Today’s inauguration of Dr. David M. Szymanski, the University of North Florida’s sixth president, highlighted a significant gift to the College of Computing, Engineering and Construction as well as several new initiatives to foster student success.
In President Szymanski’s inaugural address, he not only outlined his vision for the University but also featured the announcement of a $1M gift to the School of Computing by the family of Jorge Morales, and RF-SMART, a division of Information and Computing Services Inc., where Morales is the chairman and owner of the Jacksonville software solutions company. His son, Michael, serves as the CEO of RF-SMART.
“UNF is grateful to the Morales family for investing in the School of Computing and its students,” said Szymanski. “Their impact on this University, and generations of students, will be a lasting tribute to a phenomenal partnership.”
The majority of this generous gift will create scholarships for computing undergraduate students. A longtime supporter of UNF, Morales established the ICS Scholarship Endowment in 2015 and has provided scholarships to the University since 2007. In 2017, the RF-SMART Computer Lab was established in the School of Computing to provide space for systems software courses.
When Morales started Information and Computing Services Inc. in 1982, he desired to hire talent to grow his company, so he turned to UNF. This in turn led to School of Computing students gaining invaluable experience in internships and many landing fulfilling careers at the company.
“This is a perfect example of a public-private partnership, mutually beneficial to education and business, and ultimately powering Jacksonville’s economy,” Szymanski said.
During his inaugural address, Szymanski also spotlighted several new University initiatives to foster student success, including UNF +, Community Alliance for Student Success and student wellbeing.
UNF + will focus on a three-year graduation rate. Many students enter UNF with 30-plus hours of college credit already under their belt. The University will create a pathway for these students to earn their undergraduate degree in three years, combined with a master’s degree in year four. Another initiative Szymanski introduced will be Community Alliance for Student Success. This program will be a unique community partnership to increase underrepresented student enrollment, and most importantly, ensure student success. African-American community leaders will guide these students into unique experiences that will foster personal, professional and community growth.
Student well-being is another priority for Szymanski, who believes UNF has a responsibility as a university to be proactive in ensuring a healthy environment for its students. Not only is treatment and intervention crucial but also prevention. As a result, UNF will be partnering with local institutions to bring much needed national attention to the prevention of stress, anxiety and depression among college students, creating solutions through dialogue and research.
UNF, a nationally ranked university located on an environmentally beautiful campus, offers students who are dedicated to enriching the lives of others the opportunity to build their own futures through a well-rounded education.