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Press Release for Thursday, February 28, 2013

UNF Building Dedication Honors A.C. Skinner Family

Media Contact: Joanna Norris, Associate Director 

Department of Public Relations 

(904) 620-2102 





The University of North Florida will dedicate Buildings 3 and 4 in honor of Arthur Chester Skinner Jr., Charles Brightman Skinner and Mary Virginia Skinner Jones, Jacksonville landowners and developers, at 11 a.m. Friday, March 1, in the UNF Art Gallery, located in Building 2, Founders Hall, Room 1001. 


Building 3 will be renamed Skinner-Jones Hall South and Building 4 will become Skinner-Jones Hall North. The two buildings are scheduled to undergo renovations in the near future and house labs, classes and offices for various academic departments on campus. 


The University wouldn’t exist today in its present location if it weren’t for the generosity of the A. C. Skinner family’s donation and sale of approximately 500 acres for part of the UNF campus.  


“The A. C. Skinner family’s generosity and commitment to the University of North Florida will forever benefit our community and its students for generations to come,” said UNF President John Delaney. “They had a vision and a desire to make Jacksonville and Northeast Florida a better place to live, work and raise a family.” 


The story of the Skinner family is a saga of how vision, determination and hard work can produce results that benefit future generations. In the late 1890s, Richard Green Skinner settled in Jacksonville and accumulated around 16,000 acres of land in southeast Duval County to use for logging and turpentine production. After their father’s death, Richard Skinner’s seven sons managed the family land and business through the Great Depression while expanding their holdings. 


One of those sons, A. Chester Skinner, eventually gave his portion of land to his three children; Arthur Chester Jr., Charles Brightman Skinner and Mary Virginia Skinner Jones. It was this land that the A. C. Skinner family used to facilitate the growth of Jacksonville through strategic donations of their land for the construction of J. Turner Butler Boulevard, Southside Boulevard and Interstate 295.  


It was also this land, along with adjacent land owned by Alexander Brest and George Hodges, Sr., that was offered in 1968 to the selection committee charged with locating Florida’s newest university and on which UNF now resides. In 1992, the family donated an additional 288 acres adjacent to the campus, providing the University land for continued growth.             


In 2005, the University awarded the Skinner family a Presidential Medallion for Outstanding Service, which is the highest form of nonacademic recognition awarded by UNF. The A.C. Skinner family was among the first group of recipients to receive the prestigious Presidential Medallion, given annually to recognize both alumni and friends who have given themselves to help make the University an outstanding institution of higher education. 


In 2000, Arthur Chester Jr., Charles Brightman Skinner and Mary Virginia Skinner Jones sold 207 acres of land to Ben Carter Properties to develop the St. Johns Town Center. Family members still own 1,200 acres around the Town Center. 


Arthur Chester Jr. served as president of the A.C. Skinner Company, a real estate and property management company founded in 1987, and Charles Brightman Skinner served as director. Chester Jr. also served as a trustee emeritus of the Bolles School and has received several awards, including the George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering Hall of Fame Award from Georgia Tech. of the Skinner Company. Together, Arthur Chester Jr., Charles Brightman Skinner and Mary Virginia Skinner Jones formed Skinner-Jones LLP, a real estate company in 2001, which was later dissolved in 2009. 


UNF, a nationally ranked university located on an environmentally beautiful campus, offers students who are dedicated to enriching the lives of others the opportunity to build their own futures through a well-rounded education.