Distinguished Alumni Award
Each year at Homecoming, the College of Social Sciences and Public Policy presents its Distinguished Alumni Award for professional achievements, contributions to society, and support of the university.
2020: Jeff Butler
Jeff Butler (B.S. ’95 Interdisciplinary Social Science) has an extensive background as an entrepreneur and senior executive in the healthcare and technology industries.
In 2007, he founded Privia Health and led the company as CEO until May 2017, growing it from a startup in his basement to its current position as one of the nation’s largest tech-enabled physician companies. In 2017, he transitioned to a Board of Directors role, where he continues to support Privia’s leadership team while focusing more time on Elusive Ventures, the venture capital company he launched to work with startups in the healthcare and technology sectors.
Before creating Privia, Jeff was founder and CEO of BroadReach Healthcare, a company focused on building large-scale health delivery networks in emerging markets. In less than five years, he led BroadReach to become a recognized leader in global health. Under his leadership, the company implemented an innovative private-sector HIV/AIDS treatment and disease management program in South Africa and partnered with such organizations as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Harvard University and the United Nations.
Butler, who holds a master’s degree in health administration from the Medical College of Virginia, is a frequent speaker on innovations in the healthcare industry and serves as an advisor and board member to a number of private companies, nonprofits and investment funds.
He lives in the Washington, D.C., area with his wife Jennifer, also an FSU alum, and their two children.
“FSU has been an important foundational mainstay for Jennifer and me,” he said. “Some of our closest friendships today extend from our years in Tallahassee, and many of the lessons we’ve learned about organizations and leadership were first developed through our involvement on campus. While I appreciate the personal recognition in an award like this, I see it more as an opportunity for me to recognize the significant impact FSU has made on our careers and family.”
2020: Jorge Gonzalez
Jorge Gonzalez (B.S. ’87 Political Science, M.S.P. ’89 Urban and Regional Planning) has 31 years of experience in planning and real estate.
He joined the Florida-based real estate development and asset management firm The St. Joe Company in 2002 and has served as its CEO since 2015.
He has served on the Florida State University Board of Trustees since 2018. That same year, he was chosen to be the speaker at the university’s summer commencement ceremonies
He and his wife Pamela, also an FSU alum, live in Walton County, Fla. They have one son, Jake.
A great believer in community service, Jorge has served on the FSU Panama City Campus Development Board and Dean’s Council, the Bay Economic Development Alliance, the Northwest Florida Manufacturers Council, Gulf Coast Regional Medical Center Board of Directors, Panama City Beach Chamber Board of Directors, Florida Chamber Board of Directors, The St. Joe Community Foundation Board of Trustees and Enterprise Florida Board of Directors.
“No individual or company operates in a vacuum; everyone is part of a community or eco-system,” he said. “It is critically important to be engaged in a meaningful way in the community. I am a strong believer in the rising tide lifts all boats. If the community does well, then we all do well. The best way for individuals to have this community-based perspective is for them to start while being a student in college.”
2020: Robert Hummer
Robert Hummer (M.S. ’90, Ph.D. ’93 Sociology) is a distinguished professor of sociology and an acclaimed scholar of population health and mortality patterns and trends in the U.S.
He is the Howard W. Odum Distinguished Professor of Sociology and Fellow of the Carolina Population Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Previously he served as director of the Population Research Center at the University of Texas at Austin and chair of their Department of Sociology. He has been elected to serve as president of the Population Association of America in 2021, the first-ever alumnus of FSU in that role.
Originally from Detroit, he came to FSU for graduate studies at the urging of his future wife, Dawn Garner. A couple of weeks into his first semester, he was asked to serve as research assistant on an infant mortality project in what is now called the Center for Demography and Population Health.
Robert has devoted the last 30 years to trying to understand why the United States has such relatively poor health, compared to other high-income countries around the world, and such wide health disparities by race and ethnicity, gender and socioeconomic status. He credits what he learned at the college about high-level research for his successful academic career.
“The opportunities I was offered and the mentoring I was given during my five years at FSU shaped me into the professional that I became,” he said. “I simply got incredibly lucky when I enrolled at the college and was provided with such fantastic mentoring. I learned from them and have tried to emulate them over the course of my career.”
