Center for Alcohol & Other Drug Education renamed after former Dean

Surrounded by family and friends, William W. Sandler, the former Dean of Students, was received with applause at the Center for Alcohol & Other Drug Education, which now bears his name.

In a small dedication ceremony on Thursday, sponsored by the Division of Student Affairs and Student Government, guests mingled amidst an array of refreshments, appetizers and music for the presentation of the center’s official name unveiling.

Sandler, who retired from the University of Miami in July 2006 after 43 years of service, co-founded the center, formerly known as Pier 21, 20 years ago for the purpose of helping students overcome their negative habits, such as irresponsible alcohol consumption and drug abuse.

“He’s made the center what we know today,” said Nanette Vega, an assistant dean of students. “We are trying to build on the foundation he’s started and continue to educate students.”

The decision to rename the center came as a result of a bill that unanimously passed in the SG Senate.

“Anytime you can have a tribute from students, it’s especially poignant,” said Patricia A. Whitely, vice president for Student Affairs.

After reading the proclamation that granted the renaming, former SG president Annette Ponnock and current president Danny Caravajal both presented Sandler with a bronze plaque for his involvement in promoting the center’s mission. They also praised Sandler for his past leadership roles in various facets of the UM community since his arrival in 1962, such as advisement of fraternities and sororities, development of the Student Discipline System and the implementation of a student-run honor code.

“Dean Sandler has been such a role model to what it means to be dedicated to something,” Ponnock said. “The renaming shows the students respect how much he has done for the school.”

Other students also echoed similar sentiments concerning Sandler’s service.

“He has been a strong supporter of the alcohol program for so long,” said Joseph Fasullo, co-chair of GAMMA, a student organization that aims to educate members of the university’s Greek system on the harmful effects of alcohol and other drug use. “It’s only appropriate to honor the work he has done.”

Sandler laughed as he lifted a green cloak and white bow to reveal the center’s nameplate.

“I can’t think of a better place that I’d rather have my name on,” he said with a smile.

Joanna Suarez may be contacted at