RECEIVED AUG 0 1 205
for alumni and
UF's center helps growers
juice their bottom line
Stephanie Abrams (BS '99)
braves Mother Nature's worst
Gators turn test trauma
into big business
Liesl O'Dell (BSJ '92)
Meredith Cochie (4JM)
Alisson Clark (BSJ '98)
Meredith Cochie (4JM)
Kristin Harmel (BSJ '01)
Aaron Hoover (MFAS '02)
Meredith Jean Morton (4JM)
LiesI O'Dell (BSJ '92)
Melissa Payne (4JM)
Pota Papakos (2JM)
Katie Reid (BSJ '04)
Carl Van Ness (MA'85)
University of Florida
News & Public Affairs
University of Florida
Randy Talbot (BA '75),
(BSBA '86, JD '90),
Florida is published three times a year and
sent free to all alumni, parents and
friends of the University of Florida.
Opinions expressed in Florida do not
necessarily reflect the opinions of the editors
or official policies of the University of Florida,
the University of Florida Foundation
or the UF Alumni Association.
UF Alumni Association
UF Alumni Association Web address
Florida is printed on recycled paper
and is recyclable.
I read with a great deal of interest
your recent column "Florida Facts"
in which you referred to the great
"Red" Barber ('29-'30). I was at
the university 1927-31 and re-
member "Red" broadcasting the
Florida games on radio (WRUF of
course, no TV then.)
This was from the old wooden
stadium known as Murphree Field
until 1930. Then in 1930 we
dedicated the new stadium,
Florida Field, seating about
20,000. We lost to Alabama, 20-0,
I think. In 1929 and 1930, I was
on the "Omelette Squad," known
as the "scout team," coached by
Nash Higgins ('29).
Back to "Red" Barber I
remember he had another original
saying when the next Gator play
became crucial, which I don't care
John "Sandy"Sanders (BS '31)
I enjoyed reading the story in the
current Florida alumni magazine
about the 1961 incident with the
alligator (winter 2005). There is
more to the story.
After the Miami game the
alligator was returned to the Pike
House gang shower, probably by
Brother Kirchoff. My Pike brother
and roommate, Duke Schirard,
and I then introduced the alligator
into the UF pool just prior to the
girl's precision swim team practice.
The girls screamed, we were
caught and taken by a UF police-
man to Dean of Men Frank
Adams. Dean Adams told us that,
after we removed the gator from
the pool, we were to return to his
office and he would inform us of
our punishment. Our attempts to
remove the gator from the pool
were ineffective (and hilarious).
Finally a coach lassoed the gator
and removed it for us. Dean
Adams placed us on social proba-
tion for a month (no parties),
which was an especially effective
punishment. The alligator, pre-
sumably, was returned to the wild.
Bob Edmunds (BCE '68, MCE 73)
The class of 1906 was both the first and the last to graduate from the University of Florida campus in Lake
City. UF, which opened its current campus in fall 1906, will mark its 100th anniversary in Gainesville next year.
vol-ume 6 number 1 summer 2005
ON THE COVER
Melody Meyers enjoys a
slice of Florida orange.
The state's citrus
industry has grown to
$9 billion a year thanks
in part to its 88-year
partnership with UPs
Citrus Research and
Education Center in
PHOTO BY KOR PHOTOGRAPHY
10 ............................................................................ Tutoring Zone
Three Gators turn test trauma into a thriving business
12............................................................. Helping Citrus Blossom
For almost 90 years, UF's Citrus Research and Education Center
has aided Florida growers
16 ....................................................... Eye of the Storm
Stephanie Abrams (BS '99) braves Mother Nature's
worst to deliver the news
IN EVERY ISSUE
UFL.EDU NEWS ABOUT CAMPUS, FACULTY AND STUDENTS
4 .............................................................. ...... ......... Spice of Life
Faculty profile: Veronika Butterweek explores herbal medicine
5 .................................. ................................... Com ing to America
Student profile: Having overcome her own homesickness,
Reneida Leon now helps other international students
.............................................................................. Rookie League
In the Classroom: "First-Year Florida" helps freshmen start out on their own
S .......................................................... ....... ................... In Synch
Proctor's Purview: Swimcapades added a splash of fun for homecoming
8 ............................................................................... The Natural
Sports profile: For Taurean Green, the road to the NBA is in his DNA
......................................................................... Hitting the Bricks
How well do you know campus?
20 ...................................................... .. The Music Man
Clarinetist Marty Gold (BA '01) keeps time with Washington, D.C.'s elite
2 1................................................... ......... ............. Take a Hike
Steve Rajtar (JD '76, LLM '77) scouts for uncommon history
2 2 ............................................................................ Bag Lady
Patricia Gomez-Gracia (BSBA '02) found her passion
for fashion in a local fabric store
27 UFALUMNI.EDU ALUMNI MEMORIES AND HAPPENINGS
2 4 ...................................................................... My Old School
UF alumni share their memories
2 7 ............. ................................................... Chance Meeting
Fate brings four Gators together again after 20 years
news for alumni and friends of
the university of florida
Veronika Butterweck may not
grow the herbal medicines she
studies, but her work at UF is
helping educate future pharma-
cists about them.
Butterweck teaches "Herbal
Medicine" for UF's College of
Pharmacy, which focuses on the
safety and side effects of popular
"I'm telling students about the
history of the plant, why it's used,
what kind of evidence there is to
back up claims. I indicate whether
we already have trials from test
tubes or clinical studies," she says.
Some of the herbal medicines
she covers in the classroom include
gingko biloba, St. John's Wort,
garlic, ginseng, Echinacea and
cranberries, among others.
Butterweck's interest in herbs
extends further than the classroom.
The native German, whose i
country leads the world's her
medicine market, is personal
exploring the effects popular
can have on some medicatio
studies, for instance, include
serving and documenting th
actions between grapefruit ji
and synthetic medicines since
is evidence that in some case
grapefruit juice can interact
compound their effects.
"While getting more mec
sounds good, some people a
experiencing close to toxic c
trations and can experience 1
side effects," she says.
In addition to her own re
Butterweck is working with
nese company to find an alt
herbal medicine to St. Johns
for patients who may be alle
the popular dietary supplem
VERONIKA BUTTERWECK INTRODUCES
FUTURE PHARMACISTS TO THE GROWING
FIELD OF HERBAL MEDICINES
home the plant she's studying as an anti-
bal stress drug works, the company
ly wants to introduce it to the Ameri-
herbs can market.
ns. Her According to the Nutrition
ob- Business Journal, the U.S. herbal
e inter- medicine market was worth $4.1
lice billion in 2000, compared to the
e there global market's $19 billion. While
s herbal medicine holds only a frac-
or tion of the $200 billion pharma-
ceutical market, it's still big busi-
licine ness. That's what makes
re Butterweck's class so important for
oncen- future pharmacists and health care
"Many patients supplement
search, their drug therapy with dietary
a Japa- supplements and herbal products,"
ernative says Hartmut Derendorf, professor
'Wort and chair of UF's Department of
rgic to Pharmaceutics. "Unfortunately,
ent. If these products are not tested for
efficacy and safety the same way
regular drug products are. Most
patients are not aware of that."
Butterweck, who studied herbal
medicines for 10 years at the Uni-
versity of Muenster in Germany
before continuing her research with
the National Institutes of Health in
Washington, D.C., says the safe use
of herbal medicines is just one of
the many topics she covers with her
This year it is an elective; next
year, however, the already popular
course will be required for all phar-
macy students, says Derendorf.
"These kinds of courses are really
important so we can have pharma-
cists who can counsel their patients
effectively," Butterweck says.
Tina M. Melczarek
Dive into the deep blue be-
yond, home to the mysterious
giant squid, at the Florida
Museum of Natural History.
An exhibit on these enigmatic
sea creatures -the world's
largest invertebrates will
be on display until September.
Step Right Up
Cotton candy, clowns and carnivals the circus is in
town. The Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art will host
"The Greatest Show on Earth: Arnold Mesches" until
Aug. 21. Meshces is a highly acclaimed historical and
political artist who turns his prowess to the fancy and
fanfare of the circus.
