In 1954, Patti and Allan Herbert met at the University of Miami Business School as students. Now, 65 years later, that same school will bare their name.
On Tuesday, Oct. 15, UM announced the business school will be renamed the Patti and Allan Herbert Business School, or Miami Herbert Business school, to honor the couple. The renaming was spurred after a large donation from the Herberts to the business school, which according to UM puts the couple over $100 million in lifetime donations to the university. The Herberts’ past donations include $500,000 to the Frost music school and $8 million to the wellness center that is named for the couple.
After meeting and graduating from UM, the Herberts got married. This past May, they celebrated their 61st wedding anniversary.
“It was literally love at first sight,” Allan said, recalling the first time he met his future wife.
After getting married, the Herberts would go on to embark on successful business careers in insurance and real estate.
Allan, who received his bachelors and masters from UM in 1955 and 1958, served as the president of Financial Indemnity, an auto insurance subsidiary of Unitran Inc. Patti, who graduated in 1957 from UM with a bachelors, worked at Grubb & Ellis, a commercial real estate firm. Together the Herberts also own the Richmond hotel, the last family-run hotel on South Beach.
“This transformative, generous gift will enable [the UM Business school] to move from being good to being great,” said business school dean John Quelch. “The Herberts’ gift will secure our opportunity…[and] our goal of becoming a top 25 business school by 2025.”
The renaming left students feeling both surprised and excited.
“I didn’t expect it,” said Sebastian Ordonez, an undergrad student at UM’s business school. “I knew [the] UM business school didn’t have a name…I think this adds prestige.”
A large portion of the donation is set to be allocated toward programs that attract grants and help finance the construction of other centers, including a Center of Innovation and Entrepreneurship and a Center for Principled Leadership and Governance. Additionally, the donation is being used to help fund a Center for Sustainable Business and 10 new courses focused on sustainability in the business world.
Both the UM administration and the Herberts hope this gift will inspire other alumni. To help this come to fruition, the couple created the Herbert Challenge, where they will match any donations, up to a specified amount, that are going toward UM’s “key initiatives,” such as academic programs and student scholarships.
Although students may not have the means to donate now, this monumental donation leaves them considering the difference they can make in the future once they are alumni.
“I feel this school has a lot to offer,” Ordonez said. “I would definitely consider donating as an alumnus in the future.”
Over the past six decades the Herberts have been active donors to UM, but their most recent donation was called the “pinnacle” of their philanthropy in a statement by UM. This donation, coupled with the Herberts history of giving, is what lead UM to rename the business school. This marked the first time UM has renamed a building or school in over a decade.
Naming buildings or schools in honor of alumni is commonplace in the university world. The Frost Music School, Miller School of Medicine and now the Herbert Business School all bare the names of past alumni.
“I believe naming gifts really set the basis for a legacy that will last in perpetuity,” President Julio Frenk said in a statement. “The Herberts are associating their name and legacy with the future of the business school.”