Former New York Yankees star Alex Rodriguez donated $500,000 to the University of Miami School of Business Administration on Friday.
After announcing the donation, the school unveiled the newly-named Alex Rodriguez Courtyard across from the Ziff Graduate Building and next to the study lounge that is nicknamed the “Fish Bowl.”
Though Rodriguez left an opportunity to play for Miami baseball when he was drafted to the Seattle Mariners out of high school, he has been involved with the university since. His gift will go toward the Executive MBA Program for Artists and Athletes, which had its inaugural graduation class last year.
First-year Executive MBA student Sidney James said he appreciates Rodriguez’s donation, though he is not an athlete in the program itself.
“It means a lot for someone of his caliber to still see how valuable having an education is for athletes and artists,” James said. “His actions [have] backed up everything he stands for.”
The dedication ceremony featured former UM President Donna Shalala, current President Julio Frenk, Sebastian the Ibis, former UM Board of Trustees chairman Stuart Miller and current chairman Richard Fain.
“I thought it was one of the more fun events that we’ve had because they had confetti cannons,” said events assistant Chrystie Gonzalez del Valle, who attended the dedication. “[Rodriguez] was surrounded by confetti, and I think he enjoyed it.”
New students in the Executive MBA Program joined Rodriguez and his fellow Board of Trustees members at the luncheon after the dedication ceremony.
This isn’t the first time Rodriguez has donated to UM. In 2003, he gave nearly $4 million toward renovation efforts of the university’s baseball stadium – now named Alex Rodriguez Park at Mark Light Field. The donation was among the largest in the history of Miami’s baseball program.
The Executive MBA Program for Artists and Athletes is a rigorous, 18-month program designed for current and former NFL players, among other athletes, and sport and entertainment executives.
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