Bill and Paula Van Law were interested in doing something special to mark
their 25th wedding anniversary. Rather than splurge on an expensive trip, a
piece of jewelry or a lavish party, the couple commemorated their anniversary
with a scholarship to the university from which they both graduated.
UNF has played an important part in each of their lives, so Bill Van Law
said they decided to return something to the University so other students could
benefit similarly from a college education.
“We were looking for something long-lasting and we realized a gift to UNF
related well to our past. We are strong believers in education and the impact
it can have on a person’s life.”
The two were pursuing UNF degrees simultaneously in the early ‘80s, and Bill
recalls spending many hours together at the old Boathouse before and after
classes. Both were students in the Coggin College of Business. They both
graduated in 1984, Bill receiving a bachelor’s degree in business management
and Paula earning an M.B.A. Two weeks before graduation, they were married.
Since leaving UNF, both have used their degrees to their advantage. Bill
spent 18 years with Merrill Lynch before joining Raymond James Financial
Services, where he is now senior vice president and national director of
business development, based in St. Petersburg, Fla. After graduation, Paula
took a position with CSX Technologies and later Xerox before beginning their
family. The couple has three children.
Appropriately, the Van Law Scholarship will be devoted to juniors or seniors
in the Coggin College of Business. Although endowments generally take several
years to generate enough income to fund a scholarship, the Van Laws have also
given an additional gift to allow selection of their first scholar this year.
The Van Laws hope their anniversary gift will give future students an
opportunity to form their own cherished memories.