FAIRWINDS Credit Union will fund a new $1.1 million endowed professorship for a proposed UCF fintech program, the first of its kind in the State University System.

The gift to benefit financial-technology education, to be fulfilled over the next eight years, was announced Feb. 20 at the UCF College of Business Administration’s annual Hall of Fame Gala.

The company has been a longtime supporter of the college and this recent gift “will help us produce the kinds of graduates Central Florida needs in a highly competitive and fast-changing industry,” said Paul Jarley, dean of the college. “Such mutual interest is the bedrock of partnership, and we look forward to working with FAIRWINDS to create a world-class program that will propel us forward together.”

According to the Orlando Economic Partnership, Orlando’s large pool of technical talent, tech educational resources and low cost of doing business has created fertile ground for financial technology innovation to thrive.  

“We’re honored to make this commitment to our hometown university and to support the growth of the financial technology sector that is so important to the future of our members and our region,” said Larry Tobin, president and CEO of FAIRWINDS, a UCF alumnus and member of the College of Business Hall of Fame.  “We believe investment in technological innovation is critical not only for those of us who provide financial services, but also those who will become future leaders in this industry.”

Michael Morsberger, CEO of the UCF Foundation, said FAIRWINDS has partnered with UCF for more than 20 years.

“As this commitment shows, FAIRWINDS shares our desire to make a big impact in the lives of students, faculty, partners and the community we call home,” he said.

The gift of funding such endowments helps recruit and retain top professors in a competitive environment. Professors in endowed positions can use earnings from the endowment to advance their research and teaching, pay student assistants, travel to conferences, host high-profile speakers, mentor colleagues and address community needs.

The credit union said the donation is being made now to honor UCF President John C. Hitt’s 26 years of service to the university. The company also said it is investing $100,000 this year to the Dr. Hitt Library in the UCF FAIRWINDS Alumni Center.