Mural immortalizes Cane history

Vice President of Student Affairs Dr. Patricia Whitely, and former SG officers Brandon Mitchell and Ashley Taggart cut the ribbon for the unveiling of the mural in the UC walkway. Charlotte Cushing // Contributing Photographer

There’s writing on the wall in the University Center (UC).

A mural detailing UM’s history through a series of photographs and captions was unveiled in early November, during Homecoming. It now adorns the central walkway that runs from the entrance near WVUM to the temporary Rathskeller.

It was created under the direction of the University Center Renovations Committee, which was led by Vice President of Student Affairs Dr. Patricia Whitely and former Student Government (SG) Vice President Ashley Taggart.

“Having the mural in the UC has definitely enhanced school spirit, and I think it’s a cool way to learn about our school,” Taggart said.

The mural begins with a brief historical account of the campus, which is followed by 165 significant moments in the University of Miami’s history.

The 108-foot-long wall is divided according to the terms of the university’s five presidents and arranged in chronological order. It starts with the first president, Bowman Foster Ashe, and ends with current President Donna E. Shalala.

After seeing the mural, sophomore Kaitlyn Rancour said she was impressed by UM’s rich history.

“It is amazing how interactive our school is with places and people around the world,” she said.

Images in the mural include the first class to graduate from UM, former UM President Jay Pearson greeting former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy at the Lowe Art Museum in 1960, Ashe and Sir Winston Churchill at the 1946 convocation, and the “Last Call at The Rat.”

Other photos depict UM’s first mascot, a dog named “Hurricane I,” the undefeated polo team from 1947, President George H.W. Bush at a commencement ceremony and the original UM campus.

All the photographs were chosen with the help of the Otto G. Richter Library, Campus Planning and Development Department, and SG leaders.

“The goal of the pictures was to reflect the major events that impacted in some way the student experience or the role of the University of Miami,” Whitely said.

The mural stems from the “Spirit the U” initiative led by former SG President Brandon Mitchell, who ran with Taggart on the same ticket, “Taking U Forward.”

“We wanted to be able to take our university center and put it on another campus and still have it be ‘ours,’” Taggart said. “Before the renovations started, we didn’t think there was enough school spirit in the UC; we wanted there to be more orange and green.”

Freshman Alexa Pierro thinks the mural “shows others what it means to be a Miami Hurricane.”

“It’s really cool to see how the school has evolved from just an idea to the wonderful home that we call the U,” she said.

Arquitectonica, an architectural company in Coral Gables, collaborated with UM on this project.

“I am thrilled with the final design,” Whitely said. “Hopefully, it will be enjoyed for years to come.”