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Philanthropists Tiedemann, Cotton give $1 million to USF business school

The gift will fund a professorship in finance on the university’s St. Petersburg campus.

Pinellas County philanthropists Kate Tiedemann and Ellen Cotton have donated $1 million to create an endowed finance professor position at the University of South Florida’s St. Petersburg campus.

The donation through the USF Foundation was announced Monday. It comes on the heels of the USF System’s announcement Friday that it has cleared the final step toward consolidating its locations in Tampa, St. Petersburg and Sarasota into one university with a single accreditation. That change, two years in the making, was reflected in how the university described the new professorship.

Related: RELATED: USF gets green light to consolidate, a ‘historic milestone’

The first Tiedemann-Cotton Endowed Professorship in Finance will go to Gary Patterson, the current associate dean of the Kate Tiedemann College of Business, which will become the Kate Tiedemann School of Business and Finance when USF’s consolidation takes effect July 1.

The new Tiedemann “school” will operate within the Tampa-led Muma College of Business. That’s in keeping with a requirement under consolidation that every “overarching disciplinary area" — business, for example — should have one college led by a single dean.

Tiedemann and her spouse, Cotton, have previously focused their philanthropy on the St. Petersburg campus, donating $3 million last year to endow the dean’s position at the college. That dean, Sridhar Sundaram, soon will become dean of the new business school in St. Petersburg.

All told, Tiedemann and Cotton have donated more than $15 million to the St. Petersburg campus — from Tiedemann’s $10 million gift to the business college in 2014 to their most recent donation of $50,000 in April to assist students financially amid coronavirus.

Related: Pinellas philanthropists give $50,000 to USF student relief fund

“I continue to be inspired by the passion Kate and Ellen have for our students and for their ongoing support to help our students succeed,” Martin Tadlock, regional chancellor of USF’s St. Petersburg campus, said in a statement. “This generous gift helps ensure that top-quality instruction in finance will continue on this campus for generations to come.”

The endowed professor position will be a three-year renewable term by the dean of the school in consultation with the dean of the college in Tampa. The position includes funding for salary, research, equipment, travel and other miscellaneous expenses. USF now has 33 endowed professor positions, five on the St. Petersburg campus.

Patterson has taught at USF in St. Petersburg since 2000 and previously served as interim dean for the college.

“Ellen and I are honored to make this gift and very pleased that Dr. Gary Patterson has been appointed to be the first Tiedemann-Cotton Endowed Professor of Finance,” Tiedemann said in a statement. “He is an exemplary scholar who is dedicated to helping students make a difference in the world. His impact will continue to be reflected in his students and their contributions in the field of finance throughout their lifetimes."

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