By Jordan Wenk
If you were on campus last night, you may have seen some commotion going on in building 40. This was the Gator Gathering for 2015, with the Florida Gators Head Coach Jim McElwain as the guest speaker.
“Head Coach McElwain is speaking tonight, and some local vendors are here sellin items. We also have a dinner tonight as well,” said Bill Campbell, President of the Marion County Gator Club.
Some of the festivities included selling gator merchandise, a dinner, a guest speaker and the announcement of the Marion County Gator Club Scholarship recipient. The event is a gathering of UF alumni and is very special to be at. The dinner and the speaker are no media events, so you simply have to be there to experience the community and guest speaker.
This event happens every year, and has been held at CF for multiple years in the past.
“It’s the same format every year, with a different head football coach,” said Tim Walsh, Assistant Vice President of Alumni Affairs. “It’s generally a fundraiser or the Marion County Gator Club scholarship endowment. They’re giving seven scholarships tonight for $2500.”
Many local businesses sponsor the endowment with donations that are all recognized at the event, but also the door fee of $30 for members and $40 for non-members also contributes to the endowment as well as the price of dinner.
There was a pretty large turnout for the even on Monday night, with 330 people attending. Upon entering the Klein center, guests are greeted by the alumni association to get their nametags. There is also a section where guests can purchase a wide variety of UF and Gator merchandise.
The merchandise was provided by the Gator Patch and Family Jewels & Purse Strings with items ranging from apparel to car decals to purses to sports memorabilia.
“We’ve been the vendors for the alumni association for years,” said Judy Erickson, owner of Family Jewels & Purse Strings. “We like to have nice upscale products for alumni, or for anyone who likes it.”
And people do like it. There were people coming in waves to see the selection of items. Erickson began to hand out fliers so people could check the vendor’s website (purse-strings.com) for even more of a selection.
“The alumni association has asked us to have a booth at Emerson hall for every home game to be vendors there as well,” Erickson said.
There really was a lot to see and do at this meeting, and for others that are interested or future alumna it is definitely an exciting experience, and one that you shouldn’t miss next year. Be sure to stop by next time, and also be sure to check out the Gator Patch for a local vendor of gator merchandise and Family Jewels and Purse Strings for more memorabilia.