July 2, 2012 – Drs. Jim and Nell Potter’s connections with the University of Florida run deep.
The couple are both 1963 College of Medicine alumni, Jim completed a pathology residency at UF and Nell discovered a love of adolescent medicine while working at UF’s student health care center.
The Potters settled in Pensacola, but they never forgot their ties to UF.
“Anytime that you get something from somebody, you kind of have to give back,” Nell said. “The medical school was certainly responsible for our being successful, so you feel like you have to give back to help others be able to be the same.”
Over the past 40 years, the Potters have donated generously to the university, particularly the College of Medicine. The couple’s overall support totals more than $600,000 and Nell has served on the UF medical alumni board for 20 years. Nell also serves on the UF Foundation Board of Directors.
During a recent UF Foundation Board Stakeholders Weekend held in Gainesville, Michael L. Good, MD, dean of the College of Medicine, presented the Potters with a clock, signifying their timeless support and commitment to the college.
The couple’s most recent gift to the College of Medicine was a $400,000 unrestricted endowment in Nell’s name for adolescent pediatrics, which is a bequest. Nell’s interest in adolescent health care began when she worked at UF’s Student Health Care Center from l967 to 1972. She found she enjoyed working with young adults and teaching them to take responsibility for their own health and decisions.
”It was just a fun group to deal with,” she said.
Jim and Nell Potter have fond memories of their own days as students, although life was hectic. They met during their freshman year of medical school, married sophomore year and welcomed their first child during junior year. Nell was one of only two women who graduated in the class of 1963.
“I finished a rotation on midnight Saturday and fortunately she was born at 10:29 a.m. Sunday,” Nell recalled. “So I never went to sleep that night.” Their second child was born the year after medical school and her third child was born her first year in practice.
They later moved to Pensacola, where Jim worked as a pathologist and Nell was in private practice as an adolescent and young adult physician and a physician of student health at the University of West Florida.
The Potters have also supported the UF College of Medicine in its push to raise funding for a new medical education building.
They helped organize their class of 1963 in raising a $25,000 alumni challenge donation and have personally hosted a Dean’s Conversation event in Pensacola.
Nell said it’s hard to find the original medical education building, which is surrounded by new structures. And with all the changes in technology over the past 40 years, it’s obvious that new infrastructure is needed, she said.
“Certainly the state’s not going to give money, so you’ve got to ask the people who benefited,” she said. “Anything you value you have to support, that’s kind of the bottom line.”