Music education major John Gavin became the first non-business student to win the UCF College of Business (#UCFBusiness) Failure Competition this month, earning $500 and a letter of recommendation from Dean Paul Jarley, Ph.D. Second and third place winners Jonathon Valin and Ida Santiago were awarded $300 and $200, respectively.

This is the seventh semester that the Failure Competition has been held, but only the second one open to all enrolled UCF students.

“Getting comfortable with failure is a key step in becoming a better risk–taker and successful business leader,” said Dean Jarley in a blog post. “That is why we celebrate failure and persistence in the college.”

In an essay and video posted to Dean Jarley’s blog (, Gavin described a series of setbacks he encountered in college as he worked to achieve his dream of being a professional musician. He was rejected by the UCF Music Department and cut from three separate drum corps. Still, he persevered.

“Every audition is an opportunity for success or failure,” said Gavin. “People never see the hundreds of thousands of hours musicians must spend alone in a practice room. Similar to any other refined skill, successful music-making requires repeated deliberate practice.”