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Honorary Chancellors of Florida Southern College
and the Honorary Chancellor Medallion

Chancellor Medallion

Honorary Chancellors have been named for Florida Southern since 1934, but the Chancellor’s chain and medallion were not introduced until March 4, 1952. The chain and medallion are worn by the chancellor during ceremonial occasions while they are in office. The medallion was presented by Cyril Lord as a gift to the college during the Founders’ Week of 1952. The medallion was made by the R.G. Hennell Company located in London, England. The Hennell family are well-known silversmiths that have worked in England for centuries, and their work is in embassies, private collections, and museums around the world, including Buckingham Palace. The focal point of the chain is the seal of Florida Southern College, which is surrounded by a chain of seven stars connected by seven sets of links that form “FSC” monograms.

John S. Taylor

John S. Taylor

 (March 21, 1871 – August 15, 1936)

Honorary Chancellor of 1934
First Honorary Chancellor of Florida Southern College

 John Stansel Taylor started work in the Florida citrus industry at a young age on his family’s farm, and this experience inspired him to open one of the most successful citrus packing plants of its time in Largo, Florida. Aside from owning the packing plant, Taylor was involved in citrus by being the President of the Florida Citrus Exchange and a member of the Florida Citrus Commission; he was also inducted into the Florida Citrus Hall of Fame in 1964 and was the creator of the Black Diamond Brand.

JNO. S. Taylor's Black Diamond Citrus Crate Label

Taylor also involved himself in politics in many different ways. He served as the State Representative for Hillsborough County from 1905-1910 and is considered the “father of Pinellas County” because he strongly advocated for its creation while in office. He became President of the Florida Senate in 1925 and was a member of the Democratic National Committee where he advocated for the citrus industry until his death in 1936. From 1920-1922, he also served on Southern College's Board of Trustees when the College was in Pinellas County. Taylor later received an honorary Doctorate of Law from Florida Southern College in 1935.

Peter Tomasello Jr.

Peter Tomasello, Jr.

(January 6, 1900 – November 17, 1960)

Honorary Chancellor of 1935

Peter Tomasello, Jr. was a Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives. Within the House, Tomasello sat on the committees for finance and taxation, public roads and highways, and legislative expense among others. He was a popular politician and even made a run for governor before eventually pulling out of the race. Tomasello was also an active member of the Presbyterian Church and served for the American Expeditionary Forces in France during World War I.

Additional Sources:
“Columbus Day Plan Complete.” The Tampa Times (Tampa, Florida), October 5, 1933.
“Credit Where Credit is Due.” Pensacola News Journal (Pensacola, Florida), May 5, 1933.
“Tomasello Speaks Tonight.” The Tampa Times (Tampa, Florida), May 20, 1936.

Alfred H. Wagg

Alfred H. Wagg

(August 1, 1886 – July 1, 1937)

Honorary Chancellor of 1936

Alfred H. Wagg was a Florida State Senator and real estate developer in Palm Beach County. He was also the President of Southern Developers Inc. and a member of the city council. He spent his time as State Senator focusing on the infrastructure of the area, and he sat on committees related to public roads and highways as well as drainage. Wagg also was reported to have made million-dollar real estate deals on multiple occasions under his Alfred H. Wagg Corporation. He received an honorary Doctorate of Law from Florida Southern College in 1937.

Frank D. Jackson

Frank D. Jackson

(January 28, 1875 – September 7, 1947)

Honorary Chancellor of 1937

Frank D. Jackson was a prominent Tampa businessman and Florida Fair director. For many years, he was the President of the Jackson Grain Company. Jackson was also a popular community man, director of the Federal Reserve Bank in Jacksonville, a member of the United States Chamber of Commerce, and head of the local Rotary Club and other charitable and educational causes. He was the recipient of many awards and received the honor of being Tampa’s most outstanding citizen in 1946. Jackson was a member of the Florida Southern Board of Trustees from 1915 to 1921 and again from 1932 until his death in 1947. He later received an honorary Doctorate of Law from Florida Southern College in 1938. The Frank D. Jackson Building was also named in his honor in 1937.

Additional Source:
“Frank D. Jackson Number 1 Citizen.” Tampa Bay Times (Tampa, Florida), February 11, 1947.

Doyle E. Carlton

Doyle E. Carlton

(July 6, 1885 - October 25, 1972)

Honorary Chancellor of 1938

Doyle E. Carlton was a prominent politician and attorney in Florida for his entire career. He began practicing law in Tampa in 1912 and returned to this profession after his political career. Carlton was elected to the Florida Senate in 1916. He later served as Governor during one of the most devastating periods in Florida history from 1929-1933. During his time in office, the state’s land boom collapsed, one of the worst hurricanes ever hit the state, the Mediterranean fruit fly infestation occurred, and the nation suffered the Great Depression. He was not very popular because he had to cut jobs during the Depression to boost the economy. Carlton later received an honorary Doctorate of Humanities from Florida Southern College in 1939.

Additional Source:
Stone, Spessard. “Governor Doyle Elam Carlton.” Last modified February 4, 2008.

Ruel B. Gilbert

Ruel B. Gilbert

(January 5, 1875 – July 6, 1960)

Honorary Chancellor of 1939

Ruel B. Gilbert was known throughout his life as a very giving man. He donated millions from his fortune to various Methodist schools and churches around the country. Gilbert started his fortune in the Oklahoma oil business where he made over a million dollars from 1918-1929. He was also known as one of the originators of the J.C. Penney Company department store chain. He was also responsible for investing in the renovation of Florida Southern’s gymnasium, which was renamed for him in 1937, as well as providing money for dormitories. Gilbert also sat on the Board of Trustees for Florida Southern from 1944 until his death in 1960 and received an honorary Doctorate of Humanities from the College in 1940.

Additional Source:
“R.B. Gilbert, Philanthropist, Dies at 85.” Tampa Bay Times (Tampa, Florida), July 7, 1960.

Sir Wilfred Grenfell

Sir Wilfred Grenfell

(February 28, 1865 – October 9, 1940)

Honorary Chancellor of 1940

Sir Wilfred Grenfell was a world-renowned doctor and surgeon. He was responsible for many medical and health achievements and practices across England, the United States, and Canada. He was also a passionate Christian missionary in the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador.

For more information about Sir Wilfred Grenfell, please click here.

J.H. Therrell

J.H. Therrell

(June 22, 1880 – October 7, 1950)

Honorary Chancellor of 1941

John Henry Therrell was an important figure in the Ocala area for many years. He went on to become the Superintendent of the Florida State Hospital. He was also involved in Florida state politics and was in the state’s Chamber of Commerce, as well as being the President of Orlando’s Commercial Bank and Trust Company. Therrell was greatly involved in the Methodist Church and its place at Florida Southern College. He served as both the secretary and dean of the College and was also responsible for organizing the first summer school for preachers at Florida Southern College and the Florida Annual Conference of Preachers. He received an honorary Doctorate of Law from Florida Southern College in 1941.

Additional Source:
“Dr. J.H. Therrell to Deliver Sermon to College Class.” Tallahassee Democrat (Tallahassee, Florida), August 18, 1941.

