Stepping into traditions: UF MHA students receive Gator pins to start the 2023 fall semester

UF MHA Class of 2025 gathered with UF MHA faculty and alumni to start the 2023-2024 academic year.

Incoming UF MHA students received Gator pins from alumni as a symbolic initiation into the program.

In late August, a new cohort of UF MHA students were welcomed into the Department of Health Services Research, Management and Policy during one of the program’s annual traditions, the UF MHA Pinning Ceremony.

The incoming class of twenty-one students was greeted by several UF MHA faculty members – including Dr. Keith Benson, UF MHA Program Director, and Lonn McDowell, Vice Chair of Administration in the UF Department of Surgery – as well as a handful of UF MHA alumni, who were invited to bestow each member of the Class of 2025 with a gold Gator pin.

“The Gator pinning ceremony is a time where a UF MHA first-year [student] receives a Gator lapel pin from a UF MHA alum. This ceremony is significant in that it connects the new UF MHA candidates to alumni from different years and generations,” explains Dr. Benson.

Invited alumni participants included Savannah Patterson Johnson (’21) , Kerri O’Malley (’22) , Sandra Johnson (’21), Lina Calderon (’23), Katie Cairnes (’18), and Alan Nguyen (’23).

The tradition has served as a means of initiation for each new incoming UF MHA class.

Once the Class of 2025 reaches the end of their final spring semester, their master’s career will similarly be memorialized with the UF MHA Hooding Ceremony where each student will be bestowed with a hood in place of a pin, to signify the transition from the leadership-learning in the classroom to their real=world careers as leaders in healthcare administration.

pinning ceremony
Dr. Keith Benson, UH MHA Program Director, with invited guests, UF MHA alumni, who participated in the pinning ceremony.