College of Health and Human Performance

Congrats, HHP Gator Grads!

On Sunday, May 5, the College of Health & Human Performance recognized one Ph.D., 83 master’s and 462 bachelor’s degree recipients in the Stephen C. O’Connell Center.

Congrats, HHP Gator Grads!

Dean Michael Reid, Ph.D., presided over the ceremony recognizing the graduates in Applied Physiology and Kinesiology; Health Education and Behavior; Sport Management; and Tourism, Event and Recreation Management. Before crossing the stage to celebrate their achievements, students shook hands with Dean Reid and Christopher Janelle, Ph.D., associate dean for academic and student affairs.

The ceremony began with a performance of “America the Beautiful” by College of the Arts master’s student Stephen Walley. In his opening remarks, Dean Reid recognized two-time Teacher of the Year, Joslyn Ahlgren, Ph.D., and Charles S. Williams Service Award winner, Chris Janelle, Ph.D.

Paula D. Welch, Ed.D., professor emerita, delivered the guest speaker address. Welch spoke about her experience as the University of Florida’s first varsity women’s basketball coach and the role that tenacity, perseverance and determination play in the lives of new graduates. (The speech begins at 20:20.)

“Your career may not have a fast break,” Welch said. “You may have to slow the momentum or develop creative strategies to meet unexpected challenges. It is a part of life.”

Kyla Rakoczy, BS APK ’19 from Boca Raton, FL, was selected as the student speaker. Rakoczy thanked friends, family and HHP professors for helping her attain her educational goals. She also shared her key tips for surviving all four quarters in the game of postgraduate life. (The speech begins at 31:24.)

“Be a better player today than you were yesterday” Rakoczy said. “You’re only given four quarters, how will you live yours?”

To close the ceremony, the graduating class of 2019, accompanied by the Gainesville Brass Quintet, sang “We Are the Boys From Old Florida” for the first time as new alumni.

On Friday, May 3, Scott K. Powers, Ph.D., UAA Endowed Professor and Distinguished Professor in APK, addressed doctoral degree recipients and their guests at the university-wide Doctoral Commencement.

“Find your passion, have the endurance to pursue this craving, and don’t be afraid of failure. Indeed, failure is nothing more than an opportunity to learn and grow,” said Powers.

All the ceremonies are available to watch online at To take a survey regarding commencement and see photos from the HHP ceremony, visit

Congratulations, Class of 2019!

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