Administration, News, Obituaries

Former Dean of Students William Sandler, Jr. dies

University of Miami’s former Dean of Students William Sandler, Jr. died Aug. 6. He retired in 2006. Photo Courtesy UM News.

Former University of Miami Dean of Students William Sandler, Jr. died on Aug. 6 leaving behind a legacy as the school’s longest serving dean.

Sandler, who was 83, spent more than half of his lifetime working at UM. In 1962, he was hired on as the university’s counselor of men. With time, Sandler moved up the ranks at UM serving as dean of men, assistant dean of men, dean of student personnel and associate dean of students. In 1989, he was promoted to dean of students.

Throughout his tenure, Sandler helped advertise Greek Life on campus, develop the student disciplinary system and implement a student-run honor code. He also co-founded the Center for Alcohol and Other Drug Education, also known as Pier 21. The center was created with the intent to provide students with educational programs and services geared toward substance abuse prevention. In 2007, the center was renamed the William W. Sandler, Jr. Center for Alcohol and Other Drug Education.

Sandler retired in 2006 after serving at UM for 44 years, 17 as dean of students. At his retirement ceremony, former UM President Donna Shalala awarded him the President’s Medal.

In his last interview with The Miami Hurricane in 2006, Sandler acknowledged UM’s growth since he first started.

“I’ve seen a lot of changes since ’62,” Sandler said. “They’ve all been great things. The University has become great and well-respected in those years. I’ve seen the University students excel and had many friends who graduated from here who continue to stay in contact.”

UM administrators still remember Sandler’s time at UM.

Vice President for Student Affairs Patricia Whitely, who worked with Sandler for 25 years, called him “a mentor, a close colleague and a treasured friend” in an email.

“He was beloved by UM students over a 44 year period of time. He always showed patience, kindness and an unflappable manner, regardless of the student challenges he faced,” Whitely said.

August 10, 2017


Amanda Herrera

Amanda Herrera can be reached via email at and through Twitter at @_AmandaHerrera.

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