2020: Angela Riley Santone
Angela Riley Santone (B.S. ’93 Sociology) is a successful executive who is passionate about advocating for and mentoring women.
As the Senior Executive Vice President for Human Resources at AT&T, she oversees the company’s global human resources strategy. Previously, she was the Executive Vice President, Global Chief Human Resources Officer for Turner Broadcasting in Atlanta from 2013 to 2019.
Angela leads a Women of AT&T circle mentoring group. She is also invested in programs that are focused on children, currently serving on the national Board of Governors for the Boys and Girls Clubs of America and previously working with the organizations Cool Girls and Jump Start.
She is a member of the FSU Student Affairs Development Council, the primary fundraising council for the Division of Student Affairs. Each council member helps to maintain relationships with friends and alumni and takes a hand in recognizing student leaders and inducting them into Seminole Torchbearers.
A native of the Florida Panhandle, Angela now lives in Dallas with her husband of 21 years, Mike, and their two sons, Joseph, a rising high school senior planning to apply to FSU, and Andrew, a rising sophomore who she says is “all about FSU football.”
“My education gave me a network and confidence. I learned how to be independent, resilient and tenacious and to trust my instincts. I know that if it wasn’t for my parents, siblings, teachers and friends, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I have been blessed beyond my expectations, and I believe that we all need to give our time and money to help others.”
2019: William Desvousges (M.S. ’74, Ph.D. ’77 Economics), natural resource damage assessment specialist; Joyce Godwin (B.A. ’65 Political Science), philanthropist and corporate/nonprofit/education board member and consultant; Patrick D. Sargent (B.S. ’85 Political Science), commander of the U.S. Army Medical Department Center and School Health Readiness Center of Excellence
2018: Eric Reading (B.S. ’92, M.S. 93 International Affairs): Executive Vice President of Chemonics International development firm
2017: Marshall Cohn (B.S. Economics, Social Sciences ’81): Founder of real estate firm The Dunhill Companies; teaching assistant for online MBA classes at FSU in real estate finance and valuation; sponsor of the university’s annual Real Estate Trends Conference; Florida State University Real Estate Network Award in 2014
2016: Susan MacManus (B.A. Political Science ’68, Ph.D. Political Science ’75): Distinguished Professor, Department of Government and International Affairs, University of South Florida; political expert for state and national media
2015: Ed Moore (M.P.A. Public Administration ’76, Ph.D. Public Administration ’07): President, Independent Colleges and Universities of Florida; former president and CEO, James Madison Institute; former executive director, Broward County Community Mental Health Board; Fulbright SpecialistFlorida Advisory Council for U.S. Global Leadership Coalition
2014: Gordon Gaster (B.S. Economics ’58): Financial consultant, Florida State University Foundation trustee and vice chair, FSU Alumni Association president, founder of the Gordon D. Gaster Endowment Fund supporting the Gus Stavros Center for Economic Education and its Economic Literacy Initiative, 2010 Circle of Gold honoree
2013: Mark Ellis (B.A. Economics ’79): Executive Director of International Bar Association, director of American Bar Association Central European and Eurasian Law Initiative, Fulbright Scholar, media commentator, author
2012: Stephen Lawry (B.S. Political Science ’73, M.S.P. Urban and Regional Planning ’75): Global Practice Lead for Land Tenure and Property Rights at consulting group Development Alternatives, Inc., president Antioch College, associate director for Africa programs at University of Wisconsin Land Tenure Center, director Ford Foundation Office of Management Services
2011: Lettie Bien (B.S. Political Science ’76): Retired U.S. Army Reserve Colonel, Senior Adviser to Iraqi Ministry of Industry and Minerals, South Florida Area Coordinator for Admissions at West Point, recipient of Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star, and the Meritorious Civilian Service Award
