Pat Sher Pic
Patricia R. Sher
UNF Degree: B.A. Political Science – ’75
Employment: Community Volunteer

UNF sparks Sher to eclectic career

 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 legacy.


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."