The unexpected settlement Thursday of the Culverhouse dispute produced the largest single gift ever received by the University of South Florida.
Joy Culverhouse agreed to give $7-million to two USF medical clinics. That surpasses the $5-million pledged by construction company owners Fred and Maxine Wright three years ago, as well as two separate $6-million grants from All Children's Hospital.
When it is matched dollar-for-dollar by the state's philanthropy support program, it will become $14-million for USF. It augments a $4.6-million Culverhouse family gift in 1988.
"We couldn't be happier," USF President Betty Castor said Thursday. "It really represents Mrs. Culverhouse's deep interest in the health sciences and the medical school."
The USF contributions, which will go to fight breast cancer and swallowing disorders, were the largest parts of a slew of bequests accompanying the settlement of the Culverhouse trust litigation.
With matching grants, the total amount pledged Thursday to more than three-dozen universities, hospitals and local charities in Tampa and Sarasota will be at least $19.9-million.
The larger of the two USF bequests is a $5-million grant to the Breast Cancer Clinic at the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute. With state matching funds, the gift is worth $10-million.
The center's director is Dr. Charles Cox, who has gained nationwide recognition for his new technique of pinpointing the spread of breast cancer in lymph nodes.
"It's awesome," said Cox, who holds the Joy M. Culverhouse professorship of surgical oncology. "I think the exciting thing from my perspective is that it's a windfall for the women of the Tampa Bay area."
Another $2-million _ worth a total of $4-million _ is set aside for the Center for Swallowing Disorders, which was created at USF with the help of a 1988 donation by the Culverhouses.
That center's director, Dr. Worth Boyce, said he was overwhelmed by the latest grant and added that "the greatest compliment is that people have enough confidence in our abilities to trust us with this."
The center's two physicians have treated thousands of people whose ability to swallow was impeded by tumors, stomach acid and nervous disorders _ among them, Hugh Culverhouse Sr.
Another $2-million bequest _ also worth a total of $4-million _ is going to the University of Florida College of Law to help construct a new community and information center.
"We are extraordinarily happy," said Richard Matasar, the dean of the law school. "It represents a major boost in the beginning of our campaign to get a new building."
USF President Castor also said the Culverhouse gifts come at an excellent time because USF is gearing up a fund-raising drive.
A key feature of Thursday's settlement is that the charitable gifts will be awarded this year, instead of after Mrs. Culverhouse's death.
"That was a wonderful decision," said Matasar, the UF law school dean. "There is something special about seeing your good deeds go into effect. I'm delighted the family will be able to see the effect of this gift."
Before his death in August 1994, Tampa Bay Buccaneers owner Hugh F. Culverhouse designated 38 charities, hospitals, educational institutions and cultural organizations to receive bequests from an estate worth hundreds of millions of dollars. All the charities will receive at least $50,000 from the trust, with some, such as the University of South Florida, receiving considerably more.
Tampa Bay area
Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center
St. Andrew's Episcopal Church
American Cancer Society
Chi Chi Rodriguez Foundation
J. Clifford McDonald Center
Tampa Museum of Art
Ringling Museum of Art
Sarasota Opera Association
University of Alabama
University of South Florida
University of Tampa
University of Florida
Saint Leo College
St. Joseph's Hospital & Cancer
Tampa General Hospital
Massachusetts General Hospital
Louisiana State University Medical
Center at New Orleans
University Community Hospital
Moffitt Cancer Institute
Delta Kappa Epsilon
Source: Court records