Campus Life

UWF receives $1 million gift to support engineering and supply chain logistics

The University of West Florida announced today a $1 million gift from the Bear Family Foundation, presented by Lewis Bear Jr., chair of the UWF Board of Trustees, and his family. The gift will support the UWF engineering department and supply chain logistics program.

“This gift will build an eternal legacy at UWF by helping to train the future logistics professionals and engineers in the region,” said UWF President Judy Bense. “The entire Bear family truly understands the importance of investing in education.”

The Bear family is contributing $700,000 to engineering, which is emerging as a distinctive department for the University. The gift will advance the University’s ability to align programs with workforce needs in the region and provide opportunities for students in high-wage fields important to Northwest Florida.

The University’s engineering programs are fully accredited by the Accreditation Board of Engineering and Technology. ABET accreditation is the “gold standard” for quality in engineering programs. Student teams in the engineering department regularly place in national and international competitions.

“Our family believes there are no great cities without great universities,” Lewis Bear Jr. said. “We hope to be able to help this University grow to meet the needs of the 21st century job market, not only for today but for the future.”

The Bear family is allocating $300,000 of the gift to fund an Endowed Professorship in Supply Chain Logistics, which will enable the program to continue to recruit and retain top faculty in the discipline.

In recent years, the UWF Department of Marketing and Economics has experienced increased demand for the supply chain logistics program based on the success of its graduates and recognition among students that the supply chain field is a growing career opportunity in today’s job market. The gift will ensure the UWF Supply Chain Logistics program is equipped with leadership that will contribute to its growth and enhancement, allowing it to pursue outcomes consistent with the best programs in the nation.

“We are fortunate to have the support of this extraordinary family whose tenure in this community exemplifies a true philanthropic passion and dedication to helping others,” said Brendan Kelly, Interim Vice President for University Advancement, “Chair Bear dedicates extraordinary time and effort to working with President Bense to move the University forward.”

To learn more about giving to the University of West Florida, visit