Press Release for Thursday, January 30, 2003

Blue Cross Blue Shield Donates $1 million to UNF



JACKSONVILLE -- Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida today made the largest gift to an academic program in the history of the University of North Florida. The $1 million gift, which qualifies for $750,000 in state matching funds, will be used to fund the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida Center for Ethics, Public Policy and the Professions.

“Thank you to Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida for this magnificent and historic gift,” UNF Interim President Dr. David Kline said. “There is an ongoing need in our country to strengthen ethical reflection and action. This gift provides a core of support to further develop the depth and breadth of this vitally important educational program.” The Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida gift pushes the University’s Access to Excellence capital campaign past the $75 million mark.

The Center for Ethics, Public Policy and the Professions is a program established in 1999 to promote discussion on ethical issues. The center, renamed now in honor of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida, fosters the application of moral reasoning to questions of ethics and values faced by policy makers, researchers and professionals working in the areas of business, government, health care, law, engineering, education and public life in general. The center is housed in the philosophy department, but works with all of the University’s colleges and departments.

The Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida gift will be used to fund the following components: a distinguished professorship; an endowed visiting professor lecture series to enable the center to underwrite nationally and internationally known speakers who would discuss topics of ethical concern; a Faculty Fellows’ program for permanent and visiting faculty to engage in work consistent with the center’s agenda; and endowed scholarships and fellowships so the University can attract outstanding students.

“This gift represents a real milestone for the College of Arts and Sciences,” said Dr. Mark Workman, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.
“The college has benefited in the past from remarkably generous gifts like the Neal Gray Scholars program funded by Ann and David Hicks and the underwriting of the Lazzara Theater by Irene and Gasper Lazzara. The endowment provided by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida represents the first gift of comparable magnitude that will go to support an academic program. On behalf of the students and faculty of the college, I am deeply grateful.”


Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida is a private, policy-holder-owned health-care company with more than 7,000 employees at its headquarters in Jacksonville. Through the years, the company and UNF have established a mutually-beneficial relationship. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida regularly employs UNF graduates and has also established a partnership with the College of Health to provide health administration courses for the company’s employees.

“We are honored to support the Center for Ethics, Public Policy and the Professions at the University of North Florida,” said Michael Cascone Jr., chairman and CEO of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida. “Our support is a natural outgrowth of our commitment to corporate integrity and living by our values every day. We look forward to this partnership with the University of North Florida, a highly respected institution and an integral part of our community.”

The Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida Center for Ethics, Public Policy and the Professions is part of a national trend for the establishment of ethics’ centers which are devoted to the theory and practice of applying ethical reasoning to the wider sphere of social life. Future plans call for the center to offer ethics consultation for local business, public and private organizations and to conduct workshops for professional and public-policy makers. The center’s ultimate goal is to become a national model for ethics centers associated with public comprehensive universities.

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