Longtime Supporters of USF’s St. Petersburg Campus Donate $1 Million for Endowed Professorship

Kate T and Ellen c bull U hand sign(June 15, 2020) – Community benefactors and retired businesswomen Kate Tiedemann and Ellen Cotton have donated $1 million to the University of South Florida Foundation to create an endowed professor position at USF’s St. Petersburg campus.

The Tiedemann-Cotton Endowed Professorship in Finance was established to honor a distinguished faculty member dedicated to education, teaching and research in finance.

The first holder of the position will be Gary Patterson, who is currently associate dean of the Kate Tiedemann College of Business (KTCOB) on USF’s St. Petersburg campus.

“We are deeply thankful to Kate Tiedemann and Ellen Cotton for their continued support of the University of South Florida and their dedication to helping change the lives of our students and faculty,” USF President Steven Currall said.  “Endowed professorships strengthen USF’s academic foundation for the future, raise our institution’s profile and advance our goal of becoming a top 25 public university.”

With more than $15 million in charitable donations, Tiedemann and Cotton are the largest donors to USF’s St. Petersburg campus. Tiedemann’s gift of $10 million in 2014 gave the KTCOB its name. She and Cotton, her spouse and a former small business owner, donated an additional $3 million to endow the dean’s position within the college in 2019.

USF Foundation CEO Jay Stroman said, “This gift recognizes both the talent of our faculty and the potential of our students. Empowering faculty with the right tools and opportunities further strengthens their ability to develop USF scholars. The Tiedemann-Cotton Endowed Professorship in Finance will do just that.”

Tiedemann and Cotton have also helped fund scholarships and student groups at USF’s St. Petersburg campus. In April, they gave $50,000 to an emergency fund devoted to providing students with the financial help they need to finish their degrees despite the coronavirus pandemic.

“I continue to be inspired by the passion Kate and Ellen have for our students and for their ongoing support to help our students succeed,” said Martin Tadlock, regional chancellor of USF’s St. Petersburg campus. “This generous gift helps ensure that top-quality instruction in finance will continue on this campus for generations to come.”

The recipient of the Tiedemann-Cotton Endowed Professorship of Finance will be appointed to a three-year renewable term by the dean of the KTCOB in consultation with the dean of USF’s Muma College of Business. The position will provide funding for salary, research, equipment, travel and other miscellaneous expenses.

 USF Muma College of Business Dean Moez Limayem said, “We are so grateful for Kate Tiedemann and Ellen Cotton.  Their generosity helps us set a standard of excellence and fosters that spirit among our faculty, staff and students.  Their donation will impact the college now and for years to come.  Their gift helps us change lives.”

Sridhar Sundaram, dean of the KTCOB, said the honor is well deserved for Patterson, who has taught finance at USF’s St. Petersburg campus since 2000.

“Kate and Ellen recognize that it is people that make the difference at the Kate Tiedemann College of Business, which is why they created the Tiedemann-Cotton Endowed Professor of Finance,” Sundaram said. “I am so pleased to appoint Gary Patterson as the first holder of this prestigious position. Gary is a long-time faculty member and served as the interim dean of the Kate Tiedemann College of Business. His contributions to the college are many and this honor is well deserved.”

Patterson developed an interest in financial markets as a child and bought his first stock when he was 12 years old. His work has been published in the journal Real Estate Economics and he has presented papers at the International Conference on Energy Finance and the American Accounting Association annual meeting, among others.

Patterson earned his master’s in business administration from University of Texas at Austin and his doctorate from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

“Ellen and I are honored to make this gift and very pleased that Dr. Gary Patterson has been appointed to be the first Tiedemann-Cotton Endowed Professor of Finance,” Tiedemann said. “He is an exemplary scholar who is dedicated to helping students make a difference in the world. His impact will continue to be reflected in his students and their contributions in the field of finance throughout their lifetimes.”