By Lauren Irizarry and Joan Andrek
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 created 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 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.
“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 (an Orlando nightclub where 49 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. 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 the college, Gale knows students need all the support they can get. From mentoring students to helping guide some to financial resources, he has maintained a rigorous commitment over the years to hundreds of aspiring dental professionals.
Now, his 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 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.