Melda Bassett email@example.com, (352) 392-1975
GAINESVILLE, Fla.—The University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences has received a gift worth $600,000 from Copeland D.Newbern and his wife, Edna Newbern, of Tampa.
The Newberns made the gift to provide professorships and/or fellowships in UF’s Department of Agricultural Education and Communication. It will be named “The Cope and Edna Newbern Fund” in honor of the donors.
Income from the fund will be used to support one or more professorships and fellowships in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, with priority given to students and faculty in the Department of Agricultural Education and Communication. The UF Foundation, Inc. will apply for matching funds of $360,000 from Florida’s Major Gifts Trust Fund.
“As an alumnus of UF’s College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, I am pleased that Edna and I can make this contribution to my alma mater and at the same time benefit and advance vocational agricultural teaching and training,” said Newbern.
“I owe so much to the University of Florida; it played a major role in making me what I am today,” he said. “We are happy to support the work being done by Ed Osborne, chairman of the Department of Agricultural Education and Communication, and the faculty in the department. I also want to honor Edward Garris, former professor and department chair, who was an inspiration to students in his department.”
Cope Newbern graduated from UF with a bachelor’s degree in agriculture in 1933. After graduation, he taught vocational agriculture for five years in North Carolina and Florida. He then became an agricultural extension agent, serving in Hernando and Manatee counties.
In 1945, Newbern entered private agricultural business, spending most of his career in the citrus industry. He has been an active participant in the agricultural community, having served on UF’s SHARE (Special Help for Agricultural Research and Education) Council and the Florida Citrus Commission. Newbern was president of the Florida Agricultural Council for three years. He also served on the board of directors of the Jacksonville branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta for six years and chairman of the board for two years. In 1999, Newbern was inducted into the Florida Agricultural Hall of Fame in recognition of his support to Florida agriculture.
The Newberns have two daughters, Caroline and Nancy, four grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren. In December, they traveled to Gainesville to attend the graduation of their only grandson, John, from UF’s College of Building Construction, making three generations of Newbern Gators. Nancy also is a UF graduate.
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 Newberns have chosen to establish an endowment to assist the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, and we thank them wholeheartedly for their support and vision.”