Skip to main content

Campaign For UF/IFAS Will Benefit Florida Agriculture

Debra Amirin

Melda Bassett, Assistant VP fo (352) 392-1975

GAINESVILLE – Many growers and producers credit the success, if not the very survival, of Florida agriculture to teaching, research and extension efforts By the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS). Many of these efforts have been funded through the generosity of donors in the private sector.

Florida agriculture is once again expected to be the winner following the successful completion of UF’s $500 million “It’s Performance That Counts” Capital Campaign in the year 2000, provided that IFAS is successful in raising its $54.125 million ($36,450,000 in gifts plus $17,675,000 in state matches) portion of the overall goal in this major fundraising effort. With the campaign half over, UF/IFAS has raised $25 million-plus.

UF/IFAS is looking for support from its friends and the agricultural industry to raise the remaining $29 million. While the amounts involved may seem intimidating, it must be remembered that each gift is vital regardless of its size, and gifts may be combined with others to qualify for matching funds.

The idea behind the campaign’s theme is that donors who invest capital resources with UF are interested in improving its performance in clear and measurable ways.

The new facilities and endowments funded through campaign gifts will build upon already distinguished teaching, research and extension programs in food, agriculture and natural reSources, and help UF/IFAS become a national focal point for the development and application of new technologies and educational programs.

“The performance of this campaign is vital to the university’s continuing commitment to improve teaching and research,” said UF President John Lombardi. “No top-level university today can excel without a growing base of private support.”

Facilities identified as priorities in the UF/IFAS campaign include an academic center for agriculture, horticulture gardens and arboretum, citrus pathology laboratory, plant growth facility, 4-H youth facilities, housing at the Tropical Research and Education Center, improvements at the beef cattle ranch and expanded outreach facilities and programs.

Endowments are needed for scholarships/fellowships and professorships, a Visiting Professor in Family Education, the Florida Leadership Program for Agriculture and Natural ReSources, faculty/student programs and general program support. Other vital items on the list include funding for a library endowment at the Belle Glade Research and Education Center and an agricultural law center.

Gifts may qualify for a match of up to 100 percent from the state of Florida, depending on the gift’s size, the way it is given and the availability of funds. Naming opportunities are available for endowments, entire buildings or floors, laboratories, conference rooms or offices. The academic center for agriculture and research facilities in particular offer a visible and substantial means of recognition.

George H. Wedgworth is chair of the Campaign Committee for UF/IFAS, and Snead Y. Davis, Ben Hill Griffin III, Edith La Fontaine and E.T. York are honorary co-chairs. These longtime friends of UF/IFAS have given generously of their time and resources for many years, and are now stepping forward to enhance their legacy of service.

Leadership-level gifts in the first part of the campaign for UF/IFAS have been received from: American Cyanamid Company, American Floral Endowment, Fred W. Barber (d), BASF Corporation, Gene and Barbara Batson, Bayer Corporation, Charles E. Bedford, Bertha M. Cornett (d), Myrtle Beth Creighton (d), Florida Dairymen, George K. and Ruthanna Davis, DowElanco, Eli Lilly and Company, Florida Citrus Mutual, Florida Forestry Association, Florida Nurserymen and Grower’s Association, Florida Pest Control Association, Florida Rural Rehabilitation Corporation, Florida Sugar Cane League, Inc., Florida Water Services, Harry (d) and Dr. Edith La Fontaine, James (d) and Margaret Gahan, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Monsanto, Novartis Crop Protection, Inc., Folke H. Peterson Charitable Foundation, Sankyo Company, Ltd., Smith Bucklin & Associates, Inc., Robert Earl and Miriam E. B. Stanford, Sugar Cane Growers Cooperative of Florida, U. S. Sugar Corporation, Water Environment Research Foundation, Wedgworth Farms, Inc., T. G. Williamson (d), Robert D. Woodward III and Zeneca Agricultural Products, Inc.

Those interested in participating in the “It’s Performance That Counts” Capital Campaign should contact Melda H. Bassett in the SHARE Office at (352) 392-1975. The SHARE program is part of the non-profit University of Florida Foundation, Inc., which was established under Florida law to advance higher education through private investments.