Former teacher gives CFCC $2.5 million

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By The Staff

Jack Wilkinson has taught generations of Levy County students during his lifetime, and a his gift to Central Florida Community College will ensure that generations more have access to higher education.

Mr. Jack, as he is known in Chiefland, has donated $2.5 million to help build a new CFCC campus in Levy County. The donation is the largest, one-time gift ever received by CFCC.

During their June 16 meeting at the current Levy Center, the CFCC District Board of Trustees voted to name the campus for the 45-year educator who has fond memories of his own school days. He attended school in a one-room school house, drove a Model T to high school, and then earned his teaching certificate at the University of Florida.

The Jack Wilkinson Levy Campus of Central Florida Community College will carry forward his strong belief in the importance of education. “This makes my life like a fairy tale,” he said.

Wilkinson has been interested in the new CFCC campus in Levy County since he learned of the project almost two years ago. In 2008, he made a gift supporting the Levy Campus campaign that the college planned to recognize by naming a classroom for him in the new facility.

“We are excited to learn that Mr. Jack is making arrangements for a gift with the potential to sustain the Levy Campus for years to come,” said Dr. Charles Dassance, CFCC president. “We made a promise that we would keep him up to date on the college’s progress, and he has now made a commitment that brings immeasurable opportunity to Levy County.”

Levy Superintendent of Schools and District Board of Trustees member Bob Hastings says that his father taught with Wilkinson for 32 years. Hastings also taught with Wilkinson for a year. “I cannot think of any one person who has touched more lives in Levy County than Jack Wilkinson,” Hastings said. “This is a perfect way to recognize a lifelong educator.”

Joan Stearns, vice president of Institutional Advancement for the CFCC Foundation, says: “At almost 96, Mr. Jack remembers just about every student he’s ever taught. Mr. Jack will long be remembered by the many students he taught over the years at Chiefland High School and his story will be forever passed on to Levy County students. CFCC is proud to be a part of his legacy.”

The new Levy Campus will be located along U.S. Highway 19 north of Chiefland. Much of the 35-acre parcel was donated to the college by Jack and Loy Ann Mann of Chiefland. For information about the Levy Promise for the Future campaign, contact Lisa Lombardo at 352-854-2322, ext. 1