JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – July 25, 2023 – CSX (NASDAQ: CSX), one of Jacksonville’s largest employers, today announced a landmark $10 million contribution to the University of Florida (UF) to support the future graduate center, which is poised to redefine the landscape of downtown Jacksonville. The charitable investment will be distributed over five years and solidifies CSX as the leading private funding partner of this transformational project.
“We are proud to partner with the University of Florida and the City of Jacksonville on this ambitious project to establish a world-class graduate center in the city’s urban core,” said Joe Hinrichs, CSX president and chief executive officer. “Investing in education is an investment in the future, and we believe this contribution will have a lasting impact on the region by fostering innovation, economic development, and creating bold new opportunities. This project will yield countless benefits for our community, including an influx of top-talent, which will help shape the future of Northeast Florida for generations to come."
Earlier this year, the University of Florida and local city leaders announced a partnership to explore creating a new graduate center in Jacksonville. This graduate center will create a space in Jacksonville that will shape the state’s future workforce and build a pathway for high-skilled, high-tech employees.
“Gator Nation is excited and grateful to be engaged in this work with our extraordinary state, local, and philanthropic partners,” UF President Ben Sasse said. “We’re putting our shoulder to the wheel and pushing hard in the same direction to create a space in Jacksonville that will shape the state’s future workforce and build a pathway to prepare the high-skilled, high-tech employees of tomorrow. UF is ready for the next phase of this work and to lead the way toward making this shared vision a reality.”
Service is a guiding principle for CSX, as evidenced through the company’s commitment to its customers, current and future employees, and the communities where it operates. CSX’s signature philanthropic initiative, Pride in Service, supports hundreds of thousands of military, veteran and first responder service members across 26 states, while also representing the pride the company takes in serving its own local community. Supporting the economic growth and educational advancement of Jacksonville is a natural extension of this mission.
“Jacksonville is a city on the move, and my administration is honored to continue to build on that momentum with one of the best public universities in the nation,” said Jacksonville Mayor Donna Deegan. “We are excited to continue the work of the previous administration that invited UF to expand its presence here in Jacksonville, and we know there are numerous ways this center will support and bolster our city’s strengths in fintech, health care innovation, and other key industries. It’s a new day in Jacksonville, and both UF and vital partners like CSX will be a critical part of our important work to make Jacksonville a technology and innovation hub.”
This historic $10 million donation showcases CSX's commitment to Jacksonville and is a key component in a public-private partnership that includes support from Gov. Ron DeSantis, the Florida State Legislature, and other Northeast Florida civic, community and industry leaders. The proposed center received $75 million in the state’s 2023-2024 budget signed into law June 15 by Gov. DeSantis. The state’s contribution has been amplified by a $50 million pledge from the City of Jacksonville and $62.5 million in gifts from key industry and philanthropic supporters from across the region. By providing significant financial support to this transformative graduate center, CSX exemplifies its role as a corporate leader and catalyst for progress.
The university is moving forward with raising funds for the center’s next phase, which will include project development, potential site selection and programmatic evaluation. Mori Hosseini, chair of the UF Board of Trustees, said the university community is excited about the support of CSX, Gov. DeSantis, the Florida Legislature, and community leaders across the First Coast and looks forward to a rewarding partnership that will address critical statewide workforce demand.
“UF is ready for the next phase of this work and to lead the way toward making this shared vision a reality,” Hosseini said. “On behalf of the entire UF community, we are grateful to CSX and all those who are helping us advance this impactful and innovative opportunity in Northeast Florida. Our vision for this center is to leverage UF’s strengths in professional development and graduate education to future-proof Florida’s workforce. We are thrilled to partner with the State of Florida, the City of Jacksonville, and pioneering companies like CSX to bring this to life.”
CSX, based in Jacksonville, Florida, is a premier transportation company. It provides rail, intermodal, and rail-to-truck transload services and solutions to customers across a broad array of markets, including energy, industrial, construction, agricultural, and consumer products. For nearly 200 years, CSX has played a critical role in the nation’s economic expansion and industrial development. Its network connects every major metropolitan area in the eastern United States, where nearly two-thirds of the nation’s population resides. It also links more than 230 short-line railroads and more than 70 ocean, river, and lake ports with major population centers and farming towns alike. More information about CSX Corp. and its subsidiaries is available at www.csx.com. Like us on Facebook (http://facebook.com/OfficialCSX) and follow us on Twitter (http://twitter.com/CSX).
About the University of Florida
The University of Florida attracts the best and brightest students, staff and faculty, places them together and connects them with world-class resources to spark extraordinary discoveries and innovations. UF’s momentum is reflected in the university’s designation as a top-five public university by U.S. News & World Report. Artificial intelligence is a centerpiece at UF, spanning all disciplines so that every student has the opportunity to acquire competence and expertise in AI. The University of Florida is a place where limitless potential meets boundless opportunity through teaching, research, scholarship and service to the state, the nation, and the world.
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Bryan Tucker, Corporate Communications
Nicole Yucht, UF Advancement Communications