Dec. 19, 2017 — When Alan Porter, B.S. ’65, M.S. ’67, M.D. ’71, H.S. ’74, looks back at his education from the University of Florida, he feels it served as a catalyst, lending him the skills he needed to solve issues in medicine for his community.
“My education at UF was outstanding,” he said. “I had the confidence and the self-assurance after receiving my education to be an effective participant in my community.”
Porter was rewarded for his ingenuity — both in Sarasota and on the UF College of Medicine campus — with the Distinguished Achievement Award at the UF fall commencement ceremony held Saturday morning. Distinguished Achievement Awards are given to those with “exceptional achievements in a chosen profession, for demonstrated leadership, and for the other exemplary accomplishments that merit the special recognition of the university.”
After nearly 14 years at the University of Florida, Porter opened the first free-standing radiation oncology center in Sarasota, bringing advanced cancer care to a region that had no hospital-based radiation oncology options. Over the years, Porter opened four more centers throughout Sarasota and Charlotte counties. He also was as a founding trustee of Hospice of Sarasota, Manatee and Charlotte counties, ensuring end-of-life care for those who succumbed to their disease. As an advocate at the state and national level, he convinced medical insurance companies to cover radiation oncology costs, lifting financial burdens from those he cared for.
Porter has served as president for the Florida Radiological and Oncology societies, has been on multiple hospital boards and was appointed to the Florida State Cancer Advisory Board by then-Governor Bob Graham. He’s also been a national consultant on cancer patient care.
During the ceremony, UF College of Medicine Dean Michael L. Good, M.D., called Porter a true Gator, committed to providing a complete model of patient care.
“He is a continual innovator, regularly embracing emerging technology to guarantee his patients experience minimal side effects while receiving maximally effective care,” he said. “Alan Porter’s values of compassion and perseverance are unmatched, making him an exceptional representative of our university.”
Porter and his wife, Claudia, displayed their esteem for the UF College of Medicine in 2015 with a gift supporting construction of the George T. Harrell, M.D., Medical Education Building. In honor of the Porters’ contribution, the college named the building’s tower that houses spaces for studying and reflection the Alan H. Porter, M.D., and Claudia B. Porter, R.N., Tower.
“I feel privileged that I was asked to be involved in the development of the new medical education building,” Porter said. “It’s certainly become the pride and joy of the medical students and the physician assistant students.”
Dempsey Springfield, M.D. ’71, nominated Porter for the Distinguished Achievement Award. He recalled his former classmate’s focus and devotion to his field.
“It was clear from the beginning of medical school that Alan was a serious, mature physician-to-be who was destined to be a credit to himself, his family and the UF College of Medicine. Alan more than lived up to his potential,” he said. “Alan understood that radiation oncology was a field in need of thoughtful, caring physicians and one that would allow him to have a major impact on the lives of many patients in need.”
Cynthia McCague, B.S.J. ’72, who served as senior vice president for human resources at The Coca-Cola Company for nearly three decades, recommended her fellow Sarasotan for this award because of the commitment to community service he exemplifies.
“As a passionate Gator, a caring physician, a thoughtful community activist and a stalwart advocate for exceptional patient care, Alan Porter exemplifies the university’s core ideals of service, knowledge and commitment to the greater good,” she said. “His embrace of his community extends the values and ideals of our university throughout southwest Florida.”