Richard Cole knew he wanted the legacies of his and his parents at UF to live on through more than just a degree.
He said he wanted to make a lasting change within the institution.
Cole achieved his goal when he gifted UF’s Levin College of Law a record-breaking grant for $20 million, he said. The school announced the grant on Friday.
The grant, which was finalized in Fall 2018, is the largest in the college’s history. It surpasses the $10 million endowment given to the college in 1999 by Fredric G. Levin, which gave the college its namesake, said the college’s dean, Laura Rosenbury.
The money will expand the school’s health law curriculum.
“Health law is a very broad category, and we’re excited to explore all aspects of it,” Rosenbury said.
Health law covers multiple areas in the college, such as healthcare, antitrust laws and biologics, and the grant will be used to improve these aspects of the college, Rosenbury said.
The goals include hiring more faculty who specialize in health law, offering student scholarships to attract them to health law and funding conferences to host leaders, scholars and hospital administrators, Rosenbury said.
Cole, who is a managing partner for the law firm, Cole, Scott & Kissane, P.A. in Miami, originally wanted to remain anonymous when the agreement was finalized, but Rosenbury convinced him otherwise.
“We thought it would be more powerful if people knew where the gift was coming from,” Rosenbury said.
Cole, who received a degree in business administration at UF in 1970 and graduated from the university’s law program in 1974, donated the money toward the Robert B. Cole Health Law Endowment. His father created the endowment in 1995 to support the programs and research relating to health law at the college.
“I graduated from there, my parents both graduated from there,” Cole said. “It just seemed like the right thing to do at the right time.”
His decision to donate $20 million stemmed from the conversations he had with Rosenbury about how the college could improve its health law representation, he said.
“We certainly have seen that the issue of health law is kind of at the cutting edge right now, and I don’t see it changing,” Cole said.