Robert A. Gray

Robert A. Gray

(August 2, 1882 – March 13, 1975)

Honorary Chancellor of 1942

Robert Andrew Gray served as Florida’s Secretary of State from 1930-1961, only stopping then because a doctor advised him to. He was a well-respected man in the world of politics and started out in the state legislature before taking the second highest position in the state. He was raised by a Methodist preacher and stayed involved in the church throughout his life. The building that holds the Museum of Florida History as well as the State Library and Archives in Tallahassee was named in his honor.

T.T. Scott

T.T. Scott

(May 27, 1887 – April 26, 1980)

Honorary Chancellor of 1943

Thurber Talmadge Scott was a prominent man in the lumber business across Florida and especially in Osceola County. He was also a President of the Pan American bank in Miami for many years and owned the building in which it was placed. Scott received an honorary Doctorate of Law in 1944 and later served on the College's Board of Trustees from 1945 until 1945.

Additional Sources:
“Florida’s Lack of Medical School Blamed on Politics by T.T. Scott.” The Miami News (Miami, Florida), August 7, 1946.
Musgrove, Eric. “Remembering Suwannee: Scott Made Impact on Timber, Tobacco.” Suwannee Democrat. June 18, 2018.
“Shooting Fatal to Lumberman.” The Orlando Sentinel (Orlando, Florida), March 21, 1930. 

John Z. Fletcher

John Z. Fletcher

(May 10, 1897 – April 5, 1960)

Honorary Chancellor of 1944

John Z. Fletcher owned and operated a successful building materials and real estate firm in Orlando in the 1920s. He was also a prominent player in the motor vehicle industry and owned a few dealerships in the area. Fletcher received an honorary Doctorate of Law from the College in 1945. He later served on the Board of Trustees from 1957 until his death in 1960.

Additional Source:
“John Z. Fletcher Dies at 63.” Orlando Evening Star (Orlando, Florida), April 6, 1960.

H.E. Wolfe

Herbert E. Wolfe

(November 3, 1897 – March 3, 1981)

Honorary Chancellor of 1945

Herbert Edward Wolfe was a prominent American businessman, banker, philanthropist, and farmer in the state of Florida. He was active in St. Augustine politics for many years and served on the city commission as well as serving as the Mayor. Wolfe’s businesses were centered around the construction and contracting industries. He was also a member of the First United Methodist Church. Wolfe received an honorary Doctorate of Law from the College in 1946. He was later a member of the Board of Trustees from 1950 until his death in 1980 and served as the Board's Chairman from 1954 to 1969. In 1961, the cafeteria was renamed the Herbert E. Wolfe building in his honor.

Additional Source:
"St. Augustine, Fla, Wolfe, Herbert Edward." The Tennessean (Nashville, Tennessee), March 3, 1981.

Garland Dee Runnels

Garland Dee Runnels

(April 23, 1890 – January 5, 1957)

Honorary Chancellor of 1946

Garland Dee Runnels was a prominent businessman out of New York City and Seattle. He was the President of Dermetics Inc., and his skin care tips and products were respected and popular. After being Chancellor of Florida Southern College, Runnels gave lectures on skin management in the home economics department and received an honorary Doctorate of Law degree from the College in 1947.

Additional Sources:
“Lectures to be Given on Skin Management.” The Tampa Tribune (Tampa, Florida), February 2, 1947.
“Skin Care Expert is Visitor to the Beaches.” Tampa Bay Times (St. Petersburg, Florida), January 25, 1948.
“Southern Gives 5 Honor Degrees at Graduation.” The Tampa Tribune (Tampa, Florida), May 22, 1947.

L.A. Raulerson

L.A. Raulerson

(September 8, 1881 – February 1967)

Honorary Chancellor of 1947

Lewis Audubon Raulerson was the Jacksonville President of the National Convoy & Trucking Co. He worked in that industry for much of his life and directed much of it within Florida. Raulerson donated money to the College to have the three seminar building complex completed in 1941 named for him. He received an honorary Doctorate of Law from the College in 1948.

Additional Source:
“About Town.” Tallahassee Democrat (Tallahassee, Florida), September 22, 1933.

J.A. Guyton

J.A. Guyton

(March 8, 1894 – September 20, 1971)

Honorary Chancellor of 1948

John Avery Guyton was a commissioner for the Florida Inland Navigation District and co-founder of the Belcher Oil Company. He was a longtime business and civic leader based out of Miami. The Belcher Oil Company proved to be successful during and after World War II. He received an honorary Doctorate of Law from the College in 1949.

Additional Sources:
“John A. Guyton, Business Leader, Dies in Miami.” Tampa Bay Times (St. Petersburg, Florida), September 22, 1971.
“Miami Leaders Back Plan to Obtain Post-War Industries.” The Miami News (Miami, Florida), December 6, 1942.
“My Final Message Before We Vote Tomorrow.” The Miami News (Miami, Florida), May 2,1927.

F.W. Coffing

F.W. Coffing

(June 13, 1891 – February 27, 1964)

Honorary Chancellor of 1949

Frederick W. Coffing was a prominent inventor and businessman. He was the founder and owner of the Coffing Hoist Company, which operated out of Danville, Illinois. Coffing also held over ninety patents for hoist machinery. He was also a member of the Coral Gables Country Club and the Elks. He received an honorary Doctorate of Law from the College in 1950.

Additional Source:
“Greater Miami Deaths.” The Miami News (Miami, Florida), February 28, 1964.

Dr. Daniel J. McCarthy

Dr. Daniel J. McCarthy

(1874 – 1958)

Honorary Chancellor of 1950

Dr. Daniel J. McCarthy donated much of his life to running the Society of the Four Arts. He paid special attention to the advancement of art in the area through education and exhibition. Dr. McCarthy also served as the Chairman of St. Mary’s Hospital Board on multiple occasions. He received an honorary Doctorate of Law from the College in 1951.

Additional Sources:
“Four Arts Program of Special Events.” The Palm Beach Post (West Palm Beach, Florida), January 11, 1948.
“St. Mary’s Board Again is Headed by Dr. McCarthy.” The Palm Beach Post (West Palm Beach, Florida), April 8, 1948.

Michael M. Engel

Michael M. Engel

(1896 – 1969)

Honorary Chancellor of 1951

Michael M. Engel was a top painter and art critic based out of New York City. He founded the Audubon Artists Inc. that handled many famous artists. Engel was responsible for arranging eleven prominent works of art to be given to Florida Southern College’s permanent collection. He received an honorary Doctorate of Law from the College in 1952.

Additional Sources:
“Artists Contribute Works to Collection at Southern College.” The Tampa Tribune (Tampa, Florida), March 6, 1950.
“Southern Picks New Honorary Chancellor.” The Tampa Tribune (Tampa, Florida), March 10, 1951.
“Ten Greatest.” The Tampa Tribune (Tampa, Florida), December 9, 1951.

Cyril Lord

Cyril Lord

(July 12, 1911 – May 29, 1984)

Honorary Chancellor of 1952

Cyril Lord was a British entrepreneur in the textile industry. He built an empire of affordable luxury carpets and provided thousands of jobs when they were needed most in the years after World War II. He ran his business out of Northern Ireland, and it was a necessity to the area at the time. He received an honorary Doctorate of Law from the College in 1952.

To view footage of one of Cyril Lord’s visits to Florida Southern courtesy of British Pathé, please click here.

Additional Source:
“Cyril Lord: Rise and Fall of the Carpet King.” BBC News. February 03, 2019.

