STORY OF GIVING
As the son of Greek immigrants who instilled in him at an early age the value of free enterprise and hard work, Gus Stavros took those life lessons and built them into a successful career that spanned 30 years. Since retiring in 1989, he has done anything but rest on his laurels. In fact, he has influenced generations of others, both young and old, through his support of initiatives that instill the same values he learned growing up.
His influence at the University of South Florida has a physical presence at the Gus A. Stavros Center for Free Enterprise & Economic Education. Stavros helped create the Center guided by a mission to connect educators, business leaders, and entrepreneurs in order to advance the effective teaching and integration of free enterprise and economic education into the preK-20 curricula.
As the former Chair of the Florida Council for Economic Education, Stavros has dedicated himself to build some of the greatest economic centers in the nation. He supports similar centers at Florida State University and Florida Atlantic University. Stavros also founded the Pinellas Education Foundation and initiated Enterprise Village and Finance Park at the Stavros Institute, a nationally acclaimed facility in the teaching of free enterprise and a market economy to fifth graders and fiscal responsibility to eighth graders.
Since establishing the USF Stavros Center in 1999, support from the private and public sectors have created a setting where educators seek professional growth and renewal in an environment worthy of their high calling - teaching students about opportunity and fulfillment through the global economic system.
“This center shows teachers that we respect what they do.” said Stavros. “They learn how to take this knowledge back into the classroom setting to influence young learners about free enterprise and the entrepreneurial spirit.”
The Stavros Center has the distinction of having the first fully funded endowed chair in the USF College of Education. The Stavros Chair for Free Enterprise and Economic Education was the result of a $600,000 gift from Stavros and his wife Frances and a match of $420,000 from state funds.
While Stavros admits that it's difficult to quantify the benefits of the center, he knows it is recognized as a model for excellence in teaching free enterprise on a global scale. "I have people from all over the world share with me that want to take the Center's approach to education back to their own countries to teach economic responsibility.”
“I’ve dedicated myself to instill in others the value of free enterprise, and what is compelling is to know that future generations will know more about free enterprise than those before them,” he said. “The trickle-down impact of the Center shows us that!”