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The University of West Florida announced today a $5 million donation from Hal Marcus to the university’s College of Science and Engineering. In honor of the gift — the largest single gift from a living donor in the university’s history — the college will be renamed the Hal Marcus College of Science and Engineering. Marcus is the first individual to have a college named after him at the school.

“Today is a turning point in the history of this university,” said Dr. Brendan Kelly, UWF’s vice president for university advancement. “Not only is this the largest gift by a living donor, this support marks a turning point in UWF’s capacity in STEM education. We are grateful to Hal for enlacing his legacy with UWF’s future.”

The University of West Florida announced on Tuesday a $5 million gift from Hal Marcus. (Drew Buchanan/The Pulse)

The University of West Florida announced on Tuesday a $5 million gift from Hal Marcus. (Drew Buchanan/The Pulse)

Marcus’ gift will serve to enhance the student experience and raise the profile of science and engineering programs at the University. Dr. Michael Huggins, dean of the College of Science and Engineering, says the gift will create new opportunities for students in the STEM disciplines, making them more competitive for the best available jobs in the state or for acceptance into the highest quality graduate programs in the nation. Such experiences may include field research abroad, expanded student competition teams and exposure to nationally and internationally recognized visiting lecturers as well as many more exciting opportunities.

Marcus is a longtime donor to the university. In 2012, Marcus donated $50,000 to the university’s Biomechanics Laboratory. Marcus and his wife Pat also established the Pat and Hal Marcus Fellowship in Historical Archaeology in 1994, when current university president Judy Bense was the chair of the archaeology program. Having had the pleasure of watching Dr. Bense’s career unfold, Marcus wanted to make his major gift before Bense leaves office later this year.

In discussing his longtime support of the university, Marcus cited his relationship with UWF president Judy Bense. (Drew Buchanan/The Pulse)

In discussing his longtime support of the university, Marcus cited his relationship with UWF president Judy Bense. (Drew Buchanan/The Pulse)

“Over the years, Hal has been a wonderful partner of the University,” said Bense. “I look forward to seeing the opportunities this gift will provide for our students today and for years to come.”

“I have made numerous investments over the years, but this investment in education is the best one I have ever made,” said Marcus. “Thank you Dr. Bense for your commitment to UWF and to higher education.”

“All of the work I have done in my life has provided me the opportunity to make a significant investment in the education of others,” Marcus said. “When I think about my legacy in this community, I want to make certain it is marked by investments in the education of others.”

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