Joseph R. Fazzano

Joseph R. Fazzano

(1912 – January 2, 2004)

Honorary Chancellor of 1953

Joseph R. Fazzano was a manufacturing executive from Providence, Rhode Island. He served as President of the Florida Southern Commission in 1952 and received an honorary Doctorate of Law from the College in 1954.

Additional Sources:
“Florida Southern Founders’ Week Notes 67th Anniversary.” The Tampa Tribune (Tampa, Florida), March 2, 1952.
“FSC Confers Honorary Degrees on 5.” The Tampa Tribune (Tampa, Florida), March 6, 1954.

Frank L. Roper

Frank L. Roper

(February 21, 1892 – March 6, 1976)

Honorary Chancellor of 1954

Frank Lechter Roper was a prominent Florida Citrus man who was later posthumously inducted into the Florida Citrus Hall of Fame in 1992. He joined his brothers in running the Roper Brother Inc. after serving in the U.S. Navy in World War I. Their company struggled during the Great Depression due to the Mediterranean fly infestation, but he was able to build the company back up again by selling large quantities of fruit during World War II. He was also a road builder and developer who sold building supplies to Walt Disney for the construction of his amusement park. Roper was also a contributor to the Citrus Institute at Florida Southern College. He received an honorary Doctorate of Law from the College in 1955.

Hyman Jordan Sobiloff

Hyman Jordan Sobiloff

(December 16, 1912 – August 10, 1970)

Honorary Chancellor of 1955

Hyman “Hy” Jordan Sobiloff was a filmmaker, industrialist, philanthropist, and poet. He was also the founder of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in New York City. Sobiloff gained fame from his poetry, but he was also nominated for an Academy Award for the short film Montauk. He received an honorary Doctorate of Law from the College in 1956. The year after, Sobiloff returned to give the Spring Commencement address for the College.

Additional Sources:
“Living in the Heartland Area.” The Tampa Tribune (Tampa, Florida), February 12, 1974.
“Sobiloff, Hy(man Jordan) 1912-1970.” Contemporary Authors. 2009.
“Sobiloff to Address Southern Graduates.” The Miami News (Miami, Florida) May 28, 1957.

George W. Jenkins Jr.

George W. Jenkins, Jr.

(September 29, 1907 – April 8, 1996)

Honorary Chancellor of 1956

George W. Jenkins, Jr. opened the empire that would become Publix in 1930 and is credited with opening the first true supermarket in the state of Florida. His supermarket empire continuously grew throughout his lifetime and continues to grow today, and Publix has become a staple in the Lakeland community not just as a grocery store, but also as a prominent giver to the community. Jenkins started a charity foundation to give back to Publix communities that was operated by his daughter Carol Jenkins Barnett. Through this foundation, Jenkins gave money to better many aspects of Florida Southern’s campus including building a new field house for the athletic programs, which opened in 1965. Mr. George’s Green would later be named in his honor by his daughter Carol Jenkins Barnett. Jenkins was also known around campus to be one of the top Moccasin athletic boosters for many years. He received an honorary Doctorate of Law from the College in 1957.

Ben Hill Griffin Jr.

Ben Hill Griffin, Jr.

(October 20, 1910 – March 1, 1990)

Honorary Chancellor of 1957

Ben Hill Griffin Jr. was a prominent American businessman, citrus producer, politician, and philanthropist. He served in the Florida legislature for twelve years in both the House and Senate and served as a conservative Democrat. Griffin donated millions to education in Florida, especially to his alma mater, the University of Florida. He owned multiple companies and was listed on Forbes list of the 400 richest Americans at the time of his death. Griffin received an honorary Doctorate of Law from the College in 1958. He was later inducted into the Florida Citrus Hall of Fame in 1979.

Harry Silett

Harry Silett

(Unknown – January 2, 1966)

Honorary Chancellor of 1958

Harry Silett was a certified public accountant in New York and Florida. He was the Chapter President of the local branch of the Florida Institute of Certified Public Accountants and won many awards from that position including being named Boss of the Year by the National Secretaries Association in 1961. After serving as Florida Southern’s chancellor in 1958, he received an honorary Doctorate of Law from the College in 1959.

Additional Sources:
“Bryant Will Get Degree.” The Tampa Tribune (Tampa, Florida), February 6, 1961.
“Edson Named.” The Palm Beach Post (West Palm Beach, Florida), September 20, 1957.
“Miss Evelyn Thomas Engaged to Harry Silett of New York.” The Palm Beach Post (West Palm Beach, Florida), December 19, 1948.
“NSA Names 1961 Secretary, Boss of the Year.” The Palm Beach Post (West Palm Beach, Florida), April 27, 1961.

Rosamond ChadwickRosamond Chadwick

(September 5, 1885 – October 1963)

Honorary Chancellor of 1960

Rosamond Chadwick was a nationally known opera singer. She was admiringly known as “Queen of the Islands” in Florida due to her popular status in Sanibel and the surrounding areas. Chadwick became one of the wealthiest women in America due to her late husband being the inventor of a protective paper for checks that keeps them from being altered. Her fortune led her to own a lot of real estate in Florida including a thousand-acre coconut and lime grove in Sanibel. She was also a philanthropist who gave thousands of her fortune to hospitals and the education of medical workers.

Additional Sources:
“Island Queen Comes Home.” The Tampa Tribune (Tampa, Florida), September 25, 1960.
“Mrs. Chadwick Gives $50,000 for Loan Fund.” News-Press (Fort Myers, Florida), December 4, 1960.

Stanley S. KresgeStanley S. Kresge

(June 11, 1900 – June 30, 1985)

Honorary Chancellor of 1961

Stanley Sebastian Kresge was son of Sebastian Spering Kresge, founder of the S.S. Kresge Company, which was later known as the K-Mart Corporation. Stanley Kresge served as the Chairman of the Board of the company after his father’s death and as a Trustee of the Kresge Foundation for 54 years. Born and raised in Michigan, Kresge was also an active member of the Methodist Church and received an honorary Doctorate of Law from Florida Southern College in 1961.

Additional Source:
“Stanley Sebastian Kresge, 85, Retailer and Philanthropist.” The New York Times (New York City, New York), July 3, 1985.

Sam M. FlemingSam M. Fleming

(1908 – 2008)

Honorary Chancellor of 1962

Samuel M. Fleming Jr. was an American banker, chief executive, and philanthropist. He completed most of his financial work in Nashville, Tennessee, but also worked in Palm Beach. He is responsible for funding the YUM! brand and country music labels like Castle Recording. He graduated from Vanderbilt University and sat on the Board of Trustees there for many years. In the year of his chancellorship at Florida Southern College, Fleming received an honorary Doctorate of Law.

Charles C. Parlin

Charles C. Parlin

(July 22, 1898 – November 15, 1981)

Honorary Chancellor of 1963

Charles C. Parlin was best known as a successful New York City attorney and active member of the Methodist Church. He was a senior partner in a law firm that represented the United States in international court cases. Parlin also served as President of the World Council of Churches, being the first American to hold the position, as well as President of the World Methodist Council. In his speech as Honorary Chancellor, he spoke to students about the freedom to weigh the information Americans receive as compared to Russians, and he was given an honorary Doctorate of Law from the College.

Additional Sources:
“Charles C. Parlin, Led a Church Unit.” The New York Times (New York City, New York), November 16, 1981.
“FSC Students Told to Weigh Advice Carefully.” The Tampa Tribune (Tampa, Florida), March 23, 1963.

