Cancer fails to deter UF graduate from goal of master’s degree
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — When Jared Sweat graduated with his bachelor’s degree in soil and water science from the University of Florida in 2009, he applied immediately for his master’s degree in the same field.
But two years later his plans were put on hold when he was diagnosed with stage IV Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a cancer in several portions of one or more organs and tissues, and he had to leave school for treatment.
“When diagnosed, I felt scared and relieved at the same time,” Sweat said. “I had felt bad for so long that I was glad to know what was wrong with me.”
After 12 treatments of chemotherapy in six months, Sweat, 24, has been in remission since Dec. 29. He came back for the spring semester and is now graduating Aug. 11 from UF.
“It has changed my perspective,” he said. “I gained the value of friendship because my friends really came through for me when I was diagnosed.”
Residual effects from treatment of the disease affect his concentration and memory, but reading helps to improve them, he said.
He has worked as a teaching assistant for the soil and water science department for two years and even owns a soil and environmental services business that evaluates soil conditions for new developments.
Soil and water science has always been an interest for Sweat because he was born and raised on his family’s farm in Alachua and worked for an environmental consulting firm doing wetland delineations.
He would like to take a break before getting his doctorate, but his ultimate goal is to teach at the college level.
Sweat is among 2,280 students graduating this summer. There are 953 students graduating with bachelor’s degrees, 903 students with master’s and specialist degrees and 424 students with doctorates.
A universitywide ceremony for all bachelor’s and master’s degrees will be held at 10 a.m. Aug. 11 in the O’Connell Center. The ceremony for all doctoral degrees will be held at 4 p.m. Aug. 10 in the O’Connell Center.
There are 220 students expected to participate in the Friday ceremony, and 870 students in the Saturday ceremony, based on regalia orders.
Outstanding four-year scholar awards will go to Joseph F. Radice, Carla-Ann R. Brown and Kayla S. Adams. An outstanding two-year scholar award will go to Matthew C. Dowell. Megan Maul will receive the outstanding student leader award.
An honorary doctorate will be awarded to UF alumnus Robert R. Lindgren, the president of Randolph-Macon College in Virginia since 2006. Lindgren graduated from UF with a bachelor’s degree in business administration and a law degree before working at the school from 1979 to 1994. His last six years were spent as the vice president for development and alumni affairs, where he organized and directed the second-largest campaign for a public university in America at the time.
Larry DiMatteo from the Warrington College of Business Administration will receive the Teacher-Scholar of the Year award at the Aug. 11 ceremony.
The ceremony for Doctor of Pharmacy and master’s candidates will take place at 10 a.m. Aug.11 in the HPNP Auditorium.
For more information, visit http://www.registrar.ufl.edu/commencement.