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Canterbury School gets record $3M gift to grow

A founding family, the Houghs, hope that "high ideals" carry on.

By MARY JANE PARK, Times Staff Writer
Published January 22, 2008


ST. PETERSBURG - Philanthropists William and Hazel Hough have made a $3-million contribution to the Canterbury School of Florida, the largest single donation ever made to the private institution.

The Houghs are among the founding families and trustees of Canterbury.

"We had very high ideals for that school," Bill Hough said in a telephone interview on Monday. The couple are alumni parents and grandparents to current students.

"You always see them at sporting events, concerts, assemblies and performances," head of school Mac Hall and board of trustees president Maureen Donovan-Dobiesz wrote in a letter mailed to parents late last week.

The 2004 sale of William R. Hough and Co., a municipal bond firm, and Republic Bank, which Hough controlled, has enabled the couple to make substantial contributions to numerous arts and educational entities through personal gifts and the Hough Family Foundation.

Among other beneficiaries are the University of Florida, the Museum of Fine Arts, the Salvador Dali Museum, Eckerd College, the Tampa Bay Research Institute, St. Petersburg College and the Florida Orchestra.

Their latest gift is restricted to expansion at Canterbury's upper school on 62nd Avenue NE, which has Grades 5 through 12.

"We're very interested in the Canterbury School as long as it provides a more in-depth education for our kids," Bill Hough said. "They're doing that. The school has got a lot of advanced placement work, and as far as we can tell, they're doing a great job of motivating kids to do their best.

"They have the time to do that. They have small classes."

Since 2000, several major gifts have enabled the school to embark on an ambitious expansion of programs and services. A press release lists the Dollinger Center for the Arts, contributions from Kyle and Ann Krueger for technology, from Dr. Stephen and Betsy Updegraff for launching the marine science program, from the Phoenix Venture Philanthropy Foundation for construction of the marine sciences building and from the Hough Family Foundation for academic programs and staffing.

Mary Jane Park can be reached at or 727 893-8267.

[Last modified January 21, 2008, 22:11:19]

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