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Press Release for Friday, October 3, 2008

UNF Awards Community Leaders Presidential Medallion

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

The University of North Florida will award five prestigious Presidential Medallions at noon on Tuesday, Oct. 7, during a Founders Day Presidential Medallion luncheon at the University Center on campus. This honor is given to community leaders who have helped guide UNF during its 36 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 A. Delaney. “Our momentum is growing every day thanks to people who are passionate about the University.”

This year’s honorees include Ponte Vedra resident Homer H. Humphries Jr., Neptune Beach resident Dorothy G. Johnson, Russell Newton III, an Avondale resident, Ponte Vedran Linda C. Slade and Riverside resident James Van Vleck. 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.

When Jacksonville city officials were considering where to locate a new state university, Homer Humphries Jr. was among those who favored what was then a very remote location on the Southside. He was a member of the Jacksonville City Council when the issue of whether or not to locate UNF downtown was a major consideration. Seven council members favored the downtown location; however, Humphries and seven of his council colleagues prevailed and voted for its present location. He served on the first Jacksonville City Council after consolidation and he was on the first board of the UNF Foundation.

Few people have a medallion named after them in appreciation for their devotion to their alma mater. Dorothy Johnson has such a medallion, established by the UNF Alumni Association to recognize outstanding service. Appropriately, she was the first recipient of the Johnson medallion in 2005. Johnson has served on the Alumni Association Board in various positions for more than 30 years and has been active in the Osprey Club for 25 years. In addition to supporting the University with her time, she also has supported the University with her gifts, making donations to UNF every year since 1976. Johnson also recently established an endowed scholarship in the College of Education and Human Services.

Rusty Newton III serves as president of Timucuan Asset Management, a financial advisory service company, and has brought unique skills to various positions with the UNF Foundation since becoming a board member in 1992. He helped organize the board’s annual fundraising campaign and oversaw a significant increase in the Foundation’s assets. Newton became president of the UNF Foundation in 2006 and has used his extensive knowledge of the University and the Foundation as well as his leadership in improving access and diversity at UNF through the First Generation and Jacksonville Commitment scholarships.

Linda Slade was in on the ground floor of UNF. When it opened its doors as an upper-division university, she was among the first transfer students. Slade was a member of the Sawmill Slough Conservation Club, which assisted Robert W. Loftin in establishing an extensive system of campus trails. She helped in laying out the original trails, clearing brush and setting up interpretive stations.

Slade has served as president of the Alumni Association and serves as a member of the UNF Foundation Board. She has also helped raise money for UNF’s Disability Resource Center and with husband, Tom, has established a professorship for entrepreneurial studies in the Coggin College of Business.

UNF has benefited from James Van Vleck’s exceptional leadership skills. In the past, he has chaired community boards for the Dean’s Leadership Council in the College of Arts and Sciences and the Fine Arts Center. Not only has Van Vleck taught classes in the Coggin College of Business but has also served as special assistant to former president Anne Hopkins to help with board relations, when the legislature created boards of trustees at each of the public universities. As a philanthropist, he has established two endowed UNF scholarships; one for international studies majors and one for students in the fine arts.

The 2007 honorees were Tom Carpenter, Jim Citrano, Jack Diamond and Adam Herbert. The first Medallion recipients were recognized by the University in 2005.