A Mission with a Museum

The Cade Museum for Creativity and Invention in Gainesville, Florida, is committed to transforming communities by inspiring and equipping future inventors, entrepreneurs, and visionaries. Named after Dr. James Robert Cade, the lead inventor of Gatorade, the project began in 2006 with a generous gift from Dr. Cade and his wife Mary Cade. Led by their daughter, Phoebe Cade Miles, and her husband, Richard Miles, the museum began offering educational programming and the Cade Prize in 2010. Plans were also developed for a 21,000-square-foot museum building in Gainesville’s Depot Park. 

Since the museum’s opening in 2018, more than 100,000 visitors have experienced the Cade’s unique hands-on programming designed to spark imagination and inspire creativity. The Cade’s programs also help to build bridges to the innovation economy for those historically without access to it, including low-income families, underserved communities, and those needing assistance to access education and start on the career paths to fulfill their dreams. 

The History of the Cade

The future inspired by the past.

The Cade Museum for Creativity 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.

Although he is most widely remembered for Gatorade, he was a true Renaissance man. 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.” 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 wherethro’/ gleams that untraveled world whose margin fades/ forever when I move.”

In addition to Gatorade, Cade’s inventions included the first shock-dissipating football helmet; a high-protein milkshake used by surgical patients, athletes, and cancer patients; and a method for treating autism and schizophrenia through diet modification. Researchers, led by Cade’s former colleague Dr. Luis Juncos, are continuing his autism research at the J. Robert Cade Foundation in Cordoba, Argentina, using much of Dr. Cade’s data and equipment. 

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. They also helped establish the Gainesville Community Foundation, through which the Cade family contributed to the construction of the Fisher House (for the families of wounded veterans) in Gainesville, along with other projects.

Cade was born in San Antonio, Texas on September 26, 1927. After service in the Navy at the end of World War II, he studied at the University of Texas from 1948- to 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 medical school at the University of Florida, where he spent the rest of his career. Together, he and Mary raised six children and helped raise twenty grandchildren. Dr. Cade passed away in Gainesville on November 27, 2007. On September 1, 2021, while Mary passed away from complications related to coronavirus.

Birth of A Brand

Gatorade was the result of an offhand question posed to Dr. Cade in 1965 by former University of Florida linebacker Dwayne Douglas:.  “Why don’t football players ever urinate during a game?” Cade and his team of researchers — Drs. Alejandro de Quesada, Jim Free, and Dana Shires — began investigating dehydration on the sports field, a topic on which no reliable data existed.

They soon designed and tested a drink that replaced the electrolytes lost through sweat during intense exercise. With the permission of the coaches, Cade’s team was allowed to test the drink on the freshman football team, which unexpectedly beat the upperclassmen in a practice session. Ray Graves, Florida’s head coach, immediately ordered up a large batch for his varsity squad, and in October of 1965, the Gators beat the LSU Tigers in an upset. Soon other teams wanted to know what the Gators were drinking on the sidelines. In 1967, the Gators, after a miserable first half, dominated Georgia Tech in the third and fourth quarters to win 27-12 in their first-ever Orange Bowl victory. After the game, Georgia Tech coach Bobby Dodd told Gator coach Ray Graves, “We didn’t have Gatorade. That made the difference.”

Transforming Communities

Success on the gridiron led to national publicity and commercial potential. Without the help of others to commercialize it, however, Gatorade would have remained only an interesting experiment. Dr. Kent Bradley initiated contact with the food company Stokely Van Camp, and Dr. Gene Tubbs was instrumental in negotiating the deal that eventually led Stokely to acquire the marketing rights to Gatorade. Lab technician Loren Roby ran critical tests of sweat and blood samples to determine the drink’s effect on athletes. University of Florida athletic trainers Jim Cunningham and Brady Greathouse realized the critical importance of dealing directly with trainers and players to promote the effectiveness of the drink. Today Gatorade, owned by PepsiCo, dominates almost 80% of the sports beverage market with worldwide sales of about $5 billion a year. The phenomenal success of Gatorade was chronicled in the book First in Thirst by Darren Rovell.

​​In 2004, Dr. Cade and his family established the Cade Museum Foundation to design and build a museum in Gainesville.  The foundation is endowed with a permanent gift to cover a portion of the Museum’s operational costs, as well as limited programming.  The Cade Museum, which opened to the public on May 19th, 2018, reflects Dr. Cade’s outlandish spirit, zest for life and new ideas, and his constant, genuine interest in helping, motivating, and encouraging people of all ages and experiences.

In 2013,  Dr. Cade was posthumously honored with the Great Floridian award by Florida Governor Rick Scott, a title given to recognize the achievements of Floridians, living and deceased, who have made major contributions to the progress and welfare of the state.

Architectural History

Did you know the Cade Museum’s architecture is inspired by the golden ratio and the Fibonacci sequence?

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