Jacksonville University announces endowed scholarship, alumni award recognizing service to the community

November 01, 2023

Advancing its long-standing culture of service and citizenship, today Jacksonville University announced an anonymous six-figure gift to establish the Tim and Stephanie Cost Giving Back/Giving Forward endowed scholarship and annual alumni award.

At the request of the donors, the scholarship and alumni award are named after the university’s President and First Lady, who embody servant leadership and purposeful philanthropy. The endowed funds will help recognize, reward and encourage exemplary service to the community for years to come.

“We are honored by this deeply meaningful gift,” Jacksonville University First Lady Stephanie Cost said. “President Cost and I are grateful for these generous friends of the university who not only invest in our students, but also partner with us to develop future leaders who are passionate about giving back.”

President Cost added: “Serving our community is a core tenet of Jacksonville University’s campus culture. Thoughtful service connects us to a greater purpose and keeps us focused on the good of all. My thanks to these investors who model the kind of servant leadership we all hope to achieve.”

Recipients of the Tim and Stephanie Cost Giving Back/Giving Forward scholarship and alumni award will be selected each year by a panel of Jacksonville University leaders. To be considered for the scholarship, the student must be a rising senior at Jacksonville University who maintains the required GPA and demonstrates service to the university and community. The recipient of the alumni award will be announced and recognized each fall at Jacksonville University’s Homecoming and Family Weekend. The alumni award recipients will also serve on the selection panel for the student scholarship. 

Since moving to Jacksonville in 2012 to become President and First Lady of Jacksonville University, the Costs have made an enormous impact on the university and the northeast Florida community at large. Leading by example, the Costs have created the Cost Scholars to support undergraduates and are major supporters of the university’s Dolphin Dash initiative, an annual spring giving campaign. They have invested millions of their own dollars in scholarships, facilities, programs, the arts and student support resources at Jacksonville University, attracting many other alumni and friends to do the same.

To mark the university’s founding on April 16, 1934, the Costs established the annual Charter Day of Service, when classes are paused and thousands of students, faculty and staff spend the day serving dozens of organizations in the community. The Costs have also invested significantly in the arts. In 2022, Cathedral Arts Project honored Tim and Stephanie Cost with the Guardians of the Arts award for their efforts to advance the arts along the First Coast.  

Most notably, Tim and Stephanie Cost serve as connectors and coalition builders, bringing influential people and aspirational organizations together to partner in ways that serve the greater good. Evidence of their efforts now abounds in the Arlington area of Jacksonville, where nearly half a billion dollars in private development – attracted and anchored by the $400 million economic engine of Jacksonville University – is taking shape in the form of the IDEA School, the “Obelisk” public art installation and turbo roundabout, the Jacksonville University Medical Mall, Wawa, Jackson Commons, and the significant College Park Shopping Center renovation, to name a few.

The anonymous gift builds upon more than $100 million in donor support for Jacksonville University’s newest comprehensive fundraising effort, the FUTURE. MADE. campaign. Through five pillars of strategic funding priorities, the FUTURE. MADE. campaign will enhance the student experience and advance every area of the University, including new academic programs, facilities, technology, research, athletics, student resources, the arts, and more.

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