Press Release for Wednesday, February 22, 2006

UNF Alumni Association Recognizes Exceptional Alums

Contact: Joanna Norris, Assistant Director
Department of Media Relations and Events
(904) 620-2102

The University of North Florida Alumni Association recently recognized several exceptional alums for their exemplary service and contributions to UNF during the 11th Annual Alumni Recognition Dinner held February 16th at the University Center as part of Homecoming Week activities.

The Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award was presented to Ann Hicks, who received her bachelor’s degree from UNF in 1995. The Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award is the highest award given to a UNF graduate by the Alumni Association and recognizes alumni who have made a significant contribution to his or her profession, community and/or society and have consistently maintained the pursuit of excellence as a representative and graduate of the University.

Hicks has distinguished herself through a wide variety of volunteer activities, service in leadership positions and generous financial support to UNF. As a board member for Habijax, the Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens and the Jacksonville Public Library, she works to provide affordable housing, public access to reading materials and culture in our community. Hicks has also demonstrated leadership in her roles as past president of the UNF Foundation and the Jacksonville Service League. As a community volunteer, she has served on the UNF Foundation Board and currently serves on the Board of Trustees at the University. She also has established the endowed Gray Scholarship, which provides tuition funding for students pursuing degrees in the liberal arts.

The 2005 Honorary Alumni Awards were also given to Toni Crawford, Radford Lovett II and Jim Van Vleck. The Honorary Alumni Awards are presented to friends and supporters of UNF for exemplary service to the University.

Toni Crawford and her husband, Felix, were instrumental in the establishment of two endowed faculty positions in the College of Education and Human Services—the Crawford Early Childhood Research and Education Distinguished Professorship and the Crawford Early Literacy Faculty Fellow. These positions enable the College of Education to be on the cutting edge of professional development for teachers and other professionals who work with young children. She has served on the UNF Board of Trustees since 2003 and has served in major leadership roles on the School Readiness Coalition as well as the Jacksonville Children’s Commission. In addition, she is also a regular advisor to the Florida Institute for Education.

Rad Lovett began his involvement with UNF 13 years ago, serving on the Foundation Board in key roles, including chair of the Advancement Committee and chair of the Investment Committee. His most recent and current position is serving as Foundation president. Lovett has impacted the lives of many over the years. He established an endowment at UNF in honor of his mother and meets with his students each year to mentor them. His philosophy entails focusing his time and energy with just a few civic organizations, which are all focused on children.

Jim Van Vleck adopted UNF as his university when he moved to Jacksonville 10 years ago. As chair of the Dean’s Leadership Council of the College of Arts and Sciences, he leads community volunteers in the support of the liberal arts, recruiting others in the community to become donors to the college and to serve on the Council. Van Vleck also serves as a member of the Fine Arts Center board at UNF and teaches courses in the Coggin College of Business. He previously worked as special assistant to Anne Hopkins, former UNF president. Van Vleck has established two endowed scholarships at UNF. One scholarship provides funds for international studies majors to study abroad, while another provides support for promising students in the fine arts to study abroad or present their work at regional or national conferences.

For the first time, the Dorothy G. Johnson Medallion was awarded to its namesake Dorothy Johnson, a 1974 UNF graduate and charter class member, for outstanding service to the UNF Alumni Association and to UNF. She has served on the Alumni Association Board in various positions since 1976 and has been an active Osprey Club Board member since 1984. Not only has she been a generous donor to the University but has attended almost every major event that UNF has hosted. Johnson also recently established an endowed scholarship in the College of Education and Human Services, which will allow a student to pursue a major in teacher education.