Milburn P. AkersMilburn P. Akers

(May 4, 1900 – May 27, 1970)

Honorary Chancellor of 1964

Milburn P. Akers, better known as Pete Akers, was a Chicago journalist and President of Shimer College. He worked on many Chicago-based publications, but ultimately became the Executive Editor and then Editor of the Chicago Sun-Times. Akers was also the former Director of the American Society of Newspaper Editors. He was an active member of the Methodist Church and was the son of a Methodist minister. He received an honorary Doctorate of Law from the College in 1964.

Additional Source:
“Milburn P. Akers, Ex-Chicago Editor.” The New York Times (New York City, New York), May 28, 1970.

Marjorie McKinley Van AntwerpMarjorie McKinley Van Antwerp

(1911 – November 29, 1990)

Honorary Chancellor of 1965

Marjorie M. McKinley Van Antwerp was a prominent donor to Florida Southern College for many years. She and her first husband, Kent S. McKinley, made their fortune being publishers in Buffalo with their ownership of the local newspaper and TV stations. After Buffalo, she and her husband moved to Sarasota and became involved with Florida Southern. She was the principal donor for the $75,000 music building that is named in her honor. She also named the college the beneficiary of a million-dollar life insurance policy and later served on the Board of Trustees from 1969 until her death in 1990. She received an honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts from the College in 1965.

Additional Sources:
“College Made Beneficiary of $1 million Insurance.” The Tampa Tribune (Tampa, Florida), March 14, 1964.
“Lakeland College Honors Sarasotan.” The Tampa Tribune (Tampa, Florida), February 27, 1965.
“Marjorie Van Antwerp Dies; Ex-News Executive.“ Buffalo News (Buffalo, New York), November 30, 1990.

Loca Lee BucknerLoca Lee Buckner

(1903 – October 27, 1965)

Honorary Chancellor of 1966

Loca Lee Buckner was known as a modest sportswoman who never wanted much recognition for her philanthropy. She inherited her husband’s fortune by becoming the President of the Miami Coca Cola Bottling Co. after his death. Buckner gave $7 million to Florida Southern College, and in turn, the Loca Lee Buckner Theatre was named in her honor and the Thaddeus T. Buckner Building was named after her husband. She was a Trustee of Florida Southern College from 1951 until her death in 1965 and was also an active member of the Methodist Church. Buckner was so important to the livelihood of the College that she was still named as Chancellor after her death.

Additional Source:
 “Grant Made by Modest Sportswoman.” The Orlando Sentinel (Orlando, Florida), November 8, 1965.

John W. DonahooJohn W. Donahoo

(December 6, 1907 – July 3, 1993)

Honorary Chancellor of 1967

John W. Donahoo was a prominent Jacksonville attorney who specialized in federal income and estate tax law. He was also the attorney for Loca Lee Buckner. Donahoo also has a scholarship in his name to assist students attending law school at the University of Florida. He started the Mitchell & Donahoo law firm that is now Donahoo & McMenamy. He received an honorary Doctorate of Law from Florida Southern College in 1967.

Additional Sources:
“College Names 31st Honorary Chancellor.” Tampa Bay Times (St. Petersburg, Florida), February 28, 1967.
“State School Bequeathed $7 million.” Pensacola News Journal (Pensacola, Florida), November 7, 1965.
“Tax Expert is on Industry Panel Friday.” The Tampa Tribune (Tampa, Florida), October 28, 1953.

Wendell PhillipsWendell Phillips

(September 25, 1921 – December 4, 1975)

Honorary Chancellor of 1968

Wendell Phillips was a multimillionaire oil company owner, archaeologist, and explorer. He conducted the first excavations of the ancient city of Sohar, which is believed to be the birthplace of Sinbad the Sailor. His other archaeological expeditions led him across the Middle East where he became close with the Sultan of Oman. Phillips was named an honorary sheik of Oman and an economic advisor to the Sultan. He also founded a successful oil company based out of the area. He received an honorary Doctorate of Business Administration from the College in 1968.

Additional Sources:
“Lakeland College to Honor Phillips.” The Miami News (Miami, Florida), October 1, 1968.
“Wendell Phillips, founded Oil Firm.” Tampa Bay Times (St. Petersburg, Florida), December 6, 1975.

Andy GriffithAndy Griffith

(June 1, 1926 – July 3, 2012)

Honorary Chancellor of 1969

Andy Griffith was a famous American actor, comedian, and television producer best known for starring in The Andy Griffith Show. While in Lakeland for Founder’s Week at Florida Southern College, he was made honorary Chief of Police by the Lakeland Mayor who told him that his first job would be to fix the parking problem at Florida Southern. Griffith also received an honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts from the College in 1969.

For more information about Andy Griffith, please click here.

Additional Source:
“Andy Griffith Talk: Humor and Advice.” The Tampa Tribune (Tampa, Florida), February 15, 1969.

Lord CaradonLord Caradon

(October 8, 1907 – September 5, 1990)

Honorary Chancellor of 1970

Lord Caradon, also known as Hugh Mackintosh Foot, was a prominent British politician and serviceman. He graduated from Cambridge University with a degree in history and law and went on to serve time in the colonial service. During his service, he successfully brought the rival Greek and Turkish leaders together, and he was knighted by King George VI upon leaving the service in 1951. Lord Caradon also had a successful career as Britain’s representative to the United Nations where he served on many councils to solve problems with international relations. He also received an honorary Doctorate of Laws from the College in 1970.

Additional Source:
“Lord Caradon, Britain's Delegate to U.N. in 1960's, is Dead at 82.” The New York Times (New York City, New York), September 7, 1990.

Mary Duke SemansMary Duke Semans

(February 21, 1920 – January 25, 2012)

Honorary Chancellor of 1971

Mary Duke Semans was the granddaughter and great granddaughter of the two men who started Duke University. She was an active member in local politics after graduating from Duke and advocated strongly for the progression of civil rights in Durham, North Carolina. She was also known widely as a philanthropist for her donations and work in the arts for the state of North Carolina. She received an honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts from Florida Southern College in 1971.

Dr. Harry J. HeebDr. Harry J. Heeb

(September 29, 1882 – August 13, 1976)

Honorary Chancellor of 1972

Dr. Harry J. Heeb graduated from Marquette University Medical School and served as faculty there for many years. Before his retirement, Dr. Heeb worked as an eye-ear-nose-throat specialist in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin area. He was a long-time benefactor to Florida Southern and was a top donor for the construction of the Spivey Humanities and Fine Arts Center, which has a building named for him and his wife. He also received an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from the College in 1972.

Additional Sources:
 “Dr. Harry J. Heeb Foundation.” Truist Financial Corporation. 2023.
“Honorary Chancellor is Selected at FSC.” The Tampa Tribune (Tampa, Florida), February 9, 1972.

Charles C. EdwardsCharles C. Edwards

(September 16, 1923 – August 7, 2011)

Honorary Chancellor of 1973

Charles C. Edwards was the Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration in Washington D.C. When he spoke at Florida Southern College for Founder’s Week, he said that one of the chief aims of his FDA was to work for more truthfulness in labeling of products for consumers. Edwards was also presented with an honorary Doctorate of Law during his time at the College. He later served as the United States Assistant Secretary of Health during the 1970s.

Additional Source:
“Truth in Food Labels Said One of Chiefs Aims of FDA.” The Tampa Tribune (Tampa, Florida), February 24, 1973.

