God really MUST be a Gator…

Posted by on Apr 1, 2011 in Career, Life, UF | One Comment

GAINESVILLE, Fla.–As I peer out from the second-floor cubby farm at Library West on the University of Florida campus, I realize it’s 4 p.m. on a Friday afternoon. Only the really BIG geeks are tapping away on their keyboards and not out frolicking on the Plaza of the Americas, catching the RTS bus for the exhaust-fume-laden ride home, or otherwise making way for the weekend.

Fourteen years have peeled away since I last held legit claims to UF student-dom. It doesn’t feel all that different, from my vantage point here. I certainly LOOK different and act different. I’m 36 years old, and my thoughts and concerns are I’ll bet fairly far removed from the typical UF student, circa 2011.

Here’s one point of commonality, though. We, the members of Gator Nation, all play a role in creating and recreating this institution, every moment of every day. I liken it to that very special feeling that you are a part of something dynamic, something amazing, something much larger than yourself. UF has that verve, that energy coursing through everyone, like electrons pulsing this way and that in an atom, in a frenzy that can never cease, and I pray WILL never cease.

Whether we’re students, alums, friends, parents, donors or whoever else plays a role in contributing to this institution, we all make this place move, grow and perform. After all, without protons and electrons in perpetual motion, what would an atom be?

And for those of you who only see UF as a football school, or a place where sports are held high on a pedestal of championships, you’re missing the whole message. The pride we feel in our athletic endeavors is part of the mix, without a doubt. But there are amazing students, faculty members, researchers, strategists, visionaries and others who support the institution that creates that athletic excellence. Without that foundation, the Gators would cease to exist. Saturdays in the fall would suck.

I’m proud to be back at the mothership, wrapping up two days of meetings with UF’s Public Relations Advisory Council in the College of Journalism and Communications. Our council supports the peak performance of our public relations students and faculty members, who make up the most accomplished academic PR department anywhere. We support new College and department initiatives, help graduate students find internships, counsel undergraduate students on career development, seek out new funding sources that Tallahassee is holding back, and ensure the department receives the accolades it deserves outside of Gainesville.

My relationship with the Advisory Council, my leadership tenure with the Gator Club of Jacksonville, and my continued mentoring of UF students are all ways I choose to donate my own personal energy to keeping UF one of the most amazing, dynamic spots on Earth. And, as the ad campaign says, the Gator Nation isn’t just a spot … it’s everywhere.

It’s getting close to 5, which means I’m soon headed to one of the most amazing, dynamic spots in Gainesville this time of day — Happy Hour at the Swamp. Time to lose this blazer and trade it for a beer. And try to blend.




1 Comment

  1. Jason Griffin
    April 1, 2011

    Oh how I miss my days gone by at UF. It made such an impact on my life. My wife and I are proud to be part of the Gator Nation.