We want to hear from you!
Send your news about important milestones in your lives and careers to our Communications Director Rob Nixon.
Wartyna L. Davis (Ph.D. ’02 Political Science) has been appointed dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at William Paterson University. She served as associate dean of the college from 2011 to 2019, when she was named interim dean. She joined the William Paterson faculty in 1998 as assistant professor of political science and rose to earn the rank of full professor. During her tenure, she served for seven years as chair of the political science department. In 2013, Davis was elected to serve as councilwoman at-large for the Township of Bloomfield, N.J.
Jaqueline “Jack” Porter (M.S.P., M.P.A. ’20 Urban and Regional Planning, Askew School) won a seat on the Tallahassee City Commission, August 18, 2020, defeating incumbent Elaine Bryant by 51% to 40% of the vote. Porter, who’d worked on progressive campaigns before launching her own, was critical of the status quo perception of city operations and pushed for more attention to small business and being responsive to community input, according to the Tallahassee Democrat.
Larry Hogan (B.A. ’78 Political Science), the 62nd governor of Maryland and chairman of the National Governors Association, published a new book in July 2020, “Still Standing: Surviving Cancer, Riots, a Global Pandemic, and the Toxic Politics that Divide America.”
Lettie J. Bien (B.S. Political Science ’76) was hired in July 2020 as the the first Program Coordinator for the Defense Affairs Committee of the Charlottesville, Va., Regional Chamber of Commerce. A retired U.S. Army Reserve Colonel, Bien is an attorney and longtime community advocate. As program coordinator, she will carry out community engagement and business development to further strengthen relationships between the Chamber, the Central Virginia community, the regional defense/intelligence community and veterans. In 2011, Bien was chosen as the Distinguished Alumna for the College of Social Sciences and Public Policy.
B. Dan Berger (B.S. Economics ’89) has been elected the 2020-2021 Chairman of the FSU Alumni Association National Board of Directors. Berger is the president and CEO of the National Association of Federally-Insured Credit Unions (NAFCU) and is responsible for the association’s overall advocacy, management, operations and strategic direction. He acts as the NAFCU’s chief advocate before Congress, The White House and federal regulatory agencies. Berger is a lifetime member of the Alumni Association and member of Seminole Boosters Inc.
Carissa Schively Slotterback (Ph.D. ’04 Urban and Regional Planning), associate dean of the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota, has been named dean of the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public and International Affairs. She will begin her deanship on Oct. 1 and join the faculty as a full professor.
Joe O’Shea (B.S. ’08 Interdisciplinary Social Science) was appointed as the new dean of the Florida State University Division of Undergraduate Studies, effective May 20, 2020. O’Shea served as assistant provost since 2016, where he helped guide the university’s nationally recognized student success initiatives. With the addition of his duties as dean, he will continue to focus on student-centered challenges and opportunities. Read the full story here.
A company co-founded by Bobby Pittman (B.S. ’97 Economics) is sharing free data on vulnerable populations to governments and organizations focused on the global COVID-19 response. The company, Fraym, uses advanced machine learning to produce precise, local-level information about populations in Africa/Middle East, Asia and Latin America. Fraym is also working with the development community to build models of susceptibility, healthcare needs, food security risks, economic shocks and more to inform resource allocation and planning during the crisis.
Lynne Cossman (B.S. ’90, M.S. ’92 Sociology; Ph.D. ’96 Sociology & Demography) has been named as the first dean of the University of Texas San Antonio’s new College of Health, Community & Policy. Previously she was professor and chair of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at West Virginia University and professor and head of the Department of Sociology at Mississippi State. A medical demographer, her research focuses on understanding nationwide spatial health disparities and statewide health workforce issues.
Three alumni of the Department of Urban and Regional Planning have been named Fellows of the American Institute of Certified Planners: Jerry Anthony (Ph.D. ’00), professor in the University of Iowa School of Urban and Regional Planning; Alissa Barber Torres (M.S.P. ’98), a chief planner with Orange County Transportation Planning instructor in transportation planning and policy at the University of Florida; and David Woods (M.S.P. ’88), Deputy Director of Planning for the City of Stamford, Conn.
Cecilia Bonifay (M.S.P. ’76 Urban and Regional Planning, J.D. ’85) was chosen to receive a 2020 Inspire Ward from the FSU Alumni Association. The awards event is hosted every year in March in honor of Women’s History Month. The Inspire Award recognizes alumnae who have distinguished themselves as leaders within their industry and whose hard work and determination serve as an inspiration to current students and young alumni at Florida State University. Bonifay is chair of Land Use and Development Practice at the Akerman law firm.
Florida State Rep. Holly Raschein (B.A. ’03 Political Science) was presented with the 2019 Park Champion of the Year by the Florida State Parks Foundation. The award is given to the person deemed to have made the most outstanding contribution to help sustain, protect and preserve Florida’s award-winning state parks. Raschein, who represents District 120, “has long been a passionate advocate for Florida Parks and as chair of the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee and a member of the Appropriations Committee last year, was able to secure critical funding for Florida State Parks. She truly is a Park Champion,” said Gil Ziffer, Foundation President.
