Mr. Stuart M. Fullerton was the founder of UCFC, which is the fruit of his lifelong passion. As a graduate of UCF himself, Stuart had been studying and collecting insects since he was a teenager, with a particular fondness for parasitic Hymenoptera. He did not pursue advanced degrees in entomology, but his depth of knowledge in parasitic wasps and the Central Florida insect fauna is profound. In 1990, he retired and decided to spend the rest of his life studying insects. He did so by collecting insects all over the UCF campus and creating collections in his residence. In 1993, the Department of Biology began offering a course on general entomology, with Stuart and then-Chair of the Department, David Vickers, as instructors. At that time, he was provided with the Bug Closet to bring his insect specimens from his house to the University. The entomology course was offered for the next 10 years, during which Stuart continued to teach the lab section, but was unpaid for this work. This provided numerous opportunities to introduce undergraduate students to entomology and these students began working with Stuart to increase the size of the collection.
The entire operation of building UCFC had been largely self-funded by Stuart and he purchased cabinets, drawers, unit trays, pins, microscopes, computers, and other supplies, and even paid for student volunteers out of his pocket. In 1997, he created an endowed account known as the “Fullerton Family Fund” in memory of his family, which continued to generate some revenues to sustain his operation. It is estimated that Stuart has given over 1 million dollars in building UCFC.
On April 5, 2014, Stuart unexpectedly passed away apparently due to a heart attack. He was 74 years old. Stuart was an inspiration to so many lives. His kindness, generosity, mentorship, friendship, and passion will be sorely missed.
Here is a link to an obituary of Stuart Fullerton was published in Orlando Sentinel.