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UWF Announces Gifts From Key Football Founders to Support Sandy Sansing Sports Medicine Center

The University of West Florida recently announced $100,000 gifts each from Dr. Judy Bense, UWF President Emeritus, and Eric and Peg Nickelsen, UWF Football Founders, in support of the Sandy Sansing Sports Medicine Center within that expansion.

Bense first announced the establishment of a UWF football team in Fall 2013, during her eight-year tenure as University president. Since then, she’s been one of the program’s most ardent supporters and is currently a member of the UWF Football Founders and the UWF Sword and Shield Council, helping guide the future of athletics at the institution. Bense began donating to the University in 1986, six years into her role as the inaugural director and founder of the anthropology/archaeology program. To date, she’s given more than $315,000 to UWF.

“I believe in West Florida Athletics and all that it has done for our University and our community,” Bense said. “Look at what football has done for UWF in terms of school spirit, raising visibility for our University and creating a more traditional collegiate atmosphere. I am happy to support this capital project with my own philanthropy and to get behind a project that will support all of our student-athletes. I encourage others to join us and support this important facility expansion.”

The Nickelsens are longtime UWF supporters, members of the UWF Sword & Shield Council and were among the first UWF Football Founders, having supported the program since its inception. In December 2021, they announced a $100,000 gift to support the Sandy Sansing Sports Medicine Center, a state-of-the-art facility that will provide quality medical care for injured student-athletes. Their support of UWF started more than four decades ago and they’ve given more than $300,000 in philanthropic support to the University.

The University also announced other recent gifts from generous donors for the Darrell Gooden Center expansion and the Sandy Sansing Sports Medicine Center including gifts from alumnus Jason Crawford and family to name the football coaching staff lounge, from alumni Stephen and Mona Wright to name the head athletic trainers office and from Rick Fountain, dean of the College of Business and alumnus, to name the offensive line coach’s office. Rodney Sutton, the treasurer and audit budget committee chair for the UWF Foundation Board of Directors, alumnus and Sword and Shield Council member, and his family also recently gave on behalf of himself and his family to name the offensive coordinator’s office.

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