Written by Hannah Shelton
From Toddlers and Tiaras to Gators in gowns, the Miss University of Florida Scholarship Pageant is an event that hosts ten college contestants who aspire to take their love, passion and representation for the University of Florida to the next level. Each of the ten contestants are proud students of the Gator Nation and partake in a private interview, on-stage impromptu question, talent performance, lifestyle & fitness swimsuit portion and an evening wear portion with hopes of being crowned Miss University of Florida. On March 27th, 2019, the Miss UF crown was proudly placed on Leah Roddenberry’s head.
Although Leah has only attended the University of Florida for two years, her Gator roots run deep as she is the youngest of five, third generation Gators. Her unwavering love and attachment to UF is what initially prompted her to partake in the Miss UF Pageant as she stated, “I feel indebted to this university and wanted to serve the Gator Nation. I want to leave a legacy here at UF… and serve the UF community in every way possible!” As Miss UF and a sister of the Alpha Delta Pi sorority, Leah perfectly embodies the spirit of the University of Florida and the many Panhellenic woman who contribute to make it a better place. Deanna Rodriguez, the Executive Director of the 2019 Miss UF Pageant, third-year student and fellow sister of Alpha Delta Pi, stated that she is “thrilled to see how Leah will use her platform to ignite a spark and empower young women to be leaders in this country.”
Leah’s light shines far beyond the pageant stage, sorority row and campus; for she can also be found on the sidelines of Gator games as a Dazzler on the University of Florida Dance Team. Leah says that the university’s emphasis on tradition combines her love of being a Gator, Panhellenic woman and Dazzler at UF. When asked what her favorite thing about being a part of the Gator Nation and Panhellenic community was, she passionately responded, “From gator game days to sorority initiations and rituals, I know I am representing an institution that is much larger than myself. I love that tradition is rooted in the university, and I am proud to perform and participate in these rituals that I hold close to my heart.”
As Miss UF, Leah will go on to compete in the Miss Florida Pageant in June of 2019. Until then, she will gracefully serve the Gainesville, UF and Panhellenic community and inspire countless young women along the way. In attributing the Panhellenic community for shaping her into the woman she is today, Leah also stated, “I want to thank my sorority, Alpha Delta Pi, for showering and overwhelming me with love. I was so honored to represent them. I was able to meet other Panhellenic women through participating in the pageant and was so blessed to share the experience with such amazing ladies.”
The Panhellenic Community is honored to have been represented by so many deserving, talented and passionate women at the Miss UF Pageant. We can’t wait to see how much Leah shines and inspires as the newly crowned Miss University of Florida. Go Gators, Go Pan, Go Leah!