$10 million. One of the largest monetary gifts in UT’s history was recently bestowed by two longtime Tampa residents, according to UT’s website. Howard and Patricia Jenkins are prominent figures in the business world and are the parents of two former UT students.
Due to their large donation to the university, they now have their names engraved upon the former West Kennedy Hall, an 11-story residence hall located off of West Kennedy Blvd, housing 528 students and completed in August of 2013.
“The Jenkins have made such a significant and visible impact on so many cultural and educational areas in Tampa Bay,” said President Vaughn in an official statement in October. “We are pleased to welcome them to the UT community and are thrilled they have chosen UT as one of the institutions they believe in enough to support.”
Howard Jenkins, 63, is the chairman of the executive committee of Lakeland-based Publix Super Markets Inc., and is a member of UT’s board of trustees, according to UT’s website. Jenkins’ father, George W. Jenkins, was the founder of the Publix brand, and the family has been in Tampa since the 1930s. Patricia Jenkins, 59, the founder of Apollo Environmental Inc., which specializes in hazardous-materials consulting and analysis, is originally from New Jersey.
In a statement made to the Tampa Bay Times, Mr. Jenkins said his children “were very appreciative of the education they received, and the help they received from the university,” and that “the school treated them as individuals, not just numbers.”
The $10 million will be going toward the construction of the new residence hall, Palm Apartments, of which the first installments are set to be completed in late January of 2015. The old south wing of ResCom that housed 93 students was demolished and is being replaced with new apartments that will house 209 students, according to the UT website. The final project will result in the full demolition of ResCom, once home to 234 residents, and the replacement of Palm Apartments in their entirety, will have a capacity of 547. The final project date has not been set as of yet.
“The Jenkinses wanted the donation to be used toward a project that the university had identified as a need and that would benefit students,” said Eric Cardenas, UT’s Director of Public Information. “Plus, Howard Jenkins is chair of the planning committee of the Board of Trustees, so he recognized the need for additional housing on campus.”
Kevin Falk, senior business management major and president of Student Productions, also commented on the large donation.
“I think it’s great that UT is building more residence halls for students to live on campus,” said Falk. “While the Barrymore is a nice overflow, students are missing out on campus culture by being off campus. For me, I lived on campus all four years and in no way regret it. It’s put me in the middle of the action.”
As a private university, UT depends largely on the philanthropic donations from the community, since according to the UT website, it can’t run completely on tuition alone. 49 percent of these donations come from UT alumni, with the remaining 51 percent coming from parents, teachers and staff, and other friends of the university. All donations go into the Annual Fund that provides money for “academic scholarships, need-based scholarships, academic programs, campus improvements, teaching excellence and faculty developments,” according to UT’s website.
There is another type of donation, however, that is not grouped with the Annual Fund. These donations are called Planned Giving, which are “gifts made by will, trust or other planned giving arrangements [that] can leave a lasting legacy and provide financial benefits to the donor.” In some cases a donor can even give in the form of appreciated stock or mutual fund shares, that allows them to “avoid paying capital gains tax on the increase” and “receive a tax deduction for the full fair market value when contribution was made,” all stated in the UT website’s donation section.
“I am extremely grateful to the Jenkins Family for their $10 million dollar donation to the university,” said Kristin Anderson, senior Student Government President and advertising and public relations major. “I had the privilege of attending the President’s Reception for the naming of West Kennedy Hall; the Jenkins family was both humble and extremely appreciative of the international atmosphere present in the previously named West Kennedy Hall. I encourage any and all students to take the time to thank our donors and alums and to remember that they allow 92 percent of our students to get subsidized tuition, and they play a huge factor in the beautification and functionality of our campus.”
Lauren Richey can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org