The History of the Civil Gators


The idea of forming an association of alumni and friends of the University of Florida’s Civil and Coastal Engineering Department began in 2005 as a result of discussions during the Department’s Advisory Board meetings.  The Advisory Board is a group of civil engineers from both public and private sectors around the State that meets twice a year to get updates on the Department’s activities and advise the Department Chairman on issues of importance.

At a meeting held on November 3, 2006, both a slate of officers and operating rules were accepted by the Advisory Board.  At the March 23, 2007 Advisory Board meeting, three additional association Directors were approved.  The official start date of the new association was July 1, 2007.

The first meeting of the CCE Alumni Club (as it was then called) Board of Directors took place on June 27, 2007, at 10:00 AM in Room 300H in Weil Hall on the University of Florida campus.  The inaugural officers and directors were:

  • President – Ernie Cox
  • President Elect – Ananth Prasad
  • Treasurer – Mike Bell
  • Secretary – Bob Behar
  • Director – Ed Racila
  • Director – Jim Wolfe
  • Director – Aage Schroder

In 2008, the Board approved the addition of a Student Representative to the Civil Gators Board of Directors. Sabrina Parra was selected as the first Student Representative.

In 2008, after numerous meetings and much discussion on various name alternatives, the permanent name of “Civil Gators” was formally adopted by the Board of Directors. 

Rapidly, the Civil Gator Board of Directors began establishing local chapters around the State, with each Board member being responsible for assisting local Civil Gators organize the local chapter.  Organizing committees were initially formed in Southeast Florida and Central Florida, and additional committees subsequently began operations in the Tampa, Jacksonville and Tallahassee areas.  Currently, these organizing committees have resulted in Civil Gators chapters in Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties, and in Orlando, Jacksonville, Tallahassee, as well as the Southwest Florida and Tampa Bay areas.  The Board has a future goal to establish additional chapters in Florida and in other states where there is an interest in Gator Civils coming together.

The Florida chapters have held a number of events ranging from after work socials for networking, bowling and golf tournaments, Gator sports viewing, and opportunities for the CCE Department Chair to present an overview of Department activities.  Some of the high points of the Department include:

  • 32 faculty
  • 727 undergraduate students
  • 293 graduate students
  • Undergraduate program ranks 15th overall and 11th among public institutions
  • Graduate programs ranks 30th overall and 19th among public institution
  • Current enrollment places CCE the second highest in the College of EngineeringCCE has the highest sponsored research funding in the College.
  • CCE Centennial Celebration was held on November 6 and 7, 2009.

Clearly, the goal of the Department is to move into the top ten in rankings and then target No. 1.  Civil Gators is an eager partner in this endeavor. 

If you are a member,  thank you for joining.  Please contact one of our Board members if you want to help with activities in your area.  If you are not a member, please consider joining. Civil Gators is a great way to reconnect with former classmates, the Department faculty, staff and students. This is a wonderful way to give back to our great University.


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