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USF St. Petersburg business school gets $5 million gift from Raymond James' Lynn Pippenger

Lynn Pippenger, center in purple, is shown in February last year after an announcement that she had given $10 million to the University of South Florida. On Wednesday, the business school at USF St. Petersburg announced she had given it $5 million. A new building will be named for her. Pippenger is a retired Raymond James CFO.
Published Mar. 31, 2016

ST. PETERSBURG — The University of South Florida St. Petersburg on Wednesday announced that its new college of business building will be named after retired Raymond James Financial CFO Lynn Pippenger thanks to her $5 million donation to the school.

Pippenger Hall is now the name of the centerpiece building of the Kate Tiedemann College of Business.

USF St. Petersburg officials say it will be the first business college in the nation in which both the school and the building that houses it will be named after women.

"I think women are really starting to make headway. As time goes on they are surfacing to the top" of their industries, said Sophia Wisniewska, regional chancellor of USF St. Petersburg.

Only a handful of business colleges around the country are named after women. The first was the University of South Carolina, which in 1998 was renamed the Darla Moore School of Business.

USF administrators hope that putting two wealthy, self-made businesswomen in the spotlight will have a meaningful impact on young women as they start to pursue their careers.

"This small circle of powerful women is inspiring," Wisniewska said.

She noted that neither Tiedemann nor Pippenger inherited their wealth, but were in the top of their fields. "They really made it on their own," Wisniewska said.

During the event, Pippenger, a St. Petersburg native, recalled one of her first jobs: bagging groceries at a store in the city. She attended USF St. Petersburg in the 1980s while working at Raymond James and eventually graduated from the university with an executive masters of business administration.

"Not that many colleges of business have been named after women," said Pippenger. "In the financial security industry, there may be another four."

In addition to being a benefactor to USF St. Petersburg, the Lynn Pippenger School of Accountancy at the Muma College of Business on USF's Tampa campus is also named after her. Pippenger donated $10 million to the college of business on the Tampa campus last year. She has donated a total of $26 million to the USF system.

Pippenger, now 78 and living in Largo, returned to the USF St. Petersburg campus in the fall to attend an event at the construction site where Pippenger Hall now stands. She wanted to meet Kate Tiedemann, who in 2014 gave $10 million to the college of business on the St. Petersburg campus that now bears her name.

Tiedemann's partner, businesswoman Ellen Cotton, also donated $1 million in January.

"This provides that sort of evidence and visibility to a lot of young women and girls out there to say look, I can be successful," said Christine Clements, who is the chief diversity and inclusion advocate and a senior vice president for the Tampa-based Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, or AACSB. The non-profit agency accredits business schools around the world.

Earlier this month, the Kate Tiedemann College of Business hired a new dean, Sridhar Sundaram, previously of Grand Valley State University in Michigan. He will take over July 1.

Times senior news researcher John Martin contributed to this report. Alli Knothe can be reached at aknothe@tampabay.com. Follow @KnotheA

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