UWF receives historic $5 million gift, largest by living donor in University history

University of West Florida | news@uwf.edu

Donor recognizes relationship with Bense as significant factor

The University of West Florida received the largest gift from a living donor in its history today. Long-time supporter Harold E. ‘Hal’ Marcus allocated $5 million to the College of Science and Engineering. The College will be named the Hal Marcus College of Science and Engineering in his honor, marking it the University’s first named college.

“This is a significant moment in the University’s history,” said Dr. Brendan Kelly, vice president for University Advancement and chief philanthropic officer. “Not only is this the largest gift by a living donor, this support marks a turning point in UWF’s capacity in STEM education. We are grateful to Hal for enlacing his legacy with UWF’s future.”

Marcus has given to several University programs over the past 20 years, to which he credits his relationship with UWF President Judith Bense. His first investment helped fund the archaeology program, established when Bense was its chair.

Having had the pleasure of watching her career unfold, Marcus wanted to make his major gift while Bense still presides over the University.

“Over the years, Hal has been a wonderful partner of the University,” said Bense. “I look forward to seeing the opportunities this gift will provide for our students today and for years to come.”

“I have made numerous investments over the years, but this investment in education is the best one I have ever made,” said Marcus. “Thank you Dr. Bense for your commitment to UWF and to higher education.”

The gift will serve to enhance the student experience and raise the profile of science and engineering programs at the University. Dr. Michael Huggins, dean of the College of Science and Engineering, says the gift will create new opportunities for students in the STEM disciplines, making them more competitive for the best available jobs in the state or for acceptance into the highest quality graduate programs in the nation. Such experiences may include field research abroad, expanded student competition teams and exposure to nationally and internationally recognized visiting lecturers as well as many more exciting opportunities.

“This is reinforcement for our vision of the College of Science and Engineering, which is focused on our students being successful in their future careers,” said Huggins.

“All of the work I have done in my life has provided me the opportunity to make a significant investment in the education of others,” Marcus said. “When I think about my legacy in this community, I want to make certain it is marked by investments in the education of others.”

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