USF Receives $5 Million Gift for Newly-Named Center for Supply Chain Management & Sustainability
A gift from MercuryGate cofounder Monica Wooden will name the center in her honor
By Keith Morelli
TAMPA (April 8, 2019) -- As Florida moves closer to becoming a global hub of commerce with the University of South Florida’s Muma College of Business playing an integral part, the college’s Center for Supply Chain Management & Sustainability received a multi-million-dollar gift from one of the industry’s pioneers: Monica Wooden, cofounder and chief revenue officer of MercuryGate International.
Wooden donated $5 million to the center to further its goal of providing needed research in the field as well as talent to carry the state into an era that may one day rival tourism as the main industry. The center – the first of its kind in Florida – makes use of a faculty that includes five supply chain management experts who are leading researchers on logistics issues.
The announcement came Monday morning in the Muma College of Business atrium with several hundred alumni, faculty, students and business leaders in attendance. Though she earned a master’s degree from the University of Georgia, Wooden considers USF her alma mater, she said. Her two children have USF degrees. Both attended the announcement
“Thank you all for being here,” Wooden said. “It feels good to give back.”
Wooden, who grew up in New York and attended Ithaca College, said she learned how to give back to the community by watching her older sister mentor children. She built up her business by getting loans from family and friends and when she sold it recently, that childhood lesson surfaced. It was payback time.
“We created about 40 millionaires,” she said.
Nineteen years ago, Wooden cofounded MercuryGate. As its first CEO, she helped develop procedures that industry observers say are among the most sophisticated and flexible transportation management solutions available in the market today. Wooden and MercuryGate are founding members of the center on which her name is being attached.
Since 2015, MercuryGate has donated transportation management software licenses for classroom use, supported faculty with industry insight as they began to envision the center and was a key player in launching the inaugural statewide Florida Supply Chain Summit cosponsored by the center this spring.
MercuryGate provides transportation management solutions in the field of transportation logistics and, as it’s CEO for so many years, Wooden is uniquely aware of how the industry operates, what needs to be done to fulfill its potential and what kind of young talent is required to carry it through. Through the years, Wooden has helped the college expand the center’s business network to ensure more engagement between companies and students for internships and jobs after graduation.
“This gift will help establish the Muma College of Business as a place where students will receive a world-class education in the field of logistics and prepare them for rewarding careers with well-paying jobs and opportunities,” said Dean Moez Limayem. “We already are on our way to becoming a hub of excellence, with our outstanding faculty conducting impactful research to help fuel the growth of the industry on a global stage.
“The impact of this gift goes well beyond the Muma College of Business,” he said. “It will help the industry itself flourish by providing not only the groundbreaking research needed to compete in an ever-changing market but also a steady stream of forward-thinking talent possessing the industry specific skills that will bring efficiency and effectiveness to this vibrant and dynamic field.”
U.S. News & World Report has predicted that logistics jobs will expand by 7 percent – more than 10,000 jobs – over the next several years and identified logistics as one of the "20 Best Business Jobs." Median salaries for logistics and supply chain management positions hover around $75,000 a year.
The Muma College of Business for years has been on a path to address the needs of the logistics industry, from the groundbreaking research of the faculty to providing students with the knowledge and tools they need to succeed to ensuring a steady stream of capable talent to fuel the industry for the next several generations and beyond. This fall, the college begins offering a major in supply chain management and soon, there will be a master’s degree program.
USF President Judy Genshaft thanked Wooden for her contribution at the announcement.
“Today’s announcement is about a friend of the university,” Genshaft said. “I think you’ll agree that who you partner with makes a difference and says as much about you as anything. Monica is no stranger to the Muma College of Business.”
The timing for this gift could not be better, Limayem said.
“Florida is the right state,” he said, “USF is the right university and the Muma College of Business is the right college for this. And Monica, you are the right person to work alongside us as we build a program to provide rewarding jobs for our graduates – jobs with meaningful salaries. Thank you so much for helping us change the lives of so many young people.
“This gift,” he said, “is lighting a path for a new generation of leaders.”
To view a short video of the event, click here.