The last 12 months have been kind to USF.
USF alumnus Barron Collier and wife Dana announced their $10.85 million donation Thursday afternoon inside the Muma College of Business.
The gift is not the couple’s first, but is the most substantial. It is the latest in a series of large gifts to the university’s $1 billion USF: Unstoppable campaign. The campaign has received five major donations since October of last year, which total $65 million.
The Collier family, which is already highly involved at USF and in the Tampa area, has been contributing to the university for years, and its donations to the Corporate Mentor Program have been important for students.
The program is designed to enable and encourage first generation college students to attend and succeed in school. Collier and his wife have attended the Muma College of Business scholarship luncheon since 2011, and the couple has gotten to meet many of the student recipients.
At the announcement, a young man who had been able to attend USF because of the Collier’s generosity introduced the couple, and Dana could not hold back tears.
“When you get to talk to students, you see their passion and their desire and drive to get a good education, and to be able to get out there and make a difference in the world,” Collier said.
The donation also saw the renaming of the Collier Student Success Center within the Muma College of Business. The center’s primary focus is on career preparedness.
The Collier family has had a significant legacy in Florida, as Collier’s grandfather, Barren Collier Sr., owned 1.3 million acres of Southwest Florida, constructed the Tamiami Trail and is the namesake of Collier County, where Naples is located.
“I would like to see the Muma College of Business alumni and the business community step up and add to the program. Four hundred students applied this year,” Collier said. “Shouldn’t 400 students be able to participate?”