Donors Hailed for Campaign Success

Donors and faculty commemorated the second closing event for the Florida Tomorrow campaign.

For Ken Sassaman, the endowment he received from Hyatt (BSBA ’59) and Cici Brown means he can help his graduate students reach their potential in archaeology — and in doing so, expose Florida’s rich history.

“When I put it into perspective of my life as an archaeologist, it’s a dream come true,” said Sassaman. “But then I have to back off that and say to myself, ‘I could never have dreamed this in a million years.’ It’s an incredible gift. I suppose most endowments are that way.”

Sassaman was on hand to thank the Browns personally today when they and many other donors were honored by the University of Florida for supporting faculty during the Florida Tomorrow capital campaign.

The event at the J. Wayne Reitz Union was the second in a daylong celebration to mark the end of the seven-year campaign, which surpassed its $1.5 billion fundraising goal.


At the noon event, donors were invited on stage in full academic regalia to be recognized by their college deans and President Bernie Machen. Machen placed a medallion around each donor’s neck as a token of the university’s thanks.

“Donors, because of you, our faculty are changing the world one medical breakthrough at a time, one archeological find at a time, and one child at a time,” Machen said.

Florida Tomorrow event honoring donors

Faculty members honored donors at the J. Wayne Reitz Union for endowing 126 faculty positions during the Florida Tomorrow campaign. The seven-year capital campaign surpassed its $1.5 billion fundraising goal. Photo by Charlie Napier.

In fact, UF donors have endowed 126 faculty positions during Florida Tomorrow. Such endowments provide continuing support for individual faculty members and their research projects.

“The faculty endowments we honor and celebrate today are our lifeline,” said Provost Joe Glover. “In these uncertain times, these endowments assure the steady and unwavering support that means so much to our faculty — and to their ability to be excellent teachers while achieving meaningful and lasting science and scholarship.”

For the Browns, giving to UF is a mixture of showing thanks to the university — Hyatt Brown and his three sons are all alumni — and investing in the future.

“My father always said, ‘Where you get something, you need to give something back.’ And so, that’s our feeling about the university,” Hyatt Brown said. “We’ve always been long-viewed people. And if you think about today what’s this university going to be like 10 years, 20, 50, 100 years out? It’s going to unbelievable, and we want to be part of it.”

The festivities continue tonight with an invitation-only celebration at the Curtis M. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts. The campaign’s official fundraising total will be announced at that time.

— Cinnamon Bair*

*UF Alumni Association member

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We recently caught up with some Florida Opportunity Scholars program students and graduates. Check out the “License to Dream” post to see how the scholarship has helped them.

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