George W. EnglishGeorge W. English

(February 19, 1898 – January 28, 1993)

Honorary Chancellor of 1974

George W. English was an accomplished attorney based out of the English, McCaughan & O’Bryan firm in Ft. Lauderdale. He served on the Board of Control of Florida Institutions of Higher Education and as the State Director of Miami’s Orange Bowl Committee. He was selected as chancellor for his dedicated service to public and private education in the state of Florida. He received an honorary Doctorate of Law from the College in 1974.

Additional Source:
“FSC Trustees Select Honorary Chancellor.” The Tampa Tribune (Tampa, Florida), February 8, 1974.

Bob HopeBob Hope

(May 29, 1903 – July 27, 2003)

Honorary Chancellor of 1975

Bob Hope was a famous actor, singer, dancer, and comedian. He starred in more than 70 films with him being the lead actor of 54 of those films. He dedicated much of time in his career to performing for the USO and was declared an honorary veteran by Congress. Hope also owned a stake in the Cleveland Indians. He also received an honorary Doctorate of Humanities from the College in 1975.

For more information on Bob Hope, please click here.

Ruth Springer WedgworthRuth Springer Wedgworth

(May 10, 1903 – December 9, 1995)

Honorary Chancellor of 1976

Ruth Springer Wedgworth was a successful farmer in the Belle Glade area. She focused on growing celery, sugar cane, and other produce. She was also a key organizer for the Florida Celery Exchange and a member of the Sugar Cane Growers Cooperative of Florida. She won many awards for her agricultural success including being named Woman of the Year in Florida Agriculture and being inducted into the Florida Agriculture Hall of Fame. Wedgworth also served on the College's Board of Trustees from 1966 until her death in 1995. She received an honorary Doctorate of Humanities from the College in 1976.

Cushman S. RadebaughCushman S. Radebaugh

(August 3, 1903 – August 1979)

Honorary Chancellor of 1977

Cushman S. Radebaugh was an attorney and cattle rancher. He graduated with his law degree from Vanderbilt University, and while he had a successful career as an attorney, he was more successful as a cattleman. Radebaugh served as President of the Orange County and Florida Cattlemen’s Associations, as well as the President of the American National Cattlemen’s Association. He was also a member of the First United Methodist Church and was involved with Florida Southern College through the Board of Trustees (1966 - 1979) as well as the President’s Council. Radebaugh received an honorary Doctorate of Law from the College in 1977.

Additional Sources:
“Rancher Gets Honorary Florida Southern Post.” The Orlando Sentinel (Orlando, Florida), February 4, 1977.
“Tribute Paid to Wright: Rancher Honored at FSC.” The Orlando Sentinel (Orlando, Florida), February 17, 1977.

Dr. Earl J. McGrathDr. Earl J. McGrath

(1902 – January 14, 1993)

Honorary Chancellor of 1978

Dr. Earl J. McGrath was a pioneer in higher education. He served as the Commissioner of Education under two presidents until he resigned in protest of federal cuts to education funding. He also pushed for major changes in liberal arts colleges in his position at the Columbia Teachers College in New York including the adoption of year-round college programs. Dr. McGrath also served as a Lieutenant Commander in the Navy during World War II. He received an honorary Doctorate of Law from the College in 1978.

Additional Source:
“Earl J. McGrath, Education Chief Under 2 Presidents, Dies at 90.” The New York Times (New York City, New York), February 5, 1993.

Walter CronkiteWalter Cronkite

(November 4, 1916 – July 17, 2009)

Honorary Chancellor of 1979

Walter Cronkite served as an anchorman for CBS Evening News for nineteen years. He was often known as “the most trusted man in America” and reported on some of the biggest news stories including the Nuremberg Trials, Watergate, and the Iran Hostage Crisis. Cronkite always ended his programs by saying “and that’s the way it is.” During his convocation speech, Cronkite told the students of Florida Southern College that threats to the freedom of the press affect all people. He received an honorary Doctorate of Humanities from the College in 1979 and took part in the groundbreaking ceremony for the William S. Chatlos Journalism Building.

To read more about his career and personal life, please click here.

Additional Source:
“Cronkite: Threats to the Press Affect Everyone.” The Tampa Tribune (Tampa, Florida), March 4, 1979.

Edna Pearce LockettEdna Pearce Lockett

(October 19, 1908 – May 17, 1991)

Honorary Chancellor of 1980

Edna Pearce Lockett graduated from Florida Southern College in 1934, and in 1945, she received the Service to Mankind Honor Award. After graduating, Lockett served in the Florida House of Representatives representing Highlands County as a Democrat. During her time in office, she helped pass a law that allowed women to serve on juries and worked on other laws furthering women’s rights in the state of Florida. Lockett was also a Trustee of Florida Southern College from 1974 until her death in 1991 as well as a successful cattle rancher. In 1984, Lockett donated money to construct the Pearce Centennial Tower, which was dedicated in 1985 to her parents Mellie and William Pearce.

Additional Sources:
“FSC Honors Trustee During Convocation.” The Tampa Tribune (Tampa, Florida). February 16, 1980.
 Stone, Spessard. “Edna Mae Pearce Lockett.” Edna Pearce Lockett. March 17, 2004.

Jerome HinesJerome Hines

(November 8, 1921 – February 4, 2003)

Honorary Chancellor of 1981

Jerome Hines was a well-known opera singer that performed for the Metropolitan Opera for many years. Despite getting his degree in mathematics, Hines took voice lessons and fell in love with opera. After his successful career with the Met, he founded the Opera-Music Theatre Institute of New Jersey, so he could coach the new stars of opera. Hines was also a devout Christian that even composed an opera on the life of Jesus titled I am the Way. He received an honorary Doctorate of Music from Florida Southern College in 1980.

Arnold PalmerArnold Palmer

(September 10, 1929 – September 25, 2016)

Honorary Chancellor of 1982

Arnold Palmer was one of the most successful professional golfers of all time. His career lasted for more than six decades, he held more sixty-two PGA Tour Titles, and he is ranked fifth on the list of the winningest tour participants. Palmer was one of the original inductees into the World Golf Hall of Fame and was the recipient of the PGA Tour Lifetime Achievement Award in 1998. He was nicknamed “The King” due to his success and charisma throughout and after his career. He received an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Florida Southern College in 1982.

For more information about Arnold Palmer’s personal life and career, please click here.

E. Cardon WalkerE. Cardon Walker

(January 9, 1916 – November 28, 2005)

Honorary Chancellor of 1983

Esmond Cardon Walker, more commonly known as Card Walker, was a top Walt Disney Productions executive through the 1960s until the 1980s. He began his career in the mailroom for Disney, but quickly climbed the ranks before having to leave the company to serve in the United States Navy during World War II. He resumed his career with the company after the war and became Executive Vice President after Walt Disney’s death and Company President after the death of Disney’s brother a few years later. Walker eventually became the CEO and Chairman of the company before his retirement. He is responsible for much of the company’s success including the pioneering expansion of Disney internationally. Walker received an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Florida Southern College in 1983.

President Gerald R. FordPresident Gerald R. Ford

(July 14, 1913 – December 26, 2006)

Honorary Chancellor of 1984

Gerald R. Ford first served as Vice President under Richard Nixon from December 1973 to August 1974 after Spiro Agnew resigned from the position. After Nixon’s resignation, Ford became the 38th President in August 1974 and remained in office until January 1977. He is the only person to have not been elected to either position. He received an honorary Doctorate of Law from Florida Southern College in 1984.

