In what they call a "visible thank you" to the school that helped them become successful, local businessman Les Muma and his wife, Pam, have donated $25 million to the University of South Florida College of Business - the largest single gift in USF's history.
In their only broadcast interview before the donation was formally announced Friday morning, the Mumas shared with WUSF's Mark Schreiner their reasons for the record donation to the school they were attending when they first started dating more than fifty years ago.
"USF, the Business School, was what Pam and I built our foundation for our future lives together," Les said. "And that's what made my career a success, we believe, and that's what's given us the ability to do the other things that we've done in life."
As a result of the gift, the school will now be known as the USF Muma College of Business.
But Les, 70, who graduated from USF with a degree in business in 1966, says the donation won't go to a new building - it will fund the school's programs.
"We weren't interested in having a building with our name on it, we were interested in having a great business school," Les said. "And what that great business school will do is give thousands of USF Business School graduates the foundation to become successful and hopefully come back and give back to their university eventually."
Pam Muma, 68, added that funding the education of business students, particularly those from the Tampa Bay area, is important to them. Since the early 1990s, the pair have funded full scholarships, including tuition, room and board, for four USF Business students each year who graduated from the Mumas' high school alma mater, Winter Haven High School.
"It's a joy to watch them and how they've grown - they've grown through the school, they've grown in their careers now, we're actually attending one of our student's wedding in three weeks," Pam said. "Hopefully we can instill into them that need and that desire to give back to their community."
The gift will also establish the Muma Leadership program. USF Muma College of Business Dean Moez Limayem says that professional development track will help students progress towards a career from the day they start at the school. The college will track student participation and offer incentives for outstanding performance.
Les Muma started his career in data processing while still attending USF, majoring in theoretical mathematics. He took internships with Southern Bell and International Mineral and Chemical before taking a job in the information technology department at IMC.
Eventually, he co-founded Fiserv Inc., which grew from a small company with one location and a handful of employees to a Fortune 500 company with around 21,000 employees who provide technology products and services to more than 17,000 financial institution clients around the world.
With the donation, the Mumas have now given approximately $41.2 million to USF, making them the largest individual donors in school history. Other gifts from the couple include a $6 million donation (matching gifts pushed the amount to $14 million) that established the Jennifer Leigh Muma Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Tampa General Hospital in 2006. The NICU is named after their daughter, Jennifer, who died in a neonatal nursery in 1973.
They also donated a $3 million gift in 2008 for a practice facility for the USF men's and women's basketball teams.
This is the second business school in the USF System to change names in a little over a month.
In early September, USF St. Petersburg officials announced they were renaming the College of Business there after Kate Tiedemann, a Pinellas County entrepreneur who donated $10 million to the school. That's the largest single gift in USF Saint Pete's almost 50-year history.
Originally published at 10:06 a.m., Friday, October 10th.