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Gift Establishes Endowment to Honor Former UF President Criser

Published: February 12th, 2007

Category: News

In a tribute to former University of Florida President Marshall Criser, fellow UF Levin College of Law alumnus Lewis Schott (BA ’43, LLB ’46) of Palm Beach, Fla., has given $600,000 to the university to create a permanent lecture series.

The gift, announced last week, will be used to establish an endowment fund for the series to be named the Marshall M. Criser Distinguished Lecture Series at UF’s Levin College of Law.

“The goal of the speaker series is to host two prestigious national and international speakers annually on topics of particular interest to law students,” said Robert Jerry, dean of the law school.

Criser served as president of UF from 1984 to 1989 and was appointed by then-Gov. Jeb Bush to be a founding member of the newly formed UF Board of Trustees in 2001. He served as chairman of that board until he stepped down in 2003 to become chairman of Scripps Florida Funding Corp., where he served until Dec. 21, 2006.

During his legal career, Criser spent 31 years as an attorney in the Palm Beach law firm of Gunster, Yoakley, Criser & Stewart before coming to UF. After his presidency at UF he practiced law in Jacksonville until he retired as a partner of the national firm McGuireWoods. Criser now resides in Gainesville.

“Marshall Criser has devoted a major part of his life to the University of Florida,” said Schott. “As president, trustee, healthcare advocate, legal counsel, state regent and student he has played many roles. It is an honor to be able to continue his influence at UF by establishing this lecture series in his name.”

Criser earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration from UF in 1949 and his law degree in 1951. He also has served as a trustee for the UF Law Center Association and as president of the Florida Bar. “The outstanding leadership Marshall Criser has shown throughout his career provides an example for the aspirations we want our students to hold,” said Dean Jerry. “In honoring Marshall with the named lecture series, Lewis Schott has also again enhanced the law school in a way that will enrich the academic experience of our students.”

Schott’s gift is eligible for matching funds from the state of Florida’s Major Gifts Trust Fund, which could increase the speaker series endowment to more than $1 million.

A longtime contributor to UF, Schott gave $100,000 to the law school in 2004 to honor his late wife, Marcia Whitney Schott. The two earned law degrees from UF in 1946. The college’s courtyard is named in her honor.

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