For more information on his life, please click here.

Terrel H. BellTerrel H. Bell

(November 11, 1921 – June 22, 1996)

Honorary Chancellor of 1985

Terrel H. Bell dedicated his career to advancing education on all levels. After graduating from college, he worked as a high school teacher, superintendent, and college professor before becoming the Commissioner of Education. When the position of Secretary of Education was created for the President’s Cabinet, he served as the second person ever to hold that position under the Reagan Administration. After his time as Secretary, Bell returned to the University of Utah as a professor. The Department of Education has named an award for outstanding school leaders after him. He received an honorary Doctorate of Law from Florida Southern College in 1985.

Thomas S. MonaghanThomas S. Monaghan

(March 25, 1937 – )

Honorary Chancellor of 1986

Thomas S. Monaghan founded Domino’s Pizza in 1960. He also owned the Detroit Tigers for almost a decade during the 1980s and 1990s. He grew his company to the success it has today before retiring after thirty-eight years to focus on his Roman Catholic faith. Monaghan founded Ave Maria College and the foundation for it around a strong dedication to Catholicism. He also founded the city of Ave Maria, Florida and attempted to keep the town’s retailers from selling anything that would go against the Catholic faith. Monaghan is an admirer of Frank Lloyd Wright and modeled the architecture of the Domino’s headquarters after some of his designs. He received an honorary Doctorate of Law from Florida Southern College in 1986.

Terence H. WaiteTerence H. Waite

(May 31, 1939 – )

Honorary Chancellor of 1987

Terence H. Waite, also known as Terry Waite, was an assistant to the Archbishop of Canterbury in the 1980s. Waite was announced as Florida Southern College’s Honorary Chancellor shortly before his disappearance in Lebanon. He was in the country as an envoy for the Church of England attempting to negotiate the release of four hostages. While in Lebanon, Waite was kidnapped and held captive from 1987-1991. His closest American friend, Rev. Canon Samir Jamil Habiby, accepted his chancellorship on his behalf as well an honorary Doctorate of International Law in 1987. After his release, Waite later visited Florida Southern College in 1992.

Additional Source:
“Waite Weighs on FSC Minds.” The Tampa Tribune (Tampa, Florida) February 19, 1987.

Jack M. Berry, Sr.Jack M. Berry, Sr.

(October 24, 1916 – November 21, 1997)

Honorary Chancellor of 1988

Jack M. Berry, Sr. was a successful citrus businessman and founder of Jack M. Berry, Inc. He is credited with successfully bringing citrus into the South Florida region after the freezes destroyed thousands of crops. Berry also provided much needed hurricane relief after the devastation of Hurricane Andrew and received an award for environmental protection. He was inducted into the Florida Agriculture Hall of Fame in 2000. In 1988, he received an honorary Doctorate of Law from Florida Southern College and the Jack M. Berry Citrus Building was dedicated to him. He later served on the Board of Trustees from 1990 until his death in 1997.

Robert Lawson ShawRobert Lawson Shaw

(April 30, 1916 – January 25, 1999)

Honorary Chancellor of 1989

Robert Lawson Shaw was a famous American conductor best known for the Robert Shaw Chorale. He completed his work mostly in the cities of Cleveland and Atlanta, but he was known across the country for his high standards and support of racial integration in choruses. Shaw was the recipient of 14 Grammy Awards and was a 1991 recipient of the Kennedy Center Honors. He received an honorary Doctorate of Sacred Music from Florida Southern College in 1989.

Charles Howard Jenkins, Sr.Charles Howard Jenkins, Sr.

(February 8, 1915 – June 14, 2005)

Honorary Chancellor of 1990

After serving in the US Army Air Corps, Charles Howard Jenkins Sr. began working at Publix, which had been created by his brother George Jenkins. He started as a stock clerk in 1946 and slowly worked his way up to the position of President in 1972. The year after, he became Chairman of the Board, a position he held until 1985. He would remain on the Board of Directors until 1996. Jenkins was also a longtime trustee at Florida Southern College (1968-2005) and received an honorary Doctorate of Law in 1988. In 1982, the Charles Jenkins, Sr. Residence Hall was named in his honor.

Additional Source:
“Charles Jenkins Sr., One-Time Publix President, Dies at 90.” The Ledger (Lakeland, Florida), June 15, 2005.

Ernest L. BoyerErnest L. Boyer

(September 13, 1928 – December 8, 1995)

Honorary Chancellor of 1991

Ernest L. Boyer dedicated his life to bettering the educational system in the United States. He served as Chancellor to the State University of New York and U.S. Commissioner of Education. From those positions, he worked towards education reform and making effective changes in teaching methodology. He has been given numerous awards for his work including 140 honorary doctorates and has written many well-known scholarly publications. He received an honorary Doctorate of Law from Florida Southern College in 1991.

Sir John Marks TempletonSir John Marks Templeton

(November 29, 1912 – July 8, 2008)

Honorary Chancellor of 1992

Sir John Marks Templeton was a successful American-born British investor, banker, fund manager, and philanthropist. He made his fortune buying and trading stocks in the post-World War II era and was known for never letting the stress of the business and wealth negatively affect him. He created the Templeton Growth Fund to pioneer globally diversified mutual funds and was one of the first to trade stocks in Japan. Templeton also established the Templeton College of the University of Oxford as well as the John Templeton Foundation. He received an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Florida Southern College in 1992.

Lynne V. CheneyLynne V. Cheney

(August 14, 1941 – )

Honorary Chancellor of 1993

Lynne V. Cheney is the wife of George W. Bush’s Vice-President, Dick Cheney, and served as the Second Lady of the United States from 2001-2009. She serves as a senior fellow in education and culture for the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research and has been active in the Republican Party for many years. As Second Lady, she criticized pop culture for sharing music and games that were too sexually explicit. Cheney is also the author of several books on a variety of topics, but mainly focuses on the importance of American History. She received an honorary Doctorate of Liberal Arts from Florida Southern College in 1993.

Truman and Marie MillerTruman and Marie Miller

(Truman Miller: December 3, 1909 – February 27, 2004
Marie Miller: June 11, 1907 – February 11, 2013)

Honorary Chancellors of 1994

Truman and Marie Miller were both well-known Polk County aviators. Mr. Miller got his start in aviation when he ran away from medical school to obtain one of the first 5,000 pilot licenses that were ever issued. He then trained pilots in the Army Air Corps. Mrs. Miller loved aviation from a young age and trained pilots in the Air Force. She is said to have known both Lindbergh and Earhart. Together, the Millers were great philanthropists and their volunteer work helped to start Sun ‘n Fun airshow in Lakeland. They both received honorary Doctorates of Aeronautical Science from Florida Southern College in 1994.

Additional Sources:
“Lakeland Aviator Marie Miller, Philanthropist, Dies at 105.” The Ledger (Lakeland, Florida), February 14, 2013.
“Truman Miller, 94, Pilot.” The Ledger (Lakeland, Florida), February 29, 2004.

