With the goal of inspiring engineers to seek humanitarian solutions to global issues, the lead gift in a $300 million fundraising campaign for the college will help support the hiring of additional faculty, the construction of state-of-the-art facilities, and enhancements to the delivery of an engineering education. In recognition of the gift, the college will be renamed the Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering. Construction on the 80,000-square-foot Engineering Innovation building, which will be named after Wertheim, is scheduled to begin in the spring of 2016.
Wertheim studied electrical and computer engineering at UF, received bachelor's degree in optical engineering and a doctor of optometry degree from the Southern College of Optometry, invented the UV coating for sunglasses, and founded Brain Power Inc., which is the world's largest manufacturer of ophthalmic instruments. He also has worked as a computer and instrumentation engineer for NASA. With the latest gift to UF, the Wertheim family, including Wertheim's daughters Erica and Vanessa, has committed more than $100 million to public universities and colleges in the state.
"It's befitting to name the college in honor of someone who exemplifies what we call 'the New Engineer,'" said Cammy Abernathy, the college's dean. "Herbie is the future of engineering. He's innovative, entrepreneurial, and a service-oriented leader."