Media Contact: Joanna Norris, Associate Director
Department of Public Relations
The University of North Florida announces the selection of four community leaders and an organization to receive the prestigious Presidential Medallion, an honor given to community leaders who have helped guide UNF during its 40 years.
“We are very fortunate to have leaders in the community who have helped the University of North Florida become the region’s premier institution of higher education,” said UNF President John Delaney. “Our momentum is growing every day thanks to people who are passionate about the University.”
This year’s honorees include Lawrence (Laurie) DuBow, Mel and Debbie Gottlieb, Susan Ryzewic and the World Affairs Council of Jacksonville.
DuBow and the Gottliebs will be awarded a Presidential Medallion at noon Tuesday, Oct. 2, during the University’s annual Founders Day luncheon at the University Center Banquet Hall on campus. Ryzewic and the World Affairs Council were awarded medallions individually earlier this year.
Each individual will receive the Presidential Medallion for Outstanding Service, which is the highest form of nonacademic recognition awarded by the University. The medallion is given annually to recognize both alumni and friends who have given their time and talents to help make UNF an outstanding institution of higher education.
Laurie DuBow’s relationship with the University began more than two decades ago. Through his volunteer leadership and the generosity of the DuBow Family Foundation, he has been a partner in many successful projects. In 2001, the DuBow Family Foundation began funding merit scholarships with a stipend for study abroad or undergraduate research. It was the first such award in the University Scholars program, raising the bar on UNF’s admissions standards.
Former President Adam Herbert recruited DuBow as a member of a presidential advisory council to assist in strategic planning to strengthen the University’s position in the community, while Anne Hopkins, also a former president, enlisted his help and support in raising the academic profile of UNF students by enhancing the ability to recruit high achievers from throughout the state. DuBow and his family are also supportive of one of President John Delaney’s initiatives, Flagship Programs. They have recently provided graduate fellowships for the new Master’s in Nutrition in the Brooks College of Health.
When Mel and Debbie Gottlieb use the word “mentor” they are talking about a personal characteristic they practice in their own lives. After the sale of Mel’s company in 1993, it would not be unusual to find him in a UNF conference room discussing business ethics, best practices and civic engagement with a group of students. In addition to establishing a scholarship for students in the Coggin College of Business, Mel served for more than a decade on the Dean’s Advisory Council and received the coveted Prime Osborn Distinguished Business Leaders award from the college in 2000.
Debbie’s background in nursing led the Gottliebs to become involved in the Brooks College of Health, where she has served on the Dean’s Advisory Council. Her volunteer leadership has contributed to the success of the Us Group, an organization that promotes education on women’s health issues in the community. It has raised substantial funds to endow a research professorship in women and girls’ health. In addition, the Gottliebs have provided several nursing scholarships.
Susan Ryzewic recently finished a three-year term as president of the UNF Foundation and served three years as chair of its Investment Committee all during the Power of Transformation Campaign. Her commitment also extends to philanthropy through the Remmer Ryzewic Family Fund, which she manages. The Remmer Ryzewic Family Endowed Scholarship Fund has provided funding for first-time-in-college Duval County students since 2008 as part of The Jacksonville Commitment Scholarship Program. She has also supported the President’s Venture Fund, the Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville, a cultural resource of UNF, and is a generous unrestricted giver to UNF Foundation operations.
No organization deserves more credit for bringing the world to the doorstep of the University and the community than the World Affairs Council. Since partnering with UNF more than a decade ago, the Council has brought dozens of prominent diplomats, journalists and senior military leaders to discuss topics ranging from the rise of China to the role of innovation in the new race to space. Because of those contributions, the World Affairs Council is the first organization to be recognized with a Presidential Medallion.
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