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'It's Only Natural to Give Back'

“I have always supported this University by contributing to the annual fund,” says Dr. Jeffrey Schilit. “I give through the payroll deduction plan where half of my contribution goes to funding FAU athletic scholarships and the other half goes to my own department. It's only natural to give back to a place that has provided me with so much.” Schilit has been a passionate supporter of FAU ever since he first began working here in 1978. He believes in the University’s mission and has demonstrated this repeatedly through his actions.

Attracted by the opportunity to be part of a young and growing university, Schilit originally came to FAU to chair the department of Exceptional Student Education. His background in the field of special education was impeccable. After earning an undergraduate degree in special education and elementary education from California University of Pennsylvania, a master’s degree in special education and research from Penn State University and a Ph.D. in special education, research and administration from Ohio State University, he worked in direct service before holding faculty positions at Duquesne University, the University of Alabama and the State University College at Buffalo. Tired of braving the snow in a city that is legendary for its winters, Schilit left his faculty position in Buffalo and eagerly headed to the tropical ease of Boca Raton.

Close to 30 years later, Schilit, now FAU's associate provost for information resource management (IRM) and chief information officer, can speak first hand of the University’s remarkable growth as an institution of higher education and as a center of research. “The FAU of 1978 was very different than what you see today. With a student body of 5,000 and a faculty of 400, you couldn’t help but know everybody,” he says. “But even then, FAU was on the move. There was no sense of stagnancy. We all knew that change was ahead and that made for exciting times.”

What sets Schilit apart as a leader is his willingness to keep on growing professionally. While at FAU, he has been both a faculty member and an administrator. He ran a research institute in the College of Education before moving into his current position heading IRM. Although not trained in technology, Schilit embraced the challenge of working outside his area. “My expertise in applications and implementation has been invaluable to me in my job,” he says. “I am very happy in this position and have the backing of FAU’s leadership in whatever I do. I consider myself very lucky to have been given this opportunity, to be a part of the FAU of today and to be helping to shape it for tomorrow.”

If you would like to make a gift to support FAU through payroll deductions, contact Tony Lee, director of Annual Giving, at ext. 7-1053 or gifts@fau.edu.


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