College of Health and Human Performance

Congrats, HHP Gator Grads!

The College of Health & Human Performance recognized 34 master’s and 105 bachelor’s degree recipients on Saturday, December 15 in the historic Florida Gym.

Dean Michael Reid presided over the ceremony recognizing the graduates split among applied physiology and kinesiology; health education; sport management; and tourism, event and recreation management.

Reid acknowledged the parents and families that have sacrificed to get their graduate to this day. He also touched on the significance of hosting the graduation in the Florida Gym, site of previous commencements, visits by dignitaries like a then Senator John F. Kennedy, and the site of concerts featuring Ray Charles, Simon and Garfunkel, Stevie Wonder and Johnny Cash Family, to name a few.

Dr. Jill Varnes, UF alumna, former HHP dean and professor, provided an address that encouraged graduates to make sure every day counts and to go after their future with passion.

“Whatever goal you set, it is best accomplished with a sense of optimism and a positive outlook,” said Varnes. “On a regular basis, we should question if what we are doing is contributing to our own happiness and that of those that we care about.”

Evelyn Maria Veras Cedeño, BS HE ’18, was selected as the graduate speaker and spoke to her peers about equity and opportunity.

“When life opens up doors for you and you get through one, make sure that it’s big enough to bring two or three people with you,” said Veras. “Success should be when all people are able to obtain a seat at the table.”

The ceremony concluded with the singing of “We Are the Boys From Old Florida” and refreshments in the Florida Gym Courtyard.

Photos and video of the ceremony can be found online at

The recognition ceremony followed the university-wide commencement celebrating students from 14 colleges from all degree levels. The address was provided by Mr. Stephen A. Stills, singer/songwriter and two-time Rock and Roll Hall of Famer.

A special ceremony celebrating HHP’s four graduates earning a PhD was held on Friday, December 14 in the Stephen C. O’Connell Center.

All the ceremonies are available to watch online at

Read more HHP news >