The gift also funds programming for the new college, and endows scholarships for select honors students.
Tampa – Philanthropists and education advocates Frank and Carol Morsani, longtime supporters of The University of Tampa and namesake of one of its residence halls, today announced an estate gift – one of the largest in UT’s history – that will support the development of the UT Honors Program into the Morsani Honors College.
The gift will also provide a leadership gift for an exciting new academic building in which the future Morsani Honors College will be housed, as well as endow two funds: the Morsani Excellence Fund that will support Honors College enrichment activities and programming, as well as another that will support the Morsani Scholarship Fund for select honors level students.
UT President Ron Vaughn said the Morsanis’ gift will lift up the Honors Program and help to lift up the entire University as it will be a clear signal of UT’s strong commitment to high quality.
“Their investment in education excellence will enhance the University’s reputation and will elevate our priorities nationally,” Vaughn said. “It is reaffirming for UT to be recognized and supported by the Morsanis, as this gift recognizes UT’s role in the success of Tampa and the region. The Morsanis have a long relationship with UT and we are pleased to be one of the institutions they continue to believe in and support. I thank them for the legacy they will be leaving at UT.”
UT Provost David Stern said the Morsani’s gift will attract the most academically driven students to UT. “It’s an important gift, one that will provide the best and brightest students with an exceptional education,” Stern said.
Created in 1982, the current UT Honors Program is a highly selective, interdisciplinary program that provides an enhanced learning environment for exceptional UT students. Honors students enjoy specialized classes on stimulating topics, attend symposia, conduct original scholarship for the Honors Thesis, and participate in state, regional and national honors conferences.
Ryan Cragun, professor of sociology and co-director of the Honors Program, noted how the hard work and innovations of previous Honors Program directors have perfectly positioned the program to make this exciting new transition into the Morsani Honors College. Kacy Tillman, professor of English and Writing and co-director of the Honors Program added that having a centralized location will help foster community amongst those in Honors. “This gift provides much more than a college or a building; it is a visual representation of the University’s support for its high-achieving students,” Tillman said.
Frank and Carol Morsani are longtime friends of UT and the Vaughn family. Morsani was a member of UT’s Board of Counselors from 1974-1976 and UT’s Board of Fellows from 1977-1979, serving as chair of the Fellows in 1978. He then served as a member of the Board of Trustees from 1980-1984. Morsani was one of the original donors of the Max H. Hollingsworth Endowed Chair of American Enterprise at UT that was started by Max Hollingsworth in 1983 and is currently filled by President Vaughn.
The Morsanis are well known and respected for the legacy of giving they have fostered in the Tampa community. While the Morsanis have made other generous gifts to UT, they said they are pleased they can make this new UT investment, due to UT’s long-term momentum and the commitment to UT from the community.
“The accomplishments that UT has made are many, and the community is a far better place because of its academic excellence,” Frank Morsani said. “The future is extremely bright for the University and its students.”
The new Morsani gift comes at a tremendous time for The University of Tampa and adds to its momentum. UT continues its record enrollment and the downtown campus continues its transformation with state-of-the-art facilities.
The University of Tampa is a private, residential 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 about 10,600 students from 50 states and most of the world’s countries.