ynamites come in small packages, and President Donna E. Shalala fits the bill. A pint-sized powerhouse of a president, who was also the Secretary of Health and Human Services under former U.S. President Bill Clinton, Shalala proves that passion, wisdom and vigor allow someone of a small size to make a large impact on the university community.
You may have been hoping to take her health care class filled with guest speakers, or maybe you just wanted a fan pic, but the President’s presence will be missed next semester.
If you don’t see our president during the spring semester, she is not M.I.A. from MIA. Alternatively, she is taking the semester to focus on the Momentum 2 campaign by traveling to raise funds. This is just one of the many testaments to her commitment to the university.
New students and incoming freshman, especially, should take the fall semester as an opportunity to reach out to our established President. While students may have heard about Shalala’s victories in verbal throwdowns with Miami’s critics, this inspirational woman doesn’t bite. At commencement, she’s even known to offer a hug rather than a handshake to students who have taken her class.
Unlike most celebrities, Shalala doesn’t walk around with an entourage and, in fact, is one of the most accessible figures on campus. Students frequently see her pop up at the Wellness Center, jumping around on the cardio machines like the best of us, and enjoying the sunny weather strolling around campus. I might even go as far as to say that I have seen her throwing up the U at sporting events more often than our beloved Sebastian.
Students who have the guts to approach President Shalala this fall can gain invaluable insight from a woman whose life experiences rival those of the prominent figures who visit her class.
Alyssa Jacobson is a junior majoring in advertising and political science.