Administration, News, Shalala

Harvard dean Julio Frenk named new University of Miami president

Sixth president Dr. Julio Frenk and current UM President Donna E. Shalala embrace each other at a press conference Monday. Erika Glass // Managing New Editor

Sixth UM president Dr. Julio Frenk and current UM President Donna E. Shalala embrace each other at a press conference Monday. Erika Glass // Managing News Editor

UPDATE: This story was updated on Wednesday, April 15 at 8:25 p.m.

Dr. Julio Frenk was confirmed as the University of Miami’s sixth president and first Hispanic president on Monday. Soon after the press conference, the current dean of faculty at the Harvard School of Public Health was given a Hurricanes welcome by the UM band, dancers dressed in orange and green, and of course, Sebastian the Ibis.

But this was not his first time visiting the ibis-covered campus. In fact, Frenk came to the Gables campus as part his medical school training in the mid-1970s.

“I have fond memories of that encounter,” Frenk told The Miami Hurricane.

Frenk will replace Donna E. Shalala, who steps down at the end of the academic year. His term begins Sept. 1, 2015.

Julio Frenk // Courtesy University of Miami

Dr. Julio Frenk // Courtesy University of Miami

“I have a great desire to take the university to the next level,” Frenk said. “This is the Miami moment. The university is poised to achieve great heights.”

Following a campus-wide celebration that included free food from food trucks, student leaders from more than 15 organizations had the opportunity to talk shop with Frenk.

“He was very open to hearing student concerns and was willing to work with us directly to improve our campus community,” said Brianna Hathaway, Student Government president-elect.

Current SG President Alessandria San Roman echoed Hathaway’s sentiments.

“Dr. Frenk was extremely personable and genuinely excited to join the ranks of the renown University of Miami presidents,” San Roman said. “During the student leader discussion, I was excited to see that Dr. Frenk wants to further immerse our university into the greater Miami community.”

Daniela Lorenzo, president-elect of the Federation of Cuban Students, also attended the meeting. She was equally excited about Frenk’s wife, Felicia Knaul, who is applying to join UM’s faculty in fall 2015. Knaul is an associate professor at Harvard Medical School and director of the Harvard Global Equity Initiative.

“She was so witty and insightful and so personable that I know she’ll be a great faculty member and will enhance the U greatly,” Lorenzo said.

The Board of Trustees officially confirmed Frenk’s appointment after a unanimous vote Monday morning.

Miller, who appointed the search committee, attended each of these sessions. Richard D. Fain, chair of the presidential search committee, called this “unusual” because the process is “time-consuming” and “difficult.”

Despite the long list of “outstanding” candidates, which had been narrowed down to four just a few weeks ago, Frenk was the “right person,” Fain added.

“We thought we came up with a candidate who had an exceptional record of accomplishment and also had the personality and the drive and the history of success to show he’s the person who gets things done,” Fain said.

University of Miami President Elect Dr. Julio Frenk throws up the “U” along with his wife, Felicia Knaul after a press conference where the UM Presidential Search Committee announced their decision. UM Board of Trustees Vice Chair Richard Fain and Chair Stuart Miller also attended Monday’s event held at the SAC. Nick Gangemi // Photo Editor

University of Miami President Elect Dr. Julio Frenk throws up the “U” with his wife, Felicia Knaul, after a press conference where the UM Presidential Search Committee announced their decision. UM Board of Trustees Vice Chair Richard Fain and Chair Stuart Miller also attended Monday’s event held at the SAC. Nick Gangemi // Photo Editor

Frenk joins the university as it begins to wrap up the Momentum 2 fundraising campaign, which has raised $1.6 billion ahead of schedule.

During his six-year tenure as the dean of Harvard’s School of Public Health, Frenk quadrupled fundraising from $26 million in 2010 to $103 million in 2014. He also steered a $350 million naming gift – the largest single gift in Harvard’s 378-year history.

