Alumna donates $5 million to college of business for creation of endowed deanship

The dean of the Muma College of Business has plans to improve infrastructure and become recognized as an elite school with the funds from alumna Lynn Pippenger. SPECIAL TO THE ORACLE

The Muma College of Business will create an endowed deanship as a result of a $5 million gift from alumna and longtime donor Lynn Pippenger.

The donation, announced in a press release Tuesday morning, will allow Dean Moez Limayem to make strategic investments that will enhance the college and benefit its students. 

Recognizing the potential of Limayem’s direction, Pippenger, a retired senior executive at investment banking company Raymond James Financial, decided that investing in his leadership was the best way to support the college’s path to success. 

“Dean Limayem has ambitious goals for the future of the Muma College of Business and through the years I have watched as he surpassed each milestone he set,” Pippenger said in the press release. “His leadership is a critical part of the college’s path forward and the best investment I can make in its future is to name the deanship and ensure we always have an accomplished, forward-thinking and dynamic leader.”

This is not the first time Pippenger has supported USF. In 2015, she donated $10 million to name the Lynn Pippenger School of Accountancy, and in 2016 she donated $5 million to name the Lynn Pippenger Hall, which houses the Kate Tiedemann School of Business and Finance at the USF St. Pete campus.

In an interview with The Oracle, Limayem said the most recent donation made to the USF Foundation will support his efforts in making Muma an elite school. By investing in infrastructure and faculty and staff, the college will ensure quality education that helps students get scholarships and internships, he said.

“We will be able to retain our best faculty and staff. Hopefully, with some of this fund we will also attract the best faculty and staff,” said Limayem. “There should also be better infrastructure and programs outside the classroom like cocurricular activities that will help [students] to be ready for their dream job.”

The gift will also enable the college to spend more on academic activities including professional development support, research programs, visiting lecturers, conferences and publications that promote the mission of the college, according to the press release. 

“As a state university, most of the power, funds from tuition or from state appropriation, come to cover mostly extended services,” said Limayem. “For example, most of them go to the salary of faculty and staff, so as a state institution we really lack money we can invest strategically as we deem fits into priority. So this endowment will allow us to do exactly that.”

Limayem also hopes the gift will help to support students who are facing financial hardships due to COVID-19 because of job and internship losses. Currently, the priority of the college is to prepare for the fall semester and assist students, according to Limayem.

“The priority for fall, more than ever before, is to prepare so that we have a safe, productive and even enjoyable semester for all of our students,” said Limayem. “Give them all the flexibility they need depending on their worries, their concerns and their aspirations.”

This new endowed deanship will also impact the broader business community in the Tampa Bay area. According to The Princeton Review, Muma is No. 11 in the national ranking of graduate programs in entrepreneurship. Limayem hopes the new investments will make the college’s programs stronger, attracting new companies to the area. 

“With a donation like this, I really believe that this is cause for celebration, not only for Muma and for USF but also for the entire Tampa Bay community because when companies are looking to relocate to Tampa Bay, the No. 1 thing they always look for and ask about is talent,” said Limayem. 

“Hopefully this endowment will allow us to give our companies here and companies that are thinking of relocating here more diverse and better talent because [students] will be prepared, they will have had the right infrastructure to be ready for that dream job at a competitive salary.” 

The endowment will generate more opportunities for current and upcoming Muma students, and according to Limayem, it is a turning point and a step toward being considered an elite college of business.

“We are now guaranteed for generations to come, for years to come, that Muma College of Business is guaranteed the best possible deans to lead the college. … When you have the name ‘deanship,’ that’s where good deans will apply because they know they will have the infrastructure, they will have the funds to fulfill the strategic mission of the college,” said Limayem. 

“So for this reason, today is a very important day for the Muma College of Business, especially because it is so significant that it comes very shortly after consolidation. What a great way to start the new era for the consolidated Muma College of Business.”