First woman in Gator Marching Band says she’ll keep coming back

November 5, 2015
uf news

Sophy Mae Mitchell was certain of one thing when she landed on the University of Florida campus more than 50 years ago: She just had to march.

She carried the banner for the Gator Marching Band during her freshman year, but then graduated to the bell lyre, an instrument she took up again in 1973 as a member of the first Gator Alumni Band.

This year, she’ll return to Florida Field once again to strut her stuff, this time at the Vanderbilt-Florida Homecoming game on Nov. 7. Mitchell, 83, describes her years with the Gator band as “awfully special.”

“I didn’t know that it would last a lifetime,” she says, “but I did know that it was special.”

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