Your Gift Matters UF Loyal

Dr. John Dawson Irvin

I’m Just a Grateful Gator

I get pretty emotional when I talk about what UF means to me.

My brother died my senior year of high school. When I arrived at UF, I was still reeling from the loss, and I was struggling financially, too.

People took me under their wings. Professor David Auth helped me get a job and became a mentor to me. Later, Professor Don Hargrove in Animal Sciences offered me a research position.

One day, when I was feeling particularly lost, Dr. Hargrove sat down and asked me where I was headed in life. The next day, he announced that I was to take a test on Saturday and he had paid the registration fee. Turns out, it was the MCAT. I protested, but he said he believed I’d be a good doctor. Several weeks later, he threw my test scores on my desk. He said, “Now go to med school,” and walked out.

I didn’t know it, but Dr. Hargrove had terminal lung cancer – and he still took the time to guide a struggling student. That act of generosity encapsulates the whole UF experience for me.

As I get older, I only spend money on things that will matter in the future. Education matters. I’m proud to have given to the University of Florida for 5 years, but really, I can never repay UF for all its given to me, my family and my patients. I’m just a grateful Gator.