GAINESVILLE, Fla. — An entrepreneur, a former university trustee, a business developer and a family of legal professionals are the latest honorees in the University of Florida’s prestigious Academy of Golden Gators. The academy honors alumni and friends whose support and guidance are driving UF’s ascent as one of the nation’s best institutions of higher learning. UF is ranked No. 5 on U.S. News and World Report’s most recent list of public universities.
The 2022 inductees are NVIDIA Corp. co-founder Chris Malachowsky; Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough partner David Brown; Palm Beach County Business Development Board president Kelly Smallridge; and the family of UF College of Law namesake Fred Levin. This year’s awardees were recognized during the academy’s eighth annual induction ceremony on Friday, March 4.
“The Academy of Golden Gators represents people who have done extraordinary things for the University of Florida, for our students, and for public higher education and its continued positive influence on Florida and our nation,” said UF President Kent Fuchs. “I love that current and future generations of students will benefit from their farsightedness, generosity and commitment to helping others — and have the opportunity to look to them as leaders to emulate in their own lives and careers.”
This year’s Academy of Golden Gators Award categories are Transformational Leadership, Lifetime Philanthropy, Lifetime Volunteer and Annual Volunteer.
Transformational Leadership Award
Chris Malachowsky, a 1980 graduate of the UF Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering, is a leading force behind the university’s ambitious initiative to become “America’s A.I. University.” His investments in his alma mater and guidance are transforming courses across campus by incorporating artificial intelligence training in curricula to prepare students to use the cutting-edge technology in their chosen fields. Malachowsky established the California-based global technology giant NVIDIA in 1993. Along with his company, he has made significant contributions to building a data science and information technology center (the future home of the Department of Computer & Information Science & Engineering, among others) on campus and to turning the university’s supercomputer into one of the most powerful in all of higher education.
“Each of this year’s Academy of Golden Gators’ inductees is a game-changer in their own right. But taken together, their influence and goodwill is revolutionizing what it means to be a world-class institution of higher learning,” University of Florida Foundation chairwoman Anita Zucker said. “Lives will be changed because of them and Gators like them.”
By recognizing philanthropists whose commitment enables UF to address societal and wellness challenges and improve lives throughout the world, the Academy of Golden Gators reflects UF’s goal to be one of the nation’s preeminent public research universities. The academy honors the generosity and vision of donors and volunteers who embody the spirit of the university.
The 169-year-old University of Florida has a long history of established programs in international education, research and service, and is one of only 17 public, land-grant universities in the prestigious Association of American Universities. It is ranked No. 5 in the most recent U.S. News and World Report’s list of public universities.
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