Virga Family Donation Sets a New Standard
Largest alumni gift commitment ever received will support business and athletics programs
ORLANDO, Sept. 7 – Vince ’95 and Joyce ’98 Virga of Ft. Lauderdale have committed $10.25 million to UCF, making theirs the single largest alumni gift in the university’s history. This blended commitment of estate and current-use resources —supporting programs in the College of Business and UCF Athletics — is a creative way to make a difference for both now and into the future at UCF. “For public institutions like UCF, philanthropy is the margin of success and a reflection of our excellence,” says President Dale Whittaker. “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.”
The Virgas were inspired to create the Virga College of Business Fund to support the nationally-recognized, competitive Professional Selling Program after Vince judged the college’s Joust competition, where student entrepreneurs pitch their business ideas to a panel of business leaders.
Paul Jarley, dean of the College of Business, says he is grateful for the generosity of the Virgas and for Vince’s role in the Joust competition: “We were thrilled he was able to spend the day with us, share his experiences with our students and see entrepreneurs in action. Vince and Joyce are great role models not only for our students but for our alums, and we look forward to partnering with them.”
Leaders in the high-end information technology staffing field, the Virgas credit UCF for serving as the impetus for many of their professional accomplishments and are honored to be able to give back.
“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,” says Vince. “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.”
Longtime Knights fans, the Virgas also directed a portion of the gift to benefit the UCF Athletic Director’s Fund, which supports the priorities of UCF Athletics and helps student-athletes continue to compete at the highest level.
“As ardent UCF Knight football fans, nothing is more satisfying than being able to support a program that has come so far, but still has so much potential. Our championship ways are just beginning,” says Vince. The Virgas hope that their giving, part of which is a planned gift from their estate, inspires other alumni to realize that “it’s never too early to make supporting UCF part of their family’s legacy,” says Vince.
Danny White, vice president and director of athletics, also expressed appreciation. “We can’t thank the Virgas enough for their support of UCF Athletics and our bright future,” says White. “Their commitment will have a long-lasting, incredible impact on our athletic department. Vince and Joyce have set a new standard of giving to UCF and it truly shows the passion they have for their Knights. This is the kind of philanthropic investment that is needed to propel us toward our goal of becoming a Top 25 intercollegiate athletics program. Thanks to the Virgas, we are well on our way!”
As first-generation college students, Vince and Joyce say they had no idea how the rest of their lives would be impacted as a result of their time at UCF. “It is the backdrop of some of our fondest memories and the place where we forged lifelong friendships,” says Joyce. “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 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.