Maritime and supply chain service provider Crowley Maritime Corp. announced on Friday it has established a $2.5 million endowment at the University of North Florida (UNF) to create and operate a logistics center. The goal is to give students hands-on experience and fresh perspectives on transportation and logistics challenges.
UNF’s Coggin College of Business will house the Crowley Center for Transportation and Logistics (CCTL) on the campus in Jacksonville, where the company is based. The center is designed to help students become leaders in transportation, logistics and related data analytics.
The CCTL will “create a forum where the curriculum and the classes that the students are taking can be brought to life in real-world examples,” Tom Crowley, chairman and CEO at Crowley, told FreightWaves. “It allows the industry to get access to new ways of thinking, and I think the other important element is to provide experiential learning to students.”
Having students experience real-world challenges in transportation and logistics is “a more effective way to learn” than using a strictly conventional academic approach, he said.
Crowley’s gift will cover expenses for:
Creation, leadership and operations of the CCTL.
Pursuit of federally funded grants and contracts.
Student recruitment for transportation, logistics and data analytics.
“UNF is extremely appreciative of this generous gift by Crowley to establish a distinguished center of transportation and logistics research and education,” university President David Szymanski said in a release. “Our partnership and alliance with Crowley will allow UNF’s Coggin College of Business and the Crowley Center for Transportation and Logistics to be at the forefront of cutting-edge education and research and help prepare our students with skills for the workforce.”
Crowley said the company has been working with UNF for years. He said that supply chain degrees often focus on the supply chains of manufacturing companies and don’t spend much time teaching how those goods get moved from one place to another.
“We are making the supply chains work. We are the physical assets and services that move goods,” Crowley said. He noted that the company wanted to support a program that prioritizes transportation and logistics teaching.
UNF is “firmly committed to promoting and working the transportation and logistics school into their business school and making it a real part of their students’ options in terms of their degrees,” Crowley said.
UNF’s close proximity to an international transportation hub also gives university graduates ample opportunities.
Crowley said the CCTL is expected to be operational by the beginning of July.