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State of Leaders, continued…


Christian "Buddy" Ebsen
Christian "Buddy" Ebsen

Marshall Nirenberg is a biochemist who earned his bachelor's and master's at the University of Florida. He received a Nobel Prize in 1968 for his work in deciphering the genetic code.

Robert Cade, a professor of medicine and physioliogy at UF, determined-after being asked by former coach Dwayne Douglas, "Doctor, why don't football players wee-wee after a game?"-that athletes needed to keep properly hydrated. He created a mixture of water, sodium, potassium, phosphate, sugar and fresh-squeezed lemon juice-Gatorade.

Robert Grubbs, an organic chemist who graduated from UF with both his bachelor's and his master's, won the 2005 Nobel Prize in chemistry for development of the metathesis method in organic synthesis.

William R. Maples was a distinguished professor of anthropology at UF, participating in a wide variety of forensics investigations, including those of President Zachary Taylor and Francisco Pizzaro. He supervised the identification of Czar Nicholas II and his family.

Janet Yamamoto, veterinary professor, co-discovered the deadly feline immunodeficiency virus and developed the first FIV vaccine. Her research on feline immunodeficiency diseases may help develop an AIDS vaccine for humans.

Darrell Hammond
Darrell Hammond

Kathy Deagan, a distinguished research curator and archaeologist, worked tirelessly unearthing a small, marshy area just north of St. Augustine named Fort Mose, the first legally sanctioned black town in North America.


Jonathan Demme went to UF with dreams of becoming a veterinarian but turned his attention to movies. Demme won an Oscar for directing the critically acclaimed Silence of the Lambs. He also directed Philadelphia, The Manchurian Candidate and other films.

Dorothy "Faye" Dunaway initially attended UF to become a teacher. She starred in three of the American Film Institute's 100 best American movies ever made, and she won an Oscar and a Golden Globe.

Christian "Buddy" Ebsen was known for his role as Jed Clampett on the Beverley Hillbillies. He also played Doc Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany's.

Rich Fields was hand-picked by The Price is Right Host Bob Barker in 2004 to replace the show's longtime announcer, the late Rod Roddy. He will take over host duties for Barker in June 2007. Fields received the Red Barber Award for broadcasting excellence while at UF.

Stephen Root
Stephen Root

Darrell Hammond majored in broadcasting at UF and holds the record for most impressions on Saturday Night Live. He is the longest-running cast member in the show's history.

Hugh Wilson is the creator of the sitcom WKRP in Cincinnati. He also wrote for The Bob Newhart Show, and he wrote and directed several films, such as the first Police Academy, Blast from the Past and Guarding Tess.

Stephen Stills is the legendary guitarist of Crosby, Still, Nash & Young. He was the first person to be inducted in to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame twice in a single night.

Lonnie "Mel" Tillis was named the Country Music Association's Entertainer of the Year in 1976 and was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters International Hall of Fame.

Bob Vila, the definitive home improvement personality, hosted PBS's This Old House for many years. He is active in community involvement and helps funds programs for the Make-A-Wish Foundation and other charitable organizations.

Kate DiCamillo's first book, Because of Winn-Dixie, received the prestigious Newbery Award Medal. She was awarded another Newbery in 2004 for her book The Tale of Despereaux.

Lonnie "Mel" Tillis

Stephen Root garnered moderate success playing eccentric radio station owner Jimmy James in the 1990s hit sitcom, News Radio. He is famous for playing the oft-quoted, Swingline stapler-loving Milton in cult classic Office Space. He donated $100,000 to UF to fund what is now known as the Stephen Root Acting Studio.

Al Burt, trustee emeritus of the Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Society, is a retired investigative reporter and columnist for The Miami Herald. He won the 1998 Patrick D. Smith Florida Literature Book Award for his Al Burt's Florida.

Hugh "Malcolm" Gerard Gets is best known for his role as Richard on Caroline in the City. He is a classically trained pianist, dancer, singer and choreographer. He performed in many productions while in Gainesville at the Hippodrome State Theatre.

Kendra Todd, an honors linguistics graduate and co-founder of www.MyHouseRE.com, won the third season of the reality show The Apprentice, earning the real estate broker a position in Donald Trump's organization.


Steve Spurrier
Steve Spurrier

Emmitt Smith set 58 school records while he was a UF_running back. He won numerous awards in football and is the only running back to win a Super Bowl championship, the NFL Most Valuable Player award, the NFL rushing title and the Super Bowl MVP award in the same season. Recently, Smith won television's Dancing with the Stars competition.

