Press Release for Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Generous Donors Gift $1M to UNF Scholarship Endowment

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

Capt. Leonard and Eleanor Blanchart, Jacksonville residents who live in Queens Harbor, today were recognized for their $1 million gift to the University of North Florida towards the Capt. and Mrs. Leonard Blanchart Maritime Endowed Scholarship Fund. The donation will be matched at 75 percent by the State of Florida and will fund several new student scholarships.

“We deeply appreciate this generous gift from Capt. Leonard and Eleanor Blanchart,” said UNF President John A. Delaney. “This commitment will make a significant difference in the lives of students and ensures that UNF will continue to be an important resource for our community.”

Leonard Blanchart is a retired Merchant Marine captain and river boat pilot. His career success, coupled with successful financial stock market investments, influenced him to help students who lacked the resources to attend college.

In 1989, the Jacksonville couple established a scholarship endowment at UNF for students who graduated from Bishop Kenny High School. The scholarship endowment was the first such endowment established at UNF.

Over the years, the Blancharts have added to the fund and have taken advantage of the State matching gift program. With the couple’s recent gift, the value of their scholarship endowment has reached $2.25 million.

Five high schools were added this year, including Bishop Snyder, Episcopal, St. Joseph, Trinity Christian and University Christian. This recent gift will fund approximately 10 new scholarships a year.

UNF junior and Springfield resident Melissa Lewis, a Health Science major, is a Blanchart scholarship recipient and appreciates the financial assistance, so she can attend college and achieve her dream of becoming an addiction counselor.

“This scholarship has not only provided financial freedom from my college expenses, but it has also allowed me to become the first college graduate in my family,” she said. “I really feel that this is one of the best scholarships that I have because it’s not just a faceless check to the University, but I actually have the opportunity to develop a relationship with the Blancharts.”

Currently, more than 20 students have received scholarships from the Capt. and Mrs. Leonard Blanchart Maritime Endowed Scholarship Fund. The average scholarship award is $ 4,000.