Florida Southern names 71st honorary chancellor
LAKELAND, Fla. (March 24, 2005) ~ Frances Mayes, widely published author, poet, and essayist, will be honored as the 71st honorary chancellor for Florida Southern College. The ceremonies take place during the college's Founders Day convocation in Branscomb Auditorium on April 1 at 10:10 a.m. Mayes will deliver the Founders Day address, appear at an invitation-only Founders Day luncheon, and guest lecture at a poetry class.
Mayes has written three best-selling books, including the number one New York Times best seller, "Under the Tuscan Sun." Her memoir of the beauty and quality of life in the Tuscan countryside and her efforts to restore an abandoned Italian villa remained on the best-seller list for over two years. Its sequels, "Bella Tuscany" and "In Tuscany," follow the continuing renovations and Mayes's growing appreciation for Italy.
"Ms. Mayes is an extraordinarily talented writer and a highly respected scholar," said FSC president, Dr. Anne B. Kerr. "Great writers open our minds to the world, and I am most honored to welcome her to Florida Southern."
Mayes grew up in Fitzgerald, Ga., and attended Randolph-Macon Woman's College, The University of Florida, and San Francisco State University. She received a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in 1988, and four of her essays were selected as "notable essays" by Robert Atwan, editor of Best American Essays. She has published five books of poetry, a college textbook, numerous autobiographical essays, and articles for food and wine publications. Her first novel, "Swan," was published in 2002.
A former professor of creative writing at San Francisco State University, Mayes now writes full time. She and her husband, poet Edward Mayes, divide their year between San Francisco and Cortona, Italy.
Florida Southern has awarded the title of Honorary Chancellor, the highest recognition the college bestows on an individual, since 1934. Among the recipients through the years have been such nationally recognized figures as Walter Cronkite, Bob Hope, Gerald Ford, Chris Wallace, Terry Waite, Robert James Waller, and Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. Local honorees have included Jack M. Berry, Charles H. Jenkins, Sr., Truman and Marie Miller, and J. Lanier Upshaw.
About Florida Southern College
Founded in 1885, Florida Southern College is a private, comprehensive, United Methodist college with a liberal arts core. The college maintains its commitment to academic excellence through 38 undergraduate majors and distinctive graduate programs in business administration, education, and nursing. Florida Southern has a 14:1 student/faculty ratio, provides strong student/faculty mentorship programs, boasts 24 NCAA Division II national championships, and is ranked by U. S. News and World Report as one of the top ten Southern Comprehensive Colleges-Bachelors. Located on scenic Lake Hollingsworth, Florida Southern is the home of the world's largest single-site collection of Frank Lloyd Wright architecture.