As a faculty member at the University of Miami School of Medicine with emeritus status, I am sad to see Donna Shalala step down. I sincerely hope we are able to find another quite competent administrator, but Dr. Shalala's concern and compassion for students will be difficult to match by any successor.
As an example, one of our physical therapy third year students had just finished two and a half years of classroom instruction toward her DPT degree, and was ready to leave town in October for 18 weeks of clinical internships before graduating the following May, when she was tragically killed in an accident. Her family from Indiana very generously donated several of her organs to our medical center.
President Shalala made a special visit to our Department on campus at graduation time the following May, and presented a diploma to the deceased student's mother in front of her classmates. Her mother had made green and orange bracelets for the students of the class to wear during the main graduation ceremony in honor of her daughter. President Shalala asked if she might have one.
Months later at the graduation ceremony, President Shalala strode past the section where the physical therapy faculty and newly graduated students sat in the auditorium, she smiled at us, and raised her left arm up in a salute to us, and, on her wrist, of course, was the bracelet made by the deceased student's mother.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to the Miami Herald
We will miss her for so many of her wonderful, thoughtful gifts to our academic community.
Carol M. Davis, UM Professor Emerita