Legendary Alum Makes Visit to the Archives

Meet Mr. Ray Bellamy who visited the University Archives on September 28, 2016 (Photo by Cory Czajkowski, Special Collections)

Pioneering UM alum Ray Bellamy visited the University Archives on September 28, 2016 (Photo by Cory Czajkowski, Special Collections).

By Koichi Tasa, University Archivist

Even when I was a newly hired University Archivist in fall 2007, I knew the name Ray Bellamy, his face, and his historical importance for the University as the first black athlete (1967) and the first black president of the student government (1971) from Dr. Charlton Tebeau’s 1976 publication The University of Miami: A Golden Anniversary History, 1926-1976.

So, the staff of the University Archives were thrilled to meet the legendary alumnus during his recent visit to Miami in the last week of September. He first visited the current UM Libraries exhibition Miami Celebrates: The Orange Bowl Festival, 1930s-1990s, then came up to the 8th floor to review our materials on him as well as our historical collections of black students and faculty.

I was happy to find the picture of this historic moment in the February 1, 2002 issue of The Herald Tribune.

The Herald Tribune, February 1, 2002.

He talked to us about his experience when at the University in the midst of the racial integration struggle in Miami.

You can find out a lot about Mr. Bellamy’s accomplishments on the Internet and YouTube as well as in numerous articles and publications of the University. I would like to show you a compelling documentary I found on YouTube titled Changing the Game: a Deep South Conflict, a Compromise of Attitudes, which was created by David and Matt Mariutto (see below). I think this is not only a great piece on Mr. Bellamy but also a powerful teaching material on diversity.

Mr. Bellamy was brought to us by Ms. Denise Mincey-Mills, who is one of the co-chairs of the Alumni Association’s program “First Black Graduates Project,” which celebrates the first black graduates of the University of Miami in the 1960s and the 1970s. Please go to the link below for further information about the program, which takes place on February 24 and 25, 2017.

Ms. Mincey-Mills (pictured on the right) has been a driving force for the First Black Graduates Projects. We met her in January 2015, when she visited us to research Ibis yearbooks from the 1960s to identify black students. (Photo by Cory Czajkowski, Special Collections)

Ms. Mincey-Mills (pictured on the right) is a driving force behind the the First Black Graduates Project. She visited us first in January 2015 to research Ibis yearbooks from the 1960s to identify black students. (Photo by Cory Czajkowski, Special Collections)

Included in the program is a visit to the Otto G. Richter Library to view an exhibition “U Trailblazers – Black Students and Faculty Who Broke Color Barrier in the 1960s and the 1970s” (*tentative title) curated by the University Archives for the Black History Month as well as a reception offered by Richter and a lecture by UM’s history professor Dr. Donald Spivey.

See also: Miami Magazine article on the First Black Graduates Project

(Courtesy of Hurricanesports.com / Release: 2/04/2013)

A Tribute Continued: An Interview with Dr. Butler

Our student assistant David Colbus' historic visit to Dr. Butler took place on April 14, 2016.

Our student assistant David Colbus’ historic visit to Dr. Butler took place on April 14, 2016.

By David Colbus, Senior in the College of Arts and Sciences
Student Assistant, University Archives

Two weeks ago, I took the opportunity to learn more about UM’s history by interviewing someone
instrumental within it—Dr. William R. Butler. I knew I had found the former Vice President’s house when University Archivist, Koichi Tasa, and I saw the UM flag waving in front of his home. As we pulled into his driveway, Dr. Butler greeted us and invited us into his garage-turned-office. He immediately gifted us with several copies of his two books, and he even gave me my own signed copy of his 2008 book, “Embracing the World.” The Archives reciprocated Dr. Butler’s book gifts with a framed print of the “Keep Them Coming” poster which hangs in the library’s collection.

