Announcing the Travis Bates Memorial History Scholarship

As many of you know, Travis Bates passed away on May 14, 2016. A native of Jacksonville, Travis graduated from Englewood High School in 1994 and from Florida State College Jacksonville in 1996. Travis was a veteran of the United States Marine Corps. He also worked as a private investigator and security specialist, and a teacher in Duval County Schools.

Travis pursued a career in higher education with incredible determination. Despite a diagnosis of cancer in 2008, he completed his BA in History at UNF in 2012 and his MA in 2015. He was inspired by his studies, and especially a trip to the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library in Austin, Texas where he conducted archival research with Dr. David Courtwright and students from UNF. A year before his death, he also completed his final Master’s defense for his project, “The Slow Road to Abolition: A History of Capital Punishment in Florida, 1972-2010.” Travis loved reading and discussing history, including topics in bioethics, public health, and urban infrastructure. Two of his favorite books were The Emperor of all Maladies: A Biography of Cancer, by Siddhartha Mukherjee; and The Sanitary City: Environmental Services in Urban America from Colonial Times to the Present, by Martin V. Melosi.

One response to Travis’s diagnosis with cancer was his excursion into standup comedy, which he also pursued with great passion. He performed as a standup comic at the Comedy Zone in Jacksonville and at other locations, including a pub in London. Travis also supported others facing similar crises in their lives. Throughout, Travis resolved to use his gifts to help others and satisfy his own intellectual curiosity.

To help memorialize Travis and honor his example, his family and the many friends and colleagues whose lives he touched have established the Travis Bates Memorial History Scholarship. This will provide merit-based scholarships to UNF juniors or seniors majoring in History, with a 3.33 GPA or higher. The initial goal is to raise $25,000 to meet the UNF threshold for a permanent endowment.

Gifts to honor Travis can be made to the Travis R. Bates Memorial History Scholarship at UNF. All gifts should be made payable to the UNF Foundation and either mailed to UNF Foundation, 1 UNF Drive, Building 60, Jacksonville, FL 32224 or completed online at - for designation choose “other” and add Travis’ name. You can also make online contributions by going directly to

In the next few weeks, the History Department at UNF will also announce the procedures for students who wish to apply for one of the Travis Bates scholarships.

If you need additional information, please call the COAS Dean's Office at 904-620-2560.