ORLANDO (UCFKnights.com) – Tony and Sonja Nicholson have made a $2 million gift commitment to UCF Athletics.
“Sonja and I are proud to make this gift commitment in recognition of the outstanding work of many fine young men and women who have worn black and gold, who compete fiercely and graduate,” Tony Nicholson said. “We are proud of UCF’s graduation rate of 94 percent, ranking it near the top nationally, including the Ivy League. Our support also acknowledges the leadership of John Hitt and former UCF football coaches such as Gene McDowell and George O’Leary and our current coach Scott Frost. Additionally, we are thrilled to support Danny White’s vision of building a nationally-recognized athletics program and helping deliver on the Athletics Village effort. He is to be commended for hiring some exceptional coaches. We believe our future is very bright.”
This isn’t the first major gift the Nicholsons have made to UCF Athletics or the university as a whole. In 1996, the couple made a seven-figure gift to the university’s academic program. The university honored their generosity with the naming of the Nicholson School of Communication. The Nicholsons also committed $2 million to fund construction of the Nicholson Fieldhouse, which was the first full-length indoor football practice facility in the south. In addition, the couple helped pay for the Knights’ entry fee into the Mid-American Conference in 2002.
“On behalf of our student-athletes and our entire athletic department, our most sincere thanks go to Tony and Sonja Nicholson for their amazing generosity, not only for this gift but for all their support of the Knights over the years,” UCF Vice President and Director of Athletics Danny White said. “This gift will benefit our programs immeasurably and will help us continue to deliver an exceptional student-athlete experience at UCF and pursue our goal of being a Top 25 intercollegiate athletics program. We’re grateful that Tony and Sonja believe in the vision of UCF Athletics and are committed to helping us continue to grow.”
The Nicholsons’ gift is part of UCF’s $25 million Kenneth G. Dixon Athletics Village vision and the IGNITE campaign, UCF’s $500 million university-wide fund-raising initiative.
“Tony and Sonja Nicholson have been outstanding friends of the University of Central Florida for decades, giving generously to support student success in our classrooms and in athletic competitions and volunteering their time on many university boards,” said UCF President John C. Hitt. “Our UCF family appreciates Tony’s and Sonja’s steadfast dedication and strong passion for their hometown university.”
Both Tony and Sonja Nicholson have previously served UCF in many capacities. Tony has served as chief of the UCF Development Committee and Sonja has served as a member of the Golden Knights Club Board of Directors. Tony Nicholson currently serves as a member of the board of directors for both the UCF Foundation and UCF Athletics Association.