Fabulous 50’s Hill Brannon Endowed Scholarship
About this Scholarship:
In winter of 1952, the University of Florida football team received its very first post-season bowl game invitation after ending the regular season with an 8-3 record. On New Year’s Day in 1953, the Gators defeated the University of Tulsa in a 14-13 victory at the Gator Bowl.
In 1977, Doug Dickey — then coach of the Gators – decided to recognize the 25th anniversary of the 1952 team that brought home the University’s first bowl victory. Dickey employed the help of football team manager Hill Brannon and Charlie LaPradd, co-captain of the 1952 team and first-team All-American, to locate the former players and those associated with the team. Brannon and LaPradd organized hotel accommodations, planned a dinner reception and secured football tickets to that weekend’s game.
The first reunion was so well received that Brannon and LaPradd decided to turn the event into an annual celebration, eventually extending the festivities to include all football team members from coach Bob Woodruff’s era, 1950-59. The so-called“Fabulous 50’s” reunion was born.
Brannon became a figurehead for the reunions, keeping the players up to date on each other’s lives over the years, Joel Wahlberg wrote in a letter to the members of the Fabulous 50’s.
“He is responsible for rekindling those friendships begun so many years ago and which mean so much to us,” Wahlberg wrote.
A graduate of the University of Florida’s College of Journalism and Communications, known in 1952 as the School of Journalism, Brannon was dedicated to supporting the University and carrying on the annual tradition of the Fabulous 50’s. Brannon took on the leadership role of planning and organizing the reunions every fall until he resigned from his post in 2008.
“I feel like the university has done so much for me over the years, and I just wanted to give back,” Brannon said.
In 2008, three of Brannon’s peers — Perry McGriff, Joel Wahlberg and Maurice Edmonds – created an annual scholarship endowment at the College of Health and Human Performance. Named in honor of their outgoing reunion chair, they established the Hill Brannon Fabulous 50’s Endowment. The endowment was initially funded by Brannon’s peers as a surprise in his honor. After the fund received enough support to reach the endowment level, the scholarship was unveiled to Brannon at the annual reunion in November 2009.
Every fall, the scholarship will be awarded to an outstanding undergraduate student who embodies academic success and dedication to community involvement.
- This award is for a student in any college major with outstanding character and a strong commitment to serve their profession.