It was April 4, 2001, and hundreds of people gathered at what is one of the University of Miami’s most historical events – the groundbreaking of the University of Miami Convocation Center and the home to the ‘Canes basketball teams.
“When I was a freshman, I heard rumors of the Convocation Center. I was excited when I was able to sit on stage at its groundbreaking,” said Student Government President Jose “Pepi” Diaz.
The Convocation Center used to be called the Ryder Center. However, last year they pulled their name from the project.
“Ryder’s business interest has changed a little, but they still gave us the money,” said Vice President for Student Affairs Dr. Patricia A. Whitely.
President Donna Shalala is already looking to rename the complex
The Convocation center currently has 1000 student seats available, for an 8,000-person undergraduate student body. This may prove to be a problem at first; however, the university is already addressing the situation.
“Currently we have 1000 student seats, and hopefully more if we can get Coral Gables approval,” said Whitely. “Richard Walker [Director of Student Life and The University Center] has a board put together of students, who will make a recommendation on how to distribute the tickets.”
The Convocation Center is going to be hosting much more than just sporting events. Its design is also able to open options to hold many cultural programs and educational activities for the university and the Coral Gables Community.
Global Spectrum has been hired by the university to host the events. The University of Miami has been approved by Coral Gables to host approximately 80-85 events per year. So, in the future, the university plans to have many activities and concerts there to increase student life.
“The Convocation Center will greatly improve student life,” said Whitely. “It is the most important thing that will impact the student experience since the building of the Wellness Center in 1996.”
The Convocation Center will open January 4, 2003.