Matthew Price
Matthew Price (MBA ’13) suffered serious injuries in a car accident in December, but the UF MBA community has come together to help him.

UF MBA comes to aid of injured student

When Matthew Price, a student in UF MBA at the Hough Graduate School of Business’ Professional 1-Year Program, was seriously injured in an automobile accident in December 2012, his cohort sprung into action to help.

The outpouring of generosity was inspiring as Matthew’s cohort raised more than $5,000 for his recovery. Matthew, although partially paralyzed from the mid-chest down, will be able to thank his classmates for their kindness when he receives his degree at UF MBA’s commencement ceremony Sunday.

“I’ve been absolutely amazed at the support that my MBA group, and the greater UF community in general, have shown for me since my accident,” Matthew said. “It’s certainly not the best way to realize what wonderful friends you have, but it’s something that I will never forget. It’s even more amazing when you think about the fact that, while I have known these people for over a year, we have really only spent a handful of weekends together. What they are doing to help support me is a testimonial to the quality of the people in this program, and at UF. I am truly blessed to have such an amazing group of friends and supporters, many of whom have never met me and still wanted to help out.”

Matthew was visiting friends in Austin, Texas during the holidays and was in a taxi with his brother and another friend. The taxi, which was pulled off to the side of a highway because of mechanical trouble, was struck from behind. Matthew’s brother suffered a broken pelvis and a broken foot while the taxi driver, Matthew’s friend and the other driver had minor injuries.

Matthew wasn’t as fortunate. He sustained 12 broken ribs, a fractured sternum, a broken and displaced clavicle, a fractured humerus and three broken vertebrae. Matthew underwent surgery to fuse the broken vertebrae with two titanium rods and eights screws supporting them. Matthew said he’s able to wiggle some of his toes and move his feet slightly, but, for all intents and purposes, he is without the use of his legs.

Upon hearing about the accident, Matthew’s colleagues came to his aid and started a fundraiser. To entice more donations, German Escallon (MBA ’13), founder of FXP Motives, an organization that collaborates with non-profit organizations to assist their fund-raising and public relations efforts, obtained signed sports memorabilia from the world’s top tennis players. German’s brother, Jorge, works for the ATP World Tour, and when the Tour made its stop in Miami in late March, German obtained signed photos from Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray. A signed tennis ball by Roger Federer will also be up for grabs.

“We heard that back in Texas they were putting on a golf tournament for him,” German said. “So I thought, ‘Why don’t we do something? Why don’t we use our energy for something good?’”

Another of Matthew’s classmates, Derrick Stewart (BSBA ’08, MBA ’13), played a major role in organizing a committee to oversee the online fundraiser and promoting it throughout the UF MBA community. Derrick said the initial goal was to raise $3,000, but that was met in less than 48 hours after the fundraiser went live. So the committee increased the goal to $5,000 which was surpassed on April 9. Donations are still being accepted, however, to offset Matthew’s medical costs.

“I know we’re all going to stay in contact, but with graduation coming, it won’t be the same,” Derrick said. “We really want to capitalize on this opportunity to help Matt. He’s such a great guy and we want to do all we can for him.”