Breaking barriers, leveling the playing field and easing the path for aspiring dental professionals.
Retired UF College of Dentistry educator Marc Gale, D.M.D., had these objectives in mind last year when he took the initiative to create the first endowed scholarship at the college for students who, by action and advocacy, support human rights, especially those of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning, or LGBTQ, students.
The Gale Pride Scholarship is in its inaugural academic year. The scholarship has been awarded to the first six recipients, all of whom have actively demonstrated advocacy and action for the causes and concerns of LGBTQ students: Byron Amador, Fitz Brooks, Wade Combs, Dana DeLosa, Coty Granatosky and Daniel Popper.
In addition to the college’s commitment to cultural diversity, the Gale Pride Scholarship aligns those student LGBTQ advocates directly with the college’s values of excellence, integrity, collaboration, courtesy, compassion, diversity and professionalism, which continue to propel students, faculty and staff to successfully fulfill the college’s vision and mission.
“For many years, I had considered establishing a scholarship through my estate plan that honored my mother and father,” Gale said. “However, the purpose of this scholarship is just as close to my heart, and after the tragic shooting at Pulse Nightclub (an Orlando nightclub where more than 50 people were killed by a gunman), I thought it was more important to build support for a student population frequently subjected to bias.”
Gale first retired from the college in 2006 but subsequently returned to continue teaching several times over the years, and he also served as interim chair of the department of restorative dental sciences after his “retirement” as well. As an educator for more than 40 years at UFCD, Gale knows all too well that dental education experience can be tough, and that students need all the support they can get.
From mentoring students and helping guide some to financial resources, he has maintained a rigorous commitment over the years to tutoring hundreds of aspiring dental professionals. Not one dental student passed through the college’s doors without being influenced by Gale’s passion and commitment to dental education. In May 2016, he officially retired but his dedication to the college, and to dental education and students, will never fully retire.
Now, his legacy and commitment to education, diversity and inclusion lives on through the Gale Pride Scholarship. The first six Gale Pride Scholarship recipients were endowed by Gale’s personal estate designation, while the scholarship funding continues to grow through gifts to the endowment.
As of July 2017, the Gale Pride Scholarship endowment has raised $45,200 in cash donations and pledges.
The scholarship supports a currently enrolled D.M.D. student who is in good academic standing, focused on being a successful practitioner, and who demonstrates thorough advocacy and action for the causes and concerns of LGBTQ students. Gale’s personal estate designation will fully endow the scholarship, and every gift added to the endowment will increase the amount available for scholarship support.