Florida State University

College of Social Sciences & Public Policy

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Alum honored for professional achievements

by Keith Warburg, FSU Alumni Association, and COSSPP Communications staff

Cecelia Bonifay

The Florida State University Alumni Association will recognize four FSU alumnae who have “shattered the glass ceiling” in their respective industries during the fifth presentation of The Inspire Awards, held virtually Thursday, March 11.

“We are thrilled to recognize these four women for their professional accomplishments and service to their communities and to Florida State,” said Julie Decker, president and CEO of the FSU Alumni Association. “We invite you to join us for a live panel discussion with our award winners as they share their experiences and lessons learned with attendees.”

One of the 2021 honorees is Cecelia Bonifay, who received her Master of Science in Planning degree from the college in 1976. In addition to her studies in the Department of Urban and Regional Planning, Bonifay holds a B.A. from the College of Arts and Sciences and a J.D. from the College of Law.

In her role as Chair of Land Use and Development Practice at
Akerman, a national law firm, Bonifay helps developers navigate the governmental approval process for their real estate projects. Her professional accolades include recognition in Chambers USA and The Legal 500 as a leading lawyer in land use and zoning.

Bonifay has devoted more than 25 years to her community, holding several leadership positions at the Urban Land Institute and creating the Cecelia Bonifay Moot Court endowed scholarship in the FSU College of Law.

Other nominees include Marion Hargett (B.S. ’93 Communications and Education), J’Tia Hart, Ph.D. (B.S. ’02 Industrial Engineering) and Nan Casper Hillis (B.S. ’76 Marketing and Finance).

This year’s Inspire Awards will be a fully virtual event. A panel discussion featuring the award recipients and moderated by Jacey Hanley, president of the FSU Student Alumni Association, will be streamed remotely at 5:30 p.m. EST, Thursday, March 11, followed by an awards ceremony with remarks from the honorees at 7 p.m. EST. Access links are $5 for students, $10 for Alumni Association members and $15 for nonmembers. The event’s presenting sponsor is The Women for FSU.

The Inspire Award is presented annually to alumnae who have proven to be a mentor to others, who have given time, talents and treasure back to FSU, and who are leaders in their communities.