Scott promotes entrepreneurship while honoring Cade as 'Great Floridian'


Mary Cade, the wife of the late inventor of Gatorade Dr. Robert Cade, accepts the Great Floridian Award from Florida Gov. Rick Scott at the Cade Museum for Creativity and Invention in Gainesville on Thursday.

Doug Finger/The Gainesville Sun
Published: Thursday, September 26, 2013 at 1:29 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, September 26, 2013 at 1:29 p.m.

Gov. Rick Scott visited the Cade Museum for Creativity and Invention on Thursday morning to present the Great Floridian Award to the family of the late Dr. Robert Cade, lead inventor of Gatorade, on what would have been his 86th birthday.

During a presentation to about 70 local elected officials, educational and business leaders, Scott and University of Florida President Bernie Machen focused on Cade's legacy that paved the way for current entrepreneurial efforts in Gainesville that include the private sector working with the university to create jobs.

Scott noted the plans of the Cade Museum, now housed in an office building on South Main Street, to build a full-scale museum in Depot Park.

"This state-of-the-art museum, which I know you're working on going across the street, will leave a lasting legacy on the entire state," Scott said. "What I like about it is it's talking about entrepreneurship and how you work with the university to get something done.

"We're doing it here but we have a much bigger opportunity than what we've gotten done today."

Phoebe Cade Miles, Cade's daughter, said the museum's goal is to use the Gatorade story "to inspire a whole new generation of future inventors, early entrepreneurs and creative thinkers, so this was my father's dream."

Scott presented the award to Cade's widow, Mary Cade, whom Machen credited for her contribution to Gatorade.

"When no one would drink it because it tasted so terrible, it was Mary that said, 'Why don't you add lemon juice?' " he said.

Robert Cade came to UF in 1961 and spent 38 years in the Division of Renal Medicine.

Cade Miles noted the attendance of Julie Douglas, daughter of football player and coach Dewayne Douglas, who asked the famous question that led to Dr. Cade's research: "Why do football players not pee?"

Julie Douglas said her father would lose 15 pounds during games and practices. In addition to being an assistant Gator football coach, he was also a campus security guard who chatted with the doctors while they had coffee.

Cade began his research on Florida Field with $46 worth of supplies, Cade Miles said.

Today, Gatorade is a $5 billion-a-year business. Since 1973, it has generated $240 million in royalties for UF, including $17 million last year, most of which is used for medical research.

"It changed sports forever, and it changed our lives here in Gainesville, Florida," Cade Miles said. "And it led to a change in the way America thinks about patent law regarding universities and technology transfer, and it paved the way for our famous incubators that are here in town now."

Also in attendance Thursday were Dr. Alex de Quesada Jr., one of the four original doctors on the Gatorade team, and lab tech Loren Roby.

Roby, 70, of Orlando, said after the ceremony that although Gatorade is mostly associated with football, Dr. Cade "was always thinking larger, using it for hydration for kids with diarrhea, in poor countries and rural areas without good water."

Even before opening a full museum, the Cade Museum has been conducting hands-on science programs for kids.

Miles Sullivan, 14, started attending the after-school and summer programs two years ago while a student at the Caring and Sharing Learning School. Now a freshman at Buchholz High School, he works there as a volunteer.

"It's very creative," he said of the museum. "It makes kids explore things in new ways."

Sullivan talked with the governor as they posed for photos.

"He's a very nice guy," Sullivan said. "He gave me a card and told me to come see him in his office."

Cade is the 82nd recipient of the Great Floridian Award, whose honorees have included sports figures such as Steve Spurrier and Tim Tebow, former governors, civil rights activists, military heroes and entrepreneurs.

Cade is also the third inventor so honored, following Thomas Edison and John Gorrie, who invented air conditioning.

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