For their first date, Nell asked Jim to tailgate with a couple of friends before a Gator game. They enjoyed a picnic in the wooded area near the Reitz Union, and soon they were spending most of their nights together, going for pizza at 3 a.m. after study sessions or watching sports. The UF College of Medicine campus provided the backdrop for their budding romance, which ultimately resulted in a family of four children, nine grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
The Potters say they are grateful for their shared memories — getting married during their second year of medical school, the birth of their first child during their third year — as well as the training they received at the UF College of Medicine. With the establishment of the Nell W. Potter, MD, Assistant Professorship in Adolescent Medicine, the Potters aim to pay it forward. The couple’s fund will support an assistant professorship in adolescent medicine within the UF department of pediatrics.
“It’s important for us to give back,” Jim Potter says. “We came from families that didn’t have a lot of money. Now, we see ourselves as recipients of an asset for which we need to make a return.”
His wife agrees.
“UF made it possible for us to have the life we have now, to practice a profession we enjoy, to make an adequate living, to be able to see and experience all kinds of places and things,” she says.
After graduation, Jim served in the U.S. Navy as a flight surgeon before completing a pathology residency at the UF College of Medicine. Nell worked as a resident with a general practice, treating many Navy wives. When they moved to Gainesville, she became a physician treating UF students at the Student Health Care Center.
“I found I really enjoyed treating young people. Adolescent medicine was a way to teach teenagers how to take control of their own care,” Nell Potter says.