Passing through Upham Arch one evening, I was overcome with a sense of detachment. I had never so acutely been a guest in my own home. The hollowed tile evoked a reverberant storm of footsteps; countless footsteps of students who had passed before me. The ragged stone, benches worn like driftwood, were all reminders of my fleeting lease. Miami, like all loving mothers, is a generous landlord. However, every lease expires. Here, we are blessed with these few years in which we may imbue Mother Miami with our vigor and spirit. We enliven her and ensure her everlasting prosperity, which she may provide to future generations.
Beneath the lantern, I watched the sun-singed sky melt into the auburn canopy. I stood, as if at the bow of a ship, and felt, for the first time, the bona fide love and honor that have driven Miamians past to care for their alma mater, making her an even more bountiful provider. I understood the duality of Miami simultaneously nurturing and being nurtured by her student tenants. The desire to reconcile all that Miami has given them has driven Miami students past to add to her beauty. The incomparable lives so briefly lived within her walls have expanded the opportunities for lives yet lived.
The legacy left by Miami’s past inspires us to maintain Miami’s future. When the Upham Arch was built, it faced undeveloped land to the east. Miamians looked to the sunrise, standing with their backs to me, the weight of old campus behind them, and imagined a bright future. Soon, more spaces were built, which students have since filled with an ever-increasing chorus of purpose.
Standing in this magnificent student center, we look upward to Miami’s future. When the lease is up, one is already inextricably intertwined with alma mater. The Miami spirit never leaves those tenants who have passed on, and the legacies of those who have made their final pass through Upham Arch cannot be untangled from this campus, as they are this campus.
To understand the history of this place is essential. Through that understanding comes pride and a sense of duty to live extraordinary lives in an extraordinary place, to care for our mother everlasting, and to ensure she provides for our children. It’s an elegant mix of respect, pride and hope. Together: love. Prodesse Quam Conspici, roughly, accomplishment without recognition, is validation of this love. Through selflessness and determination, past students have furnished Miami in a love that current tenants are inspired to maintain.
As the wind skirts through autumn’s ripening leaves, so young men and women pass through Mother Miami. A breeze sweeps through campus, leaving an exhalant, rustling symphony in its wake. Students march through their collegiate years, gracing every hollow and arcade of Miami with life and music as they pass. With the tides, tenants come and go. Yet the symphony never ends. The trees and stones reverberate with the memory of students past as students present hum along, carrying the tune for their children, and their children’s children.