Under an overcast sky, President Julio Frenk, donors and University of Miami administrators cut the ribbon on the Fate Bridge on Wednesday morning, reshaping the way students can move around campus.
The new bridge was built to create greater campus mobility, spanning the stretch from the Eaton residential parking lot on the south side of the lake to the University Center Lakeside Patio on the north side. President Frenk, Senior Vice President for University Advancement and External Affairs Sergio Gonzalez and the bridge’s naming donors, senior Hannah Weese and her mother Elizabeth Weese, spoke before the 210-foot long bridge over Lake Osceola opened for use.
After finding out about the bridge’s construction in the spring semester of 2015, Weese talked to her mother about naming the bridge with the words of her grandfather’s favorite poem, “Invictus” by William Ernest Henley, which he carried in his briefcase wherever he went. The last two lines of the poem, “I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul,” are now etched on the bridge’s surface.
Those two lines have been a family motto for the Weeses, to take charge of their life and determine their own actions.
“I fell in love with this campus and I really wanted to make a mark on it,” Hannah said. “I hope people on campus take some from [the words on the bridge]. There’s something in those words for everyone.”
Those who came for the ceremony were given a badge that read “I am the master of my fate” after crossing the bridge.
Frenk and Gonzalez commented on the bridge’s importance to the campus, cutting north and south through Lake Osceola, which is situated in the center of campus between the Shalala Student Center, University Center, Lakeside Patio, Stanford-Hecht residential halls, School of Architecture and Frost School of Music.
“Bridges connect communities and this will serve as an intricate fabric of this campus,” Frenk said.
“This wonderful structure will be an iconic bridge for this institution,” Gonzalez added. “Once students walk through here, they will see a unique view of Osceola and memories will be created for the students.”
The construction of the bridge started in late May, and College of Engineering and School of Architecture students took part. Under professor Antonio Nanni’s guidance, the students assisted the construction company Moss & Associates and architect company Arquitectonica International Corporation in the completion of the bridge by installing glass fiber-reinforced polymer rebars (GFRP) to help prevent future corrosion and data-collecting sensors that will help to monitor the longevity of the bridge.
“The purpose is to design and construct sustainable bridges. We want to have bridges that have service life in excess of a hundred years,” Nanni said at the ribbon-cutting ceremony. “To do that you must address the issue of corrosion.”
He explained that humans uses over 1.3 trillion liters of water to mix concrete. By using GFRP (which doesn’t corrode easily) instead of steel materials inside the concrete, one can mix salt water with the concrete in lieu of fresh water, which doesn’t compromise the stability of the bridge and saves natural resources.
For their efforts on the bridge, Nanni and his students were nominated for the Award for Innovation by the Composites and Advanced Materials Expo in Dallas, Texas.