Off the Wall
Explore the artistry of vintage French lithographs,
posters and drawings Aug. 9 Oct. 30 when the
Samuel P. Ham Museum of Art presents "Toulouse-
Lautrec: Artist of Montmarte." The exhibit will include
36 lithographs and posters
and eight drawings by
Henri Toulouse-Lautrec, as
well as 22 works by the
Coming to America
HAVING OVERCOME HER OWN HOMESICKNESS, RENEIDA
LEON NOW HELPS OTHER INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS
When Reneida Leon was accepted to
the Unikersirv of Florida. she attended
Preview alone When freshman class-
mates \ere returning home for weekend
trips or because they were homesick,
Leon had to stay in Gainesville. Her
family was hundreds of miles away,
across an ocean in San luan, Puerto
"I had to stay and get used to a new
town, state and culture all at once," she
says. "It was hard to leave my family
behind and get used to seeing them
only every four months It motivated
me to make the best out of my time at
LIF because I knew how much of a
sacrifice it had been to come here, both
for myself and myi family."
The senior wears a gold pendent
necklace carved ith the image of Vir-
gin Mlary. It was a gift from her aunt
when Leon was a baby. Now, it dangles
from her neck as a reminder of her
home and family .
Despite the adjustments Leon had to
make, she says it was worth it because of Reneida Leon
the education she has received in the Warrington College of Business' prestigious marketing
"Just as any 18-year-old, I was excited to be living by myself," she says. "It was also a little
scanr. I matured. learned and became stronger by this experience."
Leon says she was inspired to apply to UF by her two older sisters who both left home to
attend college in the United States. Her senior year of high school, Leon's family faced the
difficulty of paving for school in Florida.
"I knew it was going to take some work, but I was ready to take that risk," she says. "Once I
%was accepted I applied for private scholarships and was awarded the Elizabeth and Julius
The scholarship is based on outstanding academic accomplishment, dedication to serving
the university., leadership in community endeavor and outstanding communication and inter-
personal skills. The scholarship awards $1,000.
Since her arrival on campus as one of UF's 2,700 international students, Leon tutors mi-
nority students at the Office for Academic Support and Institutional Services in the areas of
accounting, statistics and. economics. She is president of the American Marketing Association
"I want to be someone other people can look up to," she says. "I set my goals high. If I
can't get there, too bad, but I'll keep going."
Meredith Cochie (4JM) and Melissa Payne (4JM)
summer 2005 5
www.union.ufl.edu/ubo Need to
get out? Check out the various
productions and concerts hosted at
the Constans Theater, the Stephen
C. O'Connell Center and the J.
Wayne Reitz Union. The Curtis M.
Phillips Center for the Performing
Arts' schedule is
also available at http://
Football lovers and engineers,
unite! Chuckle as you learn the
basics of engineering through
these short videos.
ing for something to read? Peruse
the newly released books from the
University Press of Florida.
can use bragging rights. See how
your alma mater takes the cake.
sounds.html Listen to smooth
music from the University of Florida
15.htm- See which celebrities are
indirectly linked to UF student Kevin
Bacon through the Orange and
Blue magazine's own version of the
pop-culture game, "Six Degrees of
FIRST-YEAR FLORIDA HELPS FRESHMEN
STEP UP TO THE PLATE ON THEIR OWN
For most freshmen college is a Som
series of adjustments. Living with a fit hon
total stranger, balancing a check- certain
book, experiencing independence, and agr
studying for first exams and surviv- ploratol
ing bouts of homesickness all cause undecic
a mixture of anxiety, happiness and career o
personal growth. mote fa
Students at UF, however, don't an oper
have to face the changes alone. A "Thj
unique class allows freshmen to let about [1
out some of the frustration, share Ho, ass
successes and connect with others. dent pr
Aptly named First-Year Florida, The
the course opened to students in men to
fall 2000 to help entering freshmen possible
ease the transition to a college faculty
campus that, for some, is larger discipli:
than their hometown. together
Beginning this fall, more than topics s
70 sections of the course will be financis
available to incoming students. But tions. T
each section is limited to fewer than munity
25 students to help maintain a courage
personal environment. "Th
e sections are tailored to
ors students, athletes or
colleges such as business
culture. Others are ex-
ry sections that allow
led students to discover
options. All sections pro-
miliarity while providing
Forum for new students.
is is one of the few classes
the students]," says Ann
istant dean for new stu-
class tries to expose fresh-
as many resources as
. Taught by full-time
and staff from various
nes, students can work
r or separately to research
uch as schedule changes,
i aid or housing applica-
*hey even perform com-
service projects to en-
ere is a commitment to
bringing diversity to new students
while encouraging them to become
engaged and involved," Ho says.
"In a way, it's forced interaction."
First-Year Florida is about much
more than making friends and
lessening reliance on the campus
map. The class focuses on typical
new student social issues, including
how to deal with a messy room-
mate or choosing a major. There
are classes devoted to discussion on
alcohol, drug use and emotional
In some respects, the class is for
students by students, Ho says. Each
instructor is paired with a student
peer leader, typically a junior or
senior who can offer advice and
relate to students on a more social
Katelyn Nelson of Marlston,
N.J., heard about it at Preview.
"As an out-of-state student
coming to the UF not knowing
anyone, the class has
allowed me to get to
know people in a
unlike my other,
larger classes," Nelson
"I had the oppor-
tunity to learn about
some Gator traditions
that I would never
have known about or
even heard about in
New Jersey," she says.
i ne rmrsti-ear rionra class or spring zuuo. I ne class tries to expose iresnmen to as many campus
resources as possible.
Swimcapades offered a
splash of entertainment for
The American Heritage Dictionary
defines an aquacade as "An enter-
tainment spectacle of swimmers and
divers, often performing in unison
to the accompaniment of music."
Think Icecapades except the water
isn't frozen. With star swimmers
such as Eleanor Holm and the
legendary Esther Williams,
aquacades reached their heyday in
the 1930s and 1940s. UF's version
of the aquacade, the Swimcapade,
was a popular homecoming event
for a number of years.
The model for the aquatic exhi-
bition was Billy Rose's Aquacade.
First performed at the Great Lakes
Exposition in Cleveland in 1937
and then at the 1939 New York
World's Fair, the Aquacade featured
Olympic champions Holm and
Johnny Weissmuller. The show
included dancers, musical numbers
by top recording stars, fountains,
water cannons and diving clowns.
But the real stars of the show were
the synchronized swimmers, the
Aquabelles and Aquadudes, who
performed intricate water ballets.
Aquacades were introduced here
at the 1940 homecoming celebra-
ion. The 1940 Aquacade featured
synchronized swimmers from the
Tarpon Club of the Florida Stare
College for Women, a swimming
and diving exhibition by the six-
time conference champion UF
swim ream, and musical accompa-
niment by local bandleader Rabbit
Robins. Diving clowns, an aqua-
cade staple, were also introduced
that year. Seating for 1,500 was
provided, but a large tumour from
town prevented many homecoming
visitors from attending. The event
was renamed the Gator Water
Carnival in 1941 and, after a war-
time hiatus, the carnival reappeared
A women's swim club was orga-
nized by the College of Physical
Education and Health soon after
UF went coed in 1947. The Swim
Fins and their male counterparts,
the Aqua Gators, were the principal
performers as well as directors and
choreographers for subsequent
aquatic performances. In 1948, the
event became known as the mid-
winter Swimcapade, and it was one
of two annual performances the
other being the Spring Water Show
- produced by the clubs.
The 1948 show was billed as a
water circus and included non-
aquatic circus routines from the
Flying Zacchinis. The Zacchinis
were Ringling performers who lived
near Gainesville and often per-
formed at Gator Growls. Later
Swimcapades incorporated dance
numbers performed poolside or on
especially constructed pool stages.
A Mardi Gras float that really
floated was pan of the 1959
Swimcapade. Fortunately, a few of
the larger Swimcapades were cap-
tured on film and we get a sense of
the time, effort and talent that was
put into these productions.
The pinnacle for the Swim-
capades was the decade of the
1950s. Sets became more extrava-
gant and the casts larger with more
than 100 swimmers and dancers
performing in the 1958 show.
Popularity compelled the clubs to
do three performances, one on
Friday evening before Growl and
two on Sarurday morning. The
event went into decline soon after
1960, and in the last Swim Fin
homecoming performance in 1965,
there were only 28 cast members.
The spring event, last known as the
Aquafollies, survived for a few more
Carl Van Ness (MA '85)
University archivist Carl Van Ness
fills in this issue fr university
historian Samuel Proctor (BA '41,
MA '42, PhD '58), who is recovering
from an illness.
UF physicists Paul Avery and
Peter Hirschfeld and chemist
Frank Harris were named fellows
of the American Physical Society.
