Education

Donna Shalala in stable condition after suffering stroke

Donna Shalala
Donna Shalala Miami Herald File

Former University of Miami president Donna Shalala suffered a stroke Tuesday night after a meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative in New York.

On Wednesday morning, Shalala was in stable condition at Mount Sinai Roosevelt Hospital. Her twin sister, Diane Shalala Fritel, told the Herald that the former UM president remains “upbeat” and is confident that she will be leaving the hospital in a couple of days. Fritel said Shalala told her not to bother traveling to New York.

“She called me this morning and told me that she was fine,” Fritel said.

In a statement released Wednesday, current University of Miami President Julio Frenk said Shalala’s prognosis is “encouraging.”

“We are in continuous contact with her physicians in New York. She received the best and most advanced care, and her prognosis is now encouraging,” Frenk said. “President Shalala is beloved and respected by thousands of Miami Hurricanes family and friends around the world, and we are very hopeful for her speedy recovery.”

Shalala stepped down from her UM post on June 1. She is a former Cabinet secretary and CEO of the Clinton Foundation.

The former president and his daughter, Chelsea Clinton, issued a statement saying the 74-year-old Shalala was stricken Tuesday evening following a meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative, the foundation's spin-off organization that seeks solutions to international problems. Its 2015 meeting began Saturday in New York.

“Fortunately she was with colleagues at the time and taken to the hospital for treatment,” Bill and Chelsea Clinton said. “Initial reports are very encouraging.”

She was alert and making jokes in the hospital, the New York Times reported.

Shalala took over at the Clinton Foundation this year. She became president of the University of Miami after serving eight years as Health and Human Services Secretary. She also was chancellor at the University of Wisconsin and president of Hunter College in New York.

She served as U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services while Bill Clinton was president from 1993 to 2001, and stepped down as UM president in June, after 14 years. She was succeeded at UM by Frenk.

Social media was filled with well-wishers expressing support for Shalala on Wednesday.

“Prayers go out to my friend Donna Shalala...get well soon,” tweeted CNN commentator Paul Begala, who also advises a pro-Hillary Clinton Super PAC.

Shalala’s sister said the former UM president is aware that so many are pulling for her.

“I told her the whole world knows about it, but she of course doesn’t want anybody to take care of her or worry about her,” Fritel said. “She’s pretty independent.”

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