Rad Lovett recalls a conversation he had with UNF President John Delaney early in his administration in which they discussed making Transformational Learning Opportunities such as studying abroad available to all students.
“I always recognized how important my study-abroad experience was to me, but until that conversation I didn’t realize how important it could be in transforming the lives of other students,” Lovett said. “John wanted to make this a hallmark initiative at UNF and suddenly it made perfect sense to me. A light bulb went off, and I realized how important it was to incorporate these opportunities into our UNF scholarship.”
That conversation played a major role in Lovett’s decision to make one of the lead gifts of $1 million to The Power of Transformation Campaign for the University of North Florida. His support for Transformational Learning Opportunities is now a major part of the previously established Katherine H. Lovett Endowed Scholarship Fund. In addition to providing scholarship assistance, each Lovett scholar is eligible to receive support for study-abroad programs or undergraduate research.
Delaney said he couldn’t be happier with Lovett’s decision to incorporate transformational learning into the family scholarship program. “We all know that the true university experience extends beyond the classroom. Rad’s willingness to give students opportunities for transformational experiences is truly appreciated.”
Lovett himself had an opportunity to study in Uruguay and remembers what an important role it played in his life. “It was a life-altering experience,” he said.
But perhaps even more compelling for Lovett is the experience of meeting and getting to know students awarded a Lovett Scholarship since it was initially established in 2003 to honor the memory of his mother, Katherine H. Lovett, who died in 1991 at age 57.
Lovett is quick to tell stories about scholarship recipients who have traveled abroad, such as Stacey Enriquez, who studied in South Africa. “She worked in a hospital in South Africa and made a difference in the lives of the kids she helped. It changed how she viewed the world,” he said.
Lovett is sure his mother would have approved of the lives changed through the family’s scholarship. “She emphasized education more than anything else in terms of the opportunity to transform people’s lives.”
“We started with a relatively small scholarship program, but after meeting with those students for a couple of years and seeing the difference we were making in their lives, it really motivated me to work toward increasing the scholarship,” Lovett said.
Lovett is far more than a UNF donor. He has been involved in the UNF Foundation for more than 15 years, including a stint as its president. Dr. Pierre N. Allaire, vice president for Institutional Advancement, said Lovett’s long-standing dedication to the Foundation is epitomized by his willingness to co-chair the campaign. “This type of selfless dedication is a model of leadership which will inspire the success of our campaign,” he said.
Lovett’s emphasis on education is also reflected in being a co-founder and former chairman of the Jacksonville Jaguars’ Honor Rows program. He’s also a past president of the Youth Crisis Center.
When not volunteering, Lovett is the managing director and co-founding partner of Lovett Miller & Co., a Florida-based venture capital and private equity firm. He has also served as founder, chairman and CEO of TowerCom Enterprises and TowerCom Development, wireless-communication infrastructure developers.
But Lovett acknowledges UNF remains a major focus in his life, especially since he is co-chairing The Power of Transformation campaign. Through the campaign, Lovett said he hopes to give other donors the opportunity he has had to become acquainted with scholarship recipients and make a difference in their lives.