IFAS News

University of Florida

Sisterly Competition: The Path to Graduation

Topic(s): CALS, Graduation, IFAS

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. –  With more than 52,000 students at the University of Florida, the competition for leadership positions in student organizations, research opportunities and internships can be stiff. For Alessandra and Adriana Della Porta, competition hits close to home – or rather resides at home.

The twin sisters from Ponte Vedra Beach both study microbiology and cell science with goals of becoming medical doctors. Together they graduate from the UF College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS) with their peers on April 29 at 7 p.m. in the Exactech Arena at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center.

Even with similar career aspirations, the sisters have crafted individual experiences at UF with regard to research, involvement and career plans.

“At the end of the day, we’re in competition, so that’s been really difficult,” Adriana said. “But we can shine because we’ve put our efforts in different places in (CALS) and at UF to maintain our independence. Because of this, we can truly be happy for one another and support one another. We’ve made our own names for ourselves – we aren’t ‘Adriana’s sister’ or ‘Alessandra’s sister.’”

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UF honors Marjorie Reitz Turnbull with Distinguished Service Award

Topic(s): Agriculture, CALS, Graduation, IFAS

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Marjorie Reitz Turnbull was presented with the Stephen C. O’Connell Distinguished Service Award by the University of Florida at the 10 a.m. fall graduation ceremony on Dec. 17. The award is one of the highest honors bestowed upon UF alumni, recognizing exceptional public service to the state of Florida or the nation at large.

Turnbull was nominated for the award by the UF College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS) and UF College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS). Turnbull earned her undergraduate degree in political science from CLAS, and continues to honor her father J. Wayne Reitz’s legacy at UF. She has endowed a fund for the J. Wayne Reitz Medal of Excellence Award given to an outstanding senior in CALS to honor her father’s service as provost of agriculture (1949-1955) and fifth president of UF (1955-1967). Her late husband Augustus B. Turnbull III was a former provost of Florida State University.

“Ms. Reitz Turnbull has continuously served the University of Florida by maintaining a relationship with students and alumni, and returning to Gainesville to support the University’s various projects such as the renovation and expansion of the J. Wayne Reitz Union,” said retired UF Vice President for Student Affairs David Kratzer in his letter of support for Turnbull’s nomination.

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UF honors Louis E. “Red” Larson with Distinguished Achievement Award

Topic(s): Agriculture, CALS, Graduation, IFAS, Livestock

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Louis E. “Red” Larson was presented with the Distinguished Achievement Award by the University of Florida at the 10 a.m. fall graduation ceremony on Dec. 17.

The award is one of the highest honors bestowed upon a UF supporter. The award recognizes exceptional achievements of the individual in his or her chosen profession, demonstrated leadership, and other exemplary accomplishments that merit special recognition by the university. Larson was nominated for the award by the UF College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS).

Larson’s first job as a Miami Daily News paperboy in the 1930s enabled him to purchase his first cow. He worked on weekends and during summers to hand-milk cows for a local dairyman. In 1947 he began his own dairy farm and now Larson Dairy, Inc. is one of the largest dairy operations in the Southeast, producing more than 200 million pounds of milk annually.

“Through [Larson’s] hard work, entrepreneurial spirit, business ability and willingness to embrace modern science and cutting edge management practices, he built Larson Farms from the ground up by leading people and building a team of employees that believed in Larson and his vision for modern dairy operation,” said the Executive Vice President of the Florida Cattlemen’s Association Jim Handley in his letter of support for Larson’s nomination.

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UF CALS honors outstanding supporters, celebrates award-winning student leaders at graduation

Topic(s): Announcements, CALS, Graduation, IFAS

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The University of Florida honored distinguished College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS) supporters and outstanding students at the 10 a.m. fall graduation ceremony on Dec. 17. Two of three Outstanding Four-Year Scholars were CALS students, and two of three Outstanding Student Leaders were CALS students.

Outstanding Four-Year Scholars – Jeanelle Brisbane and Kelly Schwanebeck

Outstanding Student Leaders – Brooke Cicero and J. Clay Hurdle

Outstanding Four-Year Scholars were chosen by a UF selection committee that considered grade point average, curriculum, academic awards, research projects or honors thesis. The students began at UF as freshmen and have minimal work conducted at other institutions. Outstanding Student Leader awards were given by the UF Alumni Association and chosen by a selection committee that considers the quality and scope of leadership activities, university-wide leadership, experience, special awards and recommendations of faculty, staff and students.

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Accepting Academic Challenges to Reach Graduation

Topic(s): Agriculture, CALS, Departments, Graduation, Honors and Appointments, IFAS

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. –  College was never a thought in Leigh Ann Skurupey’s mind as a high school student. Now, she’ll be graduating this week with a doctorate in animal sciences.

The University of Florida College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS) graduate student began her higher education journey in an effort to change people’s minds about her abilities. Skurupey has dyslexia, a learning disability that makes learning to read and interpret words, letters or symbols difficult. School has always been harder for her as she works daily to overcome her reading challenges.

Skurupey joined 458 UF/CALS students who graduated at 4 p.m. on Dec. 16, and 10 a.m. on Saturday in the Stephen C. O’Connell Center.

As a high school student, Skurupey overheard her mother telling her younger brother he needed to work on improving his grades. Skurupey’s brother asked why their mother didn’t scold her for lower grades, to which their mother replied, “she’s just not quite smart enough.”

“Once I heard her say that, it was my only reason why I went to school – to prove her wrong,” Skurupey said.

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