Sandra Chance, media law pro-
fessor, received the journalism
teacher of the year award from
the Scripps Howard Foundation
Selected from more than 50 candi-
dates nationwide, she'll receive
$10,000 and the College of Jour-
nalism will receive $5,000. Mary
Collins, a professor of soil sci-
ence, was elected president ol
the Soil Science Society of
America, becoming the first
woman to lead the 5,700-member
international organization. The
Florida Museum of Natural
History's Hall of Florida Fossils:
Evolution of Life and Land perma-
nent exhibition hall received the
Southeastern Museum Confer-
ence 2003-04 Curators' Competi-
tion Award for the best exhibit
with a budget of more than $1
million. U.S. Secretary of Health
and Human Services Tommy
Thompson appointed UF sociolo-
gist Terry Mills to the National
Advisory Council on Aging. P.K.
Nair, a distinguished professor of
agroforestry, received the Scien-
tific Achievement Award from the
International Union of Forest Re-
summer 2005 7
Did You Know:
* SHOTGUN START: When UF
moved from Lake City to
Gainesville in July 1906, much of
the university's bulkier items had
to be moved using wagon teams.
Bitter Lake City residents who
had fought to keep the university
threatened violence, so profes-
sor William Cawthorn led the six-
cart convoy out of town with a
shotgun sitting on his lap.
* HAPPY HUNTING: There are
approximately 24,000 parking
spots on the UF campus to serve
48,000 students and more than
4,000 faculty members.
* HIGH NOTE: University Audito-
rium, one of several campus
buildings listed on the National
Registry of Historic Places, is
home to the 80-year-old Ander-
son Memorial Organ. The organ
one of the largest instruments of
its kind in the Southeast.
* HIS STORY: George Smathers
(BA '38, JD '38) has entered the
realm of urban legend for his
1950 Senate race against Claude
Pepper. Smathers is widely cred-
ited with calling Pepper a
"shameless extrovert" and
Pepper's sister a "thespian,"
among other linguistic sleight of
hand, but no one has proven
Smathers actually said it.
* QUIET TIME: The George F.
Baughman Center, located on the
shore of Lake Alice, is a place of
private meditation and public
celebration. The 96-seat, 1.500-
square-foot structure combines
native Florida woods in a Gothic-
influenced design to emulate the
look of medieval cathedrals.
* HER TURN: The 85-year-old
Women's Gym will be the first
UF academic building named
solely for a woman: Kathryn
Chicone Ustler Hall.
Taurean Green is in the family
The basketball sophomore is the
son of former NBA player Sidney
Green, who enjoyed a 10-year
career playing for such teams as the
Chicago Bulls, New York Knicks
and Orlando Magic, and is the
former head basketball coach at
Florida Atlantic University.
This alone may sound impressive,
but the connections go a little fur-
ther: One of Sidney Green's New
York Knicks teammates was a young
player named Billy Donovan, who is
now Taurean's head coach at UE.
Although being the son of a
former NBA player who was a
teammate of your head coach
would be enough to inflate the ego
of most 18-year-old
Green is unaffected.
He acknowledges he
much about his
father's years as a
but says the experi-
ences he does re-
ing playing in NBA
locker rooms -
around that atmo-
sphere was fun," says
Green, who says he
would like to coach if
a career in the NBA
doesn't work out. "It
really helped me get
into basketball at a
Green's interest in
basketball started in
"My dad said after
I was born, I used to
flick my wrist in a
shooting motion in
the crib," he says,
ROAD TO THE
NBA IS IN HIS DNA
laughing. "I guess you could say I
started practicing early."
Being raised in the professional
basketball atmosphere has not only
benefited Green's skills as a player,
but also the way he plays the game,
"Taurean is a kid who seems
unaffected by the spotlight or by
playing in front of 20,000 people
because he's been around the game
his whole life," Donovan says. "It
doesn't seem bigger than life to him
- it seems natural, and that's a
hard quality to find."
On the court, Green's love for
the game of basketball shows as he
focuses on the ream goals of win-
ning games and making it to cham-
pionship tournaments. Donovan
says such intensity is hereditary.
"Although their styles are differ-
ent, Sidney and Taurean share a
similar intensity," he says. "I have
no worries about purring Taurean
in at any point in a game. He has a
great poise and he works incred-
For Green, simply being a Gator
is motivation for his hard work.
"It's so great to play at UF for
Coach Donovan," he says. "This
is an incredible opportunity for
me, and I'm having a great time
Meredith Jean Morton (4JM)
Hitting the Bricks
Florida is a place of natural
wonders, and much of the
artwork on campus is reflective
of the unique flora and fauna
found in the state. Study these
artwork examples and see
whether you can match them
to their locales. Then check
your answers on page 24.
JUST SAY NO: UF became the first
major public university in Florida
and the Southeastern Conference
to join the Campaign for Alcohol-
Free Sports TV. As a result, alco-
hol sponsorships are now banned
at Stephen C. O'Connell Center
events and alcohol advertising on
UF sports radio programming is
HOOKING UP: The Hub could once
again be abuzz with student activ-
ity. The space once used by the
UF bookstore, which closed in
2003, is being renovated into a 24-
hour Internet cafe and study cen-
ter. Work is expected to be com-
pleted in summer 2006.
PEPSI GENERATION: UF will be-
come an exclusively Pepsi cam-
pus this August thanks to a 10-
year, $27 million deal between the
university and the soft drink giant.
Signs, scoreboards, soda foun-
tains and vending machines
should be switched from Coca-
Cola, the previous contract holder,
to Pepsi by Aug. 16.
For the latest UF news, visit
'TS STANDING ROOM ONLY IN THE LARGE
AUDITORIUM. MORE THAN 300 UF STUDENTS
EAGERLY TAKE NOTES AND HANG ON THE
TEACHER'S EVERY WORD. THE CROWD, OVERFLOWING
ONTO THE FLOOR, IS QUICK TO ASK QUESTIONS DESPITE
THE TIME ITS GOING ON 10 P.M. THE CROWD'S ALREADY
BEEN HERE FOUR HOURS.
This classroom isn't on UF's campus; the class isn't taught by a professor;
and scholarship money isn't providing the $20 every student paid to get in the
door. More often than not, the person at the front of the room working
through seemingly endless problems and cracking sarcastic remarks is one of
three UF graduates who have turned their own studies into a business venture.
Left, Ethan Fieldman (BSBA '03) and Matt Hintze (MBA '97).
Ryan Dix (BSBA '01, MS '04), Ethan Fieldman (BSBA '03) and Matt
Hintz (MBA '97) are business graduates who began holding informal review
sessions for their classes years ago. Their efforts culminated into a burgeoning
tutoring company that's quickly becoming an unofficial extension of UF's
Warrington College of Business.
"The business aspect of it was really a fluke," Hintz says. "I was tutoring
small groups of clients, and one night my friend told me I should offer it to
more people. I was a little reluctant, but he asked me if I would show up and
talk if he handed out flyers ... that was kind of the beginning of everything."
Fifty people showed up to Hintzs first business finance review. Fresh out of
business school with the cost of graduate school on his shoulders, he realized
he had found a way to fund his education and help students at the same time.
Hintz reserved a room at the Holiday Inn and publicized it even more ... and
the business was born.
"The strange thing is that at right about the same time, similar grassroots
business models were starting up Ryan in business law and Ethan with
accounting," Hintz says.
BY KATIE REID (BSJ '04)
In early 2001, the three began meeting to ensure
their reviews didn't conflict. It wasn't long before the
idea of combining efforts seemed obvious.
"We had this idea for what is the essence of
TutoringZone," Hintz says. "We had the vision of
enriching students' experience and helping them
learn at the same time. A health dub for the mind."
TutoringZone focuses on business classes,
offering multiple weekly review sessions, mass
reviews before tests and outlines of class lectures
in their cherry-red Smokin' Notes. Due to over-
whelming demand, they have also started expand-
ing into other disciplines at UF through
GatorNotes as well as classes at the University of
Central Florida and SAT preparation for area high
"Really, most of our expansion comes from
people coming to us," Dix says. "Either students
tell us they wish we covered a certain class outside
of the business college, or people notice an oppor-
tunity and come talk to us about it."
As TutoringZone increases its reach, it has
faced the challenge of managing a larger flux of
students. This has required almost tripling staff
and adding an online payment method that re-
duces long lines before review sessions. The in-
crease in business has allowed TutoringZone to
start reinvesting in the students and community.
"We created two scholarships as a way to give
back to students, and we also have teamed up
with the Collegiates Helping As Mentors in Pub-
lic Schools program to reward students who go
into local schools and mentor. If they show us
they're making the effort, we give them free cred-
its for TutoringZone reviews. We are all support-
ers of the pay-it-forward mentality."