Branko Milanovic (M.S. ’80 Economics) has been selected as the 2019 winner of the FSU Libraries’ Alumni Award for Distinguished Writing. Milanovic, who earned hi Ph.D. in Economics and Statistics from the University of Belgrade, was nominated by Manoj Atola, chair of the Department of Economics and the Bernard F. Sliger Professor of Economics. Milanovic is a leading scholar on income inequality. In 2014, he joined the Graduate Center of the City University of New York as Visiting Presidential Professor and LIS (formerly Luxembourg Income Study) Senior Scholar. Prior to that, he was lead economist in the World Bank’s research department. He is author of “The Haves and the Have-Nots: A Brief and Idiosyncratic History of Global Inequality” and numerous articles on the global income distribution. His most recent book is “Global Inequality: A New Approach for the Age of Globalization” (Harvard University Press 2016). For a more comprehensive list of Dr. Milanovic’s work, please see this link.
Anthony Snipes (M.P.A. ’96 Askew School) was elected president of the National Forum for Black Public Administrators in April 2019. Snipes is the city manager of Missouri City, Texas.
Three COSSPP alums were the recipients the 2019 Circle of Gold Award, which is presented to individuals who, through their service and achievements, personify the university’s tradition of excellence. They are:
– Keith Carr (M.P.A. ’93 Askew School) is a two-time graduate of FSU, receiving his Bachelor of Science degree in Criminology in 1990 and his Master of Public Administration in 1993. Carr has always maintained an active role when it comes to giving back to the university. He currently is a member of the FSU Foundation Board of Trustees. He and his wife, Nutoshia, established the Keith D. & Nutoshia D. Carr Endowed Scholarship to assist students in paying for their education.
– J.D. Doughney (B.S. ’02 Political Science) holds three degrees from Florida State — bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the College of Communication & Information and a bachelor’s degree in political science from the College of Social Sciences and Public Policy. He currently serves as a global client partner at Facebook and credits Florida State University with preparing him to take on challenging leadership roles and diverse business opportunities. He was selected to the FSU Senior Hall of Fame and the Homecoming Court during his senior year, which contributed to his understanding of the valuable role that the FSU Alumni Association plays in the university experience for alumni and current students. To this day, he volunteers his time to assist with special projects for the Alumni Association.
– Doby Flowers (M.S.P. ’73 Urban and Regional Planning) followed in her brother (and fellow COSSPP alum) Fred’s footsteps and enrolled at FSU in 1967. In 1970, she was elected as the university’s first African American Homecoming Queen, which marked a political and social shift on campus. Known as a trailblazer for her achievements in breaking down barriers and challenging society’s perceptions of African American women, a bronze statue of Flowers stands on the FSU campus as a symbol of the courage she demonstrated as a leader of the integration movement at the university.
Each year, the university recognizes alumni with various awards and honors, including the Notable Noles awards for FSU graduates under 35 who have made significant contributions to their professions, communities or alma mater. This year’s recipients, who were recognized at the Young Alumni Awards Dinner on September 20, 2019, include the following COSSPP alums:
– Austin Burch (B.S. ’17 Interdisciplinary Social Science) – Director of Operations, Papa Inc.
– Dan Daley (B.S. ’10 Political Science) – Florida House of Representatives
– Chris Land (B.S. ’11 Political Science) – General Counsel, State of Wyoming Division of Banking; Research Fellow, Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law
– Jamie Leigh Price (B.S. ’12 Political Science, M.P.A. Public Administration/Emergency Management) – Mitigation Investment Lead, Federal Emergency Management Agency
Gigi Rollini (MPA ’03) and the Florida law firm Stearns Weaver Miller were named as members of America’s Second Harvest of the Big Bend’s Feeding Hope Society in October 2019. America’s Second Harvest of the Big Bend, an affiliate of Feeding America, is a nonprofit charity whose mission is to “feed the hungry in the Big Bend . . . and to educate and engage the community in the fight against hunger.” The Feeding Hope Society is made up of donors who have given $10,000 or more over their lifetime of giving. Gigi Rollini, a shareholder in the firm’s Tallahassee office, will serve as the inaugural Chair of the Feeding Hope Society.
Robert Hummer (M.S. ’90 & Ph.D. ’93 Sociology), a sociology professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, has been named president-elect of the Population Association of America. His term begins January 1, 2020.
Wartyna Davis (Ph.D. ’02 Political Science), a Bloomfield, N.J., Councilwoman, was presented with a Pride of Essex County Award at the recent Essex County LGBTQ Pride Month Celebration in recognition of her support in the struggle for equality for members of the LGBTQ community. More on Davis’ distinguished career and work in the community is at this link.
Gigi Rollini (MPA ’03 Askew School), a shareholder and attorney at the Tallahassee office of Stearns Weaver Miller, has been named a 2019 Super Lawyer in administrative law by Super Lawyers magazine. The Super Lawyers list is a rating service acknowledging outstanding lawyers in a particular state. Each state’s list features lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. Rollini’s practice focuses on Florida appeals, civil and administrative litigation and all aspects of Florida administrative law, including agency licensing and discipline, corporate and nonprofit regulatory compliance, policy and rulemaking, administrative complaints, rule challenges, government contracts and bid protests.