J. Lanier UpshawJ. Lanier Upshaw

(c.1909 – November 5, 1998)

Honorary Chancellor of 1995

J. Lanier Upshaw was the founder of the Lanier Upshaw, Inc. Insurance Agency, which was founded right before he left to serve in the Navy during World War II. Upshaw returned to the company after the War and grew it into a successful business with locations in Lakeland and later Tampa. Upshaw served as a Florida Southern Trustee for over 30 years from 1965 until his death in 1998. He had graduated from Florida Southern College with a degree in business in 1936 and later received an honorary Doctorate of Commerce from Florida Southern College in 1995.

Additional Source:
“Civic Leader Upshaw Dies at 89.” The Ledger (Lakeland, Florida), November 6, 1998.

Burton StoneBurton “Bud” Stone

(February 16, 1928 – April 18, 2008)

Honorary Chancellor of 1996

Burton “Bud” Stone was a well-known figure in the motion picture industry. He served as President of Deluxe Laboratories and was a pioneer for cinematography. He received numerous awards for his work over the years. Stone served on the Board of Directors for the Motion Picture Pioneers and was on the Board of Directors for the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce. He received an honorary Doctorate of Science and an honorary Doctorate in Film Technology from Florida Southern College in 1996. He later served on the College's Board of Trustees from 1996 until his death in 2008.

Additional Source:
Giardina, Carolyn. “Burton 'Bud' Stone Dies.” The Hollywood Reporter. April 21, 2008.

Chris WallaceChris Wallace

(October 12, 1947 – )

Honorary Chancellor of 1997

Chris Wallace is a television anchor and political commentator. He worked for NBC and ABC before starting work at Fox in 2003. Wallace served as chief White House correspondent, anchor of The Nightly News, anchor of Meet the Press, and anchor of Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace. He even conducted an interview with Vladimir Putin in 2018. Wallace is the recipient of three Emmy Awards. He received an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Florida Southern College in 1997.

For more information about Wallace’s career, please click here.

Robert James WallerRobert James Waller

(August 1, 1939 – March 10, 2017)

Honorary Chancellor of 1998

Robert James Waller is a famous American author that has written over a dozen books. He is best known for writing The Bridges of Madison County, which has since been turned into a motion picture and musical. Waller is also a musician and photographer.

Robert Kennedy, Jr.Robert Kennedy, Jr.

(January 17, 1954 – )

Honorary Chancellor of 1999

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is the son of former Senator and Attorney General Robert Kennedy Sr. and nephew of President John F. Kennedy. Robert Kennedy Jr. is an American activist, environmental attorney, and author. He has written two New York Times bestsellers as well as three children books. He is the President and cofounder of the Waterkeeper Alliance, which is a non-profit environmental group, and he has dedicated much of his law career to working for the environment.

Beverly D. WolffBeverly D. Wolff

(November 6, 1928 – August 14, 2005)

Honorary Chancellor of 2000

Beverly Wolff was born in Atlanta, Georgia in 1928. She was a mezzo-soprano and had her professional debut in 1952 while performing in Trouble in Tahiti on CBS. She held a variety of roles and performed in the New York City Opera and recitals across the country and abroad. She retired from performing in 1981 and began teaching music at Florida Southern College until her death in 2005. She later received an honorary Doctorate of Music from Florida Southern College in 2000.

Chesterfield SmithChesterfield Smith

(July 28, 1917 – July 16, 2008)

Honorary Chancellor of 2001

Born in Arcadia, Florida, Chesterfield Smith went on to attend college at the University of Florida. He served in the US Army in France during World War II and was a decorated officer, achieving the rank of Major with a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart. After his service, he returned to the university for his degree in law and later started the firm Holland & Knight. In 1964, he became President of The Florida Bar, and from 1973 to 1974, he was President of the American Bar Association. After his term ended, he returned to growing Holland & Knight into a national law firm. He received an honorary Doctorate of Public Service from Florida Southern College in 2001.

Dr. Jerome King Del PinoDr. Jerome King Del Pino

(c. 1946 – )

Honorary Chancellor of 2002

Dr. Jerome King Del Pino is a Reverend in the United Methodist Church. Prior to being the General Secretary, he was a clergy member of the New England Conference for 33 years. In 2002, he was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Divinity by Florida Southern College. At his retirement in 2010, he held the position of General Secretary of the General Boards of Higher Education in Ministry.

Dr. Myles BrandDr. Myles Brand

(May 17, 1942 – September 16, 2009)

Honorary Chancellor of 2003

Dr. Myles Brand was born in Brooklyn, New York. He graduated from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and later earned his PhD from the University of Rochester. He later served as the President of the University of Oregon and Indiana University. During his career, Brand was also the President of the National Collegiate Athletic Association from 2002 to 2009. He was honored posthumously as a visionary for inclusion in college athletics for his efforts to promote and support underrepresented populations in collegiate athletics. He received an honorary Doctorate of Public Service from Florida Southern College in 2003.

Millard FullerMillard Fuller

(January 3, 1935 – February 3, 2009)

Honorary Chancellor of 2004

Millard Fuller received his law degree from the University of Alabama. By the age of 29, Fuller was a self-made millionaire, but he and his wife forfeited the wealth in order to serve the Christian doctrine. In 1973, Fuller and his family moved to Zaire to serve as missionaries for the church. Upon his return to the United States in 1976, he became the founder and President of Habitat for Humanity International. In 2005, the organization was expanded to include The Fuller Center for Housing, of which Fuller also served as President. He received an honorary Doctorate of Public Service from Florida Southern College in 2004.

Frances MayesFrances Mayes

(March 23, 1940 – )

Honorary Chancellor of 2005

Raised in a small town in Georgia, Francis Mayes later attended Randolph-Macon College before transferring to the University of Florida to finish her degree in English. In 1975, she received her graduate degree from San Francisco State University where she began to teach English and creative writing. In 1996, her memoir Under the Tuscan Sun became a bestseller and remained on the bestseller list for the remainder of the 1990s. She received an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Florida Southern College in 2005.

Robert A.M. SternRobert A.M. Stern

(May 23, 1939 – )

Honorary Chancellor of 2006

Robert A.M. Stern studied at Columbia University for his bachelor's degree and at Yale for Master's Degree in Architecture. In 1969, he established his first architecture firm Stern & Hagmann. In 1977, the successor firm Robert A.M. Stern Architects (RAMSA) was opened. He would go on to teach architecture at his alma mater Columbia University. In 1998, Stern accepted a tenured position as the Dean of the Yale School of Architecture, which he held until his retirement in 2016. He received an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Florida Southern College in 2006. He has also been the lead architectural designer for many of Florida Southern's newer buildings, including the Dr. Marcene H. and Robert E. Christoverson Humanities Building and the Barnett Residential Life Center.

James Hadley Billington

James Hadley Billington

(June 1, 1929 – November 20, 2018)

Honorary Chancellor of 2007

James Hadley Billington graduated from Princeton University with a degree in European History. He was a Rhodes Scholar and received his doctorate from Oxford University in 1953. From 1953 to 1956, Billington served in the US Army. He later taught history at both Harvard and Princeton. In 1987, President Reagan nominated Billington to be the Librarian of Congress. He held this position until his retirement in 2015. He received an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Florida Southern College in 2007.

Michael D. Griffin

Michael D. Griffin

(November 1, 1949 – )

Honorary Chancellor of 2008

In the 1980s, Michael D. Griffin helped develop a series of missile defense technologies. In 2005, he became the Administrator of NASA. During his career, he has also served as professor at multiple colleges across the United States. He most recently served as professor at the University of Alabama in Huntsville after his resignation was accepted at the beginning of the Obama Administration. In 2018, he was appointed Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering. He currently holds seven academic degrees in various scientific fields. He received an honorary Doctorate of Public Service from Florida Southern College in 2008.

