Article from UF Advancement

Ada Rosenson Dorfeld

1947 was a year of promise and wonder. The last battles of World War II a distant echo, veterans were returning to a UF campus that had just officially become coed. For one spirited 16-year-old New Jersey girl, it marked the beginning of what would be a remarkable life.

That year, Ada Rosenson Dorfeld (BAE ’52, MED ’55), the daughter of a self-made hardware store owner, was dreaming of what might be. Florida had caught her eye: the sunshine, orange groves, palm trees, and the beaches.

“My grandparents knew they didn’t want to be in the snow and the cold the rest of their lives, so they moved most of the family down to Miami,” daughter Cindy Dorfeld Bruckman (BA ’84) explains. “Mom stayed behind in New Jersey to finish high school and worked really hard to make her own way to get into college and to pay for it.”

When the time came to leave for college, Dorfeld headed to the University of Florida — in no small part because a woman whose children she babysat had said how much her own brother loved Gainesville.

To make ends meet, Dorfeld worked at a bakery near campus — one of her jobs was squirting jelly into doughnuts. For extra cash, she sold her student football tickets. Even her spare time wasn’t free time. When not listening to lectures, studying or knuckle deep in sweets, Dorfeld represented Mallory Hall as its student housing president.

“She was just scraping by,” Bruckman says. “She’s always been a woman who’s taken nothing from anyone and was proud of the things she did on her own.”

Two degrees and a career, a marriage and motherhood, and decades of frugality and smart investing later, Dorfeld is doing her best now to make sure future educators have a smoother path to, and through, UF than she did.

Her $1 million pledge to UF’s College of Education supports the college’s overarching mission and funds scholarships for first-generation students who want to be teachers. The contribution adds to an endowment she created in 2013 to support the Bernie and Chris Machen Florida Opportunity Scholars program, which will receive additional funding through a charitable gift annuity. In recognition of her kindness…READ MORE