William R. Hough
A HISTORY OF MAKING HISTORY: LEADERSHIP PERSONIFIED
William R. Hough graduated as a member of the University of Florida’s first MBA class in 1948 and has been supporting UF ever since. In 2007, he made history as the donor of the largest private gift UF had ever received, $30 million dollars. This gift created an endowment to establish the Hough Graduate School of Business and to support teaching, academic programs and enhancements for graduate programs, and also provided the lead gift for a new building to house the graduate business programs. William R. Hough Hall will bring business graduate programs together in one facility and serve more than 1,500 students in traditional, weekend and professional programs.
Bill Hough has been a friend and catalyst for innovation at the Warrington College of Business for many years, having served on the College’s Business Advisory Board since 1989. His involvement in creating the one-year master’s program in finance was based on his practical experience and success. This advocacy translated into tangible support in 2000, when he funded the creation of the Hough Program in Finance. Bill Hough has been a member of the UF Foundation Board of Directors since 2000.
Bill Hough made his name in the world of finance as the founder of the investment banking firm of William R. Hough & Co., based in St. Petersburg, Fla., which he operated for 38 years. The company, which specialized in municipal bond issues, merged with RBC Dain Rauscher Inc. in 2004, with Hough continuing as a financial consultant to RBC Dain Rauscher; Hough was also the chairman of Republic Bancshares, Inc. (acquired by BB&T that same year). Bill Hough and his wife, Hazel, remain residents of St. Petersburg, Florida.
Bill Hough has said that he still feels indebted to UF teachers who gave him the tools he needed to build his fortune, such as Professor Jim Richardson, who taught him the Graham-Dodd philosophy of investing. “Giving back is only fair. UF educated me to succeed and I feel I owe it to give back,” he said. “I was moved by the professors I had in graduate school. They taught us fundamentals of the practical securities business and prepared me to be a successful broker and investor.”