College of Health and Human Performance

Global Giving Day

Join Dr. Jill Varnes and support HHP scholarships

Global Giving Day

For the past two years, the college has been able to provide more than 100 scholarships because of our generous donors. On this Global Giving Day, if you are able, we ask that you consider donating to our students, many of whom are experiencing additional hardships during this pandemic. 

Recently, Jill Varnes, Ed.D., faculty emeritus and retired dean, made a generous gift to support scholarships. The Varnes family are loyal donors, directing their philanthropy to all areas of the college, including three endowed scholarships — two of those scholarships are in partnership with other generous donors.

The family also supports an endowment to benefit the Department of Health Education & Behavior’s program, faculty and students. Thank you, Dr. Varnes and the Varnes Family. You enable the college to stay true to its mission of educating the next generation of leaders in science, healthcare, and major industries including sport management, tourism and hospitality.  

“Over the many years that my husband and I taught at the college, we encountered students whose passion for their education far exceeded their financial capacity. When we found ourselves in a position to be able to give back, scholarships were the natural choice. It allowed us to pay it forward, hopefully helping others recognize the value of scholarship giving, to support and encourage students’ educational aspirations.” 

— Jill Varnes, Ed.D., Faculty Emeritus, BSPE ’73, MAPE ’74


Join Dr. Varnes and Give Today |

Endowment funds provide a unique opportunity to direct your support into areas of your interests. Endowments can be established with gifts of cash, bequests and other assets and offer an opportunity to honor and/or memorialize. Learn more about the new CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security) Act and its charitable giving incentives.

To learn more about giving opportunities, contact Lesley Thurston-Watt at

Dr. Jill Varnes and her late husband, Dr. Paul Varnes

Dr. Jill Varnes

Jill Varnes, Ed.D., is a dedicated UF alumna, educator and leader. During the course of her career, she planned and implemented professional development programs and leadership institutes for volunteer organizations, school districts and professional associations.

Dr. Varnes is credited with grants in excess of $3 million, and was the first faculty member in HHP to successfully compete for funding from the National Institutes of Health. She has contributed to various journals such as Preventive Medicine, Journal of Health Education, and Health Education and Behavior.

Varnes earned both a Bachelor of Science and Master of Arts in Physical Education from the University of Florida in 1973 and 1974, respectively. In 1978, she returned to UF as assistant professor after earning a doctorate from the University of Southern Mississippi and rose through the academic ranks with tenure and then full professor. She became assistant dean in HHP primarily responsible for student affairs in 1989.

In 2003, Varnes was appointed interim dean of HHP after successfully guiding UF’s re-accreditation process and served in the role of dean until 2006. During this time, she became the first woman to serve as the university’s NCAA faculty athletic representative (FAR) and in the following year stepped out of the role as interim dean and continued her role as FAR and professor in Health Education and Behavior until her retirement in 2011.

Varnes and her late husband, Dr. Paul Varnes, former chair of the Department of Tourism, Recreation and Sport Management and professor emeritus, have five children — all UF graduates — and 12 grandchildren.