It’s been a long run for the University of Miami this year. Like any year, as well as the human experience at large, it’s had its ups and downs, its better moments, its worse moments, and everything in between.
There were no hurricanes to fret about this year, just one tropical storm that missed Miami and barely caused a drizzle. Which was good, as it allowed The Rock, the self-proclaimed most electrifying man in sports entertainment, to return to his alma mater and promote his movie (not to mention cut a huge check). It also cleared the way for brilliant, influential speakers to grace our campus, such as Chief Justice John Roberts, former President Bill Clinton, and former Vice-President Al Gore, all of which were, to many, once-in-a-lifetime opportunities.
A lot of things changed within the university community. After twelve arduous years, the University Village was finally completed. The new Nursing and Communication buildings were also completed, and more ambitious projects, such as new housing and parking spaces (both long overdue), are in the works, pending co-operation from the ever-so-unreasonably-stubborn Coral Gables City Commission.
Hurricane athletics also underwent a major re-structuring: Larry Coker was fired after a terrible season and hugely embarrassing on-field melee against FIU. His replacement, Randy Shannon, is already bringing hope back to ‘Canes fans, along with some good new recruits.
Of course, not all was good on campus this year. This year saw the deaths of students Lee Weisbrod, Erik Swanson, John Warnecke, Bryan Pata and Michelle Shore.
The tragic shootings at Virginia Tech shook the university community as news came in about the days events, the victims, and the circumstances surrounding the shooting. In all these cases, the university came together in solidarity, to remind everyone affected by loss that they are not alone; all powerful displays of unity that show the strong, some would say unbreakable, bond we share.
The shootings, as well as the arrest of Pearson resident Mike Anderson for sexual battery, have led our community to seriously evaluate the question of safety on campus. No doubt, changes will be implemented, but if there’s one thing the VT shootings, and Mike Anderson, can teach us, it’s that every second on this planet is valuable.
In the words of Grim Fandango’s Manny Calavera, “Nobody knows what’s going to happen at the end of the line, so you might as well enjoy the trip.”
And indeed, it’s the end of the line for all graduating seniors, and it’s time for them to switch trains. Whether it’s getting a job, going to graduate school, or just traveling around and seeing the world, we at The Hurricane would like to wish the Class of 2007 nothing but the best of luck in the future.
And for those not graduating or simply continuing their advanced studies in our quaint corner of Coral Gables: have a good summer, and we will see you in the fall.