UF alum’s philanthropy supports pediatric professorship

Sally and Mark Rosser

Mark and Sally Rosser understand the importance of education, as evidenced by their long-standing philanthropic support of the University of Florida. Although Mark Rosser’s career path led him from politics to a period as an entrepreneur and then eventually into corporate compliance, his roots are firmly in education.

Given their passion for education, the Rossers’ most recent gift to the UF College of Medicine comes as no surprise. The Rosser Endowed Pediatric Professorship presents an exciting opportunity to recruit and retain top-tier teaching talent. The professorship will be awarded to an outstanding research clinician, and the position will live in perpetuity, continually serving the children treated at UF Health.

“We are very thankful for the Rossers’ generosity,” said Desmond A. Schatz, M.D., interim chair of the UF College of Medicine department of pediatrics. “This professorship will enable us to recruit the next generation of physician-scientists, which will ultimately improve health outcomes for our children and our nation.”

As a family filled with educators — including Sally Rosser and one of their daughters — the Rossers felt UF Health was the best place to make a gift that would support education.

“I graduated from UF to become a teacher, so education has always been important to us,” said Mark Rosser, who earned his bachelor’s degree in political science from the UF College of Education in 1979. “The idea behind this professorship is that doctors are constantly learning. This was a chance for someone to become even better at what they do, and the pediatric patients at UF Health will benefit. It just made sense to us.”

With nationally ranked medical education and research at the UF College of Medicine, as well as nationally ranked patient care at UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital, UF Health continues to be a sought-after resource for pediatric patients and their families throughout Florida and beyond. In addition to the educational component of this gift, the Rossers believe it will help to bolster the exemplary care that faculty in the department of pediatrics provide to patients.

The Rossers were motivated to give to the department of pediatrics for another reason close to their heart: their daughter. A 2015 UF College of Nursing graduate who now works as a pediatric intensive care unit nurse in Tallahassee, the Rossers’ daughter endured significant injuries as a pediatric patient herself.

“She suffered a brain injury, as well as a broken shoulder and clavicle, about 15 years ago,” Mark Rosser said.

At the time, the Rossers were told that for their young daughter to receive the specialized care she required, she would need to travel to a facility in Atlanta that focused more on pediatric patients.

Their experience is not unlike many patients who turn to UF Health for specialized care.

“I can’t tell you the number of friends we’ve had with a significant medical issue, and even though Tallahassee has good medical care, they go to UF Health,” Mark Rosser said.

Now, as a nurse, their daughter often sends her own patients to UF Health when needed.

When considering giving opportunities at UF Health, the Rossers reflected on their daughter’s experience as a child. They wanted to find a meaningful way to contribute to the work at the department of pediatrics and make an impact on the lives of pediatric patients at UF Health.

“Now, with grandkids, what greater legacy could we leave than a professorship focused on pediatric health?” Mark Rosser said. Excited by the idea that their gift would attract a high level of teaching talent to the department, the Rossers hope that the effects will be far-reaching. Their generosity will result in highly skilled pediatricians graduating from the UF College of Medicine who will make a difference for the future of pediatric care at UF Health and beyond.