Orange, Blue and You campaign helps to change students’ lives
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Odds were stacked against student Heather Loran. It’s a wonder, some would say, she’s made it as far as she has — to UF and the doorstep of a most unlikely destiny.
Her father was never part of her life, and her mother was unable to care for Loran and her four siblings. Sometimes determination and heart are more telling than circumstances, and a tattered childhood is no match for Loran’s will to become a physician assistant.
When her family split up, Loran moved to her grandparents’ home in rural Coleman, a little more than an hour’s drive south of Gainesville. “My grandparents are my saviors,” Loran said.
At South Sumter High, Loran studied hard to get into UF and was class salutatorian. “I wanted to be part of The Gator Nation and try and make a difference,” she said.
UF’s Florida Opportunity Scholars program put that goal in reach. The program provides scholarships for students from low-income households who are the first in their families to attend college.
“Without the scholarship, I would not be a Gator, so the FOS program means everything to me,” said Loran, a health science major who is completing her junior year this semester.
Loran is especially grateful to donors who support the program.
“The donors impact so many students’ lives here at UF. They make this world a better place,” she said. “Hopefully, one day I will be able to give this amazing gift to students, like they have for me.”
She has already begun to pay it forward by becoming a mentor for first-year Florida Opportunity Scholars.
Each year, the Florida Opportunity Scholars program puts a UF degree within reach for hundreds of students like Loran, who without the scholarship might never realize their promise.
UF faculty and staff can help by giving to the program during the Orange, Blue and You campaign.
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