University of Florida’s Century Tower bathed in blue to honor health care workers

The University of Florida’s iconic Century Tower is now awash in blue light as a tribute to the thousands of dedicated UF Health hospital workers and their colleagues worldwide.

The 11-story tower on Newell Drive will remain bathed in blue light nightly through May 16. The special lighting coincides with National Nurses Week (May 6-12) and National Hospital Week (May 10-16).

The display is an especially fitting tribute to the dedication every hospital worker has shown during the COVID-19 pandemic, university and hospital leaders said.

“I am so thankful to all of the dedicated health care workers and caregivers who are on the frontlines in the fight against COVID-19,” UF President Kent Fuchs said. “Lighting Century Tower blue is our way of joining communities across the globe in showing appreciation for these heroes and for their bravery, selflessness and compassion.”

On Tuesday evening, UF Police Department officers showed their appreciation by flooding the area around the Century Tower with the blue lights from their patrol vehicles.

The more than 11,000 UF Health Shands employees in Gainesville and their UF Health colleagues throughout the region have shown an unwavering dedication that is the true heart of UF Health, said David R. Nelson, M.D., senior vice president for health affairs at UF and president of UF Health.

“In these trying times, the exceptional kindness our teams have shown to patients and colleagues is truly inspiring. Every day, I see the compassionate and innovative spirit that makes UF Health a truly special place,” Nelson said.

Leaders say the tower lighting is a strong, visual reminder to everyone that we’re all in this together.

“I’m very proud of how all of our teams have pulled together during these challenging times ― from nurses to environmental services workers to respiratory therapists to food and nutrition employees ― everyone is adapting to the new normal and doing what they need to do to take care of patients and each other,” said Ed Jimenez, CEO of UF Health Shands. “I am grateful for everyone in our UF Health family.”

Irene Alexaitis, D.N.P., R.N., vice president of nursing and patient services for UF Health Shands, said inspiration abounds every day.

“To our nurses, patient care teams and UF Health Shands employees ― thank you! Your strength and resilience helps motivate me on my most challenging days, and I am proud and thankful to stand among you,” Alexaitis said.

Those who visit to see the Century Tower lights are asked to abide by social distancing guidelines.

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