J. Robert Cade

The Cade Museum for Innovation and Invention is named for Dr. James Robert Cade, a professor of renal (kidney) medicine at the University of Florida and the lead inventor of the sports drink Gatorade.

On the title page of his autobiography, Freut Euch Des Lebens (Take Joy in Life) Cade described himself as a “physician, scientist, musician, and inventor.” Though he is most widely remembered for Gatorade, he was a man of many parts; a true Renaissance man. At the time of his death in 2007, Cade had a collection of over 30 violins, (some of them dating to the 17th century) and over 60 Studebaker carriages and automobiles from the late 1800’s to 1965.

He was also an accomplished writer and poet. “Great poetry,” Cade once wrote, “combines music, emotion and intellect in a way nothing else can.” He often quoted his favorite line from Tennyson’s Ulysses,

“I am part of all that I have met; yet all experience is an arch where through gleams that untraveled world whose margin fades forever when I move.”

“Wouldn’t it be great,” he observed, “if we could all remember that we come away from each new experience… a different person? We are changed by each experience just as each person we react with is changed by us; that each new encounter frames the arch through which we see our world and therefore shapes what we will do and will become.”

Many people certainly were changed by Cade’s numerous inventions and ideas, including the first shock-dissipating football helmet, a high-protein milkshake used by surgical patients, athletes, and cancer patients, and a new method for treating autism and schizophrenia through diet modification. Gatorade, Cade’s best known invention, was the result of an offhand query posed by a University of Florida football coach in 1965. Cade and his team of researchers began investigating dehydration on the sports field – at the time a topic on which no reliable data existed. Their experimental drink was credited for several unexpected victories by the Florida football team in 1965 and 1966, which quickly led to commercial success. Today Gatorade has worldwide sales of almost $2 billion.

Dr. Cade was also a man of great faith. A lifelong Lutheran, he was the 1991 recipient of the Wittenberg Award and gave generously to many Lutheran colleges and organizations. His Christian beliefs inspired and informed everything he did, including his scientific research, hobbies, and friendships with people from all walks of life. In the last years of his life he and his wife Mary established and endowed the Gloria Dei Foundation, a small grant-giving organization focused primarily on the needs of the poor and underserved.

James Robert Cade was born on September 26, 1927 in San Antonio, Texas. After service in the Navy at the end of World War II, he attended school at the University of Texas from 1948-1950. In 1953 he married Mary (Strasburger) Cade, a nurse from Dallas. In 1961, after completing a post-doctoral fellowship at Cornell University Hospital in New York City, Dr. Cade took a position at the University of Florida medical school, where he remained the rest of his life. Together he and Mary raised six children and helped raise twenty grandchildren. Dr. Cade died in Gainesville on November 27, 2007.

Source: Cade Museum Website 


J. Robert Cade Visiting Professorship

This professorship was established in 2007 in honor of Dr. J. Robert Cade. Dr. Cade joined the faculty at the University of Florida in 1961 as an Assistant Professor of Medicine and was Chief of the Renal Division between 1971 and 1978. An outstanding scientist with over 120 publications primarily focused on exercise physiology and fluid and electrolyte management in the setting of severe exercise and heat, Dr. Cade is best known for inventing the first sports drink, Gatorade.

This drink was developed as a physiologic replacement solution for athletes who were known to lose as much as 5kg of water and salt during a single football game.  Bob Cade’s invention has given the University of Florida great publicity and millions of dollars in royalties which have immensely helped UF research programs, particularly in the Department of Medicine and Division of Nephrology. Dr. Cade remained an active member of the Renal Division and continued his research into his late 70’s.  A generous man, he was known for his wit, creativity, “out of the box” ideas, and kindness.

The distinguished nephrologists who have been past Cade visiting professors include:

J. Robert Cade Visiting Professorship

Year Name
2007 Thomas Andreoli
2008 Richard Glassock
2009 Gerald B. Appel
2010 Karl Tryggvason
2011 Joel Kopple
2012 Bruce Molitoris
2013 Richard Johnson
2014 Martin Pollak
2015 Gregory Germino
2016 Joseph V. Bonventre