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Press Release for Tuesday, October 23, 2012

UNF Building Dedication Honors Community Leaders

Joanna Norris, Associate Director 

Department of Public Relations 

(904) 620-2102 



  The University of North Florida will dedicate UNF Hall as Hicks Hall, honoring Ann and David Hicks, at 11 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 24, in UNF Hall, Building 53, for their dynamic leadership and unselfish support to Northeast Florida, the state and nation. 


David Hicks, a Jacksonville business executive, joined mortgage banker Stockton, Whatley, Davin & Company (SWD) in Jacksonville. Recognizing the opportunity of the mortgage software industry, he became a partner at C & S Services, an affiliate of SWD, in 1967. He raised initial capital of $18,000 and incorporated the firm as Computer Power, Inc. two years later. David served as chairman, CEO and president for the next 25 years. Over the years, he grew the firm to become the leading supplier of software and services to the mortgage industry, processing $1.3 trillion in mortgages—43 percent of all U.S. mortgages at the time. In 1992, the firm was sold to publicly-traded ALLTEL Corporation, and he retired from the company in 1995. Subsequent to the sale, David chaired several other highly successful start-up enterprises, including Alliance Mortgage Company (now EverBank), Enterprise National Bank and a UK-based self-storage business. 


While enjoying a successful career building and growing companies, David and his wife Ann are also deeply involved in leading and supporting local community organizations. David is credited with turning around the Jacksonville Housing Authority (JHA), where he served as chairman for seven years after his retirement from CPI. He used his entrepreneurial instincts to have the JHA partner with the local Habitat for Humanity affiliate, both of which he chaired. His vision for a public-private partnership in Jacksonville to eliminate substandard housing and foster home ownership has resulted in the construction of more than 1,400 new Habitat homes from 1994 to date. As a result, HabiJax is the largest and most successful Habitat affiliate in the United States. 


David serves on the board of the local Habitat for Humanity (HabiJax), Habitat for Humanity International and The United Way. Throughout the years, he has supported and served in leadership capacities on the board of many other organizations, including The Smithsonian Natural History Museum, The DeEtte Holden Cummer Museum Foundation, the UNF Foundation, the Jacksonville Community Council, Inc., the Jacksonville Symphony and the Boys and Girls Clubs. 


Additionally, David and Ann originated the idea of the Pathways to Success Scholarship program. This innovative program, which he 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, a 1994 graduate of UNF, 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. 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. She also 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. 


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.