Alumni, friends give record $315M through UF to impact humanity, help scholars reach dreams

August 28, 2015
UF News

Young learners, children with diabetes and student-athletes preparing for careers outside sports will benefit from the generosity of University of Florida donors who this past fiscal year gave a record $315 million.

Young learners, children with diabetes and student-athletes preparing for careers outside sports will benefit from the generosity of University of Florida donors who this past fiscal year gave a record $315 million.                                        

Nearly 78,000 alumni, friends and organizations invested in UF’s efforts to address society’s most pressing concerns and champion the university’s highest priorities, such as scholarships for first-generation students and endowments that support faculty research and teaching.

The $315 million in total commitments for fiscal year 2014-15, which ended June 30, includes cash, pledges and deferred gifts. Total gift commitments for the previous fiscal year were $286 million.

“Gators possess two traits that set them apart: incredible generosity and a remarkable desire to make a positive and profound difference in the world. When those two traits come together, amazing things happen,” UF President Kent Fuchs said. “It a wonderful illustration of what ‘The Gator Good’ is really all about.”

“As UF aspires to join the ranks of the world’s best universities, it is inspiring to see how committed our alumni and friends are to helping us reach that goal,” said Dr. Steve Scott, chair of the UF Board of Trustees. “It’s remarkable, but not surprising, that so many Gators have stepped forward to invest through our university to help impact the lives of people around the world.”

Among many notable gifts this year were:

  • More than 650 acres of pristine conservation land from Gainesville couple Steve and Carol Shey that will eventually serve as a conference center and retreat, in addition to other support for the Harn Museum of Art;
  • $12.5 million from an anonymous donor to create the Otis Hawkins Center for Academic and Personal Excellence, a center for tutoring, studying, academic advising and other services for UF’s 500 student-athletes;
  • $5 million from Charleston, S.C., businesswoman Anita Zucker to establish a Center for Excellence in Early Childhood Studies in the College of Education; and,
  • $1 million from business executive Gale King to establish scholarships for first-generation, academically exceptional students from families with modest incomes.

Other gifts will help UF scientists find sustainable energy alternatives and develop drought-resistant crops, ensure freshwater supplies are plentiful and clean, and fund cancer research and treatment.

“This university truly is a world resource,” said University of Florida Foundation Chair Scott Hawkins. “Our depth and reach give us the ability to touch almost every aspect of people’s lives in a positive way. The university is receiving gifts from graduates, parents of graduates, corporations, foundations, and individuals with no affiliation with the university, who collectively share in the vision that the university has become a profound force for good.  A gift to UF really is a gift to all of humankind. Together, we really can change the world.”

“Gators have a long history of reaching out to help others stand up. When we see a problem, we look for a solution. It’s who we are,” said Zucker, who joined the UF Board of Trustees this year. “All of us whose lives were improved because of the university have an obligation to invest in it so others can benefit from the discovery, outreach and teaching that takes place at UF.” 

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