Editorial: UT gift a vote of confidence in bay area

Published Oct. 24, 2014

Howard and Patricia Jenkins joined an impressive club of Tampa Bay philanthropists on Thursday with the announcement that they are donating $10 million to their children's alma mater, the University of Tampa, toward the construction of a new residence hall. The donation is the third time in less than two months that a Tampa Bay family has decided their fortunes would best be invested at a local university. That's the kind of vote of confidence in a region, its people and its institutions that breeds long-term success, and Tampa Bay will be stronger for it.

The gift to UT from Howard Jenkins, chairman of Publix's executive committee, and Patricia Jenkins, who founded an environmental firm, comes on the heels of record-setting gifts for the business colleges at the University of South Florida in Tampa and USF St. Petersburg. Earlier this month, USF announced a $25 million gift from Les and Pam Muma, just weeks after USFSP's September announcement of a $10 million gift from Kate Tiedemann.

With each donation, all three families talked of the power in giving — how as they turn over millions of hard-earned dollars, they had the gratification that they will be helping young people achieve their dreams and a community mature long after they're gone. Such selflessness is its own reward. But in this case, it is also Tampa Bay's.