After this exchange, Dr. Butler invited us to sit with him. He began introducing the friends and
prominent people from the University of Miami and elsewhere that stood out in his gallery, including Presidents Harry S. Truman and Lyndon B. Johnson. When eyeing a picture of President Henry King Stanford, Dr. Butler told us the story of how the Butler family happened to come to the University of Miami. President Stanford telephoned him in 1965 while in his office at Ohio University when he was Dean of Students. He told Dr. Butler how impressed he was with the work he was doing with Ohio U students. He went on to say that a new position of Vice President for Student Affairs had just been established at UM and that he was interested in Dr. Butler filling that position. Dr. Butler was hesitant. He said, “My wife, Ginnie, and I are here at our alma mater. We love it here in Ohio and so do our four children. We have no plans to leave.” But President Stanford would not take no for an answer, so he flew Dr. and Mrs. Butler from Ohio to Coral Gables for a lengthy visit. Dr. Butler and his wife, Ginnie, fell in love with UM, and he accepted the position, serving as Vice President for Student Affairs for the next 32 years. “I loved every minute of my job,” Dr. Butler said. “My move from Ohio was something I have never regretted.” After finishing the tour of the gallery, Dr. Butler gave us a tour of his home, showing us the living room where he would invite UM students as guests to engage with the key guest speakers from the University.

When asked about his two books and his nearly 20 years of retired life, Dr. Butler joked, “I’m through writing books. The only book I have left in my thoughts is one which cannot be told.” Dr. Butler said he had been “enjoying his retirement years by writing books and getting more involved with the UM Alumni Association and the Butler Center for Volunteer Service and Leadership Development. I am also very involved in daily physical activity, and enhancing my network of friends from around the USA and the world.” He went on to say, “I have lived long enough to be able to do good things and help the less fortunate in life. And, I appreciate the positive effects and respect I’ve enjoyed for my efforts.” During his time as Vice President, Dr. Butler said that his philosophy of working with UM students was very simple—”students tell us if we listen.” He continued saying that he and his staff in student affairs believed that each and every student should grow to realize their full potential while studying and living at UM. Moreover, he has enjoyed taking a large private bureaucratic institution like UM and personalizing it for students. Dr. Butler is very proud of UM. During the past 50 years, the University has embraced his overall student-centered philosophy, something which only a few American research universities have accomplished.

When I asked Dr. Butler about President Tad Foote’s previous remarks on making the University “smaller and better,” he told me that UM has moved from essentially being the “state university of South Florida” to a very select private institution…one with smaller and better student enrollments and one with higher entry SAT scores. He elaborated, “Each of the past administrations has been able to build on the many accomplishments of the previous ones in building a research university of excellence.”

Dr. Butler took me through the history of the Student Volunteer Center which, in 1997, became the Butler Center. On his arrival in 1965, the Wesley Foundation on campus had a volunteer program named, Students of the University of Miami Move on Need (SUMMON). This program lasted only a few years because it was eventually taken over by Undergraduate Student Government and was discontinued during the early 1970s. Consequently, the SUMMON program ceased functioning. It was not until 1989 that Dr. Butler established the present volunteer services and leadership development center on campus. He is so proud of the accomplishments of the Butler Center, and he believes that each and every student should do something in life to help the less fortunate, without pay, with just the benefit of donating their services and leadership skills.

I then asked Dr. Butler about something I had read in his book, a phrase expressed by former President Henry King Stanford. Dr. Stanford had talked about his belief that UM had a “rendezvous with greatness.” He believed that this idea was a coming together, at an appointed time, when UM would achieve greatness in higher education. Dr. Butler added to this insightful idea when he stated that UM would enjoy an international rendezvous with greatness. He told me he believes that, not only will this international rendezvous occur, but in many respects it has already begun in recent years.

As Koichi Tasa and I were leaving, Dr. Butler gave me a list of what he personally has learned during his 90 years. What particularly struck me was the first item on his list—-“I believe in the three F’s….Family, Friends and Faith.” And, indeed, some of Dr. Butler’s friends had interrupted our interview a few times with telephone calls. Moreover, he encouraged me as well to call him from time to time. Quite happy, I returned to the UM Archives not with just UM’s historical facts, but also with copies of Dr. Butler’s books, his philosophical insights, and friendship.

*Please click here to read Dr. Butler’s essay “What I have Learned in Nearly 90 Years.” This document will be added to our archival collection of Dr. B’s personal papers “William R. Butler Papers.”

The walls of Dr. Buter's office are covered with pictures of his accomplishments and souvenirs from all over the world.

