College of Public Health and Health Professions alumni, faculty, staff, students and friends rallied on February 20 to support the college’s education, research and service activities with 288 gifts totaling more than $27,000.
Gator Nation Giving Day, the University of Florida’s one-day giving campaign, encouraged Gators from all over to “Stand Up and Holler” for UF. The 24-hour campaign far exceeded the university’s goal of 15,000 gifts by raising just over $23.5 million from 16,993 gifts.
The campaign is named in recognition of the beloved Gator football game cheer made famous by George Edmondson Jr., better known to fans as “Mr. Two Bits.” Edmondson’s iconic orange-and-blue striped necktie was used as a symbol to promote the campaign.
At PHHP, four challenges helped propel giving. Alumnus Frank Gainer, master’s in occupational therapy ’84, matched every gift to the department of occupational therapy dollar for dollar, up to $5,000. Sixty people rose to the challenge for more than $8,200 raised for the department.
Gainer, the vice president of meetings and events at the American Occupational Therapy Association, was inspired to create the challenge because of the growth and direction the department is taking under the leadership of Chair Sherrilene Classen, Ph.D., M.P.H., OTR/L.
“And I’m comfortable, so I’d rather give away some of my money while I’m alive so I can see the benefits instead of just leaving it after I’m gone,” said Gainer, who has created scholarships at UF, AOTF and the institutions where he received his associate and bachelor’s degrees. “I love getting cards from the students who have benefited from the scholarships; that means a lot to me.”
Mary Peoples-Sheps, Dr.P.H., retired senior associate dean for public health, challenged Master of Public Health alumni with the Peoples-Sheps MPH Scholarship Challenge. She matched gifts to the fund $2 to $1 for more than $5,000 raised to support MPH students.
In clinical and health psychology, Chair Glenn Smith, Ph.D., matched gifts dollar for dollar, raising more than $3,200 for the department. An anonymous donor led a challenge for the department of environmental and global health. When gifts to the department reached $3,000, a gift of $2,000 was unlocked, for more than $5,200 raised for the department.