Couple gives UF colleges $2M gift


Published: Friday, June 1, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, June 1, 2007 at 12:00 a.m.

A 1951 University of Florida graduate who is now a major South Florida real estate developer and his wife, a registered nurse, have teamed up to give back to UF in the form of a $2 million gift to the College of Design, Construction and Planning and the College of Medicine.

William G. Lassiter Jr. and his wife, Aneice, have given $1 million to the M.E. Rinker Sr. School of Building Construction and another $1 million to the Department of Pediatrics in the College of Medicine, the University of Florida Foundation has announced.

Lassiter graduated with a bachelor's degree in building construction, and credits the program with giving him a solid foundation for what has been a successful career.

"It's a real good program, and I want to see it stay that way," he said.

He is director of W.G. Lassiter Properties Inc., president of Palm Beach Development Corp. and Legal Leasing Corporation and director of Gardens Park Plaza, Inc., among other positions.

The gift to the School of Building Construction in the College of Design, Construction and Planning will endow a professorship.

"The resources generated by Lassiter's endowed professorship will be used to bring construction professionals into the classroom to share their knowledge with our students and give them a broader exposure to the real world of construction," said Abdol Chini, director and professor at the school.

The Lassiters also gave $600,000 to the department of pediatrics to support a professorship with an emphasis on congenital heart disease, and $400,000 to endow a pediatric diabetes research fund in their name.

Reached by phone Wednesday, Lassiter said his wife, a registered nurse, specifically wanted to do something to benefit children.

The Lassiters chose the UF College of Medicine's pediatric program.

"She's worked with open heart patients, for the most part," he said. "She likes the heart, and loves kids, so this seemed like a perfect fit."

The gift is eligible to receive state matching funds and will be recognized as part of UF President Bernie Machen's faculty challenge Initiative, foundation officials said.

Diane Chun can be reached at 352-374-5041 or chund@gvillesun.com

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