Published: Feb 8, 2013
The Morsanis made a multi-million dollar gift to the University, which is one of the largest gifts in UT’s history.
The University of Tampa Stadium Center residence hall, which houses 464 students and features a first-floor food court, will be renamed after a generous donation by two of Tampa Bay’s most philanthropic individuals and education advocates – Frank and Carol Morsani.
The Morsanis made a multi-million dollar gift to the University, which is one of the largest gifts in UT’s history, president Ronald L. Vaughn announced today. In honor of that gift, Stadium Center, which is located in the center of campus overlooking Pepin Stadium, will now officially be named the Frank and Carol Morsani Hall.
Frank and Carol Morsani are already well known in Tampa Bay, as their name graces the USF Medical School and Health Clinic, a lobby at the Tampa Museum of Art, a theater at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts and also an exhibition hall at the Dali Museum.
“The Morsanis have made such a significant and visible impact on so many cultural and education areas in Tampa Bay. They have a long relationship with UT and we are pleased to be one of the institutions they continue to believe in and support,” Vaughn said.
Frank Morsani was a member of UT’s Board of Counselors from 1974-1976 and UT’s Board of Fellows from 1977-1979, serving as chair of the Fellows in 1978. He then served as a member of the Board of Trustees from 1980-1984.
The Morsanis said they are pleased they can make this investment in UT.
“UT, as we all know, was created by the local chamber of commerce and for many years was the only school of higher education on the west coast of Florida,” Frank Morsani said. “The accomplishments that it has made are many, and the community is a far better place because of its academic excellence.”
Frank Morsani, who worked as a mechanic to pay for college and ended up being one of the top-selling car dealers in the country, is the chairman of Automotive Investments, Inc. and a trustee of the Frank and Carol Morsani Family Foundation. He served two terms on the Small Business Council and in 1986 he chaired the board of the United States Chamber of Commerce. At one point, the Morsanis owned more than 30 car dealerships around the country.
Carol Morsani serves as the director of the Frank and Carol Morsani Family Foundation, which supports education, the arts and healthcare, along with numerous other programs benefiting the community. She has served on the board of the Tampa Museum of Art, the Florida Orchestra, the Community Foundation and was a member of The Chiselers. She was named the cultural contributor of the year in 2002 by the Tampa Chamber of Commerce, and in 2004, Carol Morsani agreed to serve as the founding honorary chair of the USF Women in Leadership & Philanthropy Program.
The Morsanis have resided in the Tampa Bay area since 1970. In 1996, the Morsanis established the Carol and Frank Morsani Fund in the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay with a gift of $8 million. A portion of this donation was earmarked for the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center, which resulted in the renaming of Festival Hall to Carol Morsani Hall.
In 2005 the Morsanis were awarded an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from USF. Oklahoma State University, their alma mater, awarded them the Henry Bennett Award for Distinguished Service in 2005 and an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters in 2010. Oklahoma State has only awarded 18 honorary degrees since 1890.
In 1997, the Morsanis were named National Philanthropists of the Year by the National Society of Fund Raisers and, in 1999, the Judeo Christian Clinic awarded them its Humanitarian Award.
The new gift comes at a time of tremendous momentum for The University of Tampa. UT continues its record enrollment, and campus construction and external recognitions of the University’s success are at an all-time high.