The University of North Florida presented former state Sen. Betty Holzendorf the Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award during the eighth annual Alumni Recognition Dinner on Feb. 13.
Holzendorf’s dedication to UNF and to Florida’s education system earned her UNF’s top award for alumni. The award honors alumni who have made significant contributions to their professions, communities and society, and who have maintained the pursuit of excellence as representatives and graduates of UNF.
Holzendorf graduated from UNF in 1973 with a master’s degree in education and was part of UNF’s first graduating class. She began her long career as a public servant in 1975, when she became the affirmative action officer for Jacksonville. She also served as the equal opportunity officer and legislative liaison before being elected to the Florida House of Representatives in 1988. Holzendorf was elected to the Florida Senate in 1992 and served Northeast Florida constituents until 2002.
During her career in the Legislature, Holzendorf was a champion of education, pushing to reduce class sizes, reward qualified teachers and improve the state’s education system.
At UNF, she has been an outstanding charter alumna. Her efforts supported the establishment of the University Center and the Science&Engineering Building, scheduled to open in the fall. Holzendorf also has helped the College of Education and Human Services to create the Urban Teacher Internship Program, in which the college works closely with four urban elementary schools.
Holzendorf also has supported UNF in more personal ways. Three generations of Holzendorfs have studied at UNF . Holzendorf, three of her four children and a granddaughter.
She was quoted in a UNF publication once as saying, "I look at a high-quality, well-funded public education as the best way to solve many of our global problems. A good public education gives our children a broad base of experience and produces well-rounded individuals. I see UNF as playing an integral part of the public education system in Jacksonville.”
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