How One Alums' Big Pledge Influenced Another Alum to Give Big: A Case Study

Remember that University of South Florida gift I wrote about a little while ago? If not, let me get you up to speed.

Leslie and Pam Muma, double alumni of USF, gave $25 million to the USF Tampa School of Business, renaming it the Muma School of Business. The basic story is that after a successful career in the midwest, the Mumas returned to Florida and started ramping up their giving in their home state, while also being courted by USF brass.

Related: Back Home From the Cold: How Deep Roots Shaped a $25 Million Gift to USF

USF has recently announced that $10 million more is headed to the Muma School of Business for scholarship and student recruitment at its School of Accountancy. If you're guessing that these millions are coming from the Mumas again, you'd be wrong. However, it wouldn't be a stretch to say that the Mumas played a role. But more on this in a moment. Let's talk for a second about the woman behind this latest gift.

USF alumna Lynn Pippenger nabbed a job as a payroll clerk for the Raymond James brokerage firm in 1969, later going back to her undergraduate alma mater to get an MBA from USF as well. Showing a knack for numbers and accounting from an early age, Pippenger worked her way through the ranks of Raymond James, eventually serving as CFO and senior vice president, helping to take the company public before retiring a couple of years ago. During her tenure at the company, she also helped establish an internal educational program now known as Raymond James University, so education is definitely important to her.

Pippinger has given millions to the school over the years, and the first gift she made to her alma mater dates back to 1986, when she supported student scholarships. As we often say at IP, past giving can often predict future giving. But another component here might involve the past giving of those other USF alumni—the Mumas.

You see, in addition to the Mumas' $25 million gift that renamed the business school in their name, Les Muma also chairs USF's $1 billion capital campaign, where he's helped to raise at least $856 million for his school. Muma, in other words, has had a role in a lot of the philanthropy going on USF in recent years, setting the tone (and heck, even picking up the phone) for other alumni to follow suit.

Is it any surprise that Pippinger has now stepped in with $10 million of her own at USF, toward the Muma School of Business, no less?

There are obviously plenty more of these cases in which capital campaigns spearheaded by alum influence other alum to donate. One gift can sometimes build on another and there's often an all-hands-on-deck approach during these kinds of campaigns anyway. It's especially notable in this case that both the Mumas and Pippinger have similar business backgrounds and are now both focusing on bolstering the same institution at USF—the Muma School of Business.

And in case you have any doubt about all of this, Pippinger herself said as much when talking about her most recent gift to USF: “I just finally decided to speak up... inspired by Pam and Les Muma’s gift to the College of Business.”

The Muma School of Business' School of Accountancy will be renamed the Lynn Pippenger School of Accountancy.