University of Florida receives record $30 million gift
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — A graduate of the first class of the University of Florida’s Warrington College of Business Administration’s master’s of business administration program in 1948 is remembering the roots of his success by giving $30 million to graduate business programs.
It was announced today that William R. Hough of St. Petersburg, Fla., has made this commitment, which is the largest private gift ever received by the university.
Hough’s gift establishes an endowment to support teaching, academic programs and enhancements in the graduate school of business, and it provides a lead gift to construct a new building to house the graduate business programs.
“Public higher education is about providing everyone the opportunity for excellence in their lives,” UF President Bernie Machen said. “Bill Hough is ensuring that perpetual resources are available so that future generations can receive the kind of excellent academic foundation to which he credits his success.”
The graduate school of business will be named the Hough Graduate School of Business, and the building will be named William R. Hough Hall, once approved by the UF Board of Trustees, the Florida Board of Governors and the Florida Legislature.
“I was moved by the professors I had in graduate school,” said Hough. ”They taught us fundamentals of the practical securities business and prepared me to be a successful broker and investor.”
Hough is the founder of William R. Hough and Company, a St. Petersburg, Fla.- based municipal bond firm he headed for 38 years, until it was sold to RBC Dain Rauscher of Minneapolis in 2004. Hough remains a financial consultant to RBC Dain Rausher. He was also the chairman of Republic Bancshares Inc., which was acquired by BB&T in 2004.
“Bill Hough has been a friend and catalyst for innovation at the Warrington College of Business Administration for many years,” said John Kraft, dean of the college. “His involvement in creating the one-year master’s program in finance was based on his practical experience and success. We’re glad he chose to recognize his career achievements in this way.”
Hough has a history of support at UF. In 2000, he funded the creation of the Hough Program in Finance, which allows students opportunities to earn master’s degrees in one year without having full-time work experience. The program is an alternative to the traditional MBA for those who have a strong interest in finance.
Hough has also supported UF by serving on the Warrington College of Business Administration’s Business Advisory Council since 1989 and the UF Foundation Board of Directors since 2000.
“The graduate studies building will provide signature space for our graduate programs and allow for further program expansion,” said Selcuk Erenguc, associate dean for graduate programs in the Warrington College.
Hough’s gift will be eligible for matching funds from the State of Florida Major Gifts Trust Fund and from the Alec P. Courtelis Facilities Enhancement Challenge Grant Program, potentially increasing the total value of the gift to $50 million.