Invests in College of Business FinTech Program and Upgrade to Dr. Hitt Library
FAIRWINDS Credit Union capped off an evening of celebration with the announcement of a $1 million gift to endow a professorship in the University of Central Florida’s proposed FinTech program, the first of its kind in the State University System.
FAIRWINDS’ donation to the program, which will be fulfilled over the next eight years, was announced Feb. 20 at the UCF College of Business’ annual Hall of Fame Gala.
“FAIRWINDS has been a great supporter of the College of Business for a very long time, and this most recent gift will help us produce the kinds of graduates Central Florida needs in a highly competitive and fast-changing industry,” said UCF College of Business Dean Paul Jarley. “The futures of FAIRWINDS and the College of Business, the leading supplier of business talent to the region, are intertwined. Such mutual interest is the bedrock of partnership, and we look forward to working with FAIRWINDS to create a world-class program that will propel us forward together.”
FAIRWINDS chose to fund the new professorship now in honor of UCF President John C. Hitt’s 26 years of service to the university, a milestone the university will commemorate on March 1. FAIRWINDS also announced plans to invest $100,000 this year to the Dr. Hitt Library in the UCF FAIRWINDS Alumni Center.
The gift moves UCF closer to the $500 million goal of IGNITE, a comprehensive campaign for philanthropic support set to wrap up in 2019. The campaign total currently stands at just over $350 million. Establishing more endowed faculty positions, like the FAIRWINDS professorship, is among the top priorities of the campaign.
These prestigious positions help universities – especially public institutions like UCF – recruit and retain top professors in a competitive environment. Professors in endowed positions can use earnings from the endowment to advance their research and teaching, pay student assistants, travel to conferences, host high-profile speakers, mentor colleagues and address community needs.
“We’re honored to make this commitment to our hometown university and to support the growth of the financial technology sector that is so important to the future of our members and our region,” said Larry Tobin, president and CEO of FAIRWINDS Credit Union, a UCF alumnus and member of the College of Business Hall of Fame. “As one of the largest financial institutions headquartered in Central Florida, we believe investment in technological innovation is critical not only for those of us who provide financial services but also those who will become future leaders in this industry.”
According to the Orlando Economic Partnership, Orlando’s large pool of technical talent, a plethora of tech educational resources and low cost of doing business has created fertile ground for FinTech innovation to thrive.
That growth brings an increasing demand for trained professionals, but the number of degree programs in FinTech is small given the emerging nature of the discipline.
“For more than 20 years, FAIRWINDS Credit Union has been an invaluable partner to UCF,” said Michael Morsberger, CEO of the UCF Foundation. “As this commitment shows, FAIRWINDS shares our desire to make a big impact in the lives of students, faculty, partners and the community we call home.”
FAIRWINDS also recently announced it will remain the student banking services provider for UCF for at least the next five years, extending a partnership that began in 2012. Through this partnership, FAIRWINDS is the only banking provider to offer students the option to link their UCF ID cards to a FAIRWINDS checking account for purchases on campus and at thousands of retail and ATM locations. Student accounts have zero monthly fees and no minimum balance, and students can also secure free money orders.
As part of its involvement with UCF, the recently launched FAIRWINDS Foundation supports the Cent$ible Knight$ financial literacy program, offering five $2,500 scholarships to students who complete the program. Cent$ible Knight$ provides students with information and resources that enhance their financial knowledge and equip them to make sound financial decisions.
FAIRWINDS received the UCF Partnership Award in 2015 for its long history of collaboration with UCF students, faculty and staff.
About FAIRWINDS Credit Union
FAIRWINDS Credit Union, headed by President/CEO Larry Tobin, is one of the largest financial institutions headquartered in Central Florida, with assets of $2.2 billion, more than 177,000 members and over 500 employees. The financial cooperative established in 1949 is open to anyone living or working in Central Florida. Membership also is available to the family of members who live outside Orange, Seminole, Volusia, Osceola, Polk, Brevard or Lake counties. For more information, visit www.fairwinds.org.
About the UCF IGNITE Campaign
IGNITE: The Campaign for UCF is a strategic effort to infuse UCF with $500 million in mission-critical support by the middle of 2019. The campaign has already raised more than $350 million toward that goal. Establishing more endowed faculty positions is among the campaign’s top priorities, along with securing funding for student scholarships and for new projects like UCF Downtown.