Few graduates can claim to have had more influence in shaping the education of UNF students than Ann Hicks.
Hicks and her husband, David, have been major benefactors of UNF. Their gifts have funded scholarships for students entering the visual arts and humanities as well as for families living in public housing and HabiJax homes.
Hicks said she was motivated to fund scholarships when as a student she witnessed how hard it was for many young people to juggle classes and work. “I met some very bright, dedicated students who were under a great deal of pressure to study and finance their education with outside employment. That’s when David and I decided to help.”
One of the endowments Hicks created was the Gray Scholars Program, named after the Rev. Neil Gray, an Episcopal priest and UNF adjunct instructor. “It was my good fortune to have my very first course taught by Father Gray. He was one of the most, maybe the most, amazing person I’ve ever met in my life. He is an amazing academician, and spiritual leader whose talents are wide and varied.”
Since establishing the Hicks and Gray scholarships more than 257 students have received assistance. Each time she meets with recipients she gives the same advice. “Do not let anything deter you from continuing with your education as hard as it is at times. It will be the most valuable asset in your entire life. Just don’t give up.”
Hicks received her first bachelor’s degree from Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Mass. Hicks received her second bachelor’s degree from UNF in 1995 and has remained very active in the life of the University. She serves on the UNF Board of Trustees and was co-chair of the University’s highly successfulAccess to Excellencecapital campaign.
Hicks sees nothing but good things happening to UNF in the next decade under the leadership of President John Delaney. “The two new doctorate degrees are the latest sign of the level of excellence at UNF. Because of her involvement with UNF, Hicks was awarded the College of Arts and Sciences Outstanding Alumnus Award in 1998.
When she isn’t involved with UNF, Hicks has been active in the community serving on boards of the Jacksonville Public Library, HabiJax, the Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens and The Bolles School.
Nevertheless, Hicks places her involvement at UNF at the top of her list of accomplishments. “The University is the greatest asset we have in this community and I am proud to be part of it.”
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