Faculty, Staff, Students, Les and Pam Muma Attend the Five Year Anniversary of the Muma College of Business Naming
By Keith Morelli
TAMPA (October 10, 2019) -- Since 2014, when Pam and Les Muma gave USF $25 million to support and rename the business college, the bonds have only grown closer. And now, five years down the road, the Muma College of Business is on a steep trajectory that can be traced back to the moment that donation was made.
Commemorating the five-year anniversary, the college hosted an informal luncheon attended by more than 100 faculty, staff and students. All squeezed into the multi-purpose room as Dean Moez Limayem held court with the Mumas, who shared their story about how they met (as teenagers in Winter Haven), how they attended classes at USF (when they actually started dating), how Les Muma embarked on a career that saw him start a business (Fiserv) that ended up on the Fortune 500 list (six months before he retired).
Then came the philanthropy. They moved back to Tampa from Milwaukee and decided to make USF a beneficiary of their good fortune and to begin making gifts to the university.
Then, on 10/10/2014, at 10 a.m., the announcement was made: $25 million would benefit the college of business, and it would be named after the Mumas. It was the largest single donation the college has ever received.
"We wanted to make a USF gift that would last," Les Muma said. "We get more of a positive, good feeling out of giving the money than you guys do receiving it. I know that is hard to believe. But it is true."
In 2017, the Mumas donated an additional $5 million to the business college.
Limayem recalled a Sunday afternoon when his phone rang and he saw on the caller ID it was Les Muma.
“Of course, you have to answer the call,” the dean said. Muma asked Limayem if he could use an additional $5 million.”
“Well,” Limayem said, “I told him, ‘If you insist.’”
At the anniversary event, Muma told the attendees that much of the success of the college since his initial gift goes to the faculty and staff and remarkable students who are enrolled in the college.
“All we did is fuel it,” he said. “You guys (gesturing to faculty and staff) made it happen."
He also gave credit to Limayem, who was hired seven years ago by a search committee on which Muma sat. The committee initially reviewed 50 candidates. Limayem was not among them.
"We had a lot of good candidates but none that would take us to the next level,” Muma said. Asked what he wanted to do, Muma said there was no choice but to start the search over. The committee did and Limayem was in the next batch of candidates.
The Mumas frequently attend college functions, including the annual Scholarship Luncheon in August.
Asked about some "wow" moments with USF, Pam Muma referred to the most recent luncheon at which she was moved to tears when the Brazilian parents of the student keynote speaker showed up in a surprise visit arranged by the college.
“It goes back to this,” she said. “It is all about the students."