parking garages,” he said. For more, write him at sbramson@bellsouth.net.

Music memories

May is Haitian Heritage Month and Yanatha Desouvre will honor the music and memory of his uncle, classical guitarist Daniel Coulanges, with a televised tribute called “My Uncle’s Story.”

Desouvre has made it his mission to help the world know and remember his talented uncle and godfather who died at age 28 of HIV/AIDS. Funds from events and donations will establish a not-for-profit center called the Daniel Coulanges Center for Arts, Technology, and Business.

Tune in to Beacon Television, WBEC-TV 63/Cable 19, to experience this moving tribute at these dates and times: 10:30 p.m. Monday; 6:30 a.m. and 8 p.m. Tuesday; and 4 a.m. Wednesday.

Flowers for Mom

Skip the cut flowers and visit the Tropical Flowering Tree Society’s annual Mothers’ Day Show & Sale 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, May 14, Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, 10901 Old Cutler Rd., Coral Gables. This group is dedicated to the promotion, propagation, and preservation of tropical flowering trees.

“This year we have more exciting varieties of trees, shrubs, and vines than ever,” said TFTS President Jessica Cabrera in email. “If you’re in the market for something rare, fragrant, and spectacular, this is the show for you. This is one of the largest shows of its kind in the world. You’ll find all kinds of fabulous plants in a rainbow of colors, plants for your butterfly garden, fragrant plants to perfume your landscape, rare finds for collectors, and so much more. All this at prices to fit your budget and we accept credit cards, too.”

For information call 305-389-5404, or visit http://www.tfts.org/.

Music showcase

Enjoy and support five high-level music students, age 18 and under, who are winners in the third annual Music Scholarship Showcase 6 p.m., May 13 at Seminole Theatre, 18 N. Krome Ave., Homestead. A dinner on the terrace will follow the concert.

Five scholarships will be awarded. The first place winner will receive the $500 Carmen Seepersad Memorial Scholarship, and the second place winner will receive a $400 scholarship donated in memory of William F. and John J. Chiapetta.

Homestead Community Concerts is inviting the public to attend. Concert tickets are $5 and dinner tickets are $25. For tickets call 786-650-2073 or visit http://www.seminoletheatre.org/seminole-calendar-of-upcoming-events/134.

Honoring child advocates

Community leaders and individuals concerned about the future of Florida’s children — especially youngsters who are abused, abandoned and neglected — will be in attendance at the annual Florida’s Children First Miami-Dade fundraiser and awards event 5:30-7:30 p.m., May 18 at Hogan Lovells, 600 Brickell Ave., 27th Floor, Miami.

There is a $100 suggested contribution and proceeds benefit FCF. Email events@floridaschildrenfirst.org, call 954-796-0860 or RSVP online at http://www.floridaschildrenfirst.org/news-fotos/

Honored will be Matthew Dietz, Outstanding Advocate for Children with Special Needs; Patricia Etienne, Outstanding Youth Advocate; and Cameron Santamarina, 14, Outstanding Youth Advocate.

If you have news for this column, please send it to Christina Mayo at christinammayo@gmail.com.

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