UWF College Of Health Gets A Major Gift & A New Name
The University of West Florida’s College of Health has a new name after a major gift from a local doctor. The UWF College of health is less than two years old. It was created in 2015 when the university restructured its colleges. Now a major donation has given the college a new name. Dr. Brendan Kelly, the outgoing vice president for university advancement at UWF made the announcement to a crowd gathered in a simulation room in the Nursing building. "Dr. Usha and Mahadeb Kundu have made a gift to the University of West Florida in excess of $5 million so that we can enhance this academic unit focused on the health care needs of this region. And it is a gift that will name this college, moving forward, the Usha Kundu MD College of Health at the University of West Florida."
Dr. Kelly says this gift will help stimulate the growth of the College of Health. "Health care has a major presence in the economic ecosystem of Pensacola and northwest Florida and a public university needs to reflect that."
For her part, Dr. Usha Kundu says she was happy to give something back to the area. "We've lived here more than half of our life. We worked hard and did well. So we thought at this time, it's time to give back to the community." Although she is a native of India, Dr. Kundu has been a part of the community since 1983, when she opened her private OB/GYN practice in Pensacola. She and her husband Mahadeb Kundu feel this gift is an investment in the region. "We have made many investments, but we felt, genuinely, this is the best investment we have ever made."
So how will this money be used? Dr. Ermalynn Kiehl, the Dean of the College of Health says one of the first projects will be to establish a Center for Healthy Living. "We have looked at this community and the [entire] panhandle, and we think that a center for healthy living will give us the structure for having a location for all of the health disciplines to come together to be able to not only learn from and with each other, but also to be able to improve health care in our community." Dr. Kiehl says the main goals of the center would be community outreach and health research. She also says they will be tapping Dr. Kundu’s knowledge and experience as a physician to enhance to mission and results of the college going forward.
This is the first major gift that Dr. Martha Saunders will be accepting as President of UWF. She says the gift is a great responsibility. "When someone trusts us enough to put their name on what we do...think about that. Think about the responsibility and what that means. That they have said 'we believe in you, we know you are already doing good things, and I'm going to put my name here forever'."
This is the second college at UWF that has been named for a benefactor. Last January it was announced that Hal Marcus gifted the university $5 million creating the Hal Marcus College of Science and Engineering.