University of Miami President Donna E. Shalala, Miami Law Dean Patricia D. White and other personalities will congregate this afternoon in the Storer Auditorium to celebrate the launch of a first-of-its-kind triple-degree program and the man who made it possible.
The $1.5 million gift by Steven Mariano, the CEO and chairman of Patriot National Insurance Group Inc., 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.
The 5:30 p.m. event, which is free and open to all students, faculty and staff, will include an address by 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. The lecture is titled, "Making Deals That Don't Make Headlines: My Ten Years as the U.S. Tax Treaty Negotiator."
As part of the triple degree, the School of Law's taxation program – which includes Dean White as one of its professors – 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 in an interview.
"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."
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."