The walls of Dr. Buter’s office are covered with pictures of his accomplishments and souvenirs from all over the world.

A Tribute to Our Dr. B: Dr. William R. Butler, Vice-President for Student Affairs Emeritus

Dr. William Butler (courtesy Butler Center for Service and Leadership)

Dr. William Butler (courtesy Butler Center for Service and Leadership)

By David Colbus, Senior in the College of Arts and Sciences
Student Assistant, University Archives

After publishing our previous blog on Helen Wilson, the Archives’ staff contacted several colleagues and friends of the library who might remember her. We received a reply from none other than retired Vice-President of Student Affairs, Dr. William R. Butler. Dr. B (this is how university colleagues call him) told us that he knew Helen Wilson personally, and talked about her within his book, “Embracing the World.” He continued to tell us that during her “retirement” work in the Department of the Archives, “she was the perfect fit because of her long-term working experiences with the first three presidents and because she became so involved with the U.M. Board of Trustees and the U.M. Alumni Association.”

Much like Helen Wilson, Dr. B has been an important friend to the University Archives. He researched materials at the Archives and Special Collections to write both of his books, “Embracing the World” and “Following My Bliss,” as well as contributed a series of 10 video recordings containing interviews with prominent UM administrators, faculty, trustees, and alumni. The Archives and visiting researchers frequently use “Embracing the World” as a valuable historical resource. This book, written by Dr. Butler in 2008, details University of Miami’s first seventy years, from 1926 to 2006, and describes both the evolution of the university and the people who guided that growth. Butler’s newest book, “Following My Bliss”, published in 2015, extends the global focus he applies in “Embracing the World” and details his international travels both on his own and at the behest of University of Miami. Dr. Butler acknowledged research assistance provided by Richter Library and its staff in Archives and Special Collections.

After an invitation from President Henry King Stanford in 1965, Dr. Butler began working for the University of Miami as the new Vice-President for Student Affairs. Working under President Henry King Stanford, and later Edward T. Foote II, Butler helped promote diversity on campus, student, and volunteer service on campus and abroad. He started work in a period of uncertainty, one dominated by discussions and anxieties surrounding student unrest, protests, and student power. Working with President Stanford, Butler used an “iron hand in a velvet glove” to balance student-led change at the university with a minimization of academic disruption and student violence. As student unrest gradually diminished at the end of the Vietnam War, Butler focused on building University of Miami into a global presence. His recruitment efforts in Latin America, Germany, and China brought in an influx of global scholars and developed the international ties University of Miami maintains today. After 32 years of service, Dr. Butler retired in 1998 at the age of 72, but has remained close and important to the university ever since.

During his time at the university, Butler received multiple honors. He received the German Commander’s Cross for fostering academic exchange between countries, became a director at the Eagle National Bank, and was tapped into Iron Arrow, University of Miami’s most prestigious honor. The University itself has honored Butler in the form of William R. Butler Atrium in the Wellness Center, and the William R. Butler Center for Volunteer Service and Leadership Development. In fact, Butler donates all proceeds made from his books to the Butler Center, and dedicates both books to the Butler Center’s volunteers. It’s perhaps unsurprising that a man with such a prominent history himself and within the university would be so well-informed about University of Miami’s history. The Archives is thankful to have Dr. B’s knowledge, support, and friendship.

*Click here to find out more about Dr. Butler’s oral history collection “Conversations with Dr. William Butler.”

*Click here to find out more about Dr. Butler’s personal papers.

Dr. Butler's publications "Embracing The World" and "Following My Bliss"

Dr. Butler’s publications “Embracing The World” and “Following My Bliss”

Archivist behind “The University of Miami: A Golden Anniversary History, 1926-1976”

Plaque dedicated to Helen L Wilson

Plaque dedicated to Helen L Wilson

Written by David Colbus
Senior, College of Arts and Sciences and Student Assistant, the University Archives

The other day, the University Archivist, Koichi Tasa, showed me a picture of a plaque found on the ground by the Spirit Tree. The quote says “Helen Louis Wilson, assistant to three U.M. presidents and an archivist for the Richter Library.” Mr. Tasa and my supervisor Mrs. Marcia Heath have never heard of her name before. Who is this woman, what was her role in the Archives, and why is an important symbol of the University dedicated to her? With all the research skills of a University Archives assistant, I set to find out.