Jesse Wexler (B.A. ’06 International Affairs) was inducted into the FSU Alumni Association’s Circle of Gold on April 12, 2019. Circle of Gold recognizes worthy individuals who, through their service and achievements, personify the university’s tradition of excellence. Wexler, president of the New York City Seminoles alumni organization, is the owner/developer of VenueMash, software designed to help event planners find and instantly book venues for events that meet their needs for availability, budget and attendance.
Branko Milanovic (M.S. ’80 Economics) has been nominated for the FSU Libraries Alumni Award for Distinguished Writing. The award honors a well-known living graduate who has produced a distinguished and influential body of published work. Milanovic is a leading scholar on income inequality, an issue he researched and wrote about as far back as his graduate studies in the college and which has now become one of the central economic issues of our time. He is a visiting presidential professor at the Graduate Center of City University of New York and senior scholar at the university’s Stone Center for Socio-economic Inequality. He served as lead economist in the World Bank’s Research Department for almost 20 years, leaving to write his seminal book on global income inequality, “Worlds Apart” (2005).
In addition to numerous papers for the World Bank and articles in major journals, Milanovic has published the book, “The Haves and the Have-nots” (2011), selected by The Globalist as the 2011 Book of the Year. His most recent book on the economic and political effects of globalization, “Global Inequality” (2016), was awarded the Bruno Kreisky Prize for the best political book of 2016 and was translated into 12 languages. In October 2017, he was awarded (jointly with Mariana Mazzucato) the 2018 Leontief Prize for Advancing the Frontiers of Economic Knowledge.
Mary (Mimi) Burbage (B.A. ’68 International Relations, M.A. ’70 International Relations) send this report on March 21, 2019:
“During my graduate degree program years I ran a program in Mexico for the FSU Economics Department that gave students the opportunity to live in a small village and complete independent study in many areas of social and economic development. Several years after receiving my master’s degree, I moved to Alaska and started a long career of working in home energy efficiency throughout the state. The focus of the Department of Energy’s weatherization program is to help provide a healthy, safe and efficient home for high-priority low-income households, including the elderly, disabled and those with young children. There are several hundred native villages in Alaska, most of them remote and accessible only by air or water. Throughout the years, we have weatherized thousands of homes in the state. I have been the statewide director of the weatherization program for the last twenty years. It has been a wonderful and exciting career and actually so much of what I learned in the International Relations program and throughout my stay in Mexico served me well while working with many of our very challenged remote villages. My work also included community development projects in some of those communities. I am also president of a very proactive national technical weatherization organization to perfect the science of building and improving existing housing in terms of energy efficiency and healthy home environments called Energy OutWest. Still working and still enjoying every minute!”
Daniel Green (M.S. ’99 International Affairs), defense fellow with the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, was appointed to the position of deputy assistant secretary of defense for strategy and force development, the research institution announced March 20, 2019. He has been a defense fellow with the Institute since 2011, focusing on counter-terrorism, counter-insurgency, and stability operations in the Middle East and Central Asia. In Green’s new capacity as deputy assistant secretary of defense for strategy and force development, he will be the principal civilian adviser to the assistant secretary of defense for strategy, plans, and capabilities in providing long-term anticipatory and strategic perspective on security issues and advising on policies, strategies, processes, and capabilities to advance U.S. interest. He is the author of “The Warlords’ Shadow: Special Operations Forces, the Afghans, and their Fight with the Taliban” and “The Valley’s Edge: A Year with the Pashtuns in the Heartland of the Taliban” and co-author of “Fallujah Redux: The Anbar Awakening and the Struggle with al-Qaeda.”
Askew School graduate Paul Mavima (Ph.D. ’99 Public Administration) is now one of the senior members of the government of Zimbabwe. After getting his doctorate, Mavima worked for the Florida Legislature’s Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability before returning to his home country. In March 2009, Professor Mavima accepted an appointment into the Zimbabwean civil service as Principal Director in the Office of Deputy Prime Minister Mutambara. He held this position for five years until July 2013, when he was elected to represent the Gokwe Sengwa Constituency in the National Assembly. In September 2013, he was appointed Deputy Minister for Primary and Secondary Education, the post he now holds. At the Askew School, Mavima’s concentration was on Institutions and Organizations, with a research focus on institutional capacity development in emerging economies. Read more about him at this link.
Kupanda Capital has established a multi-million dollar investment deal with Mavin Records, one of Nigeria’s best-known record labels. Bobby J. Pittman (B.S. ’97 Economics), managing partner of Kupanda, says this venture “will accelerate bringing African popular music to the world.” More on this new partnership at this link.
Two alumnae of the college are among the four being honored with the 2019 Inspire Award for FSU Women of Distinction. Heather Pinder Rodriguez (B.S. ’95 International Affairs) s a Circuit Court Judge in the Ninth Judicial Circuit Court of Florida, where she has served in the felony, family, domestic violence, and juvenile delinquency divisions. Jennifer N. Hanson (B.S. ’01 Sociology) is the national sales director of direct to consumer sales & corporate sponsorships for GolfNow, a division of Golf Channel and part of NBC Sports Group. The Inspire Award recognizes alumnae who have distinguished themselves as leaders within their industry and whose hard work and determination serve as an inspiration to current students and young alumni at Florida State University. The alums will be honored during the fourth annual presentation of The Inspire Awards at the Dr. Phillips Center on Thursday, March 28 at 6 p.m.