Students spend the night before their exams at the TutoringZone getting crash courses.
Graduate student Nicole Killam received $500
for tuition and $250 in TutoringZone credit
through TutoringZone's scholarship program.
"The reviews really reinforce all the ideas we
learn in class in a well organized and fun way,"
she says. "It makes it really easy to study and cuts
down on the time I have to invest in each class.
That's more time I can spend working and saving
Review services are nothing new in Gainesville.
One of the largest hurdles the team faced was
earning the respect of the faculty, which is often
skeptical of Gainesville's thriving test-review
Some professors, for instance, often complain
students stop coming to class and use the notes to
cram for exams.
"There are always going to be the students
who use it that way," says Dix, "but there are also
a lot of students who say we make it simple and
help them understand the concepts they might
not grasp in class. If the end result is they're learn-
ing, I don't think anyone loses.
"At this point, most professors at UF have
realized we really care about helping students
learn and giving back to the community," Dix
says. "Our relationships with them are very posi-
tive because we've proven how dedicated we are to
When tests approach, David Denslow, UF
macroeconomics professor, goes as far as posting
announcements on his class Web site alerting
students to the TutoringZone review sessions.
"I think our greatest strength is the fact we are
constantly striving to serve the students in the best
way we can," Dix says. "For example, people
wanted flash cards included with the review packets,
so we did it. We're very focused on what will help
them as opposed to what is most profitable for us."
The company has tried several methods to
ensure a good product. Last year they imple-
mented a two-person note-taking team for every
class one with extensive experience in the
subject and one with grammatical expertise.
"Taking a class in the business college goes
hand-in-hand with going to TutoringZone," says
Joie Sheffield (BSAdv '05). "They can explain
something in two seconds that would take my
professor an entire period."
TutoringZone's reputation is spreading, and
the three owners hope to eventually expand
throughout the Southeast, starting in Central
Fieldman has even moved to Orlando to spear-
head the UCF branch of the business. He's also
organizing the business's new SAT program for
regional high school students. The program mo-
bilizes bright UF students to provide personal
preparation for the all-encompassing test.
"We believe that high school students need a
tutor they can relate to someone they will
enjoy seeing for 90 minutes per week," Fieldman
says. "Not a 50-year-old Ph.D. of literature."
The SAT tutors are selected based on their
SAT scores and personalities before undergoing a
training process that lasts several months.
"As we expand, we're making sure to ensure
the quality and care that is TutoringZone. The
students are what made us so successful, and we
have to keep catering to them to stay successful."
summer 2005 11
BY LIESL O'DELL (BS '92) AND MEREDITH JEAN MORTON (4JM)
The Citrus Experiment Station's facilities in Lake Alfred were rather crude in the 1920s compared to today's
standards. Now known as the Citrus Research and Education Center, it has evolved into the largest center of
its kind in the world as well as an important partner for Florida's citrus industry.
AT BLANKETS MORE THAN 830,000 ACRES OF FLORIDA LAND, PROVIDES JOBS FOR ALMOST
90,000 FLORIDIANS, ADDS $9 BILLION ANNUALLY TO THE STATE'S ECONOMY AND IS FAT
FREE, SODIUM FREE AND ONLY ABOUT 70 CALORIES PER SERVING.
Florida citrus is without a doubt big business.
Its industry leads the world in the production of
grapefruit and is second only to Sao Paulo, Brazil,
in growing oranges. Florida oranges make up
about 75 percent of the U.S. supply and provide
the world with about 40 percent of its orange
juice. Considering that each American consumed
five gallons last year, says the Florida Department
of Citrus, that's a lot of pulp.
"We grow more fruit in Polk County than they
do in all of California," says Jim Griffiths, 90, a
retired citrus researcher, grower, packing plant
manager and organizer of Citrus Growers Associ-
ates, a Lakeland-based group that represents
In 1917 when the Florida Legislature created
an experiment station devoted to citrus, state
leaders could only dream of today's success. Back
then, the citrus industry was on the cusp of a
boom thanks to the development of transporta-
tion that moved trainloads of the fruit northward.
Growers who battled insects, fruit-borne diseases
and periodic freezes asked for help from UF scien-
tists. Lawmakers answered their cries by creating
the UF center in Lake Alfred the first off-
campus center. Polk County growers raised more
than $13,000 to launch the 225-acre facility in
what was and is still considered the heart of
In the 88 years since its birth, the center has
mirrored UF's mission of teaching, research and
service. The largest center of its kind in the world,
it provides growers with an information network,
a voice respected by the industry's regulatory
agencies and a team of scientists whose purpose is
to solve pest and disease problems and improve
upon processing methods.
Without the center, growers and policy-makers
alike say Florida's citrus industry could not have
come this far. Among all its benefits, Griffiths
says, the center's unique, intimate partnership
with the Florida Department of Citrus and the
U.S. Department of Agriculture is what has has-
tened the state industry's success the most.
"THE RESEARCH CONDUCTED BY
THE UF CENTER HAS HELPED
FLORIDA CITRUS COMPETE IN THE
WORLD JUICE MARKET."
summer 2005 13
FLORIDA'S FIRST ORANGE TREE
WAS BELIEVED TO HAVE BEEN
PLANTED BY PONCE DE LEON IN THE
MID-1500s NEAR ST. AUGUSTINE.
"I worked in Iowa, Nebraska, Alabama and
Texas before I got to Florida in 1946," Griffiths
says. "I had never been anywhere where the rela-
tionship between the farmer and the research
agencies operated the way they did here. The
Florida citrus industry is unique in the United
States in terms of being a cohesive, thoroughly
regulated enterprise. There isn't anything else like
it, although apples come close."
Griffiths, a retired director of the state's grower
cooperative Florida Citrus Mutual, said the man
who initiated the center's momentum was Arthur
Camp, who came from California during the
"Under his guidance, [he showed growers that]
nitrogen, potassium, phosphorus were necessary,
but without magnesium [and other key minerals]
citrus could not grow on the sandy hills of
Florida," Griffiths says. "So by the time I came to
Florida, the correct fertilization methods and pH
of the soil was already relatively understood."
Seeds of Research
In Lake Alfred, the center's facility includes
groves, greenhouses, a citrus packinghouse, a
citrus processing pilot plant, more than 40 labora-
tories including an electron microscope facility
and the largest citrus library in the world. Light
years away from the primitive laboratories of the
1920s, it is here that researchers take nature's
Staffed with more than 250 employees -
including 20 UF graduate students and 35 UF
faculty members from seven disciplines ranging
In their efforts to find better ways to grow and harvest citrus, researchers study abscission, or the tree's natural
dropping of its fruit, in hopes the information can help them improve mechanical harvesting techniques.
from horticulture, soil and water sciences to food
science and human nutrition the labs have
developed better methods to manage the citrus
tristeza and citrus canker diseases and damage
from nematodes, root weevils and other pests.
They've also come up with better ways to grow,
harvest and process fruit to produce the best
"Some of the most innovative areas of research
being pursued at CREC are genetics and molecu-
lar biology of citrus diseases," says professor and
center director Harold Browning, who took the
helm in 1996. "Research on [diseases such as
citrus tristeza and citrus canker] is using new
techniques to understand the two diseases and to
incorporate this know ledge inro methods for
The results of all this research? Bob Norberg.
director of the Florida Department of Citrus
economic and marker research, says it's juicy for
the state's 10.000 citrus growers.
"The research conducted by the IF center has
helped Florida citrus compete in the world juice
market," says Norberg.
This means greater demand and better prices
for Florida's golden gems.
For the '8 percent of U.S. households who
purchased orange juice in 2004. It means a
higher-qualiry juice and plenty of it to keep gro-
cer store prices as low as possible.
Gars e Hall (MS '91.), longtime Central
Florida grower, says these are just part of why the
centers partnership with the citrus industry is
"Most growers hase some kind of experimental
practice in their groves." says Hall, who has ex-
perimented with a number of methods through-
out his 20 years of owning and managing groves.
"I's wonderful [how] we can rely on UF research-
ers. Without them the citrus industry wouldn't
have the success it sees now."
The research center also helps develop new varieties of citrus. In this case,
professor of horticulture Fred Gmitter shows off several varieties of
tangerines researchers are evaluating.
summer 2005 15
IN FLORIDA, ALMOST 98
PERCENT OF ALL ORANGES
ARE HARVESTED BY HAND
USING LADDERS AND
CANVAS SACKS. ONLY A
HARVESTERS ARE IN USE.
