In 2022, the college surpassed its goal of 100 gifts to scholarships. Meet some of the key players who helped the college cross the Legacy Challenge finish line.
Then-alumni board president James B. Duke, MD ’85, and his wife, Pam, helped kick off the Legacy Challenge campaign in 2017 with a gift to sponsor a medical student. Duke continued to champion the challenge throughout his term as board president, and he and his wife followed up their original donation with an estate gift to support the College of Medicine.
“Part of the mantra of our family is, ‘The best thing you can do on a daily basis is show appreciation,’” said Duke, an orthopaedic surgeon in Ocala. “We appreciate the foundation UF gave us and we love giving back when we can.”
Gainesville plastic surgeon Jason Rosenberg, MD ’95, committed to the Legacy Challenge in 2017 with an estate gift of $1 million to establish the Rosenberg Family Florida Medical Opportunity Scholarship.
Rosenberg, who specializes in breast cancer reconstruction and served as president of the College of Medicine’s Medical Alumni Board from 2010 to 2012, was a member of the first generation in his family to attend college and hoped the recipient of his family’s scholarship was someone with a passion for serving others.
“I want someone who’s going to go out there and change the world,” Rosenberg said. “The possibilities are limitless.”
As Legacy Challenge participants, Mark Michels, MD ’85, and his wife, Lyn, made a gift to provide scholarships to two medical students in honor of Jean Bennett, MD ’60, and made an estate gift to name an endowed scholarship. The Palm Beach ophthalmologist also encouraged fellow alumni to support the campaign throughout his time as board president from 2019 to 2021.
“With supportive faculty, excellent programs and a competitive environment without individual competition, the college has been a family for us,” Michels said.
UF obstetrics and gynecology professor Shireen Madani Sims, MD ’01, and her husband, Steven Sims, MD ’01, committed to the Legacy Challenge by sponsoring a medical student. The 2021-23 alumni board president, who serves as the assistant dean of student affairs at the College of Medicine, is a quadruple Gator, completing her undergraduate studies, medical degree and residency at UF before joining the faculty in 2005.
“We’re so proud of the education that we received at the University of Florida College of Medicine,” Madani said.
Longtime UF College of Medicine supporter and retired pediatrician Maude Lofton, MD ’79, joined the Legacy Challenge via a gift to the Willie J. Sanders Scholarship, a fund named for one of her medical school mentors. Sanders, who was one of UF’s first Black students and was the first Black faculty member at the College of Medicine, taught anatomy from 1968 to 1989.
“Coming back to campus and meeting students who have received scholarships, seeing their excitement about the specialties they’re considering and the education they’re receiving — it’s a really good feeling because you know you’re part of making a change,” Lofton said.
R. Dean Hautamaki, MD ’89, and his wife, Lizzie, joined the campaign team by establishing the Dr. R. Dean and Elizabeth F. Hautamaki Endowed Medical Scholarship Fund, which provides $1 million to establish merit-based scholarships for College of Medicine students.
“This scholarship is designed for individuals who are clearly driven, passionate and hardworking in the field of medicine, no matter what specialty they decide to go into,” said Hautamaki, who practices in Sarasota. “Every physician practicing in this country should be well-trained, ethical, caring, compassionate and communicative. We can make sure that is the case for every graduate of the UF College Medicine.”
This story originally ran in the Spring 2023 issue of the Doctor Gator newsletter.