This gift from James “Jay” Nault will name the center in his honor and enhance opportunities for the next generation of business builders.
TAMPA, Fla. (June 9, 2023) – The University of South Florida today announced a $10 million gift from alumnus James “Jay” Nault. His generosity names the USF Nault Center for Entrepreneurship, ensuring future business leaders will continue to receive a world-class education. Nault’s gift will expand pitch competitions and mentoring programs, assist with the goal of creating a living learning community and support potential new degree options for executives.
“We are so grateful for Jay’s generosity, which will bolster USF’s nationally ranked, interdisciplinary entrepreneurship center in the Muma College of Business,” USF President Rhea Law said. “USF continues to be a hub of innovation on the world stage, and this gift will have a direct impact on shaping our students to become tomorrow’s business leaders.”
Founded in 2002, the center hosts a variety of annual student competitions and provides both in-classroom and extracurricular training programs, as well as research opportunities for students and faculty. The center partners with other USF programs and the business community to promote the development of critical skills necessary to identify business opportunities and transform those ideas into successful endeavors using innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship.
The center’s master’s degree program is ranked by The Princeton Review as No. 1 in the South and No. 5 nationally for all public universities. More than 1,000 center alumni have launched approximately 300 businesses in the past decade.
“Jay Nault’s remarkable gift is a watershed moment for the USF Center for Entrepreneurship. It paves the way for us to embark on an ambitious path that will provide our students with unparalleled entrepreneurial opportunities and real-world learning experiences,” said GJ de Vreede, interim dean of the Muma College of Business. “We will create a vibrant culture of innovation and experimentation that will transform USF’s students into successful innovators and entrepreneurs, and benefit the business community in the greater Tampa Bay area and beyond.”
Nault is president and owner of Anclote Holding Company, Inc., a privately owned real estate holding company in Jacksonville, Florida. He is also president and owner of Storage Zone Self Storage and Business Centers, with more than 30 storage facilities throughout the southeast.
“My journey as a lifelong entrepreneur started right here at USF,” said Nault, who earned a bachelor’s in finance and master’s in business administration from the university. “I am inspired by the many students in this program and can’t wait to see all of the great work done by its alumni.”
Nault’s longstanding USF philanthropy also includes a scholarship for entrepreneurship students and Life Membership in the USF Alumni Association, among other gifts. This kind of alumni support has helped fuel USF’s ascension to the upper echelons of academia. The university recently accepted an invitation to join the Association of American Universities, representing the top 3% of research universities in the U.S. and Canada.
“It’s a great day for USF students and our entire community when a business leader like Jay Nault makes such a significant investment to provide resources and opportunities for our motivated scholars,” said USF Foundation CEO Jay Stroman. “For one of our alumni to give back so generously is truly inspiring. We simply can’t thank him enough.”
About the University of South Florida
The University of South Florida, a high-impact research university dedicated to student success and committed to community engagement, generates an annual economic impact of more than $6 billion. With campuses in Tampa, St. Petersburg and Sarasota-Manatee, USF serves approximately 50,000 students who represent nearly 150 different countries. For four consecutive years, U.S. News & World Report has ranked USF as one of the nation’s top 50 public universities, including USF’s highest ranking ever in 2023 (No. 42). In 2023, USF became the first public university in Florida in nearly 40 years to be invited to join the Association of American Universities, a prestigious group of the leading universities in the United States and Canada. Through hundreds of millions of dollars in research activity each year and as one of top universities in the world for securing new patents, USF is a leader in solving global problems and improving lives. USF is a member of the American Athletic Conference. Learn more at www.usf.edu.
About the USF Foundation
The USF Foundation connects the university with donors who want to make a difference by providing private, philanthropic support to promote student success, academic initiatives, research, and other strategic priorities of the University of South Florida. Our donors celebrate the energy, vision, and future of one of the country’s most exciting and engaged universities. Our people and programs, our ideas, our research, and our solutions comprise an ambitious plan to enhance healthcare, science, technology, education, business, the arts and global partnerships. Learn more at www.giving.usf.edu.