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Press Release for Monday, September 19, 2016

Kickoff Event Supports UNF’s Travis Bates Memorial History Scholarship

Contact: Andrea Mestdagh, Specialist

Department of Public Relations

(904) 620-2192

In 2008, Marine Corps veteran Travis Bates discovered a tumor in his right leg, which was ultimately amputated, and was diagnosed with cancer. Despite his diagnosis, he remained dedicated and determined to completing his education at the University of North Florida and graduated in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree and 2015 with a master’s degree, both in history.


While completing his studies and fighting a daily battle with cancer, Bates persevered and found outlets to help him cope with the illness. He worked as a substitute teacher, volunteered at a local museum, participated as a member of the Brooks Rehabilitation Adaptive Rowing Program and began a career as a stand-up comedian at the Comedy Zone.


Despite his positive attitude and grit, Bates passed away earlier this year. In his honor, family and friends established the Travis Bates Memorial History Scholarship at UNF, a merit-based scholarship for juniors and seniors majoring in history.


“Travis was a determined and dedicated student who impressed all of us in the Department of History,” said Dr. Chau Kelly, assistant professor of history at UNF. “Throughout his cancer battle, he came to class, worked as a grader and continued his academic work, even when admitted to the hospital. It’s his courage in the face of tremendous hardship that we hope to honor with this scholarship.”


In an effort to raise funds to make the scholarship a permanent endowment, Bates’ family and friends and the University’s Department of History will host the Travis Bates Memorial History Scholarship Kickoff Event from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 2, at the Haskell building, located at 111 Riverside Ave., Jacksonville.


The event will feature food, live music by local band Class Act, and regular Comedy Zone performers including, Forest Peyton, Billy Barnwell and Christina Schriver. Family, friends and colleagues of Bates will also share their memories of him.


There is no fee to attend, rather a suggested donation is requested that will go toward the $25,000 needed to establish a permanent endowment. Donations can be made online or in-person at the event.


Open to the public, tickets to the event can be obtained from Kelly at UNF in Frederick H. Schultz Hall, Building 9, Room 2512. Contact her via e-mail at or through the Department of History at (904) 620-2866, with questions about tickets.


UNF, a nationally ranked university located on an environmentally beautiful campus, offers students who are dedicated to enriching the lives of others the opportunity to build their own futures through a well-rounded education.