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The Innovation Academy announced an endowment Oct. 22 to fund the first scholarship for its students.

The endowment, donated by Richard and Dawn Suss, will award $1,200 to one student per year, said Innovation Academy assistant director Yesi Sevilla. Innovation Academy is a UF program that started in 2013 in which students explore entrepreneurship and take on-campus classes during the Spring and Summer semesters.

“It's a scholarship that's unfettered, meaning that the student isn't required to use it for anything specifically,” Sevilla said. “So I think that will help whoever the student is that receives the scholarship, they're going to be able to put it to the most important need first.” 

Students in UF’s Warrington College of Business or College of Journalism and Communications who have completed four of the six required courses for the innovation minor can apply for the scholarship starting Fall 2020. A committee will review the applications and select a student to receive the first scholarship in Spring 2021.

Richard Suss did not disclose the amount of he and his wife’s financial contribution.

The Susses chose these two colleges because of their career paths. Richard Suss is a 1988 UF Warrington business administration alumnus and a member of Florida Blue Key. He is currently the Executive Director of UBS Wealth Management Americas in Miami. Dawn Suss is a USF advertising alumna and a media sales account manager at WFLX Fox 29 in West Palm Beach.

Both joined the UF Parent & Family Leadership Council, a group of university ambassadors selected to voice to UF leaders the concerns and ideas of parents, in 2018. Their children, Jacob and Samantha, are current UF students. The duo donated to the Innovation Academy because it has allowed their son to express his creativity and entrepreneurship and they hope to bring more awareness to the program. 

“Not every student is really wired the same way,” Richard Suss said.

Innovation Academy ambassador and accounting juniorMarcus Sutton, 20,  will apply for the scholarship. He is planning on applying for the Warrington 3/2 program, which allows a student to graduate in five years with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting degree and a Master of Accounting degree.

There are many students in IA with great ideas and minds, Sutton said. 

“For someone to actually invest specifically in IA, I think is a really great start,” Sutton said. “And it's just the beginning.”