A 0 .3
iamb.. : ~
-.. *. .. r -
- ; . .. -.
BY KRISTIN H ARM E L (BSJ 0 )
..i j- *
.. GS. 200 NA*T W .
SARLEY CH TE L OF ME) co, MA SHLRP
VASTATED THE NDERP ..D CITIZENS OF CtTE orrC(W ;''
WAVES,'tEi DtEAY TH SUCTIOn -
es from the storm, which was
'i~lliln do.. '
aIefled from the s5W.m the most
edd directly into Ch leys padrc; "
1,_ ,:- : *.-
summer 2005 17
"We drove down to Daytona for
Charley, and it was still a Category
1 when it came over us," she recalls.
"The electricity was going in
and out; stuff was breaking around
us; it was very intense."
Floridians still with power and
cable were right there with her. Or,
rather, she was with them, beaming
into living rooms across the nation
as one of The Weather Channel's
newest on-screen meteorologists
and storm chasers.
In fact, she was so new to the
hurricane business that she had
only gotten her storm-chasing feet
wet literally the day before,
Aug. 12, when she and a camera
crew met up with Tropical Storm
Bonnie in St. George Island.
"I was a little nervous," Abrams
says of her first hurricane season
assignment, off the Gulf Coast near
Tallahassee. "But I was in good
hands, and everyone was very sup-
portive. The storm wasn't super
powerful. I don't want to downplay
it, but it was coming onshore as a
tropical storm. Relatively speaking,
when you look back, it wasn't as
scary as Charley."
Today, as Abrams recounts her
storm-chasing experiences during
the dramatic 2004 hurricane sea-
son, she sounds cool, calm and
Amazingly, she came across
much the same way last fall when
she broadcasted live from the path
of the storms and once from the
eye of a hurricane while waves
surged behind her, pieces of build-
ings flew by her head and terror set
in. But still, she stayed profes-
sional and focused, she says,
because she knew she was per-
forming a crucial duty.
"We're doing an important job.
We're out here to tell people what's
going on and to get them the
proper information," she says. "We
want them to be able to see it safely.
When we say it's powerful, we're
not kidding, and we want them to
see that. We need to tell them
what to do next, when they can
go out. We can help them
through the storm."
Few people do that better than
Abrams, her boss says.
"She's outstanding," says Keith
Westerlage, vice president of on-
camera meteorology at The
Weather Channel. "In watching her
reports, you can feel like you're
there. She gives you a sense of being
your eyes and ears at the point of
landfall. It takes a special person to
do that. How would you like to
spend two days having to look
good because you're on camera and
not having power, not knowing if
the room is going to collapse
around you? She has to come on
and have a smile and act as if noth-
ing is bothering her."
Born in Miami, Abrams, 26,
moved to Wellington near West
Palm Beach as a youngster. Her
father, Barry, a physician, always
stressed science to his kids.
"When we were little he took us
to see eclipses in Hawaii and Eu-
rope," Abrams recalls. "We were
little when Haley's comet came
Another childhood experience
also piqued her interest.
"I went to the South Florida Fair
one year, and there was a local
weather guy, and he had a weather
wall, and you could get a few sec-
onds in front of it," she says. "I
thought that was cool, and I was
interested in the weather and how
But still, when she started at
UF, she wasn't entirely sure what
she wanted to do.
"I came to Florida and just
started taking all the gen eds," she
says. She wound up with a
bachelor's in geography, but it's the
work she did along the way that
really made a difference.
"I did an internship at WCJB in
Gainesville in weather and one in
Jacksonville, and I really liked it,"
she says. "So I thought, 'OK, I'll
The only problem was that
Florida didn't have a meteorology
program. So after finishing at UF
in December 1999, Abrams en-
rolled at Florida State, where she
earned a second bachelor's degree
in meteorology in May 2002. She
started her professional career
doing weekend weather at a Talla-
hassee station right out of school,
then spent nearly a year doing
Just more than a year after
graduating, in June 2003, she
scored one of the top weather gigs
in the nation: a job at The Weather
"I always thought it would be
really cool to work there," she says.
She wasn't the only one who
thought a Stephanie Abrams-
Weather Channel match would be
a good thing.
"She had two big pluses," says
Westerlage, who hired her. "She
had the TV background from
Florida and the meteorology back-
ground from Florida State. Those
were great credentials. And beyond
that, she just came across as she
loves what she is doing and has a
joy for life."
But then Abrams took that a
"She has come in and worked
every kind of shift you can imag-
ine," Westerlage says. "She has
tackled every job we have asked her
to do. She has a passion for what
she does, and that enthusiasm
comes across. From a meteorologi-
cal side, that skill is there as well."
With her work ethic and pas-
sion, it didn't take long for Abrams
to move up the ranks at The
"I started out doing
Weather.com and working on air
from 6 to 8 on Sunday nights, and
then I would start filling in during
other shifts. I wanted to do live
work. The next thing I knew, they
sent me out to do a live shot."
That was April 2004, when The
Weather Channel sent Abrams
down to the International Flower
and Garden Festival at Epcot near
Orlando, where she reported on a
butterfly release and some of the
weather factors affecting the festival.
Before long, she was joining Jim
Cantore and Mike Seidel in chas-
ing down the four major hurri-
canes that devastated her home
state in 2004.
During Frances, Abrams was
stationed in New Smyrna Beach.
"It was very slow moving and
lasted a long time," she recalls. "We
were right on the water, and from
our hotel room you could see the
water churning. Only the press was
left there. We had no electricity. I
remember looking for our flash-
lights. One of the things I remem-
ber most is that this piece of roof
came off from where we were stay-
ing and flew at us while I was talk-
ing. It was this aluminum siding,
which was taller than me. All of a
sudden, this big gust comes, and
my producer runs into the shot and
tries to pick up the aluminum.
"Then came Ivan, and we -x ere
in Mobile," she says. "That one
came in at night as well, and we
were on the river. We were do% n
closer by the bay, but they don t
want us anywhere near danger. It
was just all night long dealing with
the winds and the rain. They had
drained the pool at our hotel as a
precaution and there was so much
water it filled it back up.
"Then there was Jeanne," she
says. "I ended up in Port St. Lucie
and went through the eye, which
doesn't happen often. I saw the
moon at 12:20, when we were
actually in the eye of the storm. I
even saw a star or two.
You can expect to see lots more
of Abrams this year during
hurricane season (which runs June
1 Nov. 30) and beyond.
Abrams is joining The Weather
Channel's new weekend morning
show, which "is going to be more
than just maps and standing in
front of the maps," Westerlage says.
"People have a little more time and
we're going to be able to cover the
weather and help them plan for the
day and let them know we'll :each
them some weather too."
Abrams will still be chasing
storms, but she'll also be covering
events that the weather will impact.
such as the Daytona 500, the
World Series and other sporting
events, gardening festivals and food
festivals across the country.
"You have to love what you do
to stand out there and do that in
the middle of storms," Abrams says.
"And I do. I love what I do." -e
Some meteoroliQglts have predicted the 2004
hurricane season ais a first blow in a series of
particularly tctive'hurricahle seasons. So what
does Stephanie Abrams say?'
"Even if there were numerous hurricanes all
that matters is how many make landfall," she
. *, .." ;. *
says. "You could hav& :itthat is nasty and
makes landfall, you could hiavie i lot, or you
could have none. Even if we ad have ia t'i of
hurricanes, you'll be OK, just as long as you're
How do you get prepared?
"Make sure you have proper supplies: ply-
wood for your house, batteries and that sort of
stuff," Abrams says. "Pay attention and take it
seriously because hurricanes can be destruc-
tive. Have the supplies before the storm is about
to hit. Be sure you have your insurance and
know what it covers because some doesn't
cover flooding. If you keep up to date on The
Weather Channel and get a weather radio to
use if your power goes out, we will keep you up
to date on the storms' intensity and what you
need to do as best we can."
"ITS A GOOD
TO MAKE A FULL-
HORN ... PLUS I
FIND MYSELF IN
MARTY GOLD (BA '01) IS IN STEP WITH WASHINGTON ILA
LUMINARIES AS A CLARINETIST FOR THE U.S. ARMY BAND
It's notoriously tough to earn a
living as a musician, but 25-year-
old Marty Gold (BA '01) has one
of the steadiest gigs around: He's a
clarinetist for the U.S. Army Band
Gold, who earned his bachelor's
degree in music education, contrib-
utes to the soundtrack and visual
spectacle for Washington, D.C.'s,
most important events as well as
many less-publicized happenings.
