If you have problems reading this, visit http://www.miami.edu/communications/messages/2015-2016/presidents-letter-4-8-16.html.

April 8, 2016

Dear University of Miami Family,

By signing their names to the charter officially incorporating the University of Miami on April 8, 1925, our founders, a provisional board of 15 regents, proclaimed an unshakable confidence in the monumental dream of the University of Miami. The unassuming document marks the start of a journey toward our centennial, which is just nine years from today.

It is worth pausing to celebrate our 91st birthday. After consulting with a number of you, I am starting a tradition celebrating Foundersí Day each April 8 as a time to recognize our accomplishments and to look forward to our new century together.

Building on the ideas and questions you shared during the campus-wide listening exercise this fall, working groups are actively exploring the eight transformative initiatives outlined in my inaugural speech. Together with a concurrent ninth initiative to transform the academic health system, we are well on the way to ensuring that we are the Hemispheric, Excellent, Relevant, and Exemplary University by 2025.

Issues of diversity, inclusion, and respect have been much on my mind. I am very proud of the diversity of our campuses today, and the charter is a reminder of how far we have come: all of the signing founders were white and only two were women, including Bertha M. Foster, founding dean of the Frost School of Music.

Last weekend at Yale University, I was deeply honored to receive the Bouchet Leadership Award Medal, named for the first African-American to earn a Ph.D. in the United States. In my remarks I explore the need to move beyond goodwill to forge a culture of true belonging on our campuses and the responsibility we hold as academics to further a scholarship of belonging in higher education, citing the work of colleagues here at the University of Miami.

Thank you for your continued contributions toward our vision for our new century. I wish you a very happy Foundersí Day.