Graduates of the college have always distinguished themselves in Florida politics, and 2019 is certainly no exception.
– Three alums were appointed to the senior staff of Florida’s new Attorney General Ashley Moody: Chief Deputy Attorney General John Guard (B.A. ’97 History/Political Science), Governmental Affairs Director Dan Olson ((B.S. ’07 Economics/Political Science, M.P.A. ’10), and Public Affairs Director Lauren Schenone (B.S. ’15 Social Sciences).
Newly inaugurated Commissioner of Agriculture Nikki Fried has appointed several alums to her staff: Chief of Staff Matthew Van Name (B.S. ’09 Political Science and International Affairs), Legislative Affairs Director Emily Duda Buckley (B.S. ’13 Political Science), Deputy Directors Matthew Alford (M.S. ’12 Applied American Politics and Policy) and Carlos Nathan (B.S. ’05 Political Science), Director of Cabinet Affairs Matt Gotha (B.S. ’17 Political Science/Social Sciences), and Press Secretary Max Flugrath (M.S. ’17 Applied American Politics and Policy), previously the communications director for Phillip Levine’s 2018 gubernatorial campaign.
Jimmy Patronis (B.S. ’96 Political Science) was inaugurated as the state’s Chief Financial Officer, January 8, 2019. He served in the post since 2017, when he was appointed to fill a vacancy, and won election to the position in November 2018.
John Watterson (Geography ’99), a Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Specialist at the Martin County (Florida) Property Appraiser’s Office, is the recipient of the 2018 Cadastralist of the Year award from the Florida Association of Cadastral Mappers, based on his long tenure of cadastral mapping and his breadth of mapping projects and contributions to the Martin County Property Appraiser’s office. In addition, he contributed to a new book published by the International Association of Assessment Officers, “GIS for Property Tax and Assessment Professionals,” to help assessors understand and use GIS for all sorts of office operations. The book provides an easy-to-read, step-by-step guide to using GIS in order to demystify GIS technology and give the reader targeted information on the specific uses of mapping applications in commonplace valuation responsibilities. Watterson is a Certified Florida Evaluator and a Geographic Information Systems Professional. he has been employed by the Martin County, Florida Property Appraiser’s office for the past 14 years.
Gerald Ensley (Political Science ’80), who passed away February 16, 2018, was one of the Tallahassee Democrat’s most popular writers ever. The Pediment publishing company has put together 45 pieces he wrote showcasing the quirks and customs, heroes and villains, struggles and triumphs of the city and its surrounding area. The book, “‘We Found Paradise’: Gerald Ensley on the History and Eccentricities of His Beloved Tallahassee,” is available for order at this link. All proceeds go to the Gerald Ensley Emerging Journalist Award.
Eugene “Gene” Stearns (Political Science ’66, Law ’72) and Nancy McKay (Political Science ’78) were selected in fall 2018 as Grads Made Good by the FSU Alumni Association. Stearns is founder and board chair of the Tallahassee law firm Stearns Weaver Miller, et al., and has been frequently recognized in such lists as Top 100 Trial Lawyers in America, Best Lawyers in America and Florida’s Legal Elite. The FSU student body president in 1967-1968, he also served on the staff of the Florida House of Representatives during the state’s Constitution Revision Session that resulted in the Constitution of 1968. Stearns co-authored, in 1970, the Fair Share Tax Plan, which became the principal campaign theme for the successful gubernatorial campaign of Reubin Askew (also a COSSPP alum who was student body president and later a Grad Made Good). McKay is the President and CEO of NEST Fragrances. After graduating and interning for congressmen, where she went through a two-year process of working with a majority leader to write an insurance policy bill, McKay decided her passions were more suited for business, “where you start out with an idea, execute that idea, and identify clear measures of success.” After more than 20 years with the Estee Lauder company in Atlanta, she landed her current position in 2014.
Former U.S. Rep. Jason Altmire (’90) has had a runaway success with his book “Dead Center,” an insightful look at how Washington has become more polarized and dysfunctional. He highlights the reasons why centrists in both parties have disappeared and why compromise is regarded as a four-letter word by factions on both the left and the right. Critics have praised the book’s “unique mix of academic rigor and personal experience” and a “recipe for civic recovery, from civic education to reducing the influence of money in politics to encouraging timorous citizens to become active participants – maybe even candidates – for public and civic leadership.” Altmire, a political science graduate who worked in the health care industry for years after his time in Congress, is a great supporter of the college’s Master of Public Health program. He and his wife Kelly endowed a fund that provides an annual award for public health students.
James Kassaga Arinaitwe (Master of Public Health ’11) will deliver the keynote address at the Tallahassee Community College commencement, May 5. He is the co-founder and CEO of Teach For Uganda, which works to expand educational opportunity to all children in Uganda. In 2017, Arinaitwe was inducted into the TCC Alumni and Friends Hall of Fame and also received the Reubin O’D. Askew Young Alumni Award from FSU.
