The University of Florida raises a record $402 million for the greater good
Gift commitments to the University of Florida from alumni and friends reached a record $402 million this year, surpassing last year’s record of $315 million and broadening opportunities for students and faculty to have a state, national and global impact.
The construction of state-of-the-art chemistry and engineering facilities, enhanced access to healthier food on campus, expanded opportunities for UF students to study abroad and medical care for sea turtles are just a few of the reasons donors supported UF programs during the record-breaking fundraising year, which ended June 30.
The unprecedented support from donors is critical to the university’s 10-year strategic plan to strengthen its ability to impact lives across the globe through discovery, service and the endeavors of alumni.
“The Decade Ahead plan, which was adopted by the university’s Board of Trustees this year, outlines our goal to be one of America’s top public research universities,” said Bill Heavener, chair of the UF Board of Trustees. “Private resources will make it possible for us to hire distinguished faculty, recruit the brightest and best students and address the grand challenges facing our state, our nation and our world.”
Since UF President Kent Fuchs officially joined UF in January 2015, fundraising activity has seen steady growth, which Fuchs credits in part to UF Preeminence, a three-year, $800 million initiative to boost faculty and student support, address society’s most pressing issues, and elevate UF programs to even higher prominence and influence.
“The enormous success of the UF Preeminence initiative will help advance our aspiration to achieve the stature of a top-ranking university,” Fuchs said. “Gifts from alumni and friends combined with support from the state of Florida through this private-public partnership will move UF to a new level of academic excellence.”
Many of UF’s distinguished faculty are addressing some of our biggest global challenges, and students are benefiting from academic and experiential opportunities made possible by private investments and donor commitments.
- Outstanding international students will be invited to attend UF, and UF students will have opportunities to intern at Chinese companies, thanks to a $3 million gift from UF alumna and COO of CTrip.com, Jane Sun, and her husband, John Wu.
- Chemistry faculty, students and staff will have enhanced opportunities in a new facility supported by a $10 million gift from biotech entrepreneur and UF alumnus Joe Hernandez. He is the youngest donor to make a gift of this size, which will seed innovation, capture timely opportunities and stimulate cross-functional teams.
- For the nearly 10 percent of UF’s student and staff experiencing food insecurity, the Field and Fork campus food pantry will be expanded and offer healthier food options as a result of support from UF alumnus Alan Hitchcock and his wife, Cathy, former owners of Hitchcock’s Markets.
- Cisco Kid, a green sea turtle gravely affected by fibropappilomatosis tumors, which plague these endangered creatures, was treated and released back into the sea at Marineland, thanks to the gift of a carbon-dioxide laser from the Nancy Condron family, passionate supporters of UF’s Sea Turtle Hospital at the Whitney Laboratory for Marine Bioscience in St. Augustine.
- Engineering students will benefit from exceptional teaching and learning facilities and increased faculty and program development because of a transformational $50 million gift to the Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering by the Herbert and Nicole Wertheim Family Foundation.
“The passion, commitment and generosity of the UF family never ceases to amaze me. UF alumni and friends recognize that supporting education at UF is an investment that has tremendous returns. In sharing our resources, we directly see the impact that UF makes on the greater good.” said Beth McCague, chair of the UF Foundation Board.
“Fundraising activity at UF is growing at far beyond the national average. The $3 billion campaign working goal, which seemed ambitious at first blush, now seems well within reach as engaged alumni and friends across The Gator Nation pledge their support,” she said.
UF is Florida’s flagship university serving more than 50,000 students from 50 states and 131 countries. With five professional schools and more than 170 research, service and education centers, bureaus and institutes on one contiguous 2,000-acre campus, UF offers educational opportunities matched by only five universities worldwide. Almost 400,000 UF alumni represent The Gator Nation globally.