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CORAL GABLES, Fla., Oct. 15, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Patricia Herbert had been stewing on the idea for quite some time. Then one day, two years ago, she approached her husband Allan with her grand plan. She wanted to donate a significant gift to the University of Miami Business School in his name.
But Allan, a longtime University trustee and philanthropist who, like his wife, is a graduate of the U, wouldn’t hear any of it, politely saying no to the idea.
He had a better one.
“I told her we would make the gift in our name,” he recalled, “because that’s the way our lives have always been—a partnership. The University is very special to both of us. It is where we got our education, made life-long friendships, gained leadership skills, and met our life partners.”
That gift would push the Herberts’ philanthropy to the University to astounding heights—more than $100 million in lifetime giving.
Now, to honor the couple’s commitment and lifetime of largesse to the institution, the University of Miami has announced that the business school has been renamed the University of Miami Patti and Allan Herbert Business School, or Miami Herbert Business School for short.
The recognition of their transformative support is appropriate: The business school is where they both met and where they earned degrees.
“Patti and Allan Herbert have shown unbounded passion and a deep commitment for their alma mater for the past six decades, supporting a number of colleges, schools, and programs over the years,” said President Julio Frenk. “They have always kept the success of our students first, and this most recent gift will help generations to come.”
Indeed, the Herberts are well known for their incredible support that has impacted virtually every corner of the institution. In 2008, they donated $8 million to name The Patti and Allan Herbert Wellness Center on the Coral Gables campus.
In addition, the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center—part of the Miller School of Medicine—the Frost School of Music, the School of Nursing and Health Studies, the School of Law, the School of Education and Human Development, the Institute for Advanced Study of the Americas, the Department of Athletics, the Lowe Art Museum, Student Affairs, and Alumni Relations have also benefited from their generosity.
“The impact of the Herberts’ generosity is felt across our three campuses, in our classrooms, and in the young women and men who are leaders in communities across the globe,” said Jeffrey Duerk, executive vice president for academic affairs and provost.
The Herberts latest gift represents the pinnacle of their giving and will set the trajectory for the business school’s future.
“It’s a vote of confidence,” said John Quelch, dean of the Miami Herbert Business School, the Leonard M. Miller University Professor, and vice provost for executive education. “A terrific example for our 47,000 alumni.”
In a move to spur others to support the business school, the Herberts, who met and fell in love while attending the University in the 1950s, have also created the Herbert Challenge, promising to match gifts up to an established amount that are earmarked for some of the school’s key initiatives, such as endowed chairs, academic programs, and student scholarships.
“The business school’s vision already commits us to discover and disseminate transformative business knowledge to advance sustainable prosperity worldwide,” said Quelch. “The Herberts’ gift will secure our opportunity to achieve this vision and our goal of becoming a top 25 business school by 2025.”
The gift and the challenge initiative, said Quelch, will propel one of the University’s oldest schools in its mission to solve some of today’s most complex problems, specifically supporting interdisciplinary academic clusters that will attract and retain premier faculty and advance the South Florida economy.
A Center for Sustainable Business is planned, for example, and 10 new courses have been created as part of the forward-thinking launch of the school’s STEM-certified Master of Science in Sustainable Business, a first-of-its-kind degree offered in collaboration with the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science as well as the School of Architecture and College of Engineering.
The first 24 students in the program are all doing capstone projects at Office Depot in Boca Raton. “That’s a strong endorsement that what we’re doing is important not just from a teaching and research point of view, but for its impact on the South Florida business community,” said Quelch.
The business school will use a substantial portion of the Herberts’ gift to attract challenge grants to build out other centers of excellence, among them a Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship; a Center for Principled Leadership and Governance; a Center for Behavioral Decision Making; a Center for Business Analytics and Technology; and a Center for Global Operations and Strategy.
The gift will also allow the school to enhance existing initiatives in health care and real estate, two industries that are central to the regional economy, said Quelch.
