If you used occupations to describe Pat Sher you would have many choices.
She's been a mother, a nurse, a naval officer, a lawyer, an environmentalist and
a political activist. Many of these occupations are related to a UNF education
she describes as "awakening my consciousness."
Sher still vividly recalls a feminist class taught by Dale Clifford and Jane
Decker. She said the course contributed to how she raised her three daughters.
Sher decided to pursue a degree in political science which helped her to
formulate positions on many issues in a turbulent era. "I feel great fondness
for my time at UNF because it contributed so much to my political ideology."
Sher had earned a nursing degree in 1969 at the University of Florida and
then entered the U.S. Navy Nurse Corps. She left the Navy in 1973 as a
lieutenant. She enrolled at UNF and earned her second bachelor's degree in 1975.
Five years later, Sher earned her third degree, this one a master's in political
science and public administration from the University of Florida. The final rung
in her educational ladder came in 1996 when she received a law degree at the
University of Florida. A mother of three, Sher completed both her master's
degree and her law degree while commuting to Gainesville each week.
Her dynamism was spotted at Holland & Knight where she interned one
summer. She was hired in 1997 and because of her background, she specialized in
the defense of medical malpractice cases. While she loved practicing law, she
decided to retire in 2003 so she could travel more with her husband, Harvey, who
was a Jacksonville oncologist.
For Sher, retirement doesn't mean lazy days doing nothing. Politics still
runs deep in Sher's blood. She is the vice chair of the Duval County Democratic
Executive Committee, a member of the Mayor's Election Advisory Panel and a board
member of the League of Women Voters. A relatively new interest is the Public
Trust Environmental Law Institute of Florida where she is a board member. The
primary focus of the institute is to zealously protect the City of
Jacksonville's Preservation Project and other federal and state protected lands
and water. She also has been involved in drafting a resolution opposing the
drawdown of water from the St. Johns River. The resolution was adopted by the
Duval County Democratic Executive Committee.
Her involvement with UNF also continues. When she was an undergraduate, one
of the courses she enjoyed the most was in art history. She recently was able to
audit a course in Ancient Roman History which when combined with a trip to Italy
with faculty member Deborah Murphy "brought me full circle." Intellectual
pursuits have been coupled with physical pursuits. Sher is proud to have
participated in the marathon qualifying trials for the U.S. Olympic Team in 1984
and 1988. Today all three of her daughters are runners continuing the family
Despite all of her accomplishments both professionally and personally, Sher
harkens back to UNF as being a pivotal time in her life. As a mother of three
young children at the time, Sher says UNF "kept my mind alive and left indelible
marks on me."
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