TAMPA – Thomas A. James has given the University of South Florida athletics department a $500,000 gift as the lead effort to construct a tennis center for USF’s men’s and women’s programs. The gift, which is part of the USF: Unstoppable Campaign, is expected to jump-start the fundraising to build the facility, which will be named the James Tennis Center.
“I have been a supporter of various programs at USF for a number of years,” James said. “As a tennis player for 60 years, I’ve always believed that the Bulls’ tennis teams should be competitive with all of Florida’s college programs. To achieve that objective, USF needs state-of-the-art facilities to attract top talent as well as develop them to become the best they can be. I believe Doug Woolard’s investment plan will provide the venue requisite to accomplishing that goal.”
The addition of a tennis center will come on the heels of an athletics facilities makeover on USF’s campus, spearheaded by Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Doug Woolard, over the last three years. During that time, USF Athletics completed over $40 million of renovations, which included the construction of new baseball, softball, and soccer stadiums; golf and track facilities; and football and basketball practice facilities. The university also completed a $35 million renovation of the Sun Dome during that same time frame.
"Tom James is truly one of the great philanthropists in our community,” Joel Momberg, CEO of the USF Foundation, stated. “His gift not only gives USF the ability to build a first-class tennis facility, but also represents his important endorsement of our strong athletics program."
The executive chairman of Raymond James Financial, Inc., James has received numerous awards and honors for his industry leadership, support of the arts, philanthropic activities and community service.
“I want to express the gratitude of the University of South Florida Athletics Department and its student-athletes to Mr. James for his generosity and investment into our program,” said Woolard. “This lead gift for a top-of-the-line tennis center will certainly help put our tennis programs in an even better position to compete for championships both within the conference and nationally.”
James is a member of the board of Cora Health Services and has previously served on the boards of numerous public companies. He is the past chairman of The Financial Services Roundtable, the Securities Industry Association (now SIFMA), the Southern District of the SIA, the District 7 Business Conduct Committee of the National Association of Securities Dealers, and a past president of the Florida Security Dealers Association, as well as a past chairman of Raymond James Bank, N.A. and Heritage Family of Funds (subsidiaries of Raymond James Financial, Inc.).
James is a past chairman of the Florida Council of 100 and president of the board of trustees of The Salvador Dali Museum. He currently serves on the Board of Dean’s Advisors at Harvard Business School, the board of the International Tennis Hall of Fame and is the chairman of the board of the Chi Chi Rodriguez Youth Foundation. He is also a past chairman of the Florida Council of Economic Education.
“I would like to represent the women’s tennis program in thanking Mr. James for his generous gift,” said head women’s tennis coach Agustin Moreno. “Our program has been very competitive within the conference and we’ve been ranked nationally, but the addition of a new tennis center will go a long way in helping us reach new heights.”
In addition, James has been an active participant in the United Way of Pinellas County as a member of the board of directors and as founding chairman of the organization’s Alexis de Tocqueville Society and the 1995 Pinellas County campaign. He is a past member of the board of Junior Achievement of Pinellas County and has served as Commodore of the Treasure Island Tennis & Yacht Club.
“We’re humbled by the generosity of Mr. James and this gift will definitely help take our program to the next level,” head men’s tennis coach Matt Hill said. “The University of South Florida is an attractive place for student-athletes and potential student-athletes to play, but a tennis center will be a game-changer for us. We’re going to be able to attract the top junior players locally, nationally and around the world, which will put us in position to compete for conference and national championships moving forward.”
The USF: Unstoppable Campaign is a comprehensive fundraising effort by the University of South Florida System to celebrate the energy, vision, and future of one of the country’s most exciting and engaged universities. Our people and programs, our ideas, our research, and our solutions comprise an ambitious plan to enhance healthcare, science, technology, education, business, the arts, and global partnerships.