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Former UF Board Chair contributes $10 Million to elevate chemistry department

State-of-the-art chemistry building will be named in Steve Scott’s honor

A Boca Raton doctor with strong ties to the University of Florida has invested $10 million in UF’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences to boost discoveries in its chemistry department and to support future chemists, the university announced today.

A former chair of the university’s Board of Trustees and the parent of four UF alumni, Dr. Steve Scott’s gift is earmarked for research and graduate education in the chemistry department. Scott and his wife, Rebecca, had previously created a professorship in the department. In recognition of his contributions, the new campus chemistry building will be named the Scott Family Chemistry Building. The 110,000-square-foot complex, which features some of the university’s most state-of-the-art classrooms and labs, opened in spring 2017.

“Chemistry is the heart of almost everything,” said Scott, chairman of the medical investment company Scott Holdings, LLC. “If we’re going to meet the big challenges of our time — from climate change to health care to renewable energy — we need to look deeper into the science of chemistry to find solutions. I’m proud that our university is answering that call and extend my heartfelt gratitude to President Fuchs and Dean Richardson for their leadership.”

UF’s chemistry department is one of the nation’s leaders in granting doctoral and bachelor’s degrees. Within the state of Florida, 26% of all chemistry degrees — and 35% of all doctorates — are awarded through UF. With Scott’s investments, the department will enhance the educational experiences of its graduates and prepare them for careers in health, the sciences, technology and many other fields.

Scott’s gift advances the university’s aspirational vision to continue its ascent as a top public institution. UF is currently ranked No. 5 in U.S. News and World Report’s rankings of best public universities.

“UF is stronger today because of Dr. Scott and his long history of generosity, both in terms of service and philanthropy. Because of him, our students and faculty are even better equipped to be leaders in discovery, innovation and improving people’s lives,” UF President Kent Fuchs said. “There is no better person to have his name on UF’s new chemistry building.”

David Richardson, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, which is home to UF’s chemistry department, called Scott’s gift a game-changer.

“Dr. Scott’s investment in the department of chemistry is nothing short of transformational,” Richardson said. “Outstanding research universities have outstanding chemistry departments. Now, with Dr. Scott’s help, UF will rise to an even higher level of excellence as it trains the next generation of chemical scientists.”

A board certified OBGYN, Scott founded the nationwide HMO Vista HealthPlan, as well as Phoenix Physicians, a practice management company for emergency department physicians. Since the sale of Vista and Phoenix, he has committed himself to serve on boards that further higher education, particularly in graduate education and research. At UF, he has served on numerous boards and councils, including for the College of Medicine, CLAS’s department of chemistry, the UF Foundation, a presidential search and UF Health Shands. Scott has also given more than $17 million to the university, most of it to support programs and people in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and in the College of Medicine.

UF’s chemistry department grants bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees with specializations in analytical, inorganic, organic, physical, polymer and theoretical chemistry, along with chemical biology and nanoscience. The department generates more than $9 million each year in external funding and produces a stream of patents and startup companies. There are 42 tenure-track faculty members and more than 300 graduate students, postdoctoral researchers and other scientific associates.