TAMPA — A University of Tampa residence hall will be named in honor of Howard and Patricia Jenkins after the couple donated $10 million to the university, one of the largest gifts in its history.
The donation will go toward construction of another new residence hall, which is under way, university spokesman Eric Cárdenas said Thursday.
Howard Jenkins, 63, is the chairman of the executive committee of Publix Super Markets and a member of UT's board of trustees. Patricia Jenkins, 59, founded Apollo Environmental, which specializes in hazardous materials consulting and analysis, expert witness testimony and regulatory compliance.
The school has grown substantially under university president Ronald L. Vaughn, Howard Jenkins said. Vaughn has served as president since 1995.
"I'm just here to help him and others continue to grow the university," Jenkins said.
His son and daughter also attended the university.
"They were very appreciative of the education they received, and the help they received from the university," Jenkins said. The school treated them as individuals, he said, "not just numbers."
"(Howard and Patricia Jenkins) have made such a significant and visible impact on so many cultural and educational areas in Tampa Bay," Vaughn said in a statement Thursday, announcing the gift. "We are pleased to welcome them to the UT community and are thrilled they have chosen UT as one of the institutions they believe in enough to support."
The gift is one of several large donations made to bay area universities recently. Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik offered last week to donate land to the University of South Florida to build a downtown medical school, and Frank Morsani pledged $20 million to the project.
Earlier this month, the University of South Florida announced a $25 million gift from Les and Pam Muma to its College of Business. USF St. Petersburg announced in September a $10 million gift from retired entrepreneur Kate Tiedemann for the school's College of Business.
UT's 11-story West Kennedy Hall, which was completed in August 2013 and houses 528 students, will bear the Jenkins name. The residence hall was named the outstanding project of the year for new construction in higher education by the Florida Gulf Coast Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council last year.
Times researcher John Martin contributed to this report. Contact Keeley Sheehan at [email protected] or (813) 226-3368. Follow @KeeleyMSheehan.