First, I accessed the University Archives webpage through the library website. Using these public records including The Miami Hurricane Archive Online, the Ibis Yearbooks, the Veritas newsletter, and the Historical Photographs collection, I searched for Helen Louis Wilson. After failing to find a single mention of Helen Louis Wilson, I tried again but without her middle name and found my first hit. The Jan. 15, 1960 Miami Hurricane briefly mentions her as a secretary for Dean Dr. James M. Godard. Sadly, the remaining references to Helen Wilson in the Hurricane were in connection to her death in 1991. I did find out, however, that she worked full time from 1944 to 1952, and that she gathered information for Charlton W. Tebeau’s book University of Miami: A Golden Anniversary History, which remains an invaluable resource used in the University Archives to this day.

I found even more information on Helen Wilson and her work within the Veritas newsletter. In 1962, President Pearson thanked her for her involvement in the United Fund Campaign. In 1981, she supported search committees to replace vacancies in Administration. In 1980 and 1981, Helen Wilson posted witty historical facts about the University in a Veritas column called “Those were the days”. And in 1991, her obituary explained that Helen Wilson worked as an administrative assistant to Presidents Bowman Foster Ashe, Jay F. W Pearson, and Henry King Stanford. She retired in 1982, but continued to work part time in the Richter Library’s archives, processing and maintaining the presidential files.

*Click here to read Ms. Wilson’s column “Those were the days..” found in Veritas (February 2, 1981, page 4).

*Click here to read her obituary in Veritas (September 1991, page 10).

By sheer chance, I discovered booklets from the Spirit Tree’s dedication while pulling materials for a visitor. It memorialized Wilson, reaffirming all that I discovered in my research, and added this: “In the words of people who knew her… she wanted to do what she could do and give what she could give to future generations of the University.” I hope that my work at the Archives has done the same.

Spirit Tree and the plaque dedicated to Helen L. Wilson

Spirit Tree and the plaque dedicated to Helen L. Wilson

Brochure of the Spirit Tree Dedication, Page 1

Bochure of the Spirit Tree Dedication, Page 1

Brochure of the Spirit Tree Dedication, Page 2Bochure of the Spirit Tree Dedication, Page 2[/caption]

Congrats Carlos! Our former student assistant’s success in music

Carlos Fernando Lopez (right) with Ricky Martin and producers in Puerto Rico

Carlos Fernando Lopez (right) with Ricky Martin and producers in Puerto Rico

We would like to share with you this wonderful news about our former student assistant Carlos Fernando Lopez, who called last week and told me that he worked for Ricky Martin’s 10th studio album “A Quien Quiera Escuchar,” which won Grammy Award for Best Latin Pop Album at the 58th Annual Grammy Awards. You can find his name everywhere in the album credits as arranger, programmer, recording engineer, piano player, and even as background vocalist!

Carlos worked for us from 2010 to 2012 on digital projects while studying for his master’s degree in music at the Frost School of Music. He is not only a talented musician, but also was an excellent student assistant for us who was instrumental in figuring out how to improve productivity and accuracy at the beginning of our biggest in-house digital project at the time. Digitizing over million pages of documents and printed materials from the Office of the President Records seemed like a daunting task for everyone involved in the project at Richter, but our student assistants led by Carlos and supervised by Digital Production colleagues figured out a new way to scan a large amount of documents in high speed with quality that helped us achieve the goal.

It was not easy for him to go to school while raising a family of two beautiful children with his talented pianist wife, Laura. He has told us he liked working for the Archives because the position provided him a stable employment and flexible work schedule. I think he also got to like his alma mater more by working for us because he discovered amazing stories and people at the University while working on archival projects. Congrats Carlos on your great accomplishment!

Ricky Martin's Album "A Quien Quiera Escuchar."

Ricky Martin’s Album “A Quien Quiera Escuchar.”

Remembering President Foote at the University Archives


Edward T. Foote, 4th President of the University of Miami

Written by Koichi Tasa and Sarah Block

Staff at the University Archives were saddened by the news of President Foote’s passing on Monday. University Archivist Koichi Tasa and Archives Assistant Marcia Heath each have fond memories of assisting the former president with archival materials during his tenure.

