As the dean of students, Dr. Ricardo Hall sometimes faces the frustration of dealing with problem students charged with everything from plagiarism to criminal acts.
So to blow off steam and do something he loves at the same time, Hall can be found most weekdays rocketing a small ball off the walls of the Wellness Center racquetball courts.
Hall, who began playing in college, has made racquetball one of his favorite physical activities. Whenever he can, he tries to block off an hour or so around lunchtime to play.
“I think that physical activity provides a good outlet and lets us balance ourselves,” Hall said.
To encourage students to exercise too, Hall started his personal Racquetball Challenge.
Any student can contact the Dean of Students Office to schedule a match. Just send your name, C number, phone number and preferred times to play to firstname.lastname@example.org.
And if a student wins two out of three games, Hall buys lunch. So far, though, he hasn’t had to spring for the food.
“I just wanted to get some games together and I thought it would be fun to play students,” said Hall, who estimated that only about a half-dozen students have accepted the challenge so far.
When there aren’t students to play, Hall has matches with friends from the university faculty and staff.
Since he plays mainly for fun and exercise, Hall said he doesn’t keep track of his record, but thinks he has won more games than he’s lost.
One of his regular opponents, Associate Director of Housing Bob DuBord, says Hall is a tough competitor.
“He takes the game very seriously and is really enjoyable to play with,” DuBord said.
Hall, who also likes basketball, soccer and football, takes his position as dean of students just as seriously as he takes his passion for sports.
Starting as a resident assistant at Ohio University, where he earned his doctorate, Hall has always been interested in helping students with their troubles.
Prior to coming to the University of Miami in 2006, Hall worked at four other schools- University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Clemson and Wake Forest.
“Dean Hall is a great person to meet with if you have any issues with teachers, students or classes,” said Jenna Marie Perez, a recent graduate. “He always shows you he cares and listens.”
When he’s not in racquetball clothes, he’s almost as easy to spot around campus wearing one of the bow ties from his vast collection.
And that’s not all he collects.
His office in the Student Services Building next to the Pavia Garage is adorned with an array of Pez candy dispensers that he’s been amassing for 15 years, ever since he saw a “Seinfeld” episode on TV that reminded him of the childhood toy.
Hall’s job, however, does not always entail dealing with problems.
He is involved with students in organizations across campus, including the Center for Alcohol and Other Drug Education, Greek life, campus chaplains, crisis management and student-community relations.
Hall also oversees the Undergraduate Honor Council, which protects the academic integrity of the university.
Over the years he has created strong relationships with both students and staff
“Dean Hall is a teacher, a friend, a comic book fanatic, a leader, a racquetball champion- but, most of all, an inspiration,” said Ren Werbin, graduate assistant and advisor to the Honor Council. “Anyone who comes in contact with him truly leaves as a better person, inside and out.”
IF YOU GO
Where: Wellness Center racquetball courts
Info Needed: Name, C number, phone number and preferred time
Contact: Dean of Students Office at (305) 284-5353 or email@example.com
If a student wins two out of three games, Dean Ricardo Hall will buy lunch.
Kelsey Pinault may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.