Dr. Phillips Charities presented UCF with a $3 million check on March 1 to go toward the development of the university’s downtown campus.
DR. PHILLIPS With its recent $3 million donation toward the development of UCF’s downtown Orlando campus, Dr. Phillips Charities is the single-largest private contributor to the new campus to date.
Downtown Orlando is already home to UCF’s Florida Interactive Entertainment Academy and, according to the university, the new campus will bring 7,700 UCF and Valencia College students downtown to “study degree programs that align with emerging industries” there.
DP Charities’ gift will help fund construction of the campus’ first academic building and brings total community support for the project up to $16 million. Other private donors up to this point include the Orlando Magic, CFE Federal Credit Union and Florida Hospital, among others.
The total cost for the building is $60 million, but one-third will be funded by the community, one-third will come directly from UCF, and the last portion will be funded by the state.
DP Charities’ relationship with UCF dates back to the 1960s, when Howard Phillips, the son of Dr. P. Phillips, started giving to UCF. DP Charities President and CEO Kenneth D. Robinson said that, to date, the organization has seven different endowments, worth $5.9 million total, put toward UCF. It also has three different capital campaigns with UCF, having helped fund $2.5 million for the Dr. P. Phillips School of Real Estate, $1.5 million for the UCF College of Medicine, and now $3 million for the downtown campus.
“UCF has been a wonderful partner over the years and have been good stewards of the money given to them,” Robinson said. “We like the program they’re looking at bringing downtown, and since we’ve supported them in other areas we thought it was critical to support them in their mission to move downtown.”
Fred Kittinger, senior associate vice president at UCF, said that university representatives first spoke with DP Charities in the fall about the project, and the organization slotted them for a presentation at the beginning of the year.
“We cannot be more thankful or appreciative of them for their support of this project,” Kittinger said. “They’ve always supported UCF academics through the years. …They’re a critical part of UCF downtown and it’s so fitting giving the long history and partnership with them.”
Robinson praised UCF for its effort in making the downtown campus a reality, which he believes will create a lower-cost tuition model due to its partnership with Valencia College and also put students in an environment where they can learn, access internships and eventually work in the downtown area.
"We cannot be more thankful or appreciative of them for their support of this project ... They’ve always supported UCF academics through the years." -Fred Kittinger
“(The partnership) will make college more accessible to a number of people,” he said. “We think the savings are wonderful to pass on to the community and state. …(The campus) will give kids there a real exposure to what college is and excite them about their futures.”
Pending necessary approvals, UCF hopes to begin turning dirt sometime in 2017, with the campus officially opening in 2018. UCF will relocate many of its digital entertainment and communication, healthcare technology and administration, and public service and social work programs downtown. For Valencia’s part, according to a press release, it will offer digital media, health information technology and culinary and hospitality programs, including workforce training.
“I think the way UCF went about this was vey good and they created a partnership between themselves, the state of Florida and private giving,” Robinson said. “A lot of people in the private community all donated, along with us, to help make this happen and we think the partnership is important.”
Contact Danielle Hendrix at [email protected].