Retired UF prof gives $1M to scholarship program

Published: Saturday, July 20, 2013 at 6:47 p.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, July 20, 2013 at 6:47 p.m.

A retired University of Florida professor has donated $1 million to support UF’s Machen Florida Opportunity Scholars program so students from low-income backgrounds can follow his path to higher education.

The gift from Paul Nicoletti, D.V.M., will create graduate-level scholarships in UF’s College of Veterinary Medicine, a part of UF Health. He made the gift during a four-month fundraising drive that collected $15 million for the Machen Florida Opportunity Scholars program.

Donors rallied to support the program after an anonymous donor gave $10 million in October to rename it in honor of Bernie and Chris Machen, UF’s president and his wife.

Nicoletti’s own life experience inspired his gift. A $150 Sears Roebuck scholarship took him from his family farm in Missouri and helped pay his way through the University of Missouri. He later obtained a master’s degree in epidemiology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

A professor emeritus of infectious diseases in UF’s College of Veterinary Medicine, he spent 28 years at UF as a faculty member and adviser to many students. While there, he endowed a scholarship for students with financial need who are interested in public health.

After retiring in 2003, he endowed another need-based scholarship for students interested in careers in food animal medicine.

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