G. Wayne CloughG. Wayne Clough

(September 24, 1941 – )

Honorary Chancellor of 2009

After receiving his doctorate from the University of California Berkeley, G. Wayne Clough began his career as an assistant professor at Duke University. In 1974, he began working for Stanford University and soon became a full professor. In 1982, he began teaching at Virginia Tech and climbing the ladder to become the Dean of the Virginia Tech College of Engineering. In 1994, Clough became the President of Georgia Tech. He later served at the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution from 2008 until his retirement in 2013. He received an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Florida Southern College in 2009.

Stephen R. CoveyStephen R. Covey

(October 24, 1932 – July 16, 2012)

Honorary Chancellor of 2010

Stephen R. Covey was born and raised in Salt Lake City, Utah. After graduating from the University of Utah, he attended Harvard to earn his MBA and later attended Brigham Young University for his DRE. In 1989, he released his famous self-help book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. In 2004, he released the sequel to this book The 8th Habit: From Effectiveness to Greatness.

H. Fisk Johnson IIIH. Fisk Johnson III

(May 19, 1958 – )

Honorary Chancellor of 2011

H. Fisk Johnson III was born in Racine, Wisconsin as the great-great-grandson of Samuel Curtis Johnson, founder of S.C. Johnson & Son, Inc. In 1986, Johnson received his PhD in Physics from Cornell University. He also received an MBA in Marketing and Finance from the S.C. Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell. He began working for the family business in 1987. In 2004, he became the fifth generation of his family to assume the role of CEO after his father passed away. He received an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Florida Southern College in 2011.

Bonnie McElveen-HunterBonnie McElveen-Hunter

(June 29, 1950 – )

Honorary Chancellor of 2012

In 1973, Bonnie McElveen-Hunter founded Pace Communication Inc. where she serves as CEO and Owner. McElveen is also the Chairwoman of the Board of the American Red Cross as well as on the Board of Directors for Habitat for Humanity. From 2001 to 2003, she was appointed by George W. Bush to serve as the US Ambassador to Finland. She received an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Florida Southern College in 2012.

Ambassador Ramón Gil-CasaresAmbassador Ramón Gil-Casares

(October 26, 1953 – )

Honorary Chancellor of 2013

Born in Madrid, Spain, Ramón Gil-Casares served as the Spanish Ambassador to the US from 2012 to 2017. He has also served as the Spanish Ambassador to South Africa, Sudan, and South Sudan. As of 2018, he is the Spanish ambassador to Egypt.

Ted TurnerTed Turner

(November 19, 1938 – )

Honorary Chancellor of 2014

During the 1960s, Ted Turner was buying radio stations, which he sold to expand into television. In the late 1970s, Turner created the station WTBS (now known as TBS), purchased the Atlanta Braves (which he owned until 2007), and created CNN. Other channels he created include TNT and TCM. In October 1996, Turner Broadcasting Inc. merged with Time Warner Inc. He received an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Florida Southern College in 2014.

For more information about Ted Turner, please click here.

Jean-Michel CousteauJean-Michel Cousteau

(May 6, 1938 – )

Honorary Chancellor of 2015

As the son of famous conservationist Jacques Cousteau, Jean-Michel started diving at the very young age of seven. He decided to dedicate his life to the same cause as his father, and he served as the Vice President of his father’s company until breaking out on his own to make environmental films. Cousteau has produced over seventy films about the conservation of underwater ecosystems. His films inspired President George W. Bush to protect an area in Northwest Hawaii that is one-hundred times the size of Yosemite. He is also a businessman and owns a resort in Fiji that bears his name.

Nicholas SparksNicholas Sparks

(December 31, 1965 – )

Honorary Chancellor of 2016

Nicholas Sparks is a world-famous romance novelist. He has written over 22 books, 20 of which are of the romance genre. Eleven of these books have been adapted into movies, including his breakthrough novel The Notebook. He received an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Florida Southern College in 2016.

To learn more about Nicholas Sparks and his works, please click here.

Glenn D. LowryGlenn D. Lowry

(September 28, 1954 – )

Honorary Chancellor of 2017

Glenn D. Lowry is a well-known American art historian. He has been the director of the Museum of Modern Art since 1995. He received his Ph.D. from Harvard University in art history and worked at Columbia University in the art history and archaeology department. Lowry has written many books on the importance of contemporary art and advocates for it every day in his position at MoMA. He also secured a $900 million expansion for MoMA. He received an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Florida Southern College in 2017.

Guy HarveyGuy Harvey

(September 16, 1955 – )

Honorary Chancellor of 2018

Guy Harvey is a marine wildlife artist and conservationist. His art is reproduced for consumers in the form of clothing, prints, and other items. Harvey has also established a research institute for marine conservation at Nova Southeastern University. He received an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Florida Southern College in 2018.

To learn more about Guy Harvey, please click here.

Mae C. Jemison

Mae C. Jemison

(October 17, 1956 – )

Honorary Chancellor of 2019

Mae Jemison was the first Black woman to go into space during September 1992 when she went into space as a mission specialist. She also had a short medical career in the Peace Corps before starting work for NASA. Her post-NASA career has turned her towards writing books about her experience as an African-American woman and astronaut, as well as appearing on television on multiple occasions in shows like Star Trek. Jemison is also an advocate for many charitable societies and businesses including the World Sickle-Cell Foundation and her own business, the Jemison Group Inc. She is the recipient of ten honorary doctorates to date, including an honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters from Florida Southern College in 2019.

To learn more about Mae Jemison, please click here.

 Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, no Honorary Chancellors were selected for 2020 and 2021. 

Thomas L. Williams

Thomas L. Williams

(c. 1947 – )

Honorary Chancellor of 2022

Thomas L. Williams is the recently retired Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Universal Orlando Theme Parks and Resorts. He has been involved with Universal Orlando since it opened in the state of Florida in 1988. Williams became the park’s President in 1990. He then became the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer in 1999. He led the expansion of Universal Parks around the world in places such as Osaka, Singapore, and Beijing. Williams also helped lead the development of Universal Orlando area like Wizarding World of Harry Potter and Super Nintendo World. He retired after 52 years with Universal Parks and Resorts in March 2022. Thomas L. Williams was presented with an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters at the Spring 2022 Commencement ceremony.

Additional Source:
 “Universal Chairman and CEO Tom Williams Set to Retire in 2022.” WTSP-TV, November 16, 2021.

Arthur C. Brooks

Arthur C. Brooks

(May 21, 1964 – )

Honorary Chancellor of 2023

Arthur Brooks is most well known for his work as an author, an academic, and public speaker. He received a Bachelor of Arts from Thomas Edison State University. Brooks then went on to receive his MA from Florida Atlantic University and his PhD from Pardee RAND Graduate School. He is the author of twelve books including some of his most popular The Conservative Heart, The Road to Freedom, and From Strength to Strength: Finding Success, Happiness and Deep Purpose in the Second Half of Life. In 2019, he began working at Harvard Kennedy School as a Professor of the Practice of Public Leadership and the Harvard Business School as Professor of Management Practice and Faculty Fellow. Starting in 2020, he began writing for The Atlantic's column How to Build a Life and also hosted the podcast How to Build a Happy Life.