Psychologist and equine coach Trish Ring received her master’s degree and Ph.D. at the University of Florida in the 1990s. At the time, she juggled graduate studies, children and household duties — all as a single mother. Ring recently gave a gift of $1 million to the UF Department of Psychology to endow a dissertation fellowship so that future Ph.D. students will be able to focus completely on their research and dissertation.
“The Trish Calvert Ring Dissertation Fellowship is a life-changing opportunity for our most outstanding graduate students, affording recipients support to focus on research while completing their doctoral degrees,” Julia Graber, interim chair of psychology, said.
Additionally, Ring gave $100,000 in support of psychology graduate students to pursue their research and present at conferences.
"As a graduate student at UF, I benefited greatly from the support of donors whose gifts provided scholarships and grants,” said Dr. Ring. “It simply would not have been possible to finish my research, raise a family, and work as a psychology intern without financial support. I'm grateful for that support and for the excellence of my education. It truly changed the course of my career. This is simply a way of giving back."
Ring’s philanthropy already is helping UF students with a previous gift of $100,000. As Graber explained: “Over the past several years, Dr. Ring has made gifts that supported the professional development of nearly 100 students in our doctoral training programs. These gifts have provided research support, opportunities for dissemination of their research and networking with leaders in the field that have had a lasting impact on the careers of our students.”
These gifts will strengthen the department, which in turn will benefit students on the job market, Graber added.
“The impact of her gifts begins with doctoral student research and professional development but will be expressed throughout their subsequent careers in their future research, teaching, practice and outreach,” she said. “Our program, as a whole, benefits immensely from having these prestigious awards, raising our profile in line with being a top psychology department.”
Ring and her husband, Carl, reside in Memphis, Tenn., and have the Blue Star Ranch in Cashiers, N.C., where they are known for their generosity to the community. Earlier this year, the Rings established the Trish Ring Endowment for Child Health and Well-Being at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital in Memphis.
Ryan Marsh, assistant vice president of Development and Alumni Affairs, said, “Trish and Carl are such a warm, giving and compassionate couple. Their philanthropy to the University of Florida has had a profound effect on the lives of nearly 100 students. Their new gifts illustrate their commitment to helping young people achieve their personal and professional goals.”
Ring’s gift is one of the latest to support the university’s Go Greater fundraising campaign, the most ambitious in UF history, and a cornerstone in the University of Florida’s continued rise as one of the nation’s leading public universities. The $3 billion initiative is among the largest active campaigns for a public university. It is the university’s fourth campaign since 1986, and is expected to conclude in fall 2022.