2010: Harry Lerner (B.S. Economics ’82, M.S.P. Urban and Regional Planning ’84): President of Maxcy Development Group, Inc., member of Association of Florida Community Developers and Urban Land Institute, City of Jacksonville planner, planning project manager for private firms
2009: Victor Holcomb (B.S. Economics ’76): Senior principal Holcomb & Mayts law firm, trustee Kaul Foundation; and John Holcomb (B.S. Political Science ’77): Partner with Hill, Ward, & Henderson law firm, National President of American Board of Trial Advocates, trustee Kaul Foundation
2008: Clyda S. Rent (B.A. Sociology ’64, M.S. Sociology ’66, Ph.D. Sociology ’68): President Emerita of Mississippi University for Women; and George Rent (Ph.D. Sociology ’68): Associate Provost at Mississippi State University; faculty at University of North Carolina at Charlotte; consultant to U.S. Office of Higher Education, National Science Foundation, and United Family Services
2007: Laird Anderson (B.S. International Affairs ’58): Professor Emeritus of Journalism, School of Communication, American University; retired Colonel, US Army Reserves; reporter for Wall Street Journal, Chicago and Washington bureaus; Tallahassee bureau chief, Miami News and Palm Beach Times; international lecturer U.S. State Department
2006: Thomas M. Culligan (B.S. Political Science ’73, M.P.A. Public Administration ’77), M.S. Public Administration): Executive Vice President of Business Development for Raytheon Company, CEO of Raytheon International, Inc.
2005: Janice Kaminis Platt (B.S. Political Science ’58): Hillsborough County Commissioner
2004: Mark Filteau (M.S.P. Urban and Regional Planning ’76): President, Facilities Division, Johnson Controls
2003: Manuel H. Johnson (M.S. Economics ’75, Ph.D. Economics ’77): Senior Partner Johnson Smick International; Assistant Secretary of the Treasury (1982-86); vice chair Board of Governors of Federal Reserve System (1986-90);
2002: Carl Blackwell (B.S. Education ’58, M.S. Political Science ’59): Interim Chancellor of Florida Board of Education, Associate Vice Chancellor of of Planning and Budgeting of Florida Board of Regents, Associate State Budget Director and Chief of Bureau of Budgeting in Department of Administration
2001: Barbara W. White (Ph.D. Political Science ’86): Dean of School of Social Work,University of Texas (Austin); Associate Dean School of Social Work, Florida State University
2000: Alan Sundberg (B.S. Political Science ’55): Florida Supreme Court Justice 1975-1982, Chief Justice 1980-82.
1999: Arnold Greenfield (B.S. Social Sciences ’58): Investment banker, managing director of Lehman Brothers, Chair of Florida Preservation Advisory Council
1998: Barby Barone (B.S. Political Science ’69, M.S. Political Science ’70): Founder of Biltmore Advisers Inc., strategic investment management and financial planning
1997: Melvin Magidson (B.S. Economics ’48, M.S. Economics ’49): President and CEO of MCM Financial Corp.; and Lynda Keever (B.S. Political Science ’69): Publisher of Florida Trend magazine; board member of Florida Chamber of Commerce, Leroy Collins Center, Florida Education Foundation, Florida Council on Economic Education; Board of Trustees Florida State University and Leadership Florida
1996: Peter F. Romero (M.A. International Affairs ’72): CEO Experior Advisory, U.S. Ambassador to Ecuador, Assistant Secretary of State of Western Hemisphere Affairs Bureau, Chief of Mission for U.S. Embassy in San Salvador
1995: James Ammons (M.S. Political Science ’75, Ph.D. Political Science ’77): President of Florida A&M University, Chancellor of North Carolina Central University
1994: Alan Bayer (M.S. Sociology ’63, Ph.D. Sociology ’65): Professor Emeritus Virgina Tech; and Reuben O’D. Askew (B.S. Public Administration ’51): 37th Governor of Florida (1971-79)
1993: Parris Glendening (B.A. Political Science ’64, M.A. Political Science ’65, Ph.D. Political Science ’67): 59th Governor of Maryland
1992: David Coburn (B.S. Political Science ’73, M.S.P. Urban and Regional Planning ’77): Chief of staff in Florida House and Senate; staff director of Senate Rules Committee, Senate Ways and Means Committee, House Appropriations Committee