When UNF first opened its doors in 1972 it was an upper division university,
meaning it had only juniors and seniors. Mike Bono was an alum who played a role
in gaining four–year status for UNF.
Bono, who has been an agent for State Farm Insurance for almost 30 years,
remembers working on a committee with then UNF Vice President George Corrick.
Since Bono knew the president of the Florida Senate, he and Corrick spent many
days in Tallahassee lobbying for the authorizing legislation. The first attempt
failed but they were finally able to get legislation passed which allowed the
first class of freshmen and sophomores to attend UNF in 1984. “We spent a lot of
time in those days traveling back and forth to Tallahassee.”
Bono’s involvement with UNF also included being president of the Alumni
Association in 1980 and 1981.
All of these activities were Bono’s efforts to pay back UNF for what he
considers to be an outstanding education. He credits the late Dr. Richard Kip
with motivating him to pursue a career in finance. “We established a friendship
that lasted for many years. He inspired me to pursue my career. In earning my
degree at UNF I gained confidence as well as knowledge.”
The confidence was important for Bono because he had returned to college 15
years after graduating from high school. Before attending UNF, he says he was
unsure of his career direction, having some background in retail sales. After
graduating in 1976, he was hired at State Farm because of connections made at
UNF. “Getting an opportunity to be with State Farm was a significant
accomplishment made possible by UNF.”
The University continues to be a magnet for the Bono family. His daughter,
Jaime, met her husband, David Erbe, at UNF. Jaime received a bachelor’s degree
in psychology while David earned his MBA.
Bono and his wife, Joyce, have been married for 38 years. The couple enjoys
leisure time activities at their condo at St. Augustine Beach.
The growth of UNF has surprised Bono who admits as a student he was not in
favor of extending the loop round around campus. “We didn’t know UNF was going
to be what it is today.”
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