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The University of West Florida has received another major donation for the university’s year-old football program, officials announced Thursday.

UWF alumnus Darrell Gooden, founder of Pensacola-based Gooden Homes, has gifted $100,000 to the UWF football program.

Gooden’s contribution will help address the growing program’s facility and equipment needs, university officials said. In recognition of the generous gift, the UWF Department of Intercollegiate Athletics will name the new Student-Athlete Academic Center in his honor.

“This is a way for me to give back to UWF for a great education and to Northwest Florida for all the success I have achieved over the years,” Gooden said.

Conceptual plans for UWF’s University Park district. UWF is at the beginning stages of creating a master-planned district for football and athletics programs. (University of West Florida/Special to The Pulse)

Gooden, a Pensacola native, studied accounting at UWF and said he attributes much of his professional success to his college education. Over the past 35 years, Gooden Homes has built numerous subdivisions and nearly 3,000 homes in Northwest Florida.

Gooden said he believes the UWF football program will continue to have a big impact on the community. He was part of the visionary group that helped establish football as a varsity sport at the University. As a leader of this effort, Gooden was inducted as a member of the UWF Football Founders.

“It is an honor for me to be able to help and be a part of history in achieving this,” Gooden said. “I hope this program will increase the Argo pride across all areas of the campus and the community. I believe a great university is an asset for Northwest Florida.”

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