Benjamin Keown (BS Social Sciences ’12), was sworn in as Assistant State Attorney for the 14th Judicial Circuit (Florida), April 18, 2018. In the new position, Vernon native Keown oversees misdemeanors and juvenile crimes.
Lauren Medina (BS in International Affairs ’15, MS in Demography ’16), a 2015 Social Science Scholar, co-wrote the latest US Census Bureau report that said by 2030, for the first time in U.S. history, immigration and not births will be the main driver of the country’s population growth. NPR spoke with her briefly about it for a report on the aging US population; hear the story at this link.
Florida State University is honoring the 100 fastest-growing Seminole-owned businesses in the U.S. at a celebration on campus. Eleven alums of the college own businesses that are part of this year’s honorees: James Taylor, Auto Data Direct (Tallahassee, FL); Christopher Lanza, Dorsia (Boca Raton, FL); James Frazier, Fan Fest (Franklin, TN); Jeffery Collins, Global Sales (Gibsonton, FL); Stuart Norman, G.M.F. Industries, Inc. (Lakeland, FL); Bobby Pittman, Kupanda Capital (Washington, DC); Joy Owenby, Owenby Law (Jacksonville, FL); Bennet Napier, Partners in Association Management (Tallahassee, FL); Anthony Prieto Jr., Synergy Settlement Services (Orlando, FL); John D. McFarlain, Tal Research Group (Tallahassee, FL). Congratulations to these alums on their achievement. The university honors them at a dinner, March 3, during which each company will learn its numerical ranking and receive an award.
Bertha Henry (BS ’77, MPA ’78) is a 2017 Honoree of Governing Magazine, a widely read and respected publication for the public administration field. Henry, the Broward County, Fla. Administrator, received her undergraduate degree in political science and her Master of Public Administration from the Askew School. According to the magazine: “She had spent 30 years working up to a top position in local government only to reach it in 2010 in the middle of a crippling recession. Rather than setting ambitious new goals for the county, she had to focus on minimizing the recession’s impact on her workforce. Henry implemented a series of strategies to protect her workers. Henry made sure the county had taken inventory of the affected employees’ skills so she could avoid layoffs and fill vacant slots. When service cuts were inevitable, she tried to trim where citizens would least notice. She looked at data showing which days were busiest at local libraries, and then closed neighborhood branches on the days with the lightest use.” The magazine particularly honored her for brokering a deal in 2015 that satisfied both government regulators and private companies, such as Uber and Lyft, which suspended operations in Broward over what they considered onerous rules. (11/27/17)
Jacqueline Rojas (BS ’15), who graduated with degrees in international affairs and political science, is one of 10 students nationally to be awarded a 2017 Donald M. Payne International Development Fellowship. As a Payne Fellow, the native of Ocala, Fla., will pursue a master’s degree in global human development at Georgetown University’s Walsh School of Foreign Service. is one of 10 students nationally to be awarded a 2017 Donald M. Payne International Development Fellowship. As a Payne Fellow, the native of Ocala, Fla., will pursue a master’s degree in global human development at Georgetown University’s Walsh School of Foreign Service. (7/6/17)
Jean Accius (’03) was honored at the 30th anniversary celebration of the National Academy of Social Insurance, June 7, 2017, as one of the country’s “new generation of social insurance leaders.” Accius earned his master’s degree in aging studies from the Pepper Institute and his Ph.D. at American University. He serves as vice president of the Long-Term Services & Supports and Livable Communities Group within the AARP Public Policy Institute. In November 2016, Accius came to FSU to deliver a talk sponsored by the Pepper Institute, “Pressures, Policies and Politics: The Endless Possibilities of an Aging Society.”
James Stage (BA ’15) was presented with the Governor’s Young Entrepreneur Award by Florida Gov. Rick Scott March 14, 2017. Stage created the educational software business Queralyze, which sells educational software designed to help students improve critical thinking skills in research and writing. Stage says the platform moves students beyond rote learning and gives them sharp skills to examine issues and ask the right questions.Stage graduated in 2015 with bachelor’s degrees in international affairs and political science. In addition, he minored in entrepreneurship. Stage went on to earn a master’s degree from the College of Education in instructional systems and learning technologies in 2016.
SukJoon Hwang (Ph.D. ’16), a graduate of the Askew School, was selected in January 2017 as a Founders Fellow of the American Society of Public Administration (ASPA). ASPA’s premier offering for students and new professionals, the Founders’ Fellows program celebrates the current and future accomplishments of the next generation of those serving the public good, in the academic or practitioner communities, or both. The 2017 25-member class—selected following a record-breaking number of applications and a rigorous review process—represents the best of ASPA, Florida State University and the public administration community.
