William A. Shands was a Florida state Senator, elected from the 32nd District in the mid-1940s. He was convinced that the best way to enhance the Gainesville community was to establish a teaching hospital at the University of Florida. There was general agreement that the state needed a teaching hospital, but located in a large city, such as Jacksonville, Miami or Tampa. His dedicated efforts were critical to obtaining state funding for a teaching hospital in Gainesville. The University of Florida Colleges of Medicine and Nursing opened in 1956. Two years later, the UF Teaching Hospital was started, on October 20, 1958. In 1965, it was renamed W. A. Shands Teaching Hospital and Clinics in honor of the man who did so much to make the facility a reality. The institution later became Shands Hospital, part of the Shands HealthCare network.