Trustee John Rodda: 1955–2018

Sep 17, 2020

by FSC Staff
Originally appeared in Southern News Magazine

Dr. John Rodda, who served Florida Southern College as a trustee and supporter of athletics — but most of all as a builder of its modern campus — died April 30, 2018, of complications from a long illness.

A highly respected member of the Lakeland community, Dr. Rodda was the founder of Rodda Construction and had a long relationship with Florida Southern College. Rodda Construction built or renovated 30 of the campus’s 52 buildings, including the Barnett Athletic Complex, Barnett Residential Life Center,Becker Business Building,and the Sharon and Jim France Admissions Center; and also oversaw the renovation of Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium and hundreds of other structures throughout Polk County. 

Dr. Rodda joined the Board of Trustees at FSC in 2004, serving until his death. In recognition of his service to the College and the community, he was presented an honorary Doctor of Business degree by FSC in 2013. 

In addition, he was a volunteer assistant coach with the FSC baseball team for three seasons, and he was inducted into the FSC Athletics Hall of Fame in 2014.

Dr. Rodda also served on the boards for SunTrust Bank Central Region, Lakeland Volunteers in Medicine, Talbot House, and Parker Street Ministries, and was an elder at First Presbyterian Church Lakeland. He also was active in local youth sports, including Lakeland City Baseball, where he was a longtime coach and served on the board of directors, and at George Jenkins High School, which renamed its baseball field John Rodda Field in his honor.

His many civic recognitions include the 2013 Leadership Lakeland Alumni Association Jere Annis Award and the 2013 Business Partner of the Year from the Polk County School Board for Rodda Construction.

Dr. Rodda is survived by his wife, Rebecca Higginbotham Rodda ’03; a son, Jason Rodda ’02, and his wife, Abby Rodda ’03; a daughter, Leslie Rodda Blondell ’05, and her husband, Brett Blondell ’06; a brother; a sister; and eight grandchildren.