Bill Heavener
James W. "Bill" Heavener received UF's Distinguished Alumnus Award.

UF trustees OK naming building, business school for Heavener

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — University of Florida trustees today unanimously approved naming the undergraduate school of business and a new building that will house it for alumnus James W. “Bill” Heavener.

The approval comes as UF prepares to launch a $35 million initiative partnering UF, the Warrington College of Business Administration, a lead gift from Heavener, and private funding from other donors to invest in undergraduate business education.

“Bill has proved time and again what an intensely loyal Gator he is. His devotion to the University of Florida and higher education is well-known,” UF President Bernie Machen said. “What’s more, as a businessman himself, Bill knows what it takes to succeed in that world, and his generosity will help make graduates of the College of Business Administration more competitive than ever.”

Heavener Hall is envisioned as a 50,000-plus-square-foot building to be located at the northeast corner of the UF campus, near the intersection of University Avenue and 13th Street and the three existing buildings in the Warrington College of Business complex. Final details of the building are forthcoming, but it is expected to bring together for the first time under one roof all of the activities related to undergraduate business education at UF.

“I know firsthand the high quality of students, faculty, programs and staff that make the School of Business one of the leading undergraduate business programs,” Heavener said. “My degree from the School of Business gave me a great foundation for my own professional career so I am proud to be part of helping take the school to the next level.”

“Bill’s leadership investment will enable the School of Business to dramatically advance its academic and professional development programs,” said John Kraft, dean of the Warrington College of Business Administration. “Naming the school the Heavener School of Business also provides an invaluable brand identity for undergraduate business education at UF and sets the foundation for others to invest in undergraduate business education as well.”

A 1970 UF graduate with a bachelor’s degree in business administration, Heavener is CEO of The Heavener Company, and is on the boards of directors of multiple institutions of higher education including Full Sail University where he serves as co-chairman and CEO. Additionally, Heavener manages and holds interests in media production, Internet services, real estate franchising, publishing and banks.

Heavener is a member of the Warrington Business Advisory Council, the UF Foundation Board of Directors, the UF Alumni Association Board of Directors and is president-elect of the Board of Directors of Gator Boosters Inc.

The School of Business is UF’s second-largest undergraduate degree producing program and is ranked 17th among public universities’ business programs by U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Colleges 2012.”