Gift from UWF alumnus names University Park Center, establishes scholarships
The University of West Florida has announced a major gift to name University Park Center the Darrell Gooden Center and establish scholarships for UWF students, in honor of UWF alumnus Darrell Gooden and his wife, Debbie Gooden. The Goodens’ gift commitment, along with their planned gift, are a continuation of Darrell Gooden’s legacy at UWF.
“Darrell and Debbie Gooden’s investment in UWF reminds us of the transformative nature that higher education brings to a community,” said UWF President Martha Saunders. “We continue to see how Argos are changing the world. New facilities that are supported by gifts to the University shape an institution and produce high-quality graduates. We are so thankful to the Goodens for their inspirational legacy.”
A Pensacola native, Gooden graduated in UWF’s undergraduate class of 1973 with a degree in accounting. He contributed his first gift to help start the football program in 2016 and became a Platinum UWF Football Founder. He continued to support UWF Athletics and donated in support of building the new University Park Center. His support of this facility helped create a new locker room and sports performance center for all student-athletes. Gooden is also a member of the UWF Athletics Sword and Shield Council and the founder of Gooden Homes.
“I am very fortunate to have attended and earned an accounting degree from one of the top programs in the nation,” Gooden said. “I could not have achieved all the success that I have had in the development and home construction business without the knowledge I obtained from the UWF College of Business.”
In addition to naming the University Park Center, the Goodens’ gift supports capital improvements in athletics and establishes a range of scholarships for accounting and other UWF College of Business students, as well as athletic scholarships and First Choice Excellence scholarships, which attract the best and brightest to UWF.
“The Goodens’ gift will allow us to move forward with initiatives that will benefit our student-athletes and provide scholarships for the future,” said Dave Scott, UWF athletic director. “Darrell has been a great friend of the program and has supported Intercollegiate Athletics in building champions for life.”
University Park Center, which opened in April 2018, is a $7 million, 32,700-square-foot facility, located adjacent to Pen Air Field on the UWF Pensacola campus. It serves UWF Intercollegiate Athletics, the UWF Usha Kundu, MD College of Health and the Florida State University College of Medicine’s Pensacola Regional Campus.