Elizabeth Barron (MS ’09), graduate of FSU Dept of Urban and Regional Planning and Law School, will be presented the “Member of the Year” award by the Urban Land Institute (ULI) North Florida’s Capital Region on February 1, 2017, at the Trends in Real Estate luncheon. Elizabeth was selected by the District Council’s Management Committee for her contributions to the District Council and her impact on the council’s mission. She successfully implemented ULI’s classroom-based program UrbanPlan at Leon High School, now in its third year of the program. Under Elizabeth’s leadership, more than 250 students have completed the program and more than 50 volunteers from the community have been trained to help in the classroom.Most recently, Elizabeth helped coordinate the addition of including the UrbanPlan curriculum in FSU’s new course, Urban Planning & Real Estate Development that began this spring.
William M. Doerner (MS ’10, Ph.D. ’12) was appointed, November 1, 2016, to the Prince George’s County (Maryland) Planning Board and The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission. Doerner served for the preceding two years on the Hyattsville Planning Committee and has worked in property appraisal and valuation for both state and county agencies in Florida. While earning his doctoral degree in economics at FSU, he designed and taught classes on housing markets and land use regulations. His work at the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) includes producing nationwide house price measures and conducting applied research to help inform policy decision-making in housing finance. He has published more than a dozen articles in academic journals on a range of topics – finance, housing, property taxation, and policy – and has presented at a number of national and regional conferences.
James Sweeney (BS ’99) has been named Global Head of Fixed Income and Economic Research at Credit Suisse, where he is also the Chief Economist in Fixed Income Research, part of the Global Markets division. In this role, he leads the US Economics team and co-heads the Global Strategy and Economics team. James joined Credit Suisse in 2000, having previously worked as a political speechwriter. He holds an MSc in Economics from the London School of Economics and a BS magna cum laude in economics and political science from Florida State University. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Economic Club of New York and is a John C. Whitehead Fellow of the Foreign Policy Association.
Two alumni of the College of Social Sciences and Public Policy were inducted into the Florida State University Athletic Hall of Fame, September 9, 2016. Alex Barron (BS Social Sciences ’04) became FSU’s seventh two-time consensus All-American when he was selected for virtually every All-America team as an offensive tackle in 2003 and 2004. He was selected in the first round of the 2005 NFL Draft by the St. Louis Rams. He played in the league until retiring in 2012. Garrett Johnson (BS Political Science ’05) is one of the most decorated scholar-athletes in the university’s history, earning as many honors for academic achievements as athletic.The FSU and Atlantic Coast Conference shot put record holder, he was a two-time NCAA champion and four-time conference champion. He was instrumental in earning FSU the 2006 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field National Championship, a first in program history. Johnson completed a master’s degree in migration studies as a 2006 Rhodes Scholar at Exeter College, Oxford University. His masters research examined global economic inequities and the impact poverty has on global migratory patterns, closely observing Haiti’s current socio-economic state, continuing the research he began while working in the Legislative Office of Florida Governor Jeb Bush. Upon graduation from Oxford, Johnson served as a staffer for the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. He is a co-founder of Sendhub, a business communications support company, established in 2011.
Kathy Mears (BS ’03, MPA ’11), an alum from the college who served as chief of staff to two consecutive Florida House speakers, has been named the new top in-house lobbyist for Florida State University. She will take the new role of chief legislative affairs officer on September 19, 2016. It’s a homecoming for Mears, who got her undergraduate degree in social sciences and her master’s in public administration from the college. Mears was chief of staff to Republican House Speakers Will Weatherford (2012-14) and Steve Crisafulli (2014-16). She also has been a top advisor to former Senate Presidents Ken Pruitt and Tom Lee and was deputy chief of staff to former Republican Gov. Charlie Crist. She also served as campaign communications director to Congressman Daniel Webster and was a vice president at On 3 Public Relations in Tallahassee. At FSU, Mears will report to President John Thrasher, another former state lawmaker. “Kathy’s passion for public policy and academia makes her the perfect choice for President Thrasher and FSU,” said On 3 President Christina Johnson. “I am thrilled for her as she continues to achieve incredible milestones throughout her professional career.”
There is a beautiful tribute to Shannon West Redwine (BS ’91) and the work she did on behalf of the homeless and disadvantaged on the FSU Alumni Association website at this link.
Eric Reading (BA ’92, MA ’93), executive vice president of Chemonix International, was elected to the board of directors of the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition (USGLC), a broad-based, influential network of more than 400 businesses, non-governmental organizations, and community leaders who support a smart power approach of elevating development and diplomacy alongside a strong defense. USGLC has a nationwide network of advocates in all 50 states and boasts a bipartisan advisory council, chaired by General Colin Powell, which includes every living former Secretary of State. The organization also maintains a National Security Advisory Council consisting of more than 150 retired three and four-star generals and admirals.
Penny Walker Bos (BS ’83), a 32-year veteran of Florida politics, has been appointed executive director of the League of Women Voters of Florida. Her career began in 1983 when she served as a legislative aide upon graduating with a political science degree from FSU. She later served as a lobbyist, public information officer for the Senate Reapportionment Committee, and senior policy analyst for the Joint Legislative Committee on Juvenile Justice. Bos has worked on a range of issues from welfare reform to Everglades’ restoration, hunger/food insecurity, health care, developmental disabilities, food stamp fraud, higher education, and vocational rehabilitation.
