Published: October 17, 2017
Bruce Samson, former president of The University of Tampa, passed away on Saturday night, Oct. 14.
"Bruce helped to establish a better financial footing for the University and recognized the needs for improved infrastructure," said President Ronald Vaughn. "He was a dear and longtime friend of the University, a dedicated Spartan and will be greatly missed."
Samson was president of UT from 1986 to 1991. In his administration he successfully erased the University’s budget deficit, coordinated extensive campus renovations and reorganized the academic framework.
Samson had been hired as UT president on an interim basis, after serving as chairman of the governing board of the Southwest Florida Water Management District and executive vice president with the H.G. Nix Inc. securities firm. His interim designation was dropped from his title in 1987.
Saddled with a significant operating deficit, Samson was able to reverse the deficit into a surplus within a year of his hire through the implementation of tight budget measures and extensive reorganization.
Samson coordinated completion of the Res-Com Residence Hall and acquisition of the McNeel Boathouse; implemented substantial improvements to Plant Hall, including the termite fumigation of Plant Hall in 1987 and rebuilt part of the Science Wing after the 1990 Plant Hall fire. He presided over the restoration of Plant Hall’s domes, minarets and cupolas, as well as improvements to Plant Park and the McKay Auditorium.
Under Samson's guidance, the Board of Trustees created a college model within the framework of the University. The first, in 1987, was the College of Business, which was fashioned from the Division of Economics and Business. In 1990, the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences was created from the divisions of Humanities, Social Sciences, Natural Sciences, Education, the Arts and Nursing. That same year, the School of Continuing Studies was also formed.
Samson left the University in July 1991 stating he had "achieved and exceeded goals" he had set for himself almost five years before.
Samson, a Tampa native, received a bachelor’s degree from Sewanee: The University of the South and an MBA from Harvard University.
Information about the service will be forthcoming.