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Tuesday, February 20, 2024
<p>Abby Dougherty</p>

Abby Dougherty

This article was updated to reflect the correct spelling of Abby Dougherty's name. The Alligator previously reported differently. 


Three years after a UF student’s sudden death, a scholarship in her honor will help for her peers’ education.

Abby Dougherty was a 20-year-old UF applied physiology and kinesiology junior when she was killed on Oct. 28, 2016, by a garbage truck while crossing West University Avenue on her bike – one week before her 21st birthday, on Nov. 3.

Dougherty's family founded the Abby Dougherty APK Memorial Scholarship for juniors and seniors who “show commitment to their profession and their community,” said Anita Forester, Dougherty’s mother.

A yoga class at 6:30 p.m. today at Student Recreation & Fitness Center will honor UF students who have passed with a canned food drive to highlight Dougherty's dedication to the food pantry, Forester said.

Dougherty divided her time on campus as a campus diplomat, RecSports yoga instructor and employee at the Field and Fork Pantry, said Anita Forester, Dougherty's mother. 

“I feel her spirit close to me when I’m doing yoga,” Forester said. “She loved it.”

Morgan Klein, a 21-year-old UF APK senior, will receive the first $1,000 award in Spring. Klein wrote an application essay about her struggles adjusting to college life as a freshman and her career aspirations in health care.

“It will go on after we’re gone – that’s what I love about the scholarship,” Forester said. “It’s going to be something we hope goes on as long as UF is there.”

Dougherty was on her way to work at the Field and Fork Pantry when she was hit by the truck. There, she enjoyed helping serve food to not only UF students, but also anybody who needed a free meal, Forester said. 

“In some way, she saw it as being part of something that was giving back to the UF community,” Forester said.

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Dougherty continues to give back to the community with the scholarship in her name. As the first recipient, Klein said she is humbled to receive the award.

“It means so much to me that my name would even be associated with someone like that,” she said.

Klein said she sees a lot of similarities between herself and Dougherty, noting their shared interests in yoga, a career in health care, volunteering and “a passion for people.”

“I think her and I could have potentially been really great friends,” Klein said. “I feel like my role in this is so small, and I just want her to be remembered, not me.”

Forester said she discovers new people her daughter had an impact on each time she visits Gainesville – including the first recipient of her award.

“It makes me want to be better,” Klein said. “It makes me excited to carry on whatever small contribution I can make to her legacy.”

Donations are being accepted at UF Advancement’s website.

Abby Dougherty

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