Campus Life

Kugelman Foundation names honors program

The University of West Florida Honors Program recently received the prestigious honor of becoming a named program. The Kugelman Foundation has pledged $250,000 to name the Honors Program the Kugelman Honors Program. The Kugelman Foundation also directed its current endowed scholarship funds to support Honors students.

“By naming a major program, the Kugelman name will live on in perpetuity, providing assistance and opportunity for UWF Honors students for years to come,” said Kyle Marrero, vice president for University Advancement. “The university is grateful for the Kugelman’s long-standing support of UWF.”

Unlike some universities, UWF doesn’t charge an academic fee for students to be part of the Honors program. The gift from the Kugelman Foundation will provide support for facility and equipment improvement and upgrades, international summer projects and scholarships for need-based Honors students.

“The Kugelman Foundation, founded by Jane and the late Jack Kugelman, believes in UWF’s mission and has supported the university for many years,” said Donnie McMahon, member of the Kugelman Foundation. “On behalf of the Foundation, it is an honor to have the Kugelman name associated with such a prestigious Honors program.”

Honors students come from a wide range of socioeconomic backgrounds and all are engaged in a variety of experiences and areas of study at UWF. The Honors Program enhances each curricular experience with specific Honors courses, community service expectations, leadership training, international summer experiences, mentorship programs (Argo Scholars) and accelerated scholar programs (Medical Scholars Program). Furthermore, it offers seminars (recent topics have included J.R. Tolkien, Bio-Medical Ethics and The Philosophy of the Horror Film), individualized instruction, personal attention from a special Honors advisor, priority registration and special housing where Honors students live together.

Honors Council President Charity Vander Wall, a junior majoring in anthropology with a minor in biology, is one of the 420 Honors students currently enrolled in the program. She was able to travel to Panama for two weeks as part of an Honors seminar, only paying $800 out of pocket (the Honors Program paid for the rest). She claims that this trip was an educational experience that she’ll never forget.

“I love Honors because it made me who I am today,” said Vander Wall. “Because of Honors, I’ve developed my leadership skills, I’ve traveled both domestically and abroad (with minimal personal cost) and I’ve met some of the most important people in my life.”

The UWF Honors Program is a model for first-year experience efforts, and its retention of students to graduation is twice that of the university as a whole. Program Director Greg Lanier said “the Honors Program has the potential to improve the reputation and image of the university throughout the state and beyond. The Kugelman Foundation’s support of the program will help this program continue to grow even stronger and help an even greater amount of deserving students.”

For more information about the Honors Program, visit or e-mail

By Lauren Smith, University Marketing Communications