UF/IFAS Gets $1 Million Holiday Gift
Melda Bassett, assistant vice (352) 392-1975
GAINESVILLE — The University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) received a holiday gift worth $1 million.
Dempsey Sapp Sr. and his wife, Margie B. Sapp, of Lake Butler made the gift to create UF/IFAS’ first Endowed Distinguished Professorship. It will be named “The Margie B. and Dempsey R. Sapp Sr. Distinguished Professorship” in honor of the donors.
Income from the fund will be used to support a distinguished professorship in structural pest control and urban entomology in the Department of Entomology and Nematology. The University of Florida Foundation Inc. will apply for matching funds of $750,000 from Florida’s Major Gifts Trust Fund.
“As an alumnus of the UF College of Agriculture, I am pleased that Margie and I can make this contribution to my alma mater and at the same time benefit and advance the pest control industry,” said Sapp, founder and chairman of the board of Florida Pest Control and Chemical Co.
“I owe so much to the University of Florida; it played a major role in making me what I am today. We are happy to support the work being done by Chairman Dr. John Capinera and the faculty in the Entomology and Nematology Department. We also hope that this gift will serve as a stimulus for other members of the pest control industry to contribute to UF/IFAS.”
Dempsey Sapp graduated from UF with a bachelor’s degree in entomology in 1948 and master’s in entomology in 1949. Originally planning to become a lawyer, Sapp entered the pest control business “because the pay was higher.”
The industry has served him well. Florida Pest Control now has branch offices in 19 locations throughout Florida. Pest control is a major industry in Florida, valued at $1.6 billion annually and employing more than 30,000 workers. Florida Pest Control is one of the largest privately held pest control companies in the nation.
Mr. and Mrs. Sapp live on a family farm near Lake Butler. He travels to Gainesville about once a week to spend some time at the local office. The Sapp’s son, D.R. Sapp Jr., now serves as the president and CEO of the business.
Mike Martin, UF vice president for agriculture and natural resources, said, “It is very rewarding to us at UF when alumni believe in the role and mission of UF/IFAS and are willing to provide their financial support for program enhancement. We are delighted that the Sapps have chosen to establish the very first endowed distinguished professorship within the College of Agriculture, and we thank them wholeheartedly for their support and vision.”