As a member of the Army Con-
cert Band, one of the Virginia-
based band's eight ensembles, Gold
appeared, for example, at the
Ronald Reagan funeral in June
2004. He is a regular contributor to
the Army Ceremonial Band, and he
routinely appears at landmarks such
as the White House and Arlington
Cemetery where he has lifted his
clarinet for officers' funerals and
President George W. Bush's Memo-
rial Day wreath-laying.
Gold even played last fall when
Iraq's interim Prime Minister Ayad
"I never thought I'd play the
Iraqi national anthem in an official
capacity," he says.
Gold, who describes himself as
"non-militaristic," never imagined
his name would someday be pre-
ceded by "staff sergeant."
Growing up in Sarasota, he says,
"everyone else wanted to play war
games and I wanted to watch
He remembers himself as "sig-
nificantly overweight" at UF and
hardly a candidate for military
service. However, Mitchell Estrin,
associate professor of clarinet, was
impressed with Gold's playing and
go-get-'em attitude and encouraged
him to pursue a performance career
- a rare choice for young musi-
cians these days.
"In addition to his intellect,
talent, enthusiasm and sparking
sense of humor, what separated
Marty from the others was his
goal-oriented approach," Estrin
After a Weight Watch-
ers diet helped Gold
shed 85 pounds in
graduate school at
Indiana University, he
realized he could join
the service. A flier
advertising an opening
for a base clarinetist
prompted him to record
a CD and mail it in.
Four subsequent audi-
tions for a handful of
different military bands
later, he landed his seat in
the Army Concert Band
- a rare achievement at
a time when most mu-
sic school graduates go
on to be teachers.
The Army band has
its share of unique hard-
ships and satisfactions. .
For one thing, Gold had to
celebrate earning his master's degree
by entering boot camp. For an-
other, conditions can be brutal,
such as marching in the parade at
the Reagan funeral. There were
several delays, and the band wound
up spending hours at attention in
the June sun desperate to mask
But for Gold, who admits
he's still star struck, these
difficulties pale before such
novelties as standing
just a few feet
from Bush and
He's also over-
joyed to earn a
salary in the
what may be the
most secure job in
"It's a good op-
portunity to make a
full-time living playing
my horn, and I get to
play with good people
all the time. Plus I find
myself in really neat situa-
tions," he says.
Marty Gold (BA '01)
T ak e STEVE RATAR (JD 76 LLM 77)
SCOUTS FOR UNCOMMON
Steve Rajtar looks for the kind of
history that can't be found in text-
books: words scrawled in sidewalks,
an inscription on a cornerstone,
even anecdotes from the elderly
Floridians who call Rajtar (pro-
nounced RAY-tar) to share their
recollections of their old neighbor-
The author of five books on
historical sites throughout the
United States, Rajtar (D '76 LLM
'77) says the thrill of piecing to-
gether the past in the field was
rarely equaled in his high school
"History can be so dry in
school. We were always memorizing
dates and names," he says. "When
you visit a place, all of a sudden it
As a Boy Scout leader, Rajtar
wanted to show young people how
history could come alive. He tried
to organize the kind of historical
hikes he had enjoyed as a Boy
Scout in Ohio, but was frustrated
when information on many of the
trails was difficult to find.
"I'd see these patches on scouts'
uniforms, so I knew the trails were
out there, but there was no single
source that listed them," he says.
Grumbling about the problem
at a scouting seminar, Rajtar was
surprised when a colleague sug-
gested he compile the book himself.
A real estate attorney by day, his
only writing experience was for the
Tennessee Bar Journal. But the idea
took hold, and Rajtar began amass-
ing the information that would
become a two-volume book of
hiking trails published by
McFarland & Co.
When Rajtar began to compile
information on Florida's trails, he
realized just 18 existed.
"Florida might not have the
Revolutionary War or Colonial
history you see farther north, but
it's just as interesting," he says.
He decided to create a few new
trails, starting with the area sur-
rounding his Orlando home. Ten
years later, he has created more
than 150 trails spanning the middle
third of the state, including a his-
toric trail for Gainesville and an-
other for UF's campus, which is
one of his favorites.
"The university has such varied
architecture, and there's a lot of
good memories attached to the
place," he says.
Not that Rajtar appreciated UF's
architectural offerings at the time:
Between attending law classes and
working summers as a monorail
driver at Walt Disney World, "I saw
the inside of the law library a lot
more than the campus," he says.
Rajtar's Florida hike plans are
available for free on his Web site,
Steve Rajtar (JD '76 LLM '77)
He designed embroidered patches
for each trail UF's features Cen-
tury Tower that hikers can order
after they complete the trail.
Rajtar also leads some hikes
himself. His next tour of the
UF campus is scheduled for 1p.m.
"To get kids interested in his-
tory, you have to give them some-
thing more than just the educa-
tional experience. You wouldn't
believe how a little piece of cloth
can motivate them," he says. "The
same kids who wouldn't walk 16
feet to change the channel on the
TV will go 16 miles for a patch."
-Alisson Clark (BSJ '98)
summer 2005 21
PATRICIA GOMEZ-GRACIA (BSBA '02)
FOUND HER PASSION FOR FASHION IN
A LOCAL FABRIC STORE.
In 1999, when Patricia Gomez-
Gracia (BSBA '02) was a sophomore
at the University of Florida, her
roommate suggested a project they
could get involved in that might
make them a bit of extra money.
"She suggested that we purchase
fabric from a store that was going
out of business and begin making
handbags," says Gomez-Gracia, who
was then a marketing major waffling
between wanting to be an elemen-
tary school teacher, a psychologist
and a public relations professional.
"Well, she stopped after about one
week, but I continued."
Indeed she did. Now 25, Gomez-
Gracia, who never dreamed of a
career in fashion before she came to
UF as a freshman in 1998, is the
founder and director ofTriskelion
Couture, an edgy clothing line
whose designs have been featured in
national and international maga-
zines and have appeared on celebrity
trendsetters such as Paris Hilton.
One of her skirts a black and
white striped design inspired by a
lampshade even appeared in one
of the most coveted places: on Sarah
Jessica Parker in the second-to-last
episode of the fashion-forward "Sex
and the City."
"It's extremely exciting," Gomez-
Gracia says of the success she's had
so far. "It's hard work, but it's also
Born in 1980 in Madrid, Spain,
Gomez-Gracia moved to Miami at a
very young age with her parents,
Patricia Gomez-Gracia (BSBA '02)
Carlos and Carolina, and her sib-
lings, Jorge and Carola. Carlos is an
investment banker and Carolina is
a real estate agent. In keeping with
their roots, they made sure Patricia
spent her childhood summers in
Spain, so she grew up exposed to
two vastly different cultures and
fluent in two languages.
Gomez-Gracia was an imagina-
tive child, but she never considered
a career in fashion, despite living in
Florida's fashion capital.
"As a child, I always played
dress-up and was very aware of my
appearance but never gave much
thought to being a designer," she
says. "I always paid attention to
trends, but it really was in the past
few years that instead of following
trends I began to try and set them."
Gomez-Gracia didn't discover
her knack for or love of designing
until her roommate at UF sug-
gested making purses. The rest is
"After the bags were made, girls
from my sorority started asking if
they could buy some," she says.
"From there I started selling them
and then I started making T-shirts
and then jeans, which I also began
selling to friends and friends of
After graduating summa cum
laude in May 2002, Gomez-Gracia
went to work as an assistant de-
signer in Miami to learn the ropes
of the fashion business.
"I was working 15-hour days,"
she says. "It was a great experience
but unfortunately did not offer any
pay. My parents finally suggested I
invest in myself and produce my
own clothing line, which I did."
The line is called Triskelion
Couture, a name that evolved from
Gomez-Gracia's vision of what her
clothes would say to the world.
"The word Triskelion is a word
that a friend mentioned to me my
sophomore year of college that
stood out," she says. "It's interesting
because the definition of the word
has evolved from time. Originally,
the triskel was a Celtic coin that
"I BEUEVE THAT
THE MINUTE I
SUCCUMB, I STOP
BEING A LEADER
AND BECOME A
symbolized trinity: birth, life,
death. Throughout time, it has
become a symbol that protected
against evil and still represented a
trinity, but the trinity now being
creativity, willfulness and energy.
Similarly to my style, I want it to
always evolve and never be set."
