We are declaring Wednesday, October 12, to be a Day of Gratitude. On that day, we are acknowledging and thanking every UF student, faculty and staff member for their work in overcoming the challenges of the pandemic. I will send an email with a tangible token of gratitude and, across the university, gratitude will be expressed in a variety of ways.
COVID impacted every one of us personally in so many ways. For more than two years, it made all areas of our lives incredibly difficult. Many experienced loss of finances, loss of health and even loss of life.
My youngest brother, Phil, died from COVID on Jan. 27 this year. Phil worked for Dade County, and we talked frequently about his plans to retire and spend time fishing and bike riding with his wife, children and grandchildren. I miss him dearly.
Despite the impact and loss every UF student, faculty and staff member experienced due to the pandemic, the university continued to excel in its work of teaching, learning, research, and life-changing service in hospitals, clinics and extension. Due to the work of every staff member, faculty member and student, the university achieved new heights in its excellence and stature. Records were set in applications to UF, research funding, philanthropy, state funding, new buildings, growth in faculty, rankings and in so many other areas across the university.
THANK YOU to every member of the UF community for your work in the midst of the pandemic. Due to your work, when faced with a historic pandemic, UF did not back down.
On Wednesday, I encourage all of us to express our gratitude to our students and colleagues for their extraordinary work and contributions. Again, thank you.