With the Herberts being passionate about learning, their gift will help the business school attract the best and brightest undergraduate and graduate students.
“And a big part of that is enhancing the student experience, which requires enhancing and upgrading our facilities,” said Quelch. He envisions a center, what he calls a “hub of community activity and creativity,” where faculty and students would gather for study groups, team project work, and simple socializing and networking.
It also will further the school’s mission of becoming a global business school.
“A commitment to the hemisphere is important to leveraging our strengths but also to fulfilling our responsibilities as a lead institution in the region,” said Quelch. “But we have to marry that with a global approach—world-class faculty and students from all corners of the world have to be attracted to come here because of our multicultural diversity and quality of our educational experience.”
Josh Friedman, senior vice president for development and alumni engagement, said the Herberts have been building their deep-seated partnership with the University of Miami since the day they stepped onto campus.
“Patti and Allan are wonderful benefactors,” said Friedman. “They have, and continue to touch the lives of many of us who are connected to the U.”
For the Herberts, making the gift was “a no-brainer.”
“I met Patti here, and that meeting and our subsequent relationship and marriage were priceless,” said Allan. “That’s how I look at our gift. It’s priceless, and that was because of the fact that I met my life partner at the University of Miami. How do you put a value on that? You can’t.”
The Brooklyn-born Allan Herbert moved to South Florida with his family when he was just 5 years old, after his grandfather had decided to become a hotelier, building the Richmond Hotel on Collins Avenue on Miami Beach.
Patti, whose maiden name was McBride before she married Allan, was born in Plainfield, New Jersey.
Their paths crossed on the Coral Gables campus in 1954, when Allan spotted Patti typing in the University’s student union while applying for a job with the Miami Hurricane student newspaper.
“For me, it was literally love at first sight,” recalled Allan, who was smitten with Patti and her pixie cut. To this day, she still wears her hair in the same style.
But it would take a 3,000-mile trip to officially kick-start their relationship. While on vacation with his parents at California’s Knott’s Berry Farm theme park, Allan ran into, of all people, Patti McBride, who was also vacationing in the Golden State with her parents.
“That really started the romance,” said Allan. “I figured if it was that fortuitous that we could meet 3,000 miles away in a western town, then there was something special about it and we had to make the most of it. It was meant to be. It was the beginning of a love story that would last forever.”
So he invited her on a date, picking her up in the 1956 Oldsmobile his parents had recently purchased and visiting a new theme park called Disneyland.
It was Allan’s persistence that won Patti over. “He wore me down,” she said. “He was always there."
They eventually earned degrees from the business school—Allan, a Bachelor of Business Administration in 1955 and an M.B.A. three years later; and Patti, a Bachelor of Business Administration with a concentration in finance and marketing in 1957. They were both inducted into the Iron Arrow Society, among the University’s highest honors.
They married in 1958 and went onto successful careers, Allan as a group executive and insurance company president at Teledyne, and Patti at the Grubb and Ellis commercial real estate firm.
“He’s gotten smarter over the years,” said Patti.
In 2004, they established an endowment for the Love Bridge outside the University’s Herbert Wellness Center, with proceeds from the sale of personalized bricks on the bridge supporting the ’Canes Health Assessment and Motivation Program Endowment established by the couple.
They have given freely of their time, talents, and wisdom. But of all their University endeavors, it is support for students Patti is most proud of. “We have many, many, many scholarship students we’ve put through school. They invite us to their weddings,” she said, “and we’ve met all of them.”
The University and, specifically, the business school, they agree, prepared them for success in life. “I learned the nuts and bolts of accounting there,” said Allan, who also credits the many on-campus activities in which they participated for forging their success.
“Every successful graduate,” Allan said, “owes it to their university to repay them in some way for the education and opportunities they received while in school.”
Megan Ondrizek University of Miami 3052843667 firstname.lastname@example.org