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The Audrey R. Finkelstein UM Experience

The Audrey R. Finkelstein UM Experience, an annual event hosted by the University of Miami Alumni Association, is an interactive educational series featuring thought-provoking presentations and lectures from University faculty on topical events. The UM Experience (UMX), as it is known, has attracted more than 200 alumni to campus each year to relive the classroom experience via lectures by prominent faculty on timely topics. Part of a generous endowment created by the late Audrey R. Finkelstein, A.B. ’38—a devoted alumna and passionate proponent of lifelong learning—and her husband, Charles, UMX fosters the University’s commitment to provide ongoing learning for alumni by offering intellectually stimulating subjects across a variety of disciplines, and showcasing UM faculty and their vital research.

This year's UM Experience features the Golden Ibis Society Celebration including lunch, spirits, and a special musical performance by students from the Frost School of Music.

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2022 Schedule

Show me the money! NIL and the business behind college sports

Professor Windy Dees
Learn about the business of college athletics and the changing landscape of marketing and sponsorship within the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). Professor Dees will discuss her research on corporate sponsorship effectiveness, branding, and the new NCAA regulations that now allow for the monetization of name, image, and likeness (NIL) of college athletes. Get a peek into how high-performance athletes at Power 5 institutions are building their brands and attracting endorsements, and gain insights on the future of college athletics in the NIL era and how corporations are reshaping the sport industry as we know it.
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A Hassle a Day May Keep the Doctor Away - Harnessing Good Stress and Minimizing the Bad

Dr. Firdaus S. Dhabhar
In this timely session, Professor Dhabhar will talk about his research which aims to activate and harness the natural mechanisms of health and healing that exist within us, while also using all preventative and curative modalities that medicine can offer from the outside. He will show that the short-term stress response could be used to enhance natural defenses during vaccination, surgery and cancer, in contrast to chronic stress which has many harmful effects, and can even accelerate biological aging. He will explain key aspects of protective vs. harmful stress in the context of health and performance, and present his concept of the Stress Spectrum as a guide for maximizing the beneficial effects of GOOD stress, and minimizing the harmful effects of BAD stress.
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Past Events

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  • Class Is Back In Session (September 23, 2021)

    Learn about advances in artificial intelligence and robotics and the pioneering contributions of women filmmakers from University of Miami faculty experts. Features a keynote address focused on the urgency of continuing to modernize higher education.

    • Ubbo Visser
    • Christina Lane

    Host: Maribel Perez Wadsworth, B.S.C. '93

    Keynote session moderated by: Jeffrey L. Duerk, Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost University of Miami

  • Class Is Back In Session (March 30, 2021)

    With topics ranging from predicting environmental events and persuasive communication skills to the creative process of composing music for film and varied influences on our decision-making, to a keynote address on mental illness, society, stigma, and services, there is something for everyone. The day concluded with a networking opportunity for alumni to meet and greet featured faculty and hear more about their areas of expertise and research.

    • Benjamin Kirtman
    • David L. Steinberg
    • Laura P. Kohn-Wood
      dean, School of Education and Human Development
    • Carlos R. Rivera
    • Professor Claudia Townsend

    Host: Xavier I. Cortada, A.B. ’86, J.D. ’91, M.P.A. ’91,

    Keynote session moderated by: Samantha F. Lang, B.S.Ed. '12, M.S.Ed. '14, Ph.D. '20

  • Combatting “Pandemic Brain Fog”: Strengthening Attention and Resilience with Mindfulness Training (November 19, 2020)

    This virtual lecture explores the cutting-edge science of mindfulness taking place at the University and highlights the benefits of mindfulness training. Faculty experts show us how practicing mindfulness can improve brain function, protect against stress, and enhance well-being and social connection, and lead us in mindfulness meditation exercises. The discussion also includes recent studies conducted with medical and business professionals, teachers, first responders, and military service members and their spouses.



    Dr. Amishi Jha
    Director of Contemplative Neuroscience, University of Miami Mindfulness Research and
    Practice Initiative, Associate Professor of Psychology, College of Arts and Sciences

    Scott Rogers
    Co-founder, Mindfulness Research and Practice Initiative, Founder and director, Mindfulness in Law Program, Lecturer in law, School of Law

    Moderated by: George “Trae” Williamson, Ph.D. ’20
    Adjunct faculty, Miami Herbert Business School

History of UMX

In 1978, alumna Audrey R. Finkelstein created AlumNites, an annual lecture series that showcased University of Miami faculty and alumni. A few years later, in 1984, the Alumni College Experience (ACE) was created to bring alumni back to campus to experience being in a University classroom again. As proponents of lifelong learning, Audrey and her husband, Charles, established an endowment to fund the program in perpetuity.

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of Audrey’s graduation year in 1988, the program was renamed the “Audrey R. Finkelstein Alumni College Experience,” which is now known as Audrey R. Finkelstein UM Experience.

About Audrey R. Finkelstein

Audrey’s involvement at the University of Miami spans more than seven decades touching almost every area of the institution, from school-based volunteer projects and athletic support to University-wide homecoming and reunion activities. In addition to her support for UMX, she also established the Audrey Finkelstein Library Endowment Fund for the acquisition of books by and about women, at the Otto G. Richter Library.

Audrey personified exceptional volunteerism and devoted alumni involvement. Known as a woman who always remained young at heart, she is widely regarded as one of the U’s top volunteer leaders, a legend for her dedication to nurturing the institution that she believes invested so much in her.

Join Audrey in supporting the University’s commitment to lifelong learning.

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