“It’s clear from their choice that the University of Miami’s trustees share Julio’s own qualities of wisdom and foresight, and that they have discovered in him the remarkable leadership capacity and vision with which he has graced Harvard these past six years,” said Harvard University President Drew Gilpin Faust in the university’s news release.

Frenk plans to devote the first four months of his presidency to “immersion” and “shared learning.”

Frenk plans to devote the months before the start of his term to “immersion” and “shared learning.”

“I want to learn from UM, what’s important to the community,” he said.

Frenk says he is a “strong believer in diversity.” He wants to ensure that UM promotes a “sense of belonging” for students, faculty and staff.

“It’s not only the right thing but the smart thing,” he said.

Frenk is the son of German and Spanish immigrants to Mexico. He earned his M.D. from the National Autonomous University of Mexico in 1978 in his hometown of Mexico City. After medical school, he pursued a career in public health rather than a clinical residency.

At the University of Michigan, he also earned a Master in Public Health in 1981, a Master of Arts in sociology in 1982, and a joint PhD from the departments of Medical Care Organization and Sociology.

Aside from Harvard, Frenk has been a professor of public health at the University of Michigan, the School of Public Health in Mexico, and the National Institute of Public Health in Mexico.

Frenk’s administrative roles included executive director for Evidence and Information for Policy at the World Health Organization from 1998 to 2000, and Minister of Health of Mexico from 2000 to 2006.

As former Minister of Health, Frenk is best known for introducing a national health insurance program, known as Seguro Popular, which expanded access to health care for tens of millions of previously uninsured Mexicans.

Frenk is also a member of the U.S. Institute of Medicine, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and National Academy of Medicine of Mexico.

Frenk and Knaul will move to Miami with their youngest of two daughters, who is 10 years old.

Executive Vice President and Provost Thomas J. LeBlanc will serve as interim president between Shalala stepping down and the beginning of Frenk’s tenure.

“I have known Dr. Frenk for more than two decades,” Shalala said in the university’s news release. “He is an extraordinary, highly respected leader in global public health. I warmly welcome him and his family to the university and our community.”


Related stories

University of Miami expected to name Harvard dean Julio Frenk as sixth president

Donna E. Shalala will step down at school year’s end

Top 10 Yik Yak Reactions to Shalala Stepping Down

Shalala’s successor should shine as brightly

April 13, 2015

Reporters

Alexander Gonzalez

Assistant Editor


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

Either the Miami Hurricanes get a collective adrenaline rush from heart-palpitating fourth quarters, ...

University of Miami men’s basketball coach Jim Larrañaga, his face showing the strain of an ongoing ...

The No. 8 Hurricanes,  20 1/2-point favorites over next opponent North Carolina, are still one of on ...

Kudos to the two newest Atlantic Coast Conference Players of the Week: tight end Christopher Herndon ...

Mark Richt is not overly concerned with depth. Not when the eighth-ranked Miami Hurricanes (6-0, 4-0 ...

A University of Miami Ph.D. student in the Department of History sheds light on the dark history of ...

Univeristy of Miami’s Wynwood Art Gallery holds its annual faculty exhibition featuring thought-prov ...

From a game simulating how whales navigate to a tribute to Ella Fitzgerald, the U showcased some of ...

A new mobile game called Blues and Reds, now available worldwide, aims to help researchers study int ...

A major Lancet Commission report, a three-year project headed by UM’s Professor Felicia Knaul and co ...

The Hurricanes may be young, but they have the talent and poise to make a deep run in March. ...

Miami tight end Christopher Herndon and linebacker Michael Pinckney were among those recognized with ...

As a Hurricane Club member, you are invited to participate in the 25th Annual University of Miami Ha ...

The Miami women's tennis team wrapped up play Sunday the ITA Southeast Regional Championships P ...

The Hurricanes grabbed four interceptions and another ACC victory as they defeated Syracuse, 27-19, ...

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 in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.