SARASOTA, Fla. (May 15, 2017) – Bill Mariotti was enrolled at USF when his father plunged through a skylight at a demolition site, prompting swift changes at the family business, including a decision by Mariotti to delay college while his dad recuperated.
But the longer he stayed away, the harder it became to go back. Weeks stretched into months and months into years until longtime friend Ted Bogusz and others urged him to finally return.
Mariotti did just that, enrolling at USF Sarasota-Manatee after more than 30 years. In December 2015, Mariotti earned his Bachelor of Science degree in general business with a concentration in management and marketing.
Since then, his friends haven’t let up and Mariotti, still heeding their advice, has remained as involved as ever: as an alumni booster, a member of USFSM’s Community Leadership Council – a campus advisory group – chairman of USFSM’s fundraising arm, the Campaign Leadership Committee, and as a member of the National Alumni Board and House Corporation for Sigma Nu Fraternity in Tampa.
Now 56 and president of the family-owned site development company started by his father, Mariotti is taking his devotion to his alma mater to a new level.
Through careful estate planning and after consultations with friends and financial experts, Mariotti has decided to donate $3.5 million – much of his estate – to USF and USFSM after he passes on.
The donation marks the largest individual contribution in USF Sarasota-Manatee’s history.
“Providing the atmosphere and tools for learning is very important for our future,” Mariotti said. “Providing scholarships gives opportunities to those whom might not be able to attend college by traditional methods.”
Born and raised in Sarasota, Mariotti says it’s important to support the hometown university.
Mariotti said he came to the decision over the past year after reflecting on his life and talking with friends and family, including sister, Debbie, who co-owns the business with him. Mariotti has no children and said it made sense to leave a legacy to an institution that’s been a community resource to young people for more than 40 years.
Dr. Terry Osborn, interim regional chancellor of USFSM, said of the donation, “Bill has been a tremendous supporter and friend of our campus for many years and we are so fortunate that he has decided to leave a lasting legacy for our students through this planned gift.”
Mariotti stipulated the donation be allocated to nine funds, including new funds named for him, his father and his mother, to establish an endowed chair at USFSM’s College of Business, a visiting scholar program at USF’s College of The Arts and a fund to support construction of buildings on the USFSM campus.
Other funds establish a visiting scholar program at USFSM as well as support to the Sigma Nu Fraternity. They also support scholarships for student-athletes, business students and other students at USFSM and USF in Tampa.
“Bill’s personal story of perseverance and commitment is a remarkable one,” said USF Foundation CEO Joel Momberg. “And it’s matched by his incredible generosity, which is helping us reach our billion-dollar Unstoppable campaign goal. We’re deeply grateful for everything Bill has done to make such a meaningful impact across the USF System.”
The largest share, 40 percent, will go toward the support of buildings on USFSM’s campus and another 30 percent will support a fund named the Bill Mariotti Endowed Chair in Business at USFSM’s College of Business.
The funds are more specifically detailed here:
- The Bill Mariotti Endowed Chair in Business, which benefits the USFSM College of Business.
- The William E. Mariotti and William J. Mariotti Facilities Fund to support buildings and facilities at USFSM.
- The Bill Mariotti Endowed Fund for Visiting Scholars, which supports visiting scholars at the College of The Arts at USF in Tampa.
- The Carmen Mariotti & Bill Mariotti Fund for Visiting Scholars, supporting visiting scholars at USFSM.
- The Bill Mariotti Endowed Sigma Nu Fraternity Scholarship.
- The Bill Mariotti Endowed Athletics Scholarship, a fund supporting student-athletes across the USF System.
- The Bill Mariotti Endowed Business Scholarship, which benefits business students at USF in Tampa.
- The Bill Mariotti Endowed USFSM Business Scholarship, benefitting business students at USFSM.
- The Bill Mariotti Endowed Scholarship, to support USF System students.
Donating your time is another way of giving back to the community, he said. Helping does not always mean giving money.
“There are so many retirees in our area from all over the United States and globally from a multitude of businesses and professions,” Mariotti said. “Their wealth of knowledge and expertise is so beneficial to our students and the USF Sarasota-Manatee campus.”
A reception to thank Mariotti for his gift will take place at 5 p.m. on Monday at the USFSM campus, 8350 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. In addition to Dr. Osborn, USF System President Dr. Judy Genshaft is expected to attend, as well as Joel Momberg, chief executive officer of the USF Foundation.