UF celebrates its most successful Giving Day, as the campaign tops 22,000 contributions
Thousands of University of Florida alumni, faculty, staff, students and friends came together virtually this week to contribute $25.4 million to the university in a single day. The 22,198 donations made during UF’s third annual “Stand Up and Holler: Gator Nation Giving Day” are the most ever to UF in a 24-hour period. The Thursday, Feb. 18, event marked the third time in as many years that Gators united for record-breaking, single-day support of programs and projects across campus.
Now in its third year, UF’s “Stand Up and Holler” has quickly emerged as one of the most successful giving days in all of higher education. Alumni giving is one of the key measures used to determine national rankings, and “Stand Up and Holler” has helped UF climb to No. 6 in the latest U.S. News and World Report list of best public universities.
Gators in states stretching from Hawaii and Alaska to Maine and Florida and in 21 countries participated in this year’s campaign. Their generosity elevates departments and undertakings that improve the lives of all Floridians and others touched by UF’s discoveries, academics and outreach. First-generation scholars, undergraduates dealing with unexpected crises, sick children, farmers and backyard gardeners, teachers and their students, and neglected communities are just some of this year’s beneficiaries. Other contributions will help introduce innovative ideas to the workforce and find solutions to big problems — like COVID-19 and rising seas and mass extinctions. Among this year’s Giving Day highlights are:
- Well-known Gators such as Coach Steve Spurrier, former quarterback Danny Wuerffel, entertainer Thaddeus Bullard, ESPN reporter Laura Rutledge and sports commentator Jim Bates joining hundreds of others around the country as social media ambassadors to rally their families, friends and fellow alumni;
- 1,233 gifts totaling more than $1 million to the College of Design, Construction and Planning;
- 3,198 donations and over $3 million to support student-athletes, and 2,141 gifts worth almost $91,000 for Dance Marathon at UF; and,
- Participation from 78 Gator Clubs, with the Atlanta, Music City and Central Florida clubs all topping 200 gifts made.
Members of the Gator Nation … are remarkably kind and caring, and their generosity will have long-lasting benefits for our students, while helping our research, teaching and scholarship make a positive difference in the world.
— UF President Kent Fuchs —
“I’m grateful to the members of the Gator Nation for giving so generously in the midst of the pandemic and all its hardships,” said UF President Kent Fuchs. “They are remarkably kind and caring, and their generosity will have long-lasting benefits for our students, while helping our research, teaching and scholarship make a positive difference in the world.”
Proving once again that the Gator Nation extends well beyond Gainesville’s city limits, alumni and friends this year participated in “Stand Up and Holler” from as far away as China, Australia and Argentina. A number of UF alumni groups — the Association of Asian Alumni and Association of Black Alumni, for instance — also held virtual events to encourage giving. Gators greeted the university’s giving day with a steady stream of donations throughout the day, and a late surge from alumni on the West Coast pushed the campaign past its goal of 20,000 gifts received.
The annual social media-driven “Stand Up and Holler: Gator Nation Giving Day” campaign is named in recognition of the beloved Gator football game cheer made famous by George Edmondson Jr., better known to fans as “Mr. Two Bits.” Edmondson’s iconic orange-and-blue striped necktie is used as a symbol to promote the campaign, with replicas as long as 30 feet strategically placed throughout the UF campus.
“Gators never cease to amaze me. Even during a pandemic and severe economic downturn, they turned out to help students and the people and communities our university serves,” said Mark Criser, president of the UF Alumni Association. “It’s days like this that remind me that there is absolutely nothing the Gator Nation can’t do when we come together for a common goal.”
The next “Stand Up and Holler: Gator Nation Giving Day” is tentatively scheduled for February 2022.