Terry E. Lewis (BA ’65, MA ’66) received the Florida Bar’s City, County and Local Government Law Section’s Ralph A. Marsicano Award for his contributions to local government law in Florida at the section’s annual meeting on May 8, 2015, in Orlando, Fla. Lewis is an AV-rated attorney who has practiced primarily in environmental and land use law, administrative law, and state and local government administration and legislation. He has been listed as a Best Lawyer in America in Environmental Law and Environmental Litigation since 2006 and was Lawyer of the Year in 2011 and 2015. He has been listed as a Florida Super Lawyer since 2006, a Top Lawyer in Government Law according to the South Florida Legal Guide since 2013, and recognized in the 2008, 2010 and 2013 issues of Florida Trend magazine’s Legal Elite.
Doug Mannheimer (BA ’76), a partner in the Tallahassee, Fla., law firm of Broad and Cassel, was recognized as one of the leaders in the field of health law in the 2015 edition of the prominent legal guide Chambers USA: A Guide to America’s Leading Business Lawyers.
Vicki Ruiz (BS ’77) was elected president of the American Historical Association, a top honor in her profession, in January 2015. She is a scholar of Latina history at the University of California, Irvine, and the first Latina historian to be inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In March 2015, Ruiz was named a National Women’s History Month honoree.
Gigi Rollini (MPA ’03), a shareholder and attorney practicing in the Messer Caparello law firm in Tallahassee, has been recognized by the Florida Association of Women Lawyers (FAWL) as one of Florida’s “Extraordinary Women.” FAWL noted in its selection that she is “unquestionably . . . at the top” of her profession. Rollini is an AV-Rated “Super Lawyer” in appellate and administrative law and recognized as one of Florida’s Top 40 Litigators Under 40, Florida’s Most Productive Young Lawyer, a FAWL Leader in the Law, and one of Tallahassee’s 2014 “25 Women You Need to Know.”
Alan Hooper (BA Social Science ’85), president and CEO of Hooper Construction in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., was honored with a 2015 Excalibur Award from the Orlando Sun-Sentinel as Small Business Leader of the Year. Hooper created the Himmarshee entertainment district in Fort Lauderdale and several other downtown residential complexes.
Kim Barnhill (MS Public Health ’08) was appointed Deputy Secretary for County Health Systems (previously known as the Deputy Secretary for Statewide Services) for the Florida Department of Health in February 2015. She has served as chief of staff with the Department of Health for the past two and a half years. Before this, she spent more than a decade as the administrator for the Madison and Jefferson County Health Departments. She has also served as Director of Statewide Services and Director of Volunteer Services for the department.
Matthew C. Lucas (BS ’95) was appointed to the Second District Court of Appeal by Florida Governor Rick Scott in early 2015. He had previously served as a circuit judge for the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit in Tampa.
Doreen Spadorcia (MA ’84), vice chair of The Travelers Companies, is one of three FSU graduates to be named to Insurance Business America magazine’s Hot 100 list for 2015. This annual list recognizes 100 people who proved to be power players and innovators in the insurance industry over the year.
Melissa Zornitta (MS ’98) was named the next Executive Director of the Hillsborough County City-County Planning Commission on November 3, 2014. She is set to take the position February 1, 2015. She has more than 16 years of experience working with urban and regional planning programs in Florida. As of Fall 2014, she also held the post of president of the Florida Chapter of the American Planning Association, a professional organization of more than 2,200 planners statewide.
Bobby Powell (MS ’06) was re-elected to the Florida House of Representatives in District 88, November 4, 2014. He has been the representative from the district, which stretches from Palm Beach Shores to Delray Beach in eastern Palm Beach County, since 2012.
Larry Hogan (Political Science, ’78) was elected Governor of Maryland, November 4, 2014. He is the second college alum to hold that office, after Parris Glendenning, who was the state’s governor from 1995 to 2003. In 1967, Gov. Glendenning became the youngest student to earn a Ph.D. in political science in FSU history.
Alena King Lawson (BS,’77) has been honored by the City of Newberry, FL, after serving as a city commissioner for nearly 13 years. A resolution was passed in September 2014 designating the computer lab at the Newberry Community Center in her name.
Lanis (Lanny) Pinchuk (BS, ’59) received an honorary Doctor of Science degree in recognition of his decades of service to the University of Colorado Boulder at the school’s commencement, May 9, 2014. He was the first director of engineering development and a former assistant dean and director of alumni and corporate relations for the College of Engineering and Applied Science at UCB.
Keith Houck (MS’77)) received the Distinguished Service Award from the Southern Association for College and University Business Officers (SACUBO) region for meritorious service to higher education in the field of business and financial management.
Carisa Champion-Lippmann (’08), Jacob Cremer (’10), Christopher LaPrade (’07), and Hoyt L. Prindle (’07) have been named to the 2014 class of Thirty Under 30 Award winners in recognition of their outstanding accomplishments and significant contributions to their professions, communities, or FSU. Carisa is currently a student at Nova Southeastern University; Jacob is with the Tampa law firm of Smolker Bartlett Schlosser Loeb & Hinds; Christopher is manager of global affairs for the Society for Neuroscience; and Hoyt is assistant vice president of the Florida Business Development Corporation.
