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Former Florida Governors, U.S. Senators, College Presidents

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Two Florida Governors and U.S. Senators, two college presidents and five State Supreme Court Chief Justices are among 12 graduates of the University of Florida Levin College of Law who will be inducted posthumously Friday in to a new Heritage of Leadership (HOL) Recognition Society.

Others to be named to the HOL by the school’s Law Center Association (LCA) include a distinguished U.S. District Court Judge and Miami-Dade County civic leader, first chairman of the old Florida Board of Regents, and a member of the Nazi War Crimes Tribunal at Nuremburg.

Induction ceremonies will be part of the law school’s annual Spring Reunion Weekend, with members of 11 of the inductee’s families on hand for the 4 p.m. event in Bruton-Geer Hall. Law school Dean Jon Mills and LCA officials will preside. Space honoring these and all future HOL inductees will be featured in the expanded law school complex on which construction is due to start this December.

“Since our founding more than 90 years ago, many of our more than 17,000 graduates have been among the nation’s leaders in law, business, education and government,” said Mills. “It is time to begin formally and permanently recognizing these outstanding UF law alumni who have done so much for their country, this state and our university.”

First inductees, with year of law school graduation, are:

  • Alto L. Adams, 1921. First UF law graduate to become State Supreme Court Justice (1940), and Chief Justice (1949), and prominent farmer/rancher in St. Lucie County.
  • James C. Adkins Jr., 1938, of Gainesville. Served as assistant attorney general, assistant state attorney, Circuit Court Judge and State Supreme Court Justice (1969-87) / Chief Justice (1974-76).
  • Sidney M. Aronovitz, 1943. U.S. District Court Judge (Southern District of Florida) with distinction,1976-97, and prominent City of Miami and Miami-Dade County government official with multiple honors and awards for service to South Florida religious, educational and health organizations.
  • E. Dixie Beggs Jr., 1931. Received multi-national citations for World War II coordination of Allied battle plans in Italy, was a 50-year civic leader in Pensacola, served as 1947-48 president of Florida Bar, and lead efforts starting in 1939 to codify what are now known as the Florida Statutes.
  • Lawton M. Chiles Jr., 1955. Fourth generation Floridian who served 12 years in the state’s House and Senate, 18 years as a U.S. Senator, and the last eight years of his life as Florida governor. The enlarged UF law library, on which construction will start this December, is to be named in his honor.
  • Harold B. Crosby, 1948. Circuit Court Judge, professor and assistant dean at UF law school, chairman of the Florida Endowment for the Humanities, founding president of University of West Florida and interim and second president of Florida International University.
  • Spessard L. Holland, 1916. Polk County Judge, governor of Florida, U.S. Senator 1946-71, and founded a law firm in the 50s in Bartow that grew and merged to become Holland & Knight LLP, now among 15 largest law firms in world.
  • Baya M. Harrison Jr., 1935. Decorated for actions in leading Japanese-Americans squadron in World War II, Tampa Bay / St. Petersburg civic leader, Florida Bar president and Board of Governors, and helped desegregate State University System as first chairman of old Board of Regents, 1960-64.
  • Frank E. Maloney, 1942. Recognized internationally as water law expert, drafting Florida Water Resources Act of 1972 and Tennessee Water Quality Act of 1971, and served 12 years as UF law dean (30 years on the faculty) leading initiatives in 60s to build Holland Hall Law Center.
  • Stephen C. O’Connell, 1940. Honored college athlete and student leader, 15-year practicing Broward County attorney, served 12 years on State Supreme Court and as Chief Justice in 1967, and lead University of Florida to national prominence during his six-year tenure as its president.
  • Harold “Tom” Sebring, 1928. Head UF football/track/boxing coach while attending law school, Circuit Court Judge, member Nazi War Crimes Tribunal at Nuremburg, 12 years on State Supreme Court and 1951-53 Chief Justice, dean of Stetson University College of Law.
  • Campbell Thornal, 1930. Orlando City Attorney nine years, Orange County Attorney, legislative aide to two governors, 15 years on State Supreme Court and 1965-67 Chief Justice, first chairman Florida Turnpike Authority, member Florida State Road Board, honored by four colleges.

Mills said selection of the 12 was by an appointed committee of UF law alumni headed by Jake Schickel of Jacksonville, with Marybeth McDonald and Judge Patricia Fawsett, Orlando; Andy Hall, Miami; Charles Pillans, Jacksonville; former Supreme Court Chief Justice Ben Overton and E.C. Deeno Kitchen, Tallahassee; Johnson “Buddy” Savary, Sarasota; and Professor Emeritus Roy Hunt of Gainesville.

Plans are for additional inductees to be added each spring.

Additional information and ceremony details:

  • Kelley Wood, Alumni Affairs Office, 352.392.9296 / eMail:
  • Press Note: Advance copies of printed program notes about and photos of each inductee are available by contacting the Communications Office (352.392.9586 or eMail:

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