When Steven Mariano turned down a scholarship from the University of Miami School of Law some 25 years ago to pursue a career as an entrepreneur, he remained an admirer of the school for the positive impact it makes on the Miami community and beyond. Next month, Mariano – the CEO and chairman of Patriot National Insurance Group Inc. – will return to the UM campus to receive the law school's thanks for his pledge of $1.5 million to name a first-of-its-kind triple-degree program.
The Mariano gift will enable students who were undergraduate business majors to earn three degrees – a J.D., an LL.M. in taxation, and an M.B.A. – in four years.
On February 2nd, Miami Law Dean Patricia D. White and members of the UM community will gather in the Storer Auditorium at 5:30 p.m. to celebrate the inauguration of the Mariano J.D./M.B.A./LL.M. in Taxation Triple-Degree Program. As part of the event, Professor Patricia A. Brown, director of Miami Law's Graduate Program in Taxation and former Deputy International Tax Counsel for Treaty Affairs for the U.S. Department of the Treasury, will deliver a lecture titled, "Making Deals That Don't Make Headlines: My Ten Years as the U.S. Tax Treaty Negotiator."
The event is free and open to students and faculty and any members of the legal and business communities who wish to attend.
As part of the triple degree, the School of Law's taxation program will develop advanced courses that mine the knowledge students bring with them from their undergraduate business major. "This should create a 'virtuous circle,' where top students are attracted to the program because of the quality of the courses," Professor Brown said.
"The combination of legal, tax and business courses will give graduates an extraordinary skill set," added Dean White. "Steven Mariano understands the power of what we are offering."
"This generous gift to the law school bolsters the cross-disciplinary initiatives that are a top priority at UM," Donna E. Shalala, UM's President, said of the gift when it was announced last year. "Steve Mariano has provided the law school with a gift that will benefit our most brilliant law students."
Christopher Callahan, a third-year law student and president of the Irish American Law Students, is the first recipient of a Mariano Scholarship. He received his J.D. in December and, as a Mariano Scholar, will complete the M.B.A. and Taxation LL.M. over the next three semesters.
Callahan said that Mariano's gift to the School of Law has enabled him to focus on legal research, community involvement and charitable endeavors, while pursuing multiple advanced degrees at the University of Miami. "I plan to work extremely hard in my career in order to demonstrate that Mr. Mariano's generosity was well placed," he said. "Mr. Mariano has also inspired me to give back to the University of Miami in a similar manner once I have acquired the capacity to do so."