She oversaw a threefold jump in
sales from her first collection to her
second collection. Her clothes still
haven't hit the mainstream -
they're available at three Florida
boutiques, one boutique in Tokyo
and through her Web site,
they've garnered attention from
Elle, Vogue en Espanol, the Miami
Herald and, of course, the produc-
ers of "Sex and the City."
Gomez-Gracia, who makes her
home in London, has never played
by the rules. Fashion designers
aren't supposed to come out of the
University of Florida they're
supposed to come from major
fashion design schools. Women
aren't supposed to start their o in
companies at age 22 they're
supposed to learn at the knees of
the great designers and work their
way up. But the fact that she has
played by her own set of rules -
and that she has dealt gracefully
with all the curveballs the business
has thrown her along the way is
just a part of who Gomez-Gracia is,
and she's ready to continue on her
trailblazing fashion voyage.
"Success for me means overcom-
ing rejection," she says. "Since the
moment I began, people have been
telling me to give up because I
didn't have the normal fashion
background or because I am fund-
ing this company on my own.
Even from stores, I often heard
buyers suggest that if I would just
Patricia Gomez-Gracia (BSBA '02)
change one little detail or do this
and that, I'd be better. However, I
believe that the minute I succumb I
stop being a leader and become a
follower. If that was what I wanted,
I would be working for a firm that
already had a company culture
established and a daily routine,
which evidently is not what I
Kristin Harmel (BSJ '01)
HITTING THE BRICKS
ANSWERS FROM PAGE 9:
"Rana Wall: A Celebration of
Frogs" graces the interior
entrance to the Florida Mu-
seum of Natural History,
while "Schooling Fish" scales
the outside of McCarty Hall.
Both pieces were created by
sculptor Gar Waterman of
New Haven, Conn.
My Old School
Please join us in a walk down memory lane. We welcome your letters and reminiscences at
magazine, PO. Box 14425, Gainesville, Fla. 32604-2425.
Fall 1972 brought me to UF from
my native Wisconsin. I was as-
signed a room in Simpson Hall. A
whole new experience for a 17 year
old; needless to say I was quite
scared. I met my roomie, William
"Willie" Leonard (BSAdv '74), who
was originally from "BAH-stn," as
he pronounced it. Thus I was
paired with another Yankee, so I
didn't think it would be too bad.
I'll get back to Willie later.
The following Monday was my
first day as a college student. I
found my way to my first class in
Peabody Hall, which I think was
one of the first buildings on cam-
pus. The building was constructed
completely of wood and the stairs
were rutted by years of foot traffic.
I was sitting in class, wondering
what a college professor looks like
(Hey, I was 17 and away from
home, remember?) when I saw a
kindly looking gent a few years my
senior wearing Coke bottle-bottom
glasses and a new beard beginning
to grow. "That's got to be the pro-
fessor," I thought. He entered the
room and sat in the desk next to
"What are you doing?" I asked.
"Aren't you teaching this class?"
This friendly gent smiled, shook
my hand and introduced himself.
That's when I met Dave Shepard
(BAE '76). We became immediate
friends and remain so until this day
some 32 years later.
Back to Willie. He was a veteran
prankster and I was as often as not
the butt of his pranks. Water bal-
loons in my bed, hanging all the
cooking utensils on the wall in our
dorm room like paintings. Any-
thing to get a rise out of his "prey."
I kept promising him I would get
The spring of our freshman year
had arrived and I hatched the idea
of the perfect prank. Enlisting the
help of another dormmate, we took
Willie's bed apart and reassembled
it out on the ledge just outside the
dorm window. We then made it up
perfectly. It looked great out there.
And as I headed off to class, I also
saw it from ground level. "Beauti-
ful," I thought.
I wish I could have been a fly
on the wall when Willie discov-
ered this prank. Later, he told me
that he started laughing when he
saw the bed from outside as he
returned from class, until he
realized it was his!
I am still in touch with Dave,
but I have lost touch with Willie.
These men among the many
others I had met at UF made it a
Marty, David, Jessie, "Niles"
Randy, Mike ... get in touch with
-John "Doc"Lemberger (AA 77)
Florida@uff.ufl.edu or at Florida
With a hearty mix of excitement
and trepidation, I arrived in Tolbert
Hall in summer '82 and met my
college roommate, Cristina Olivera
(BFA '87), for the first time.
Cristina was an American on paper
but had a Spanish father and a
penchant for all things European:
exotic perfumes, strong coffee,
clove cigarettes, unusual music and
short black dresses (long before
they were in vogue). Cristina
seemed to revel in her uniqueness
and spoke Spanish as often as she
could, even though no one in
Tolbert Hall understood but we
all learned. We learned to appreci-
ate what we initially labeled as
"odd" and to embrace another
culture and lifestyle.
Being exposed to diversity is one
of the greatest things about college,
and Cristina was a good lesson in
that. We lived together for most of
our college years and I'll never
forget the fun we had together: late
nights at the "Rat" (the Rathskeller)
dancing to live music from the Riff,
hanging out with punkers in
Murphree Hall debating politics
until the sun came up, or the night
we gave David Byrne a lift to his
show at the bandshell. UF is so
much more than books and classes
(even though professor David Logan
%was still the best muse I've ever
I'll forever bleed orange and
blue and be thankful for my years
While I have many fond memories
of UF and Gainesville, my favorites
certainly include extra-curricular
events such as the diversity of con-
certs at the Band Shell, everything
from DEVO to Peter Tosh, inter-
spersed with unforgettable perfor-
mances like a 30-minute version of
"Gator Country" by Molly Hatchet
or the blowing-up of a car by the
Plasmatics for Halloween.
Perhaps the best memory of the
days in Gainesville revolves around
the 1981 game against FSU. I was
well dressed with my "It's great to
HATE Florida State" shirt (and I
have a photo from that occasion to
prove it). Anyway, I was sitting with a
block of friends in the east stands
when I decided I could see better by
climbing over the protective fence
and standing on the wall while hold-
ing onto the fence. This was before
the south end zone was bowled in. As
I was standing watching the game
toward the end of the second quarter,
I noticed one ofGainesville's finest
police officers waving to me. Natu-
rally (or perhaps stupidly) I pro-
ceeded to walk down the wall to the
officer. He asked what I was doing
and I explained my seat was next to
the fence and I thought I could have
a better view of the game. He ex-
plained I needed to go back to my
seat and started to walk me back to
where I could gain access to the east
stands. Unfortunately at this point
another police officer, who may have
been his supervisor, decided to inter-
vene. He said that since I was not in
my seat I was ejected from the game.
He proceeded to tear up my ticket
stub and grabbed me by the elbow
and escorted me to a gate. As he
slammed the gate door in my face, I
told him "This sucks!"
Surely someone up above knows
of my fondness for Gator football
because within a few minutes two
FSU coeds came out of the game.
Even with my not-so-friendly-to-FSU
shirt, one of these FSU coeds, show-
ing what I would consider a bit of
class, proceeded to give me her ticket
stub. I was now determined to join
my friends back in the east stands. As
I ran back up the wall to my seat, in a
bit of rebellion, I was welcomed by a
loud cheer and applause.
This memory could end there
and it would be great, but what
happened next was fabulous. As we
proceeded to give FSU a long over-
due 35-3 spanking, our group in
the east stand started chanting:
"Goalpost, goalpost, we want a
goalpost." Naturally, at the end of
the game the south end zone
goalpost was toppled. The next
day's Sunday Edition of the
Gainesville Sun had a picture on the
front cover; our group running
across the field, goalpost in tow!
Fast forward a few years to
1999. I am driving to Paradise in
Tallahassee the night before the
UF-FSU football game. In case you
are wondering, Paradise is a drink-
ing establishment (Shame on you
for thinking Paradise could exist in
Tallahassee). As I pull into the
parking lot I am greeted by a beau-
tiful lady who asks, "What is that
on your shirt?" I tell her with great
pride, "That is my Gator." She says,
"Well I am a Gator, too, and I like
it!" I respond with, "Instant karma,
baby." And, there you have it, my
fondest memory of being a UF
graduate happened in Tallahassee
when I met my future wife, June
Wright (BS '78).
Oh by the way, believe it or not,
in Tallahassee I have a home that is
next to the pasture where the FSU
horse Renegade romps. We talk.
Don't tell anyone but he now de-
sires to be a Gator.
Forrest Watson (BA '82)
During the time from 1982-86,
I was residing at Reid Hall and the
top floor was unofficially occupied
by mostly international students.
The most senior was
(PhD '84) from Sri Lanka -
known as Bala to many who
earned his doctorate in civil engi-
neering. [Others] Ramaiah
Murugan, Ramasamy and Divarkar
Furtado from India, along with me
- formed the South Asian battal-
ion who [were] the occupiers of the
top floor kitchen in the afternoon.
