Alumni Council

The Board of Directors of the UF College of Nursing Alumni Council is an advisory body that works with the administration of the College to strengthen the link between the College’s alumni and the College’s administration, faculty and staff. The members of the Board are the elected officers and representatives of the Association and a representative of the College designated by the Dean.

If you would like to learn more about serving on the Alumni Council Board, please contact the College of Nursing Development & Alumni Affairs Office at 352-273-6614 or via e-mail at

Alumni Council Book Awards

The Alumni Council Book Awards program gives monetary awards to help offset the rising cost of textbooks for first-year nursing students.

Currently, first-year nursing students spend nearly $1,300 on books. This program allows alumni to take an active role in the future of current nursing students by helping alleviate the financial strain of purchasing textbooks and ensuring the smart and talented students complete their undergraduate degree at UF. Each year, the Alumni Council awards 15-20 students with book award scholarships and honors those selected at our alumni fall reunion festivities. Alumni can make a gift to support the Alumni Council Book Awards Program online or by contacting Rachel Rivera, Marketing and Communications Specialist at or 352-273-6342.


Elaine Whidden, RN, MSN
BSN 1965, MSN 1988

Elaine is enjoying retirement from a long and active nursing career and appreciates her ability to invest time with the College of Nursing Alumni Council. Her UF nursing education brought many unique opportunities: Public Health Nursing (PHN) in Okaloosa and Hillsborough counties; School of Nursing faculty, University of Miami; Private pediatric practice as ARNP, PNP, Gainesville; and College of Medicine as ARNP, Educator and Research in the Division of Pediatric Genetics, in the Movement Disorders Center, and in the Division of Nephrology. Elaine lives in Gainesville with her husband, Jim. They have three adult children and four wonderful grandchildren, and one granddog!

Elaine would love to hear from Gator nurses and can be contacted at


Ashley-Marie Bodor
BSN 2014


Blair Hebner
BSN 2009

Blair is 2009 graduate of the University of Florida’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing program. She also holds a MSN in Nursing Informatics from Walden University and is actively pursuing her Administrative DNP from the University of Central Florida. She is currently employed at the James A. Haley VA Hospital in Tampa, FL as an Informatics Nurse and recently obtained her ANCC board certification in Nursing Informatics. Following the receipt of her board certification, Ms. Hebner accepted a voluntary position as an item writer for the ANCC Nursing Informatics board certification exam. She is a newlywed and an avid Gator sports fan.

Blair can be reached at


Leadership Succession Chair

Patricia Sassner, BSN, MSN
MSN 1997

Pat Sassner is currently working at the NF/SG VA Health care system as a NP in a Primary Care clinic.  She has been an active member of the UF Board of  Nursing Alumni Council since her graduation in 1997.  She is very active as a preceptor for the UF NP program and was named the 2012 UF College of Nursing Preceptor of the Year.  Pat is also an associate professor, doing clinic rotations for the UF undergraduate nursing program.  She is married with one child.

Pat can be reached at

Philanthropy Chair

Jodi Irving, MS, ARNP, CS
Professor Emeritus

Professor Irving retired as a faculty member from the College of Nursing in 2011. Although retired, Irving continues to teach part-time in the graduate-level psychiatric-mental health NP program and selected courses in the undergraduate program. In addition, as an ARNP she engages in a private practice that she established in 1973. She joined the Alumni Council in April 2007, and serves as the Philanthropy Committee Chair.

Jodi can be reached at

Silent Auction Chair

Rita Kobb, MN, GNP-BC
BSN 1981, MSN 1996

Mrs. Rita Kobb has been with the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) for twenty one years. She has been a Gerontological nurse practitioner for the past 12 years. Prior to that she worked as a Gerontological clinical nurse specialist. Mrs. Kobb holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Nursing from the University of Florida. In 1999 she was part of a conceptual planning team to develop a new model of care for high-risk, high-use, and high-cost veterans in the Sunshine Network (Florida-Puerto Rico) using care coordination and home telehealth technologies. From February 2000 until January 2004 she was the Lead Care Coordinator for a care coordination and home telehealth program, the Tech Care Coordination Program located in Lake City, Florida as part of the North Florida/South Georgia Veterans Health System. Mrs. Kobb is the Education Program Specialist for the VHA Office of Care Coordination and the Director of the only national training center for care coordination and home telehealth. Mrs. Kobb has spoken all over the country about care coordination and home telehealth in VHA. .She has consulted with several healthcare organizations and government agencies from around the world about home telehealth implementation. She has been recognized as an expert consultant in care coordination and home telehealth and has served as Chair of the American Telemedicine Association’s Home Telehealth Special Interest Group.

Rita can be reached at