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The University of West Florida football program has received a $1 million gift from Pen Air Federal Credit Union. The gift comes after the Argonauts rose to victory in their first football game last weekend in southwest Florida.

The gift will name the Pen Air Federal Credit Union Field, home of UWF football on the Pensacola Campus.

“For 80 years, Pen Air has been giving back locally throughout the communities we serve,” said Stu Ramsey, president and CEO of Pen Air Federal Credit Union. “We understand and value the importance of connecting with our community by keeping it strong and healthy. Supporting programs like UWF Athletics, the Alumni Association, Financial Education Boot Camps and now Pen Air Field, are some of the many ways we connect and support our vibrant and growing local University and community. The football program has been a dream for many years, and we are proud to be a part of it.”

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UWF’s proposed University Park Master Plan is envisioned as a permanent home for UWF football on the school’s main campus in northeast Pensacola. (UWF/Special to The Pulse)

This is the most recent development in a long-standing relationship between the University and Pen Air. Previously, Pen Air has shown its support by partnering with the alumni association, the College of Business and UWF Athletics. The credit union is currently the presenting sponsor of the annual Alumni Scholarship Classic golf tournament, and it provides the official UWF credit card for alumni and friends of the University. Each time the UWF card is swiped, the UWF alumni association receives a benefit that funds a grant program.

“We would not be where we are today without support from organizations like Pen Air Federal Credit Union,” said UWF President Judith Bense. “For the past several years, they’ve been committed to serving the University through their generous financial contributions and academic and athletic program support. Now, they are investing in the future of UWF football. We are incredibly grateful for their belief in the value of higher education and for their dedication to helping our University grow.”

Since Fall 2014, Pen Air has also hosted the Financial Literacy Boot Camp in partnership with the University. Held each fall and spring semester, the boot camp hosts financial professionals as guest lecturers who present topics such as personal financial planning, planning for retirement, the advantages of tax-deferred savings and 401(k) plans and more, to prepare students with the essential financial literacy they require prior to accepting their first professional position after graduation.

While the $1 million gift will directly support UWF football, this isn’t the first time Pen Air has helped UWF foster school spirit through athletics. The credit union also serves as the presenting sponsor of the annual Athletic Hall of Fame banquet as well as a title sponsor for the Argo Armada Student Rewards program, which rewards students for the number of sports events they attend.

On Tuesday, the UWF athletic department announced that Saturday’s inaugural home football game at Blue Wahoos Stadium in downtown Pensacola is officially sold out. The Argonauts will face Missouri S&T on Saturday at 6 p.m.

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