The spicy food we prepared
using curry powder and other
spices in the kitchen mesmerized
the Americans, and once they de-
manded that we cook chicken curry
for all of them, for which we
obliged. [In turn] they taught us
how to prepare barbecue chicken,
and at a subsequent hall function it
was total fun with curry and barbe-
cue chicken with beers flowing
around. What a life!
Therefore some of my fondest
memories come from living in dorms
at UF and the enjoyable life we spent
as students, no matter whether we
are graduate or undergraduates, Sri
Lankans or Americans.
Rohan Rajapakse (PhD '85)
Matara, Sri Lanka
A cool fall night at UF in 1969
turned out to be the most impor-
tant night of my life.
A number of [Beatty] Towers'
residents were working on a decora-
tion for Homecoming. The theme
that year was "Gators Shoot for the
Moon" since that was the year of
the first moon landing.
We were on top of the Commons
building getting ready to suspend a
large plywood moon between the
north (women's) and south (men's)
towers. Two long ropes were thrown
out of the ninth floor windows from
each tower and tied to the recently-
completed moon lying between the
buildings. Meanwhile, a rocket was
being erected on the Commons
building that would ultimately be
pointed at the moon. While we were
working on the rooftop, my next-
door neighbor, Jim Park (BSJ '"2),
introduced me to Candy Sutton
Next, several of us went up each
tower to "hoist" the moon and tie it
off. It turned out the optimum spot
for Jim and me to anchor the moon
in the north tower was right across
from Candy's room. Being a gracious
Gator, she offered Jim and me choco-
late-chip cookies for our labors.
After that night I ran into
Candy several times, and soon we
started dating. We married in 1971
and Jim was the best man in our
wedding. Soon thereafter, Jim met
his future wife, Camille (BAE '72),
and I was best man at their wed-
ding. We have all remained close
friends since that most important
night almost 35 years ago.
Dennis Callas (BSJ 72)
summer 2005 2
Things Every UF Freshman Should Experience
Eat a Krishna lunch.
Vegetarian lunches are served each weekday on the Plaza of the Americas.
Visit Lake Wauburg.
Students with their Gator 1 card can enjoy swimming, boating, climbing and
other activities. See the story in the summer issue of UF Today alumni maga-
zine, www.ufalumni.ufl.edu/Today, to learn more.
Join the Student Alumni Association.
As part of your $15 annual membership, take advantage of social gatherings, a
free T-shirt, free pizza, merchandise discounts and more. Visit
www.ufalumni.ufl.edu/Membership to learn more.
Learn to sing "We Are The Boys."
The song lyrics, as well as a recording, can be found at www.ufalumni.ufl.edu/
Listen to a carillon recital.
Visit www.arts.ufl.edu/music/carillon/recitalsandconcerts.shtml for a schedule
of performances at Century Tower.
Attempt the crossword in the Independent Florida Alligator.
But not during class, of course.
Visit the bat house.
More than 65,000 bats emerge each night at twilight to feed on mosquitoes and
other bugs. It is located along Museum Drive across from Lake Alice.
Buy at least one piece of Gator paraphernalia.
Use your SAA membership card to get a discount at local shops. Visit
www.ufalumni.ufl.edu/Membership to learn more.
Sunbathe on Broward Beach.
Don't forget your sunscreen.
Ask an upperclassman for directions.
Be sure to hold up a copy of the campus map when you ask.
Meeng by Mardl Cohen (BS '83, JD '86)
Is it fate that rules our lives or is it
chance? I prefer to believe in
chance that life unfolds and we
make choices from what comes our
way, but then something unex-
plainable happens, something
seemingly beyond our control. And
then I know it is fate rearing its
ominous head and I simply scratch
mine; there are some life events that
I just can't explain. One such event
happened at UF in the mid-1980s.
It was late September 1979. I
was a freshman, unrecognized
among thousands, a freshman at
UE I had been in college for less
than a week rushing sororities,
visiting fraternities, meeting
roommates ... I had little time to
think about the real reason I was in
I stood in the corridor of Little
Hall waiting in front of an adviser's
office. There were other unknown,
unrecognized, nervous ex-high
school seniors with me. One ap-
proached. I told her I was from
South Florida, I was living in
Graham Hall and I think I was
majoring in journalism and
psychology. Then her final
Mardi Cohen (BS '83, JD
'86), far right, never
imagined the acquain-
tance she made her
freshman year would
crisscross the rest of her
life in such a meaning-
ful way. Pictured from
left, Sharon Weinstein
Cutler (BSBA '83), Ken
Cutler (BA '82), Dale
C. Cohen (BSBA'83, JD
'86) and Cohen.
question: Did I have a boyfriend? I
told her "no." As we parted, that
fellow freshman turned to me with a
nervous laugh and said, "Well, I
hope we both meet nice guys and get
married." I knew we were there at a
place of higher learning to pursue
more than a husband to pursue a
career and a future of independence.
I often ran into this woman on
campus. Whenever we passed each
other we always stopped to catch
up on our lives. Each time I saw
her I would tell her about my then-
boyfriend, and she would tell me
After graduation, I planned to
move to Miami and study for a
master's degree. I discovered my
friend was doing the same and
happily I had found a roommate.
We traveled to Miami and found
an apartment together.
But a few weeks later I bailed
out, deciding instead to go to law
school. I broke the news to my
friend; I guess our paths wouldn't
converge after all.
While in law school I met an
incredible guy and eventually mar-
ried him. We both attended UF as
undergraduate students during the
same years but never once met.
Several years after we were mar-
ried, my husband fixed up two old
friends who hit it off and eventually
got married. He informed me this
wasn't his first stint at match-
making and that he had a penchant
A matchmaker how nice, I
thought. Well, asfate would have
it, it was my fellow freshman, fel-
low husband-seeker, the one at the
adviser's office, the one I left
stranded in Miami. As life would
have it, the man I married intro-
duced her to the man she married.
The introduction occurred
during a racquetball class the three
took as seniors during their very
last semester as undergraduates.
Today we are both still married,
living in South Florida some 20
miles apart. Last I heard she has
two children and a tremendous
career as a gutsy accountant. I saw
her picture in the newspaper. She
was photographed drinking hot
cocoa wrapped in a blanket on an
unusually cold South Florida night
cheering her daughter's soccer team
onto victory. I am an attorney with
two children, have also spent many
an evening freezing and cheering
on a soccer field. Fate maybe my
friend and I sensed it that day,
standing at the brink of our lives,
envisioning careers and marriages
and knowing in some strange way
that there was a connection be-
tween us, that we had a date with
Mardi Cohen (BS '83, JD '86) is a
lawyer who lives in Plantation.
Have a Gator Tale ofyour own? Send
your submission to Florida editor,
PO. Box 14425, Gainesville, FL
32604-2425 or Florida@uff.ufl.edu.
Selected essays will be edited for
clarity and length and should be no
longer than 700 words.
summer 2005 27
KATIE REID (BSJ '04)
Could you recognize the Southwest Recreation Center from this scene? Test your knowledge of other campus sites on page 9.
Gator Nation Tailgate
Home games at Emerson
Sept. 3 vs. Wyoming
Sept. 10 vs. Louisiana Tech
Sept. 17 vs. Tennessee
Oct. 8 vs. Mississippi State (homecoming)
Nov. 5 vs. Vanderbilt
Nov. 26 vs. FSU
Sept. 24 vs. Kentucky
Oct. 1 vs. Alabama
Oct. 15 vs. Louisiana State
Oct. 29 vs. Georgia
Nov. 12 vs. South Carolina
Gator Nation Tailgates start no less than
three hours prior to kick-off unless other-
wise noted. All home Gator Nation Tailgates
take place at Emerson Alumni Hall, 1938 W.
University Ave. and are sponsored by the UF
Black Alumni Weekend
Grand Guard Reunion
For information about these and other
alumni association programs, including
local Gator Club events, visit the UF
Alumni Association Web site at
www.ufalumni.ufl.edu or call 888-352-
5866 or 352-392-1905. E-mail questions to
University of Florida Alumni Association
Emerson Alumni Hall
P.O. Box 14425
Gainesville, FL 32604-2425
I h"lh,,hl h,,,, ,,l h,,ll ,,,anl ,l ttlllh ,lilh l
Mrs. Dale B. Canelas
University of Florida
PO Box 117001
Bainesville FL 32611-7001
PERMIT No. 682