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Dean, wife donate $1.3-million to USF

Fresh from their honeymoon, Dr. Robert Daugherty and Joy McCann Daugherty have donated $1.3-million to endow minority scholarships at the University of South Florida's medical school.

Dr. Daugherty, who became USF's medical dean last September, and the former Joy Culverhouse were married in California on July 6. They spent their honeymoon there and returned to Tampa this week.

"We are losing some of our best minority students to out-of-state schools because of funds and scholarships," Dr. Daugherty said Thursday. "(The donation) was brought on by recognizing a desperate need to increase the number of minorities brought to South Florida."

The gift is eligible to be matched by the state.

Mrs. Daugherty is a longtime donor to USF, having given more than $15-million to the university since 1988, said Michael Hoad, medical school spokesman. Mrs. Daugherty was married to Tampa Bay Bucs owner Hugh Culverhouse Sr., who died in 1994. After a legal battle over Mr. Culverhouse's $381-million estate, she received a settlement worth an estimated $36-million. She also receives several million dollars annually from a trust.

Dr. Daugherty acknowledged it was an unusual circumstance to be on both ends of the donation _ as one of the donors and the dean of the recipient school _ but "it's hard to envision a conflict of interests," he said. "I'm not personally benefiting from it."

The endowment will be overseen by Ted Williams, associate dean for diversity initiatives and minority affairs at USF. Williams said the gift "sends a message to the general community as a whole: Two individuals here see the importance of minority medical training."

Dr. Daugherty said he reached out to minority high school students while serving as medical dean at the University of Nevada in Reno for 18 years. He encouraged minorities to attend medical school, a strategy he wants to continue at USF.

"The ability to follow these minorities is very important," he said. "Part of the gift is to do that."

_ Times staff writer Jeff Testerman and Times researcher John Martin contributed to this report.