UWF announces major gift to enhance, name Center for Leadership

The University of West Florida announced today a $2.5 million gift from the Aylstock, Witkin, Kreis & Overholtz law firm to name the UWF Center for Leadership and enhance its initiatives.

The gift will support the Center for Leadership’s mission to develop effective leaders with a sense of personal authenticity and character, social and civic awareness and the ethical courage required to make positive change in the modern world. 

“The importance of strong leadership in the civic setting — in schools, local government and other institutions — as well as in private sector businesses, has never been greater,” said Justin Witkin, founding partner of Aylstock, Witkin, Kreis & Overholtz. “We could not be more excited about what the Center for Leadership will do to develop leaders in these challenging times and what those leaders, in turn, will do for Pensacola and all of Northwest Florida.” 

The gift will also support the development of the center’s two flagship programs — the Executive MBA with a focus in leadership, tentatively scheduled to launch in Fall 2023, and high-impact executive leadership development seminars.

“Northwest Florida needs strong leaders and we know the center will help to ensure that the best and brightest can develop and utilize those much needed skills right here in Pensacola and beyond,” said founding partner, Bryan Aylstock. “It is our strong belief that our entire community will be better off as a result.” 

Tim Kinsella, director of the Center for Leadership, said the philanthropic support of Aylstock, Witkin, Kreis & Overholtz will help to build better, smarter leaders. 

“This extremely generous gift means a lot more to us than just the dollar amount,” Kinsella said. “It was very important that we partner with a donor who shares our vision and commitment to educating ethical and principled leaders dedicated to making a positive difference in our community and in the modern world. Aylstock, Witkin, Kreis & Overholtz is exactly that partner, and I am excited for them to join in our journey to grow the AWKO Center for Leadership into the premier resource for leadership training in the Southeastern U.S.”

The Center for Leadership, housed in UWF’s College of Business, was created in Spring 2022. The goal of the center is to provide leadership opportunities and resources to students and the public that will contribute to the growth of leaders in Northwest Florida and beyond.

Founded in 2001, Aylstock, Witkin, Kreis & Overholtz, PLLC is a Florida-based law firm geared towards protecting the rights of consumers who are seriously injured as a result of defective products, defective medical devices, accidents or other negligent behavior, and has represented 250,000 clients across the country, recovering over two billion dollars in verdicts and settlements. Their team of attorneys have more than 160 years of combined experience in personal injury and pharmaceutical litigation.

For more information about UWF’s Aylstock, Witkin, Kreis & Overholtz Center for Leadership, visit