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Anne and Rolf Kuhns

As college students Rolf and Anne Kuhns were flat broke.

“I told my mom I didn’t marry Rolf for his money, I married him for his potential,” Anne joked.

But the young couple received something valuable that would set them up for the future: degrees from the University of Florida. And with the help of scholarships, they were able to graduate debt-free.

“The University of Florida gave an awful lot to me and my wife,” said Rolf, a 1972 graduate of the UF physical therapy program. “We surely didn’t pay for all that we received from the University of Florida for our professional education. As our careers progressed and we got to the point where we had the resources, we both had a feeling and a commitment to give back.”

The Kuhns have made a bequest to establish an endowed chair in the department of physical therapy. This planned major gift will create the first endowed chair in the College of Public Health and Health Professions.

Few physical therapy education programs have endowed chairs, making the UF program unique, said Krista Vandenborne, Ph.D., P.T., chair of the UF department of physical therapy.

“This endowment will allow us to attract one of the best people in the country to the University of Florida, which will help us continue to build the department’s visibility and set the stage for the future of the physical therapy program,” Vandenborne said.

In the 40 years since their UF graduations Rolf and Anne have steadily built successful careers. Rolf owned and operated a private physical therapy practice in Orlando and went on to hold administrative positions for national rehabilitation companies. He is now a vice president with Lake Centre for Rehabilitation, headquartered in Leesburg, Fla. Anne, who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in music education in 1969 and was the first UF student to graduate with a master’s degree focused on computer science in education, is now the vice president for information security and chief information security officer for The Walt Disney Company.

Justine Haroon, Kuhns scholarship recipient, and Rolf Kuhns

With their bequest and the scholarship fund they established in 2006 for physical therapy students, Rolf and Anne hope their gifts will support and promote clinical excellence. As a therapist Rolf has improved the lives of many patients, Anne said.

“I’ve seen how Rolf works with patients, in particular my mother and my grandmother, and to watch a patient’s eyes light up when Rolf walks in a room, it’s an amazing thing,” Anne said. “Therapy is not just about making the bones and joints work, it’s about making the person better. And it takes a special skill to do that.”

Justine Haroon, a UF Doctor of Physical Therapy graduate, received the Rolf and Anne Kuhns Scholarship last year. She had the opportunity to meet with Rolf before her graduation.

“Rolf gave me good advice about starting my career in physical therapy,” she said. “The joy and happiness this career has given him is very inspirational. I hope to continue to love and enjoy the field as much as he does.”