The University of Central Florida announced Friday it has received the largest single gift in the school’s history from alumni, a $10.25 million donation from Vince and Joyce Virga of Fort Lauderdale.

The donation, described as a blended commitment of estate and current-use resources, will serve a variety of purposes, including support for the UCF College of Business and UCF Athletics.

The Virgas, who are in the high-end information technology staffing field, credited UCF for serving as the impetus for many of their professional accomplishments and said they are honored to be able to give back, according to a press release issued by UCF.

The Virgas were first-generation college students at UCF. He graduated in 1995, and she in ’98.

“It is the backdrop of some of our fondest memories and the place where we forged lifelong friendships,” Joyce Virga said of UCF. “It is also the place where we met and started our lives together. It’s truly an honor to be able to give back to an institution that has given us so much.”

The donation fuels the Virga College of Business Fund to support UCF’s nationally-recognized, competitive Professional Selling Program, where student entrepreneurs pitch business ideas to a panel of business leaders. Vince Virga has served as a judge on the panel.

They also are big UCF Knights football fans, and so their donation also supports that program.

“UCF has been so gracious in working with us over the years to allow us to support and encourage our passions within the university, specifically entrepreneurship, business and, of course, UCF football,” Vince Virga stated in the release. “The culture of innovation and the national accomplishments of the Professional Selling Program truly inspired us. We are so excited to add fuel to this unique program that is providing amazing opportunities for students while impacting businesses around the world.”

The gift moves UCF closer to the $500 million goal of the IGNITE Campaign, a multiyear fundraising effort set to wrap up in 2019. Alumni, friends and partners of the university have already contributed more than $405 million to the campaign, the university reported.

“For public institutions like UCF, philanthropy is the margin of success and a reflection of our excellence,” UCF President Dale Whittaker stated in the release. “We are grateful for the Virgas’ generosity and pride in their alma mater because their gift will help grow our academic and athletic excellence, impacting students for many years to come.”

About The Author

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at scott@floridapolitics.com.

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