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UWF helped the community stay healthier during the COVID-19 pandemic. The University has launched several new degree programs to meet state and regional needs. UWF has also celebrated several monumental gifts to the University. Read more about UWF’s growth and about the new five-year strategic plan the University is following as a blueprint for further success.


UWF Camellia Garden Receives Honor

March: The American Camellia Society named the UWF Camellia Garden as an American Camellia Trail Garden, becoming one of 57 in the U.S. and only three in the state of Florida.

Students and Faculty Manufacture Free Face Shields

April: In response to a shortage of full face shields for healthcare workers at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, one of the University’s direct support organizations manufactured, managed and distributed 3D-printed full face shield supplies at its Sea3D Additive Manufacturing Laboratory in downtown Pensacola.

School of Music

September: The University of West Florida announced an anonymous gift to rename the Department of Music as the Dr. Grier Williams School of Music, in memory of the first chair of the music department.

First Virtual Commencement

August: UWF hosted the virtual commencement in response to the State University System of Florida directing all state universities to postpone in-person spring and summer commencement ceremonies due to COVID-19 health guidelines on gatherings.


New Public Health Degree

March: UWF announces it will offer a new fully online bachelor's in public health degree program at UWF beginning in Fall 2021.

UWF helps in fight against COVID-19

March: UWF nursing students administer COVID-19 vaccinations and UWF announces Argo Nation Vaccination Day.

UWF ranks highest in BOG's Metric 1

June: UWF leads state in percentage of bachelor’s graduates employed in Florida Board of Governors performance metrics.

First football game on campus

September: UWF played its first-ever regular season football game on the UWF Pensacola Campus, hosting Southwest Baptist at Pen Air Field on Sept. 11.

Historic Gift in Excess of $8.5 million

September: The late Dr. Herman and Valerie Rolfs made a historic gift in excess of $8.5 million which created the Dr. Grier Williams School of Music. Their gift will provide significant scholarships and resources for music students annually.


Sandy Sansing Sports Medicine Center

January: UWF announces a gift commitment of more than $600,000 from Sandy Sansing to support the Sandy Sansing Need-Based Student-Athlete Scholarship and expand the Darrell Gooden Center to include a new Sports Medicine Center.

UWF earns top spot in Board of Governors’ Metric 1

June: UWF is No. 1 in the Florida State University System for Metric 1 of the Florida Board of Governors’ 2021-22 performance-based funding model.

Human Resources Program

July: UWF announces it will offer a new Bachelor of Science in Business Administration degree in Human Resources Management starting in Fall 2022.

School of Education

July: The School of Education, in the College of Education and Professional Studies, launched on July 1 and replaces two former CEPS departments, Educational Research and Administration, and Teacher Education and Educational Leadership.

Home Football Games on Campus

September: For the first time in program history, the UWF Football team will play the entire 2022 home season at the UWF Pensacola Campus at Pen Air Field.

AWKO Center for Leadership

September: The Aylstock, Witkin, Kreis & Overholtz law firm gifted $2.5 million to name the AWKO Center for Leadership at UWF and enhance its initiatives.

2022-2027 Strategic Plan Approved

September: The Florida SUS Board of Governors approved UWF's new five-year strategic plan. The strategic plan maps out UWF's institutional mission, President's vision and includes seven strategic directions, goals and indicators of success through 2027.

Dr. Muhammad Harunur Rashid Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

October: Drs. Muhammad and Fatema Rashid continued a legacy of giving to UWF through a $1 million gift to name the Dr. Muhammad Harunur Rashid Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering in the Hal Marcus College of Science and Engineering. The Rashids have six endowments established in the college -- the most established endowments to UWF by a donor.


UWF breaks ground on Sandy Sansing Sports Medicine Center

April: The University broke ground on the Sandy Sansing Sports Medicine Center, a $6 million facility dedicated to enhancing the quality of care for all UWF student-athletes. The 10,000-square-foot center will be an addition to the Darrell Gooden Center on UWF’s Pensacola campus.

UWF reaches milestone with record number of first-year and graduate applications

June: UWF received a record-breaking number of First-Time-In-College and graduate school applications for the 2023 Summer and Fall semesters. For the first time in the University’s history, first-year applications surpassed the 10,000 mark and graduate school applications increased to more than 6,400. The record comes amid a nationwide trend of higher education institutions struggling to regain pre-pandemic enrollment numbers.

Center for Cybersecurity $2.5 million grant from the National Centers of Academic Excellence in Cybersecurity (NCAE-C) Program

August: The Center for Cybersecurity received a $2.5 million grant from the National Centers of Academic Excellence in Cybersecurity (NCAE-C) Program at the National Security Agency to expand the National Cybersecurity Workforce Development program, CyberSkills2Work. CyberSkills2Work was also mentioned in the White House’s cybersecurity strategy.

Educational Research Center for Child Development $1.6 million, four-year grant from the U.S. Department of Education

August: UWF’s Educational Research Center for Child Development received a $1.6 million, four-year grant from the U.S. Department of Education to assist Pell-eligible and Pell-recipient student-parents with the costs of childcare. This is the largest grant the University has been awarded to offset childcare costs for students. In addition to securing the grant, the ERCCD also accomplished the near-impossible feat of a perfect review panel.

Collaboration with Farcast on an innovative research program

October: The University announced its collaboration with Farcast on an innovative research program to make cancer treatment more predictable for patients. Studies and research conducted in the program will aid the development of therapeutics, diagnostics or other treatment modalities for precision cancer medicine.

Launched the Leidos Cybersecurity Infrastructure Lab in collaboration with Leidos

October: UWF and Leidos, a Fortune 500® science and technology leader, have launched the Leidos Cybersecurity Infrastructure Lab in UWF’s Hal Marcus College of Science and Engineering. The new lab is purpose-built to provide students with hands-on cybersecurity education in realistic digital environments.

Surpassing 100,000 graduates

December: UWF reached a significant milestone, officially surpassing 100,000 graduates during the Fall 2023 Commencement on Saturday, December 9, at the Pensacola Bay Center. Since its first commencement ceremony in 1968, UWF has conferred more than 121,000 bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees.