News

Director of parking knows how it feels to be a Cane

The parking and transportation department is not the enemy.

In fact, Richard Sobaram, the head of the department, is understanding of students because he was once a University of Miami student- a student who received multiple parking tickets.

Sobaram first came to UM in 1987 to study criminology. He returned to UM 2007 to join the executive MBA program. During all his time at UM, Sobaram worked for the student affairs office on campus.

Patricia Whitely, vice president of student affairs, has known Sobaram for almost 20 years. She has seen him progress from an undergraduate security assistant to the director of parking and transportation.

“Richard, in my opinion, is a terrific administrator,” Whitely said. “He is a consummate professional and always gives 100 percent to all endeavors. He is one of our unsung heroes at UM.”

As an undergrad, Sobaram worked in the Office of the Ombudsperson, serving as a mediator between students with complaints and the school. He said the job taught him how to work with various departments on campus as well as students to make sure conflicts were resolved.

Those lessons have stayed with him over the years.

“He embraces creative problem solving and always tries to involve students in his deliberations,” Whitely said.

In the spring of 2008, before finishing the MBA program, he was promoted to the director of parking.

Being a former student has helped Sobaram make changes in the parking department based on his experiences. He now hands out maps at the beginning of the year along with parking passes to show the students the various changes and gives tips on the backs of warnings so students are aware.

“I have tried to focus more on educating the students on how to avoid getting tickets,” Sobaram said. “I don’t want them to have to pay to learn.”

Sobaram said he loves working with students.

“I get satisfaction from working with students because I know I see results.” Sobaram said. “At UM, students have a chance to grow, not just earn degrees.”

His department is responsible for about 9,500 spaces on campus and about 9,000 students, faculty and staff members who pay for parking passes.

To avoid getting tickets, Sobaram recommends students take the time to plan parking into their schedule like they do classes. He suggests that they look at the time their classes are and be realistic on what the parking availability will be then.

“Is it reasonable to think that around 11 the Communication School lot will be completely open?” Sobaram said, knowing the obvious answer because he was once a student searching for a spot to park in before class.

Sasha Blaney may be contacted at sblaney@themiamihurricane.com.

April 23, 2011

Reporters

Sasha Blaney

Contributing News Writer


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • Error

Duke Johnson, the all-time leading rusher in Miami Hurricanes history, was one of a dozen members of ...

The Miami Hurricanes, still waiting for a starting quarterback to be named, are in the top 25 again. ...

Happy first day of school for everyone out there, including the University of Miami students. We jus ...

With the University of Miami season opener closing in, the next starting quarterback has yet to be n ...

The second fall scrimmage, closed to the media and public, is over. University of Miami coach Mark R ...

UM’s new chief academic officer holds some 40 patents, and in 2017 was inducted into the National Ac ...

University of Miami students and researchers are blogging during a month-long expedition in the Gulf ...

María de Lourdes Dieck-Assad, a world-renowned economist and former ambassador, fills a new role for ...

Through the U Dreamers Grant, DACA students find essential support as they pursue their college degr ...

UM students talk about their internships up north in a city that never sleeps. ...

RSS Error: A feed could not be found at http://www.hurricanesports.com/. A feed with an invalid mime type may fall victim to this error, or SimplePie was unable to auto-discover it.. Use force_feed() if you are certain this URL is a real feed.

TMH Twitter Feed
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly on Thursdays during the regular academic year.