Back on March 25th, more than 200 University of Miami School of Architecture (UMSoA) students, faculty and staff members got together at José Marti Park in Little Havana, to kick off the first U-Serve Day. The participants were able to inventory 439 properties in the neighborhood, encompassing 25 square blocks of territory, using a Geographic Information Systems-based (GIS) smartphone app that was modified by IDSC Software Engineers for this project. In recognition of that effort, and the gift from the School to the City, the City of Miami declared September 24, 2015, to be “Rodolphe el-Khoury Day” and Mayor Tomás Regalado presented the Dean with a Proclamation at the City Commission meeting that morning.
While introducing the Dean, Mayor Regalado spoke eloquently about the relationship between the School and the City, and about the generosity of UMSoA students and faculty in contributing so much work to the City’s ongoing efforts to catalog potentially historic properties and other unique architectural buildings in the City, as well as the importance of the Little Havana community in which the work was done. Mayor Regalado also praised Dean el-Khoury as an educator and leader, especially for his work related to digital technology and resilience. Both the Mayor and City Commissioner Wilfredo “Willy” Gort presented the official proclamation, which mentions the City of Miami’s commitment to celebrating educators and describes some of the Dean’s work.
Dean el-Khoury gave a brief presentation to the Commission and audience, describing the work undertaken during U-Serve, the GIS app that faculty modified for this purpose and the number of properties inventoried. He also talked about the School’s history of giving back to the South Florida community and how U-Serve efforts will continue, each year focusing on a different service project that will involve the School in a unique way and that will involve the entire UMSoA at one time.
He also thanked the Mayor and other City officials for their support of the work done by the School.
“We educate not just architects, but also citizens,” el-Khoury said, “and we plan to continue to do just that.”