he said his dad told him. Following his Florida graduation,
Culverhouse told his dad he wanted to pursue a master’s at
New York University and then a law degree.
His dad responded. “‘If you get into NYU, I will pay your
tuition and board; however, you have to give five years to the
federal government as an attorney.’
“I took the deal,” Culverhouse said.
He earned his MBA from NYU in 1972 and then returned
to the University of Florida, where he earned his law degree
When he got out of law school, he held up his part
of the bargain, going to work for the Securities and
“I loved working for the government,” Culverhouse said. “It
didn’t pay (much), but I felt richer than Howard Hughes.”
Today, Culverhouse is CEO and owner of Palmer Ranch
Holdings, a planned community encompassing some 10,000
acres in Sarasota County, Florida. He is also the principal in
Culverhouse Limited Partnerships and invests in real estate,
securities and hedge funds.
Eliza Culverhouse founded SPRINGFEST, a Sarasota
community event that raises money for local charities, including
the Police Athletic League. Together the Culverhouses have
supported various charitable causes, including Kristi House,
a child advocacy center for victims of sexual abuse, and the
neonatal intensive care unit of Sarasota Memorial Hospital.
Eliza and Hugh have four children.
“It is something I am passionate about,” Culverhouse said
of Kristi House. “My wife helped form it 30 years ago.”
In later years, Hugh Culverhouse said their gifts took the
form of challenge grants in an attempt to bring in more money
for the cause.
“In the last year I informed them, ‘You now have all the
different cultures in Miami supporting you. You are a success.
You bring in over a million dollars at one function. You don’t
need me anymore. I have accomplished my goal.’”
Culverhouse credited his parents’ influence for multiple
facets of his personality.
“I got my aggressive, driven life from both my mom and dad.
They were not meek and mild. God help anybody who messed
“Kids are never going to learn how to do something, to have
it engrained in their souls, if their parents don’t show them.”
At points in his younger life, Culverhouse said he
remembered looking at his dad’s philanthropy and wondering
about the potential negative impact on himself.
Today, of course, he views things differently.
“Nothing has felt as good as this,” he said of helping
University of Alabama students.
“Any dollar you can give, you can have that same feeling.
It doesn’t have to be a certain amount to generate the feeling.
If you put a hundred bucks toward a scholarship, that’s $100
toward a kid who doesn’t have to take out a loan for that
Hugh Culverhouse Jr.