Dear colleagues, alumni and friends,
Many of us can fondly recall a moment or experience in pharmacy school that forever shaped our careers. Maybe it was a professor that gave you advice you never forgot or your graduation day when you set out to conquer the world with your new found knowledge in pharmacy. For Robert Crisafi, “Dr. Bob,” that life-changing moment occurred his first day at the UF College of Pharmacy. He and his new bride, Barbara, moved from Boston to Gainesville in the summer of 1953, with less than $1,000 to their names and the burden of paying out-of-state tuition. Summoned to the office of Dr. William Husa, a professor and chairman of the department of pharmacy, Dr. Bob was advised to pursue a Ph.D. instead of a master’s degree, encouraged to apply for a scholarship that he ultimately landed and offered a teaching assistant position that waived his out-of-state tuition. The meeting with Dr. Husa forever changed Dr. Bob’s life, and he has made it his mission to give back to the college that gave so much to him.
In this issue of GATORx, we introduce you to Dr. Bob’s latest philanthropic effort, the Crisafi Challenge, and the pharmacy students who have been touched by his generosity and the support of others. Inspired by the scholarship that transformed his life, Dr. Bob established the Crisafi Challenge fundraising campaign to help the College of Pharmacy recruit the best and brightest students to UF. He challenged alumni and friends to give to the scholarship challenge, and in return, he matched the gifts to double the impact. The noble idea has generated $85,000 in scholarship funding during the first two years of the challenge, and with your support, we envision an even greater impact during the 2017 Crisafi Challenge, Aug. 31-Sept. 9.
The College of Pharmacy also depends upon our alumni to mentor pharmacy students. I encourage you to read about three outstanding programs we have in the college that are shaping the next generation of pharmacists. The Alumni Ambassador, Career Coach and Preceptor programs rely on hundreds of volunteers to selflessly give of their time to enrich the educational experience of our students. As many of our volunteers tell us, the gratification they receive in helping a UF pharmacy student is immeasurable, and they are honored to contribute in a small way toward improving the pharmacy profession.
My challenge to you is to connect all the ways your pharmacy education at UF has benefited your life and career and find a way to give back to your alma mater. Maybe it is a scholarship gift in the upcoming Crisafi Challenge or volunteering as a career coach mentoring a pharmacy student. Life-changing moments are happening every day at the UF College of Pharmacy, and you can be a part of the Gator Good we hope to achieve in the world through your gifts and time.
Julie A. Johnson, Pharm.D.
Dean and Distinguished Professor