A Legacy of Determination

Steve Waters' passion continues to inspire with a new scholarship that rewards determination.

By: Karen Dooley
John Stephen (Steve) Waters, MD ’75, influenced many during his career. The passion with which he lived his life and practiced medicine has inspired others to help secure his legacy at the UF College of Medicine. Waters died unexpectedly in May 2015 at age 67. Shelley Waters, his wife of nearly 30 years, turned her sorrow into a tribute to her late husband by establishing the J. Stephen Waters, MD, Scholarship. The $1 million endowment will provide financial assistance to second-chance students, and many of Waters’  former classmates and colleagues have increased the fund with their contributions. “Steve was a very caring person with great humility,” Shelley said. “He was always generous when it came to education, but he would never have singled himself out for recognition.” Since Shelley established the scholarship this summer, 36 friends and family members have added $19,000 to the endowment. The scholarship will be awarded in the fall. Future UF medical students who don’t make the cut on their first try but don’t give up on their dream will have Steve Waters’ example of determination, hard work and insatiable passion for life as an inspiration. Waters applied to the UF College of Medicine in 1970 and was turned down. After completing post-baccalaureate work at UF, he was accepted into the college, earning his medical degree in 1975. He completed his residency in orthopaedic surgery at UF and later founded The Orthopaedic Center in Gainesville with fellow surgeon Clinton Bush, MD. The center has since grown into The Orthopaedic Institute, which now includes more than 25 surgeons and five locations in North Central Florida. “Steve never forgot his medical roots at the UF College of Medicine and the department of orthopaedics and rehabilitation, and he gave generously, both in time and money,” said Thomas Wright, MD ’82, a professor of orthopaedics at UF who contributed to the Waters scholarship. “This scholarship created by his generous wife is designed to assist medical students who are persistent in the pursuit of careers despite failing in their first attempt. “I was happy to donate to this worthy cause in remembrance of a very special friend.”