“President Foote was a very kind person who was always willing to give his time and knowledge to help others,” says Heath, who helped the former president contribute materials to his presidential archive from 2002 to 2008.

Tasa got to know President Foote in 2010 when he contacted the Archives for assistance in accessing his papers. “He was a very important leader for the U and for our local community,” Tasa said. “We would like to express our sincere condolences to the family.”

A summary of Foote’s legacy is featured in the current exhibition Pan American University: The Original Spirit of the U Lives On, located on the first floor of Otto G. Richter Library:

During the time that Edward T. “Tad” Foote II was formally named the fourth president of the University of Miami, South Florida was in the midst of a crisis. Social instability shook many parts of Miami following a rapid surge in immigration with the Mariel boatlift from Cuba as well as race riots over the death of Arthur McDuffie, both of which occurred in 1980.

Foote, seemingly undaunted by the area’s problems, saw only the opportunity for UM to work closer with the community. In his inauguration speech, he spoke of creating a special task force at UM to examine how the University could offer any assistance to those working to solve immediate community problems. It was also Foote who beautified the campus itself, developing a comprehensive landscape plan for the University that would transform it into a magnificent botanical garden—a living laboratory.

President Foote’s presidential papers, preserved by the University Archives, will be available to the public after 2030 upon approval of the Office of the President.

Case 7 of the Richter Exhibition "Pan American University" dedicated to President Foote

Case  dedicated to President Foote in Pan American University: The Original Spirit of the U Lives On, on view at Richter Library.

Looking for a Trace of Sylvester Stallone

It is a well-known fact that Sylvester Stallone studied at the University of Miami in the late 1960s. However, we have never seen pictures of him anywhere in our collections. Digitization of the University’s historical publications, such as The Miami Hurricane, Veritas, Historical Photograph Collection, and Tempo, makes it possible to search content with keyword searches, but my search of “Sylvester Stallone” came up empty.

Why can’t I find anything on the legendary alumnus? That is because his name was not Sylvester Stallone when he was a student at the U. He was Michael (or Mike) according to my research in the historical resources. After this discovery, I was able to search our digitized collections and quickly found mention of the actor in reviews of two student plays, “The Trial” (1968) and “Calvary” (1969), in The Miami Hurricane. Please go to the links to read the articles.

(April 1, 1968 issue on The Trial. See p. 6)

(May 9, 1969 issue on Calvary. See p.7)


Do you think he was in the picture of the May 9, 1969, article? I will contact Dr. Josephine Johnson, director of the performance, who is an alumna of the College of Arts and Sciences and former Chair of the Department of Communications. She has donated her papers and significant materials on William Butler Yeats and his circle to the Richter Library. While teaching at UM, Dr. Johnson also directed and participated in poetry performances in the Miami area.

U of M Opened Here

Dr. William Butler (left) and Dr. Henry King Stanford (right) in front of the sign "U of M Opened Here" taken in 2007.

Dr. William Butler (left) and Dr. Henry King Stanford (right) in front of the sign “U of M Opened Here” taken in 2007.

This is a meaningful picture for the University taken in 2007 – two historically important people of the university are standing at the birthplace of the first campus. Dr. William Butler (left) and Dr. Henry King Stanford (right, third president of the University from 1962-1981) are standing in front of the sign “U of M Opened Here” located near downtown Coral Gables. The picture was given to us by Dr. B together with two dozens of additional images on his professional and personal life from 1942 to 2014.

Dr. Butler had served as the Vice President for Student Affairs and professor at the University of Miami for 32 years and retired in 1997. He is the founder of the William R. Butler Volunteer Service Center at the U.M. also. He helped me many times with research questions, and he is an ardent supporter of the University Archives by donating us his interview videos “Conversations with Dr. William Butler (1995-2004)” and publishing the book “Embracing the World: the University of Miami, from Cardboard College to International and Global Acclaim (2008).”

(Conversations with Dr. William Butler)

(Embracing the World)

Please go to the link below to see pictures and learn more about the first campus of the University.
(Anastasia building & North Campus)