In the late 1970s, a young Robert “Bob” J. Wallace, MD ’82, AAHIVS, was applying to the Florida State University Program in Medical Sciences, a grant-funded expansion program of the University of Florida College of Medicine where accepted students complete their first year of medical school at FSU before transferring for the remainder of their training to UF, which had more room for upperclassmen.
Wallace, who was not yet open about his stigmatized identity as a gay man but fiercely driven to help others, still remembers one interview question and his response, over four decades later.
“Do you think there is room in the world for a physician who is a homosexual?” came the question.
“Yes; and I don’t think there’s room for a college that won’t accept one,” he replied.
The UF College of Medicine alumnus and St. Petersburg physician is no stranger to breaking down barriers.
Wallace believes he was one of the first openly gay medical students to attend and graduate from the College of Medicine.