Key Biscayne couple's gift brings UF closer to top 10 status
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — John and Mary Lou Dasburg have responded to Gov. Rick Scott’s goal of moving the University of Florida into the top 10 of all public universities with a $1.5 million gift to UF’s College of Engineering.
Theirs is the first private gift to support the initiative since Gov. Scott announced his plan to improve UF’s national ranking this spring. A major component of the plan is to hire more high-performing faculty members in big-topic areas such as advanced manufacturing for health care and neural engineering.
The Key Biscayne couple’s gift will establish the John. H. and Mary Lou Dasburg Chair in Engineering. It will be instrumental in recruiting a faculty member whose research and teaching endeavors address prime focus areas in engineering and technology.
“Strengthening the faculty of the College of Engineering lifts the standing not only of the college but also of the university and the state of Florida. We are pleased to provide this resource,” said John Dasburg, chairman and CEO of ASTAR Air Cargo.
Both John and Mary Lou Dasburg are University of Florida alumni. John earned a bachelor’s in engineering in 1966, MBA in 1970 and Juris Doctorate in 1973; Mary Lou earned a Juris Doctorate in 1980. John Dasburg is a former CEO for Burger King Corp., Northwest Airlines and Marriot Corp.
Engineering Dean Cammy Abernathy said the Dasburgs’ gift helps UF address pressing problems facing society, while also invigorating Florida’s economy.
“John and Mary Lou’s commitment impacts the role that the College of Engineering can play in not only advancing UF, but in creating the workforce and innovation needed to advance economic development in the state of Florida. At the same time, it greatly improves our chances of solving some of the biggest challenges of our generation,” she said.
UF’s College of Engineering is among the most respected and productive in the nation. The college ranks in the top 10 for number of master’s and doctoral degrees awarded, and in the past five years has launched more than 30 successful start-up companies and has had more than 180 patents issued to Gator Engineering researchers.
- Steve Orlando, email@example.com, 352-392-0186