What a way to start the year!
The University of Florida announced that it has received a $75 million gift from Al Warrington and his wife, Judy. The former business executive and namesake for the university’s Warrington College of Business Administration had previously donated $25 million dollars to the school.
Al Warrington’s cumulative $100 million gift – the largest in the school’s history – matches Stephen Ross’ recent donation to the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business. However, it falls short of the business school record: David Booth’s $300 million gift to the University of Chicago.
Warrington’s gift will be used to recruit top teaching talent, enhance research, and make the program financially independent. Al Warrington also made the gift to encourage other alumni to match his generosity. “We’re going to use this as the first step, and hopefully, now it’s going to lead to the other $75 million being raised,” he told the Miami Hearld.
The gift comes as the University of Florida is raising $800 million under its Preeminence Plan, which is designed to secure the resources needed to rank among the top 10 universities. The university’s Hough Graduate School of Business is currently No. 36 in U.S. News & World Report’s latest ranking.
Al Warrington himself is a rags-to-riches story. A 1958 alum, Warrington lived on sandwiches and sometimes worked five jobs at a time to become his family’s first college graduate. Thanks to a professor encouraging him to try accounting, Warrington spent 30 years at Arthur Andersen before founding Waste Management, Inc., which has grown into a Fortune 200 firm.
He has maintained close ties to the university, serving as a founding member of its Board of Trustees, president of the alumni association, and a member of the UF Foundation Board of Directors. He was named a Distinguished Alumnus in 1979 and received the university’s Lifetime Philanthropy Award in 2014.
Al Warrington credits his alma mater’s financial training for much of his success. “That background really helped me a great deal and allowed me to really start putting deals together, companies together. That kind of academic excellence continues up there today,” he told the Miami Herald.
The business school is equally grateful, Dean John Kraft told the university’s news service. “Having the Warrington name associated with this college is a privilege and a reminder to our graduates and students that hard work, ingenuity and integrity are ingredients to success in life.”