UCF Teaches Outstanding Chemistry AlumKnight the Value of Hard Work

UCF chemistry graduate Dennis Donahue, M.D., is an example of what hard work can bring.

The board-certified urologist graduated with his bachelor’s degree in chemistry in 1975 when UCF was still Florida Technological University.

Dr. Donahue is a now a doctor with Florida Hospital Medical Group, coming a long way from his first job as a janitor in college. This March, Dr. Donahue was awarded the 2017 Department of Chemistry Outstanding AlumKnight award for his exceptional accomplishments.

Dr. Donahue’s UCF experience taught him the value of hard work. From working 12-hour overnight shifts at his job to working in the chemistry lab the next morning, he defines his college life by his hard work.

“I think that college teaches you how to balance your priorities and prepare for real life,” Dr. Donahue said.

Dr. Donahue’s “real life” began when his family moved from Detroit, Mich. to Orlando during his senior year of high school. He wanted to stay close for college, which led him to FTU. He liked the challenge that a chemistry major presented and made his choice.

Some of his fondest memories were spent drinking coffee and studying with friends in the chemistry building. Dr. Donahue and a few of those friends started what is now the Pre-Professional Medical Society at UCF.

He also worked night shifts at his job at Orlando Regional and Florida Hospital. He pulled medical records and helped draw blood.

Odd jobs like this gave him valuable experience prior to medical school.

“All of my jobs were important to me understanding a little bit more about medicine,” Dr. Donahue said. “They all gave me different insight.”

He chose to attend the University of South Florida because of an offered scholarship and graduated from medical school with no debt. Medical school also gave him the opportunity to meet his wife, who is also a UCF graduate.

He credits his UCF degree in chemistry with helping him understand medicine.

“We’re nothing but little chemical factories,” he said.

His love for the science part of his job is second place to what he loves most about being a doctor – the people.

“My favorite part of my job is that I get to know a whole different range of folks,” Dr. Donahue said. “It’s the talking to people that I really like. I get to learn about them as people.”

He said that it is a privilege to help his patients with their problems.

Today he supports his alma mater by attending football and basketball games. He also put his chemistry knowledge to good use by brewing his own wine and beer.

Dr. Donahue’s life is a result of everything he has done – from sweeping store floors to saving his patients’ lives. His advice to current students reflects the influence that all these different things have had on him.

“I learned something that helped me later in everything I did,” Dr. Donahue said. “There’s something valuable to be learned and experienced from everything that you do. Take opportunities.”

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