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In Memoriam: Honoring the Life of David Hicks

The faculty, staff, and students of the Hicks Honors College are filled with sadness at the passing of David Hicks.  David was extremely generous to UNF, and he and his wife Ann transformed the honors program by donating the funds for the endowment that enabled the program to develop into the Hicks Honors College.   Since 2015 the Hicks endowment has provided dozens of students with hundreds of thousands of dollars to study abroad and conduct significant research. Students comment constantly about how much David and Ann Hicks have changed their lives. We are proud to be called the Hicks Honors College because David did so much for our students. We were pleased and honored to have David, as well as Ann, with us this past April to celebrate the achievements of our 2018 graduating class. We wish to express our sadness at David’s passing, but also our deep gratitude. Our hearts go out to Ann and the family. The photo below will remain a very special memento of David’s dedication to the Hicks Honors College and to the success of its students. 

 

 

 Ann and David Hicks standing with graduating Honors students in an auditorium

 

The Endowment of the Hicks Honors College

Hicks Honors College is named for Ann and David Hicks, longtime community leaders, philanthropists, and UNF supporters. The name officially changed to Hicks Honors College in 2016, after the couple generously donated $7 million to the University of North Florida. 

 

“The University is so grateful for Ann and David,” said UNF President John Delaney at a large public ceremony. “We’re thrilled to announce the establishment of the Hicks Honors College, which will provide a unique interdisciplinary learning experience for some of UNF’s high-achieving students.” 

 

“In all my years of affiliation with UNF, I have wanted to establish a small Amherst College in the midst of our vibrant university. It’s the best of both worlds for the honors students,” said David, a successful Jacksonville business executive. 

 

“These high achievers have the benefit of small classes and intimate learning experiences, while participating in the dynamic atmosphere of the larger university. Of utmost importance, the honors students will graduate without the burden of debt, which might have been incurred had they chosen a prestigious private university. Our goal is to have their education comparable to that of top-tier institutions,” said Ann, a 1994 UNF graduate. 

About Ann and David Hicks 

 

The Hicks have been longtime supporters of UNF. In 2012, the University dedicated UNF Hall, Building 53, as Hicks Hall to honor Ann and David for their dynamic leadership and unselfish support to Northeast Florida. David was the former CEO and chairman of Computer Power, Inc., the leading supplier of software and services to the mortgage industry. He is credited with turning around the Jacksonville Housing Authority, where he served as chairman for seven years after his retirement from CPI. David used his entrepreneurial skills to have the JHA partner with the local Habitat for Humanity affiliate, constructing more than 1,400 Habitat homes, which resulted in HabiJax being the largest and most successful Habitat affiliate in the United States.

 

In 1996, the couple originated the idea of the Pathways to Success Scholarship program at the University. This innovative program, which David and Ann generously funded, provides a way for students in HabiJax and public housing to attend UNF. The program’s initial goal was a $10 million endowment to fund scholarships. With David’s leadership, it succeeded in securing more than $15 million in donations from over 30 donors in Florida.

 

Ann has made significant leadership contributions to UNF as a member of the University’s first Board of Trustees and the Foundation Board. She is also greatly involved in providing scholarship assistance to students. Ann established the Gray Scholarship Program in honor of Rev. Neil Gray, an Episcopal priest and UNF adjunct instructor who made a deep impression on her while studying for her second bachelor’s degree.

Thank You

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Hicks,

           First, I would like to introduce myself. My name is Marc McLeod and let it be known that I greatly appreciate the contribution you have made to further undergraduate research at the University of North Florida. In my own case your contribution has made a world of difference, allowing me to characterize a gene involved with muscle atrophy and present my findings at conferences such as SOARS at UNF and the Experimental Biology Conference in Chicago last April, and again this coming April. These experiences will be key to me as I pursue a PhD in Biochemistry and will be a stepping stone that have helped me to start my journey into the biomedical sciences. Outside of my academic life, I have two dogs, a bunny, and a very loving girlfriend. My work towards the biomedical sciences has provided a clear cut career path so I can have the security to enjoy what I love with those who matter most to me. I have always been enamored with the idea of exploring the outdoors and seeing what the world has to offer. Despite this, I have only left Florida twice. Once was to Chicago for the experimental biology conference and another time to go white water rafting when I was 11. With this in mind I have planned to see the city museum in St. Louis and go to Colonial Williamsburg this Christmas as a short get away. To say the least I am fairly excited about this new adventure in my life and I can’t wait to see what it holds. This adventure is almost on par with the strong sense of passion I have for increasing knowledge in the biomedical sciences. So to say the very least thank you for allowing me the opportunity to seek out a way to better myself and the community at large and I wish you all the best.

 

Sincerely,

Marc McLeod