By Mina Radman
A dreary Gainesville morning became brighter as the UF College of Public Health and Health Professions celebrated outstanding students and graduates at the annual convocation ceremony May 3.
The college’s departments and programs presented students with awards and scholarships. Students graduating magna cum laude and summa cum laude — high and highest honors, respectively — received their honors cords at the ceremony.
The college recognized Michael Marsiske, Ph.D., an associate professor in the department of clinical and health psychology, as the Doctoral Mentor of the Year. Michelle Troche, Ph.D., a research assistant professor in the department of speech, language, and hearing sciences, was named Teacher of the Year. The Outstanding Alumnus of the Year award was presented to Thomas Summerill who received master’s degrees in health administration and business administration in 1984.
Deborah Parham Hopson, Ph.D., R.N., F.A.A.N., the senior advisor for HIV/AIDS Policy at the Health Resources and Services Administration, an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, served as the convocation guest speaker. A graduate of the University of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, she began by saying “I am a Tar Heel, but we celebrate today because we are all part of the public health and health professions family.”
Parham Hopson told students to seek four Ps in life: purpose, passion, power and performance. She spoke about the experiences that shaped her health career, which she began as a nurse. She told students to be open-minded about opportunities.
“The funny thing about life is that the reality that unfolds is better than anything we could have hoped for,” Parham Hopson said.
She ended her speech by telling students to succeed because “we need you, and we’re counting on you.”