Winter Wonderful Honorees

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Robert and Judi Prokop Newman

The Frost School of Music at the University of Miami is pleased to present the 2022 Frost Legacy Award to Robert and Judi Prokop Newman.

"Music gives our souls enjoyment," says Judi Prokop Newman, B.B.A. '63, University of Miami trustee and distinguished member of the Frost School of Music Dean's Advisory Committee. Together with her husband, Robert, the couple are this year's Winter Wonderful honorees, recognized with the Frost Legacy Award for enhancing the cultural, student, and alumni experience at the University of Miami and the Frost School of Music, which Judi calls "one of the crown jewels of the University."

After graduating from the University of Miami with a business degree, Judi entered the field of data processing, landing a job at an aerospace company in Los Angeles, where she met Robert, a visionary entrepreneur who later founded J.D. Edwards & Company. Today, the Newman's are avid philanthropists, backing cultural and academic causes that matter to them personally. As generous supporters of the University of Miami, they have contributed to the Frost School of Music, Frost Band of the Hour, Miami Herbert Business School, Hurricane Athletics, and various scholarship programs. They are the naming donors for the Robert and Judi Prokop Newman Alumni Center and, more recently, the Robert and Judi Prokop Newman Plaza, which will open soon at the Knight Center for Music Innovation at the Frost School of Music.

"In many ways," reflects Judi about her student years at the University, "I not only received an academic degree but a social degree as well. Before UM, I lived a sheltered life. At UM, not only were my manners retooled, but my views of the world were completely changed, and my skills dramatically improved. Furthermore, I met many people of other religions and nationalities, allowing me to spread my wings into a world I didn't previously know. My career and rise in the computer technology division at United Airlines allowed us to travel the world experiencing and spreading those wings even further."

"Not only is Frost a "gold standard" for contemporary music schools, but it has also enhanced UM's overall academic reputation and serves as a magnet for all types of new, promising students," she says.

In the same way, the couple wanted the Newman Alumni Center to be a welcoming environment for students and alums to gather and a place to showcase traditions and establish roots. Their latest contribution to enhance the campus, the Robert and Judi Prokop Newman Plaza at the Knight Center for Music Innovation, will be a perfect outdoor space to welcome the community and create new cultural experiences.

In the 1990s, when Judi and Robert reconnected with UM, one of their first activities was to attend the original holiday madrigal dinner at Jungle Island, now known as Winter Wonderful. Each year, the Newman's are front and center at what they call "WW"—a highlight of their holiday season. Tonight, the Frost School honors the Newman's for their unwavering support of the Frost School's groundbreaking new approaches to higher music education and their generosity to the University throughout the years.

"We believe a broader education is necessary for today's economy since every musician is now his or her business manager," says Robert. "They should follow their dreams, [and now at Frost, they can better succeed because they] have enough tools from their education to branch out in other forms of music, be it marketing, teaching, digital, composing, or performing."