Leonard and Jayne Abess

Gift supporting interdisciplinary environmental studies at the University builds on naming gift for the Leonard and Jayne Abess Center for Ecosystem Science and Policy

Leonard and Jayne Abess are co-chairs of the Momentum2 campaign, spearheading the University’s industrious effort to reach the next level of academic excellence.

Appointed chair of the UM Board of Trustees last year, Leonard Abess is following in family footsteps that are deeply rooted at the University of Miami. His late father, Leonard L. Abess Sr., served as a UM trustee, as did his maternal grandfather, Arthur Ungar. Jayne is United Way of Miami-Dade board chair and has been actively involved in early childhood education advocacy both locally and nationally. They are the parents of three children, one of whom is continuing the family tradition as a proud ’Cane.

In the 25 years Leonard Abess served as CEO of City National Bank of Florida, he turned it into a multibillion-dollar franchise with 18 offices. Abess’s generosity and commitment to others was recognized by President Barack Obama in a 2009 televised address to Congress, where he lauded Abess’s decision to share proceeds from the sale of City National with his 471 current and former employees.

As devoted environmentalists, the Abesses in 2006 established an endowment that named the University’s Leonard and Jayne Abess Center for Ecosystem Science and Policy. They continue to support the center’s mission of finding innovative, interdisciplinary solutions to the world’s most complex environmental problems. Their recent contributions will help fund graduate stipends and Ph.D. fellowships, as well as an exploration science program that combines research, teaching, and outreach through exciting experiential education.

Member of Miami Giving Society


Leonard and Jayne Abess, dedicated supporters of environmental education at the University, are serving as co-chairs of the Momentum2 campaign.