Convocation Center celebrates two years and counting

The UM Convocation Center is the largest multipurpose venue on the Coral Gables campus. With 7,000-plus seats and 25 suites, the Convocation Center is a $40 million success for UM and the Athletic Department.

The Convocation Center has changed the college experience for students, who can now walk to men’s and women’s basketball games from class or from their rooms. The facility also serves as the site for commencement, which, prior to the completion of the building, were held outdoors.

Incoming students can take advantage of all the events that are held at the Convocation Center, some of which are free and others that may be available at a discounted price for students. Artists such as Kanye West, Coldplay and Green Day have rocked the house, while renowned speakers such as Maya Angelou, Michael J. Fox and Spike Lee have offered words of wisdom.

The venue has also hosted events drawing international publicity, including the Dalai Lama lecture series and the first Presidential Debate of the 2004 election. Since joining the Atlantic Coast Conference in January 2005, champion teams such as Duke, North Carolina and rival FSU have all begun playing on the basketball court. The Convocation Center, which recently celebrated its second anniversary, promises to continue bringing exciting entertainment to the university campus.

Students attending events at the Convocation Center appreciate its amenities, including merchandise stands, promotional counters and portable concession stands surrounding the main concourse level, all positioned for easy access from any area of the building to avoid traffic congestion. Concessions run from the traditional hot dogs, popcorn and nachos to Papa John’s pizza, Dippin’ Dots ice cream, chicken sandwiches and Miami favorites such as empanadas and churros.

During the basketball games all students have can join the Hurricane Force Reward Program, created by the Category 5 student organization. As part of this program, all Hurricane Force members will receive an official Force T-shirt and reward card. Members who attend Hurricane basketball games can receive free rewards such as retail discounts and food products provided by Miami Hurricane Corporate Sponsors. Membership to the Hurricane Force Reward Program is free for all students with a valid ‘Cane Card.

“We’re looking forward to bringing events that will draw the interest of the students and the South Florida community as a whole,” said Patrick McGrew, general manager of the UM Convocation Center. “With so many high profile events in our first two years alone, people are starting to associate us with quality entertainment so we are very excited about what the future will hold.”

For more information about the Convocation Center call 305-284-8686 or visit

Heidi M. Palmer contributed to this article.

Megha Garg can be contacted at