Amid the Buzz and Excitement of Homecoming, UM Dedicates Its Student Center Complex

University of Miami

November 7, 2013

Sebastian the Ibis and UM alum and renowned Miami artist Xavier Cortada celebrate the unveiling of the digital tapestry Cortada created for the Student Activities Center's third floor.

Sebastian the Ibis and UM alum and renowned Miami artist Xavier Cortada celebrate the unveiling of the digital tapestry Cortada created for the Student Activities Center’s third floor.

The Student Center Complex is comprised of the 119,000-square-foot Student Activities Center, renovated Whitten University Center, redesigned UC Patio, and the U Statue.

By Robert C. Jones Jr.

Earlier in the day, UM alumnus and world-renown Miami artist Xavier Cortada officially unveiled “Flight of the Ibis,” the 15-foot by 30-foot digital tapestry he created for the third-floor atrium of the Student Activities Center. Depicting a number of stylized ibis, some which Cortada photographed on campus, the three-panel fabric mural pays tribute to the character of the marsh bird on which the University’s mascot is based. As the legend goes, ibis are always the last to leave before a hurricane, and the first to reappear after danger passes—the kind of risk-taking optimism Cortada said the U has imbued in generations of students, including himself.

“In many ways, that’s what this University allows us to be because it’s like a mangrove forest that protects us, that nurtures us, that cares for us, and I think it is our responsibility, once we take flight and do whatever we do in our lives, to come back,’’ said Cortada, A.B. ’86, M.P.A. ’91, J.D. ’91, who has left his own indelible mark on the University and beyond. A member of Iron Arrow and a former speaker of the student Senate, his conscience-raising art installations have graced venues and locales as diverse as the White House and the World Bank and Switzerland and Cyprus.

Robert C. Jones Jr. can be reached at 305-284-1615. Senior Editor Maya Bell also contributed to this report.

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