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$12 Million Gift Creates USF College of Global Sustainability

Mark Schreiner

Thanks to a $12 million endowment from some noted bay-area philanthropists, the University of South Florida will soon have a new college that focuses on improving the lives of people around the world.

Doctors Kiran and Pallavi Patel's donation creates the Patel College of Global Sustainability, and brings their total contributions to USF to almost $26 million. It's also the latest extension of a decade-long effort at USF that looks at sustainable global development and healthcare. Previous donations led to the construction of the Patel Center for Global Solutions and the Patel School of Global Sustainability.

"We are inspired by the Patels' vision of a world where all people have a chance to reach their full potential in a clean and healthy environment," said USF President Judy Genshaft. "We are humbled that they have entrusted the University of South Florida to be a partner in making the vision of a better tomorrow a reality."

In its two years of existence, the Patel School of Global Sustainability has established relationships with a number of partners around the world.

It recently became the first North American university in a research and strategy partnership with the UN-Habitat Partner University Initiative. As a result, an "Urban Futures" research hub will be set up at the Patel school/college, promoting education and policy advice on emerging cities.

Kiran Patel says such relationships with worldwide partners will help the college be less "think tank" and more "do tank."

"The real difference of being able to go in the field, doing something and making that theory translate into practice is important. And that's the focus we have is really creating an impact at the ground level."

The college still needs to go through an approval process, which is expected to be completed by early 2013. Once that's done, the college will enroll as many as 200 students pursuing graduate level degrees in Global Sustainability. They'll be taught by faculty from schools across all disciplines.

Mark Schreiner is the assistant news director and intern coordinator for WUSF News.
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