Jabil Donates $1 Million, Creates USF Jabil Innovation Institute to Benefit Muma College of Business, College of Engineering
By Keith Morelli
TAMPA (October 24, 2019) -- The close relationship between USF and Jabil, one of the world's largest contract manufacturers, with more than 180,000 employees working in 102 locations throughout 30-some countries, grew a little closer Thursday with the announcement of a $1 million gift that establishes the USF Jabil Innovation Institute.
The announcement strengthens the existing partnership between the St. Petersburg-based company and the Muma College of Business, which for years has collaborated with Jabil to help students achieve success in the information systems industry.
The gift supports research that goes well beyond the Muma College of Business and will also greatly benefit the USF College of Engineering of which Jabil CEO Mark Mondelli is an alumnus. The Institute will bring about new collaborative efforts in innovative research, community engagement and talent development within the two colleges. It also will enhance student success by providing new experiential learning opportunities and skills needed to remain competitive in the job market.
During the announcement event at the Marshall Student Center Thursday afternoon, USF President Steve Currall, USF Foundation CEO Joel Momberg and Mondello shared their vision for the partnership with students and faculty and a large contingent of Jabil staff, many of whom raised their hands when asked if they were USF alumni.
“We look forward to growing the institute so that it serves as a national model for high-impact university-industry partnerships,” said Currall. “We are leveraging our strengths at the right time and right place – a Tampa Bay region that is continuing to build momentum as a creative, high-tech destination for the next generation of the technology-savvy workforce. And at the heart of it will be Jabil and USF, charting a groundbreaking course together.”
Jabil will lease space at the Tampa Bay Technology Incubator in USF’s Research Park, where USF students and faculty will collaborate with Jabil teams, gaining real-life experience developing solutions to critical business and technology issues. Jabil will also be participating in USF innovation initiatives and leading programs for client companies at the incubator.
“We are looking forward to working even more closely with USF with this partnership,” said Mondello. “We firmly believe that together we can bridge business and engineering theory to the changing challenges of our global community.”
The partnership includes an $800,000 gift and $200,000 in research support given by Jabil to the USF Foundation.
“The gift and research support will create the type of opportunities our high-achieving students seek,” said Momberg. “We are so thankful that Jabil has chosen to contribute to our incredible momentum here at USF.”
“Jabil has an open-minded vision that is always heading where the ball is going,” said Muma College of Business Dean Moez Limayem. “We could not find a better partner for this type of institute than Jabil.”
Jabil and the Muma College of Business have collaborated for years, dating back to 2013 when Mondello came to the business college to deliver a guest lecture to a class of Executive MBA students. He returned in 2016 to be the guest of the Muma College of Business Conversation with a CEO event, in which he and Limayem had a candid conversation before a room of alumni, students and business leaders. Mondello was the inaugural guest of the popular series that continues to this day.
In 2016, Jabil teamed up with the Muma College of Business to address an existing skill gap with a new "Citizen Data Science" program. Since then, the program has grown and now all business students, regardless of major, are required to take courses in business analytics and creativity to help them understand new trends in business and to make them more marketable once they graduate. Now, all business college students are certified as Citizen Data Scientists at graduation as a result of the program.
And in 2017, the company sponsored a hackathon, at which students were rewarded for creativity and self-expression through technology. The event, hosted by USF, emphasized the role of IT in manufacturing.
The announcement Thursday was followed by a question/answer period with Mondello in the Oval Theater, at which nearly 200 students attended.