Learning doesn’t stop with retirement: UF Online student earns sociology degree

After leaving the University of Florida prematurely in the late 1970s, Gil Ziffer decided to return to the university four decades later to earn his UF degree while in retirement. Living in Tallahassee, FL after his tenure as a city commissioner, Gil discovered that UF Online’s sociology program was the perfect match for him because of its flexible schedule and fully online format. After starting his B.A. in Sociology in 2021, Gil recently graduated in Fall 2023 at almost 67, fulfilling the dream he began in 1975.

Returning to the Gator Nation decades later

Growing up in Central Florida, Gil belongs to a large family of Gators. His parents had five children, and three of them attended the University of Florida. Gil’s younger brother went to UF and graduated with a degree in accounting, while his older sister graduated from the university with a journalism degree. Gil’s two sons also attended UF, one graduating with a degree in business administration before going on to UF’s Levin College of Law and the other graduating with a degree in art history before also attending law school.

“My father told me I could go to any school I wanted to in Gainesville,” Gil said. “So, not too many options there. My father was a physician, and my mother had a degree. It was a natural assumption we would all attend college. So, the University of Florida was the only school I applied to. Fortunately, I got in.” He initially pursued pre-medical studies before transitioning to landscape architecture for two years, then shifted to advertising before ultimately departing the university at the end of 1978.


UF Online May 30, 2024