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Faith, dedication result in success

Published: March 26 2010

Stephen Liverpool

Senior
Fredric G. Levin College of Law

Third-year University of Florida College of Law student and Florida Blue Key President Stephen Liverpool’s college career is inspirational. Among his accomplishments:

  • He’s the third African-American to serve as president of Florida Blue Key in its 87-year-history.
  • He graduated cum laude from UF with a degree in criminology and law studies, and now is the first in his family to attend law school.
  • His undergraduate experience of leadership and service to UF as a Florida Cicerone, Presidential Host, president of his fraternity, Iota Phi Theta, and president of Esquire, the minority pre-law society—all of which led to his UF Hall of Fame induction in 2007.

What has motivated Liverpool to achieve so much?

He described it this way: “Dedication to a cause, faith—for me, in the Lord, but for other people it might be faith in themselves—and commitment to either an idea or a goal. Persevering until what you want comes to fruition.”

Liverpool consciously applies his family’s community-service values and the creed of his fraternity—scholarship, leadership, citizenship and fidelity—to every aspect of his life. Those values were central to his recovery following a terrible head injury caused when a car crashed into his scooter in 2009. Suffering from debilitating, vertigo-induced nausea and headaches, Liverpool was told his brain injuries would likely prevent his return to law school for at least a year. Instead, he drew on a deep well of determination to return to class after missing only one semester.

These values also inspired his decision to pursue law—he saw attorneys as a professional group with the greatest ability to make positive changes in society.

“I think that was probably the biggest factor in saying, OK, this is going to be my opportunity to make a difference for my community and to be one of those people who can affect that change,” Liverpool said. “It makes you somebody who has the ability to speak on behalf of other people who can’t speak for themselves.”

Liverpool views his position as a student leader as just the beginning of a life of “servant leadership” in his Tampa, Fla., community.

“We’re servants to people. We’re called to be servants to other human beings, and I think that’s what is most important in terms of how leadership is supposed to operate, that you’re there to serve and make a difference for people,” Liverpool said.

“If you really focus on developing other people, and helping other people, and making a difference in your community by doing those things, you will be enriched for that,” he said. “But not for your own personal, self-fulfilling goals…. I feel that’s the part that people miss.”