Steve Spurrier, currently the head coach for the University of South Carolina's football program, was a standout quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner for UF in the 1960s. He is famous for leading the Gators to the 1996 football national championship.

Danny Wuerffel, an NCAA student-athlete of the year and Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback, led the Gators to four consecutive Southeastern Conference titles and a national championship in 1996.

Herbert Jackson "Jack" Youngblood was a first-round draft pick after becoming an All-American defensive end at UF. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2001.

Frederick "Fred" Antwon Taylor was a member of UF's 1996 championship team and has been one of the NFL's premier running backs. His career 4.6 yards per carry average ranks 5th all-time.

Herbert Jackson "Jack" Youngblood
Herbert Jackson
"Jack" Youngblood

Wilber Marshall, member of the 1985 Chicago Bears, was an All-American linebacker at UF. He was named "National Defensive Player of the Year" in 1983 by ABC Sports. In 1999, UF named him a first-team selection to the Team of the Century.

Anthony "Cris" Collinsworth, former Cincinnati Bengal and current sports commentator for Fox Broadcasting, was a converted UF wide receiver and College Football All-America team member.

David Eckstein, current leadoff hitter and shortstop for the St. Louis Cardinals, was a walk-on to the Gators baseball program. He became a two-time All-SEC player and a three-time SEC Academic Honor Roll selection. He was selected as the 2006 World Series MVP.

Albert "Al" Rosen, amateur boxer and famed third baseman, played his entire 10-year career with the Cleveland Indians. He was a four-time all-star and an MVP. He twice led the league in home runs and RBIs.

Tracy Caulkins is considered the country's greatest all-around female distance swimmer. She won 48 national titles and set 61 American and 5 world records. She was a 1984 Olympic three-time gold medal winner.

Anthony "Cris" Collinsworth
Anthony "Cris" Collinsworth

Thomas Andrew "Andy" Bean won 11 PGA Tour victories, as well as four amateur tournaments while attending UF.

Walter "Red" Barber studied English at UF and became one of the greatest American sportscasters of all time. He announced Florida football games and later became famous calling games for the Cincinnati Reds (1934-1938), Brooklyn Dodgers (1939-1953) and New York Yankees (1954-1966).

Nat Moore, was a star running back at UF, then a favorite passing target for Bob Griese and Dan Marino while playing for the Miami Dolphins. He was named NFL's Man of the Year in 1984 and received the Byron White Humanitarian Award in 1986.

Deb Richard won the Broderick Award as the nation's outstanding female collegiate golfer. She toured on the LPGA circuit and has received as many awards for her charitable ventures as for her athletic accomplishments.

Elfi Schlegel-Dunn, one of the greatest Canadian gymnasts of all time, was a six-time All-American at UF. She now commentates for NBC Sports.

Deb Richard
Deb Richard

Crawford Ker, former All-American in football and Dallas Cowboys offensive lineman, purchased a restaurant in Largo after retiring from the NFL. He has turned that single store into 22 Ker's WingHouse Bar & Grill restaurants.

David Williams, a Gator All-American and nine-year starter in the NFL, was the first offensive lineman to start every game as a freshman. He was voted as the best offensive lineman in Gator history and selected to the UF Team of the Century in 1999.

Kerwin Bell, now head coach for Trinity Catholic High School in Ocala, is famous as UF's starting quarterback from 1984 through 1987. He threw for 7,585 yards and led the Gators to two consecutive 9-1-1 seasons in 1984 and 1985.

James Bates is a favorite personality in Gainesville and former All-SEC linebacker and 1996 National Championship captain for the Gators football team. Host of the local James Bates Show, he has been in several movies and television shows.

Scot Brantley is now in the broadcasting booth following an illustrious career as an All-American middle linebacker for UF and later for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Gen. James A. Van Fleet
Gen. James A. Van Fleet

Armed Services

Paul Tibbets, a former brigadier general in the United States Air Force, attended UF in 1933 to study medicine. He took flying lessons at the Gainesville Airport. He flew the B-29 Enola Gay to drop an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan, at the end of World War II.

John Alison, the all-American airman and member of the national Aviation Hall of Fame, is considered the "Father of Air Force Special Operations." His innovations led him to become the first leader of the 1st Air Commando Force.

Gen. James A. Van Fleet taught ROTC and coached Gator football in the 1920s. He was instrumental in saving Greece from the Communists during the country's civil war in the late 1940s. He was second in command of U.S. troops during the Korean War, and in 1957, he helped establish The Korea Society, dedicated to the promotion of friendly relations between the United States and Korea.


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