By Wendy Sarubbi | April 3, 2014 12:27 pm

The second time was the charm for the Burnett School of Biomedical Sciences Golf Classic, as about 80 golfers gathered March 24 in a tournament sponsored by one of UCF’s most generous donors.

The $60,000 in net proceeds from the classic, named in honor of Al and Nancy Burnett, will help attract the best and brightest graduate school scientists to the College of Medicine’s Burnett School of Biomedical Scientists. The inaugural tournament, held last October, was rained out and rescheduled this spring at Winter Park’s Interlachen Country Club.

“The money raised during this event is a powerful statement of the commitment that the entire community has for the cutting-edge biomedical research we are performing in the Burnett School of Biomedical Sciences,” said Dr. Stephen King, a Burnett faculty member who golfed in the event as president of the medical school’s Faculty Council. “These funds will be used to train the next generation of researchers that can help society address the health challenges of the future.”

The Burnetts’ donation to begin the biomedical sciences program was the foundation for UCF’s new medical school. It was one of many gifts the Burnett family has given to UCF – the president’s home and the Burnett Honors College are also the result of their generosity.

“Al and Nancy Burnett personified the philanthropic spirit that has made this community so great and that lead to the formation of the Burnett School and the UCF College of Medicine,” said Dr. Deborah German, vice president for medical affairs and founding dean of the medical school. “That caring and giving attitude is demonstrated through their children and grandchildren in this golf tournament that will help create tomorrow’s scientific leaders.”

Golfers included UCF President John C. Hitt, area business leaders and donors. The scramble tournament included a shotgun start, buffet lunch and awards reception. The tournament’s proceeds were matched by the Al & Nancy Burnett Charitable Foundation.

“We are so grateful that UCF created this wonderful opportunity to celebrate our parents’ legacy with the good friends and leaders who inspired their passionate support of the university,” said Bruce Burnett, the Burnetts’ son and a director of their charitable foundation. “They were very proud of the cutting-edge research taking place at the university and its commitment to educating future doctors and scientists in a new and better way.”

Event sponsors included: GrayRobinson, P.A. Attorneys at Law, SunTrust Private Wealth Management, Mercedes-Benz of Orlando, CFE Federal Credit Union, Moore, Ellrich & Neal, P.A. Certified Public Accountants, AT&T, DELL, FAIRWINDS Credit Union, the University of Central Florida Foundation, Inc., the Volvo Store of Winter Park, Jim and Judy Russell and the Al & Nancy Burnett Charitable Foundation.

Money raised will go toward fellowships for Masters and Ph.D. students. Burnett School faculty researchers, graduate and undergraduate students focus their work on cancer, cardiovascular, neurodegenerative and infectious disease.

College of Medicine faculty members Dr. Jane Gibson and Dr. William Self also participated in the tournament. “Our golfing highlights included a few birdie opportunities (that we were unable to convert), playing on a simply amazing course, and driving past an alligator on one of the holes,” said Dr. King, who completed the faculty threesome. “We look forward to improving our skills and being ready to participate in what we hope will become an annual tradition at UCF.”

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