Debbie Garvin retires after 34 years at Fisher

When Debbie Garvin moved from her home state of North Carolina to Gainesville, Fla. after six years of practice in the tax department of a large public accounting firm, she didn’t think she’d be staying for very long. Thirty-four years later, Garvin is set to retire from the Fisher School of Accounting at the end of the fall 2017 semester.

“What started as, at most, a two-year position in my mind became a life-long, incredibly wonderful and fulfilling career,” she said.

Garvin has called the Fisher School home since 1983. Over the course of more than three decades, she has been involved in a range of roles. For 11 years, she served as assistant and associate director of the School and taught one graduate tax course per year. It was teaching those courses that solidified her love of teaching and working with bright, motivated students inspiring her to transition to a full-time faculty position in 1994. Since then, she has taught a variety of scholars from freshmen to graduate accounting as well as MBA students.

“One of the things I love about teaching is that you have new students every semester,” she said. “It’s wonderful to watch them grow.”

Garvin has had many students come through her classroom, including Allison McCarthy (BSAc ‘98, MAcc ‘98), now a real estate and hospitality lawyer at Holland & Knight.

“Debbie always went above and beyond standard lectures and connected what we were learning to real-life scenarios, which not only kept the classes interesting but taught me the process and skills to apply what I learned (not only in her class) to practical work situations,” McCarthy said.

Garvin is particularly proud when students, like McCarthy, come back and tell her how her teaching impacted their careers.

“When students come back and say that the courses I taught them helped set them up for success in their professional careers, that’s such an incredible feeling,” she said.

The positive effect of her teaching is reflected in the numerous teaching awards that line the walls of her office.

While Garvin doesn’t have concrete plans for retirement, she will continue to use her accounting, legal, and business knowledge to help others. Garvin has a particular interest in providing recently released prisoners and recovered addicts practical and financial skills they can use for a successful reentry into society.

“I have the skills that can help them, so I want to do what I can,” she said.

The Fisher School of Accounting, Warrington College of Business, and University of Florida wholeheartedly thank Garvin for her years of service and contributions.