Donald M. McCathran (BS ’94), former supervisor of the State Attorney’s Office in Brooksville, Fla., has been named by Gov. Rick Scott as Hernando County judge. He began his legal career in 1997 as an assistant state attorney in the 5th Circuit. He received his bachelor’s degree from Florida State University and his law degree from St. Thomas University. He is a certified legal instructor for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and serves as vice chairman of the 5th Circuit’s Florida Bar Grievance Committee.
Barbara C. Willis (BA ’93, MPA ’96) and Gigi Rollini (MPA ’03) were named among Tallahassee’s “25 Women to Know” by the Tallahassee Democrat in recognition of their professional, service, leadership and community accomplishments in conjunction with Women’s History Month, March 2014. Ms. Willis is an assistant superintendent for Leon County Schools, oversees human resources for the district, plays a role in planning policies and procedures and is involved with the Foundation for Leon County Schools. Ms. Rollini practices appellate and administrative law. She has been named a “Super Lawyer” in appellate law by Florida Super Lawyers magazine, one of Florida’s Top 40 Litigators Under 40 by the American Society of Legal Advocates, and the Most Productive Young Lawyer in Florida by The Florida Bar’s Young Lawyers Division. She currently serves as Florida’s delegate to the National Association of Women Lawyers and founded the Tallahassee Professional Women’s Exchange and the Florida Association for Women Lawyers’s Advancement Project to cultivate women leaders. She serves on the Executive Leadership Board for America’s Second Harvest of the Big Bend and provides pro bono legal representation for Second Harvest, Legal Services of North Florida, and persons with disabilities.
Bruce Blackwell (’68) was one of four FSU alumni honored with Circle of Gold awards on April 12, 2014. The award is given to FSU alumni and friends who, through their service and achievements, personify the university’s tradition of excellence. FSU Alumni Association National Board of Directors Chair Gordon Sprague presided over the ceremony, which preceded the FSU football Spring Game. Bruce is a partner in the firm of King, Blackwell, Zehnder, & Wermuth, P.A., Orlando, Fla., and has been honored for his extensive pro bono work. In June 2014, he was named executive director of the Florida Bar Foundation.
Sam McCall (MPA ’87, Ph.D. ’09) was inducted into the American Hall of Distinguished Audit Practitioners on March 25, 2014 by the North American Board of the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA). He is a recent National President for the Association of Government Accountants and currently a member of the Federal Accounting Standards Advisory board which sets accounting standards for the federal government. In addition, Mr. McCall is the current Chief Audit Officer for Florida State University and has been nationally recognized on multiple occasions for his contributions to the government financial management profession. He is a recipient of the Robert W. King Memorial Award and the Tallahassee Chapter of The IIA’s Lifetime Achievement Award. He was also named as one of the honorees for the American Center for Government Audition Most Influential Professionals in Government Auditing for 2014.
Mark Ellis, our 2013 Distinguished Alumnus and executive director of the International Bar Association, has written a thought-provoking piece for the World Financial Review examining the commitment (or lack of) to international criminal justice. Read it at this link.
Geoff Cottrill (Economics ’85), VP-General Manager of Brand and Segments at Converse, was featured in an article in Advertising Age, March 11, 2014, about his great success in marketing the brand, particularly in social media. The article, the magazine’s first in a series of profiles on notable players in the world of experiential marketing, can be seen at this link.
Lettie J. Bien (BS ’76, Political Science) the 2010-2011 Distinguished Alumna of the College of Social Sciences and Public Policy, was appointed to the Economic Development Authority of Albemarle County, Virginia. A recent graduate of the University of Virginia Sorensen Institute of Political Leadership Program, she is the first woman ever appointed to the state-mandated authority.
William Simonitsch (BA ’93, MA International Affairs ’94), Miami-based partner at the global firm K&L Gates, has been named to the 2014 Lawyers of Color’s Third Annual Power List, a comprehensive catalog of the nation’s most influential minority attorneys. He will be honored on February 26, in Washington, D.C. He is also president of the National Asian Pacific Bar Association, the national association of Asian Pacific American attorneys, judges, law professors and law students, representing the interests of more than 40,000 attorneys and 61 local Asian Pacific American bar associations.
Jillian Weise (’02) has won this year’s James Laughlin Award from the Academy of American Poets for her second book, The Book of Goodbyes. The Academy awards the winning poet a cash prize of $5,000 and purchases copies of the book for distribution to its members. She is to be honored at the Academy’s Poets Forum in New York, October 25, 2013.
Bruce Jacob (’57) was presented the Champion of Indigent Defense Award by the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers at its 56th annual meeting in San Francisco, July 29, 2013. One of his first notable career milestones was arguing the state of Florida’s case before the U.S. Supreme Court in Gideon v. Wainwright (1963), the high court’s landmark decision requiring states to provide counsel in criminal cases to represent defendants who are unable to pay their own attorneys. While Professor Jacob argued on the side of Florida then, in the years since he has become one of the nation’s strongest advocates for the right to effective indigent defense counsel, regularly providing pro bono representation himself. Presently, Bruce Jacob teaches at Stetson University.