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Press Release for Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Coggin College Recognizes 2009 Distinguished Community Leaders

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

The Coggin College of Business at the University of North Florida recognized four individuals today during the 12th Annual Prime F. Osborn III Distinguished Business Leaders Award Luncheon for their continuing career achievements. The awards luncheon was held at the Hyatt Regency Riverfront. Corporate sponsors of this event were PSS World Medical, The Florida Times-Union and The Jacksonville Bank.

The 2009 award recipients include Sylvester T. John, Dr. Jeff Michelman, Bill Mason and The Honorable John Rood. Mason and Rood were awarded the Distinguished Business Leader award, while Michelman received the Distinguished Professor award and John received the Distinguished Alumnus award.

“This annual event celebrates successful leaders who have exhibited integrity, strong ethical values and character, making them exceptional role models,” said Dr. John McAllister, dean of the Coggin College of Business.

John is senior vice president-international at SIFE Inc., where he leads the organization’s non-USA operations in more than 40 countries, bringing together the top leaders of today and tomorrow to create a better more sustainable world through the positive power of business. Prior to joining SIFE, John, a UNF graduate, held key marketing and HR positions at UPS North Florida.

During his 19 years on the UNF faculty, Michelman, an accounting professor, has distinguished himself by his commitment to his students, colleagues, youth, the Jacksonville community and the health care community at the local, state and national levels. He has been recognized by UNF faculty for excellence in research, teaching, service and internationalization, as well as his leadership by the Healthcare Financial Management Association. Michelman is known for demanding more of his students than they are often prepared to demand of themselves. This expectation has lead to long-term friendships with University alumni.

Mason is President Emeritus of the Baptist Health System in Jacksonville, having acted as its CEO for 20 years. He began his career in health administration with the U.S. Agency for International Development, serving hospitals in Asia, Africa, South America and India before coming to Jacksonville. Mason has served as chairman of the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce, chairman of the Jacksonville Port Authority and as a UNF professor.

Rood began his real estate career in 1983 as founder of The Vestcor Companies. This year, he was appointed by Gov. Charlie Crist as the Republican Party of Florida Finance chairman and in 2004, President Bush appointed him as U.S. Ambassador to the Commonwealth of the Bahamas. Upon his return in 2007, he formed The JDR Companies. Rood has contributed to the economic and social development of Jacksonville through his professional and civic involvement.

The Prime F. Osborn III Distinguished Business Leaders Award was established in 1998 by UNF’s Coggin College of Business as an annual award to recognize the long-term career achievements of individuals who provide leadership in business and the local community. Qualifications for these honorees include success in business, significant contributions to community quality of life and a commitment to ethical practices.

The award has been named in honor of the late Prime F. Osborn III, whose long career in the railway industry was noted as much for service to mankind as it was for business acumen. Prime Osborn was known throughout the nation as a person of character, integrity and high ethical standards.