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Gainesville is perhaps best known as the home of the University of Florida (UF) and its national title-winning sports teams, the fightin’ Gators. But there’s much, much more to this story than football and basketball, and the university is not the only game in town.
Santa Fe College encompasses multiple campuses, offers hundreds of programs and is UF’s top feeder school. St. Leo University offers classes in two locations. City College has a Gainesville campus. And people come from all over the nation for specialized degree programs at Dragon Rises College of Oriental Medicine, Florida School of Massage, Florida School of Traditional Midwifery, and the Academy for Five Element Acupuncture. All together, there are over 65,000 students enrolled in higher education programs throughout our area.
Student interns enliven the area with their participation in a wide variety of civic, nonprofit and business organizations, bringing creativity and innovation from the lab, studio and classroom into real-life settings.
The University of Florida is, of course, the biggest name in town. The state’s oldest university, UF is a major land-grant research institution and the flagship of Florida’s public university system. It’s also one of the largest universities in the United States with close to 50,000 students, a 2000-acre campus, more than 900 buildings, and a picturesque district on its northeast corner that’s listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It’s a member of the Association of American Universities (AAU), accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, and is the seventh largest single-campus university in the United States.
The university is rich in red-brick, oak-draped Southern charm; it’s also rich in academic diversity. There are 16 colleges and more than 200 research, service, and education centers, bureaus, and institutes; over 100 undergraduate majors; 123 master’s degree programs and 76 doctoral degree programs in 87 schools and departments; and a group of libraries that together make up the largest information system in Florida. There are over 200 programs in the Graduate School with professional degree programs that include dentistry, law, medicine, pharmacy and veterinary medicine.
And those fightin’ Gators? They compete in National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I and the Southeastern Conference (SEC). In their 106-year history, the varsity sports teams have won 29 national team championships—24 of which are NCAA titles—and Gator athletes have won 243 individual national championships.
At Santa Fe College (SFC), over 18,000 students are enrolled at three Gainesville campuses, as well as locations in Alachua, Archer, Keystone Heights, and Starke in Bradford County. Originally a community college, SFC is a founding member of the League for Innovation in the Community College. Santa Fe became a four-year college in 2008 and offers Bachelor of Applied Science (B.A.S.) degrees in Clinical Laboratory Science and Health Services Administration, a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree in Early Childhood Education, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing (B.S.N.). The college’s primary degree offerings are the Associate of Arts (A.A.), Associate of Science (A.S.), Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.), and community education programs. Santa Fe sends more students to the University of Florida than any other institution, averaging nearly 1000 transfers each year. Santa Fe is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
With a strong health care sector, it’s not surprising that Gainesville also has strong educational offerings in complementary health care. The Florida School of Massage has been training massage therapists for nearly 40 years. Dragon Rises College of Oriental Medicine (DRCOM) offers a curriculum that’s focused on pulse diagnosis and TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine). The college is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (ACAOM) and licensed by the Commission for Independent Education (CIE), Florida Department of Education, to award the Bachelor of Health Sciences and Master of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine degrees. The Academy for Five Element Acupuncture offers a Master of Acupuncture degree program that can be completed in 36 months and a Chinese Herbal Studies curriculum that incorporates a Five Element perspective and complements the Five Element acupuncture studies.
The Florida School of Traditional Midwifery (FSTM) is licensed by the Florida Department of Education to offer direct-entry midwifery educational programs that are based on combining the art of traditional midwifery with modern medical science. Graduates may practice as Licensed Midwives under the Midwifery Practice Act, Florida Statute 467. In keeping with Florida law, the school has incorporated into its midwifery programs the Core Competencies of the Midwives Alliance of North America (MANA) and the American College of Nurse Midwives (ACNM). Students’ clinical experiences take place in a variety of home birth practices, community-based birth centers, clinics and hospitals throughout Florida.
St. Leo University operates distance learning centers at two locations in Gainesville and offers degrees in business administration, criminal justice, elementary and middle grades education, computer information systems and more. City College Gainesville offers Associate of Science degrees in areas ranging from allied health, business administration, private investigation, and surgical technology.