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Sunday, May 26, 2024

Former UF professor creates College of Dentistry scholarship for LGBTQ+ advocates

When retired UF College of Dentistry professor Marc Gale heard about the Pulse nightclub shooting, the scholarship he wanted to create in his parents’ name changed.

Its new purpose became about creating a real difference in his lifetime.

“I just want to set up something that is for students who are into human rights, especially either by actions or advocacy having to deal with the LGBTQ community,” Gale said.

The scholarship he plans to create will help UF dental school students who advocate for the LGBTQ+ community pay for their schooling.

However, Gale said applicants don’t have to be part of the community themselves. He said he wanted to create a scholarship for people who help others because he didn’t see many scholarships like that.

After Gale decided to create the scholarship, he reached out to LGBTQ+ alumni for cash donations and pledges.

Pamela Sandow, the assistant dean of admissions and financial aid for the college, said the scholarship’s endowment fund has raised about $42,000 in cash and pledges.

“Dr. Gale’s generosity in starting the Gale Pride Scholarship reflects his passion toward helping his students,” Sandow said. “I know firsthand because I was one of those students years ago when I attended UFCD.”

However, UF’s policy for scholarships states they are required to have $30,000 in cash before the money can be given to recipients.

This year, because of this policy, Gale provided the $8,000 to be divided among 6 people himself. When he passes, his will will also give some of his money to the scholarship fund.

Gale said he hopes the creation of this scholarship will play a small part in decreasing the prejudice against the LGBTQ+ community.

“I don’t think it has been a cause that has been well addressed in professional education,” he said. “Professional schools don’t have a tendency to address the needs of LGBTQ students.”

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