Community Voices

Brothers honor grandparents with military scholarship at UM Engineering

The scholarship honors Donald C. Pette Sr., a 1950 graduate of the University of Miami College of Engineering who attended on the G.I Bill, and his wife Phyllis M. Pette, who also attended UM.
The scholarship honors Donald C. Pette Sr., a 1950 graduate of the University of Miami College of Engineering who attended on the G.I Bill, and his wife Phyllis M. Pette, who also attended UM. Photo provided to the Miami Herald

Two brothers who want to honor their late grandparents have established a $5,000 annual scholarship at the University of Miami College of Engineering. The money will be awarded to engineering students who are active-duty military, military veterans, former military personnel or members of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps.

The CDR. and Mrs. Donald C. Pette Sr. Memorial Scholarship has been established to assist a graduate or undergraduate student with financial needs by Gregory A. Pette, a periodontist, and his brother, Geoffrey A. Pette, an attorney and UM Law School alumnus. The two together donated the funds to start the memorial scholarship.

“We decided to develop this scholarship to honor the legacy of our grandparents and support veterans studying at UM,” said Gregory A. Pette. The brothers have donated $25,000 to be administered over five years and have plans to continue the scholarship as an endowment fund after the end of the initial five years.

The scholarship honors Donald C. Pette Sr., a 1950 graduate of the UM College of Engineering who attended on the G.I. Bill, and his wife Phyllis M. Pette, who also attended UM.

“This scholarship is a perfect example of giving back to an alma mater,” said Jean-Pierre Bardet, dean of the College of Engineering. “It will assist a deserving student who has served his or her country in obtaining a quality engineering education. The Pettes hope that their scholarship will help provide a strong foundation like the one their grandfather, Donald C. Pette Sr. received at the University of Miami.”

The brothers said their grandfather was “a World War II veteran who did not have two nickels to his name when he came to the University of Miami, and then graduated UM and married the love of his life.” He graduated with an engineering degree that gave him the platform to have a “meaningful and successful career.”

“Our grandparents were always very grateful to the University of Miami and to the U.S. Navy for the opportunities they both provided,” Gregory Pette said. The brothers also stated that their “grandparents were donors to both U.M. and the U.S. Navy Memorial for decades until the very end.”

The Pette brothers were extremely close to their grandparents instilled in them a love of UM. Together, they attended UM football and basketball games including the last one played at the Orange Bowl.

Gregory and Geoffrey, with his wife Angela and their son Rocco, are UM season football ticket holders and avid fans, “trying to live up to the legacy that their grandparents set forth.”

Donald Sr. and Phyllis are interred together at Arlington National Cemetery.

Chefs Up Front

It will be a food lovers’ delight when Florida Introduces Physical Activity and Nutrition to Youth (FLIPANY) hosts its seventh annual “Chefs Up Front” fundraising dinners at Miami Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables and W Fort Lauderdale.

The epicurean events, at 6 p.m. Aug. 18 and Aug. 25, will present decadent five-course dinners prepared by some of South Florida’s most acclaimed chefs. All proceeds will benefit the Share Our Strength’s Cooking Matters Program, which connects families with healthy food by teaching them how to prepare delicious and nutritious meals on a limited budget.

The evenings will be hosted by radio personalities Kimmy B. of Hits 97.3, Julie Guy and Evelyn Curry of 101.5 LITE FM, who are long-time FLIPANY supporters. The events will start with receptions and silent auctions. Then the chefs will prepare signature courses in an intimate dinner setting. At the after-party, guests can mingle with each other and the chefs.

To see all the scheduled chefs and watch videos from the 2016 events visit

Tickets are $250 available on the website. Ask for special room rates for the events at the hotels. The Miami Biltmore Hotel is at 1200 Anastasia Ave., Coral Gables; and W Fort Lauderdale is at 401 N. Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd., Fort Lauderdale.

GoFundMe started for young violinist

The day he turns 17, on Sept. 4, Yosvani Rodriguez is scheduled to start studying at the prestigious Interlochen Center for the Arts in Michigan.

Yosvani Rodriguez
From left, Manuel Berberian, owner of Allegro Music Center in Miami, congratulates Yosvani Rodriguez, 16, on his scholarship to the Interlochen Center for the Arts. Photo provided to the Miami Herald

The hard-working talented teen, currently first violin and concertmaster for the South Florida Youth Symphony, has been working all summer to earn money to attend the music school.

But the student at Mays Conservatory of Music in Goulds needs some extra help to fulfill his dream.

Yosvani already was awarded a $45,000 scholarship, but tuition is $60,000. Recently, he went online to try and raise the remainder of the money through a GoFundMe account. Working, he’s made less than $1,000. In addition to the remaining funds for tuition, he needs money for airfare and clothes.

Perhaps, with more help from his South Florida neighbors the young musician will get to Interlochen.

“Yosvani is definitely one of the most talented and dedicated musicians we’ve ever had,” Marjorie Hahn, executive and creative director of the South Florida Youth Symphony, said in email. “Getting a scholarship to Interlochen is a reward for his countless hours of practice and dedication. We’re extremely proud of this fine young man.”

South Floridians interested in learning more about Yosvani and helping him can go to

The South Florida Youth Symphony will begin its 54th season soon and is holding auditions Aug. 20 and Aug. 27 at Miami Dade College North Campus, 11380 NW 27th Ave. The auditions, from 1:30 to 4:45 p.m., will be at the Pawley Creative Arts Center, Building 5000.

“This is an excellent opportunity for aspiring musicians who want to be part of one of America’s great youth music organizations,” Hahn said. “Because our staff of instructors rank among the finest in South Florida, these young musicians will have the opportunity to learn from the best.”

For more or to arrange an audition time, call Hahn at 305-238-2729.

If you have news for this column, please send it to Christina Mayo at