Press Release for Thursday, October 26, 2006

Taylor Engineering Donates One Million Dollars for Coastal Research

 Joanna Norris, Assistant Director
Department of Media Relations and Events
(904) 620-2102

University of North Florida President John A. Delaney announced today a $1 million donation to UNF for coastal engineering research by Taylor Engineering, Inc. at Sisters Creek Marina. An announcement was also made that the Coastal Biology Program has been selected as the University’s fourth and latest flagship program.

“All of us at Taylor Engineering are extremely proud and excited to participate in the establishment of the Taylor Engineering Research Institute at the University of North Florida. We believe that this institute will greatly enrich and advance the academic programs of the College of Computing, Engineering and Construction as well as other disciplines engaged in research in coastal and water resources engineering and science,” said Bruce Taylor, CEO and chairman of Taylor Engineering, Inc. and chair of UNF’s Board of Trustees. “By chartering the institute to promote and support collaborative research between academia, industry and government, we believe that it will serve to attract leading researchers from varied backgrounds to UNF to work with our faculty and students in scholarly endeavors.”

“We deeply appreciate this generous gift from Taylor Engineering, which will allow the University to be a leader in applied coastal research,” said Delaney. “This gift from Bruce Taylor and the new Coastal Biology flagship designation puts UNF in the forefront of environmental research in our region.”

Taylor Engineering’s donation will be matched by the State of Florida at 50 percent, bringing the total to $1.5 million. The funds will be used to establish the Taylor Engineering Endowed Professorship, which will assist with the establishment and provide leadership for the Taylor Engineering Research Institute in the UNF College of Computing, Engineering and Construction. The Institute will operate for the advancement of collaborative research in the fields of coastal and water resource science and engineering.

“The gift from Taylor Engineering is a transforming event for the College of Computing, Engineering and Construction,” said Dr. Neal Coulter, CCEC dean. “It is our largest single gift to date and demonstrates the vibrant partnerships between the College and the professional community.”

As a result of the flagship designation, the Coastal Biology Program will receive $1 million over a four-year period, using funds specifically designated for this program. The funds will be used to hire new faculty, purchase equipment to aid students in research and initiate public seminars, encouraging student and community awareness of coastal biology. In addition, new undergraduate and graduate courses in coastal biology will be developed, which will provide UNF graduates with a unique, competitive edge in related jobs and graduate programs.

“I am particularly pleased with the designation of the Coastal Biology Program as a Flagship because of its ties to the intellectual and environmental strengths of UNF,” said Dale Clifford, interim dean for the College of Arts and Sciences. “Singling out this program as one that will strive for national status reflects UNF's commitment to focus the research and teaching expertise of its faculty in a way that produces transformational learning opportunities for students.”

The University is uniquely situated near the Atlantic Ocean, the St. John’s River and the Intracoastal Waterway—no other university in the country has all of these coastal habitats in such close proximity. The Coastal Biology Program will be able to utilize the natural environment as a laboratory and field site for faculty research, student learning and the application of biological and environmental principles.

In May, the Transportation & Logistics Program and the International Business Program, both in the Coggin College of Business, were selected as new flagship programs. Community Nursing in the Brooks College of Health was named as the first flagship program last summer. UNF is designating several key academic flagship programs that are destined to achieve national stature.