TAMPA – Ronald Vaughn, president of The University of Tampa, and his wife, Renée Vaughn, received the 2021 Patrons of Culture and the Arts IMPACT Award from the Tampa Bay Businesses for Culture and the Arts (TBBCA) on Thursday, Oct. 21, at Armature Works in Tampa.
The Vaughns earned this award by contributing an invaluable amount to the evolution of the Tampa Bay community. Their values closely align with TBBCA’s philosophy that the union of business, art and culture is crucial to a thriving economy.
”Arts and culture play a vital role in our community’s identity and creative place-making. The Vaughns’ long-time devotion to arts and culture continues to transform the landscape of downtown Tampa through the realization of their vision for The University of Tampa,” said Celeste Davis, executive director of TBBCA.
President Vaughn has been serving UT since 1984, and stepped into his current role as president in 1995. Under his leadership, the University entered a period of growth and expansion unlike any in its 90-year history. He has also been active in the community as a board member for the David A. Straz Center for the Performing Arts, the American Red Cross, The Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Council, the Florida Aquarium and more.
President Vaughn has overseen more than 50 significant capital projects on the downtown UT campus. Many of these projects have risen in prominence to become part of Tampa Bay’s premiere contemporary art scene for music and art lovers throughout the region. In almost every new building, the Vaughns selected custom art pieces from independent artists to transform academic facilities into stimulating learning spaces.
The most recently completed endeavor is the 90,000-square-foot Ferman Center for the Arts, which opened earlier this year and provides a new space for multiple departments that encourages artistic collaboration and synergy between disciplines. Just before that, the R.K. Bailey Arts Studio underwent a redesign to become one of the most innovative “maker spaces” anywhere in Tampa Bay. The most notable addition was the FabLab, a cutting-edge incubator space where creators have access to tools and technology to turn their ideas into prototypes.
Renée Vaughn is the founder and president of the Williams Consulting Group, a public relations consulting firm. Prior to that, she was a senior administrator for the City of Tampa, where she represented the city or mayor on about 50 arts and cultural boards and committees. She is a member of numerous nonprofit organizations, including several where she served as chair or president in the past.
Renée Vaughn’s deep connections to Tampa’s creative and nonprofit worlds ensures that UT plays a pivotal role in downtown Tampa and the Riverside Arts District. UT’s College of Arts and Letters puts on hundreds of free events for the public showcasing established international talent, as well as the next generation of emerging talent.
TBBCA was founded in 1989 as one of six Business Committees of the Arts. It is part of the private sector network and national pARTnership Movement of Americans for the Arts. TBBCA’s mission is to unite Tampa Bay businesses to champion arts and culture for a prosperous community.
The University of Tampa is a private, comprehensive university located on 110 acres on the riverfront in downtown Tampa. Known for academic excellence, personal attention and real-world experience in its undergraduate and graduate programs, the University serves more than 10,000 students from 50 states and most of the world’s 195 countries.