DURHAM — Duke University has announced a $10 million gift for its athletic department – the largest such donation in school history.
Dr. Steven Scott and his wife, Rebecca, of Boca Raton, Fla., have committed the money to support a new 35,000-square-foot building that will house ticket offices, a team store, staff offices and training and weight rooms for student-athletes in nonrevenue, Olympic sports.
The three-story pavilion and athletics center will be used by some 600 Duke University student-athletes, the university said in announcing the gift Thursday.
“The tremendous generosity of Steven and Rebecca Scott for this magnificent investment is, in fact, unmatched in the history of Duke Athletics,” Kevin White, athletic director, said in a statement. “The pavilion and athletics center will impact all Duke student-athletes and staff directly. The facility will serve as a showplace for the standards of excellence exhibited throughout the entire institution.”
The donation is part of Duke’s newly announced $3.25 billion fundraising campaign, dubbed “Duke Forward.” Scott, a board member of Duke University Health System, is on the campaign’s steering committee.
Scott could not be reached for comment, but in a Duke news release, he called the donation a great investment. “Becky and I strongly believe in the need to give back and do what we can to make an impact and a difference,” Scott said.
Scott, a doctor and retired chairman of medical investment company Scott Holdings, did his medical internship and residency at Duke’s medical center from 1974 to 1978. He then built a 35-year career in the medical business as head of several different companies.
In 1977, from his Durham home, he started his first business, Coastal Healthcare Group, which provided doctors to hospital emergency rooms.
His business path was not always smooth. He was fired by Coastal’s board in 1996, but then sued and won a proxy battle to return to the company, which later acquired a Florida company named Sterling. The new company, named PhyAmerica, filed for bankruptcy in 2002 and later was purchased by another firm and renamed Sterling Healthcare.
Throughout the 1990s, Scott bought several health maintenance organizations and eventually formed Florida Health Plan Administrators LLC/Vista Healthplans. Vista generated annual revenues of more than $1.2 billion, according to Duke, and was sold to Coventry Health Care Inc. in 2007.
Scott received his undergraduate and medical degrees from Indiana University. Rebecca Scott, a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, received her nurse anesthesiology certificate from Duke in 1979.
Scott is an assistant consulting professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Duke. He is president of the Scott Family Foundation and a trustee at the University of Florida, where he and his wife announced a $5 million donation earlier this month for a medical school building.
The couple have five children, including two who are students at Duke’s medical school.
The university’s fundraising campaign aims to raise $250 million for Duke athletics, including $100 million for facilities, $100 million for operating funds and $50 million for a permanent endowment. The university plans to renovate both Wallace Wade Stadium and Cameron Indoor Stadium, and build a new track and field stadium.