Hecht Anniversary marks new beginnings

Hecht Residential College turns 20 years old this month-an age that most of its residents have yet to reach. Home to approximately 900 UM students and faculty, Hecht is known for housing mostly freshman and those select few who can’t get enough of the unique atmosphere.

The building first opened in 1968 and was known as the “1968 complex.” The hall became a residential college in 1984, and in 1986 adopted its current name after Florence Ruth Hecht, an influential donor on the UM campus.

Hecht is known for its friendly environment, commitment to excellence and exciting programs that help create an atmosphere that students enjoy living and participating in.

“What makes Hecht unique are the incredible passionate student leaders that have made a choice to be a part of the community where they live,” Keith “Fletch” Fletcher, Hecht residence coordinator, said. “Also, the faculty that has lived in the building, especially Frank and Maryann Barber, whose openness sets the tone for Hecht and the staff that posses an inherent desire to be more than mediocre.”

Students also notice the difference in the building and take pride in being part of the Hecht family.

“It’s always active and bubbly,” Marielle Assue, freshman, said. “Everyone is friendly and living with other freshman gives you the opportunity to make strong relationships with your own class.”

The 20th anniversary celebration will take place on Feb. 24 in two functions. First, there will be a VIP reception that will primarily involve Florence Hecht and her family, UM President Donna Shalala and other notable figures in the UM community. Following that, there will be a second reception held which will be comprised of student leaders around campus, along with former resident assistants who will have the opportunity to share their stories from Hecht. Both events will be formal, and entrance is based on invitation.

Several changes will be implemented at the end of the Spring semester, including slight remodeling and a change in the resident masters. There will be mailbox, study lounge and laundry room renovations as well.

The Barbers will say their goodbyes to Hecht in May and move off campus for the first time in eleven years. Their decision to leave was met with sadness last semester after the couple served eight years in nearby Stanford Residential College before moving to Hecht.

“The Barbers have shown me what it means to open up your life and to sacrifice in order to help the people around you,” said Kim Schoessow, senior and staff member in Hecht.

While the Barbers will be missed, Vince Cardinal, the newly appointed resident master, is being welcomed with full confidence.

“I know that when we leave, Hecht will be in great hands,” Mrs. Barber said. “He is eager to get to know the residents and be a major part of their experience here.”

Stacey Arnold can be contacted at s.arnold@umiami.edu.