“It’s Great to be a Florida Gator”

Welcoming the UF Class of 2027

The University of Florida has officially welcomed the Class of 2027. Hear from some of the newest members of the Gator Nation.

Jaliyah Brown

For Jaliyah Brown, being admitted to UF was a cause for celebration – and chanting. A video of Brown after learning of her acceptance shows the many ways in which she is already exhibiting spirit for her new school.

In the video, Brown dances excitedly and chants “Go Gators” to the UF fight song, “The Orange and Blue,” while dressed in Gators gear and surrounded by UF decorations.

Brown, who is from Tampa, Florida, said when she toured UF’s campus she immediately felt at home.

“The educational quality and community are unmatched by any other school,” she said. “My love for the school only grew when I attended my first football game. There are so many organizations that align with my passions for government and community service. I can talk about what makes UF amazing forever, but those are some of my favorites.”

Perry Friedman

Growing up with UF alumni as parents, Perry Friedman and her brother, Brett, were familiar with Saturdays in The Swamp cheering on the Gators, evenings spent watching games on television and even pets dressed in UF outfits.

The family lives in Marietta, Georgia, but Gainesville holds a special place in their hearts.

Thus, when Perry applied to become a student at the family’s beloved school, Brett decided to document her journey through a heartfelt video.

“My little sister has wanted to go to UF since before she learned to walk,” he said in the video, which included a compilation of various photos of the siblings at UF throughout the years.

His video also captured Perry’s reaction to her decision. Perry cried as she opened the letter. When she saw the acceptance, she and her family jumped up and down together and screamed with joy.

“Go Gators, I couldn’t be prouder of you Perry,” the text on the video read. “Congratulations; go be great.”

Izabela Gonzalez

Izabela Gonzalez, a new UF student from Miami, says wearing orange and blue is like wearing a badge of honor.

In a video capturing Gonzalez’s reaction to UF’s decision, she immediately shrieks at her computer and looks to her family in excitement. She then runs away victoriously with her arms in the air.

“You know that at UF you’ll be surrounded by other hardworking, creative and well-rounded Gators who want to be there just as bad as you do,” she said.

After a celebratory run, Gonzalez dropped to the ground onto her stomach, doing the Gator chomp with both of her arms.

Dylan Lopatin

Dylan Lopatin was with his whole family decked out in Gator gear as they stood at the computer awaiting his decision.

With a deep breath, his whole family erupted in cheers and began jumping up and down with excitement.

Lopatin, from Parkland, Florida, is a third-generation UF student.

“I have wanted to be a Gator my whole life,” he said. “I’m excited to carry on the tradition of Gators in my family.”

İdil Sena Keskin

After İdil Sena Keskin opened her acceptance letter to UF, she nearly fell out of her chair.

Keskin, from Istanbul, danced with excitement from the news of going to her perfect school.

“Being part of a smart, driven, supportive group of people in a prestigious and academically rigorous university was what I was looking for,” she said. “And I found it.”

Lucas Valdes

In a video capturing Lucas Valdes’ reaction to his UF decision, he is nervous to see what his future holds.

The recording shows him sitting alongside some family members, nervously taking a deep breath and closing his eyes.

Valdes, Miami, says he has wanted to attend UF since he set foot on campus.

“From the moment I first visited UF, I knew Gainesville was where I belonged,” he said.

When Valdes opened the letter and realized where he was headed, he gave a celebratory air punch and embraced his family. 

Emma Richards March 27, 2023