TUESDAY, AUGUST 26, 2014

Florida State mourns death of Governor Reubin O'D. Askew

Governor Reubin O’Donovan Askew

Governor Reubin O’Donovan Askew.

Florida State University alumnus Reubin O’Donovan Askew — a giant in modern Florida politics — died March 13. He was 85.

"The entire Florida State University family is saddened to learn of Reubin Askew's passing,” said President Eric J. Barron.

“As both a student and alumnus of this institution, he set an inspiring example of leadership and engagement from his service as student body president to that of Florida governor and, finally, as professor and eminent scholar in the school that bears his name. Florida State University and its students will forever be richer because of Reubin Askew's contributions," Barron said.

Askew, who earned a bachelor’s degree in public administration from Florida State in 1951, served as student body president his senior year. He was active in Omicron Delta Kappa, Gold Key, Delta Tau Delta and Alpha Phi Omega.

In 1994, Florida State renamed its School of Public Administration and Policy in his honor. Askew joined its faculty in 1995 as Distinguished Professor of Public Administration and Policy. In 2000, his position was renamed the Reubin O’D. Askew Eminent Scholar Chair in Florida Government and Politics. In addition, he served as senior fellow in the university’s John Scott Dailey Florida Institute of Government and trustee of the LeRoy Collins Institute.

“His reputation is why our faculty members voted unanimously to name our school after our beloved alumnus and friend,” said William Earle Klay, director of the Askew School of Public Administration and Policy.

“The legacy of Reubin Askew's reputation, integrity and inclusiveness in service to others is what we intend to keep passing on to our students for many years to come. This is reflected in our school's mission statement, ‘Promoting Scholarship, Democratic Governance, and Integrity,’” Klay said.

Askew was an extraordinary colleague, said David W. Rasmussen, dean of the College of Social Sciences and Public Policy.

“I have very much appreciated the support Gov. Askew has shown me throughout my tenure as dean. Courses he taught in the Askew School of Public Administration and Policy shaped generations of future state leaders. Students were excited by the Governor’s courses because he brought the course material to life from his personal experience and the state leaders he brought in as guest lecturers.

“He will be missed by the faculty and staff of the college,” Rasmussen said.

Askew was also involved with the Florida State University College of Law.

“Gov. Askew was a brilliant expert and analyst on issues of international trade and finance,” said Donald J. Weidner, dean of the College of Law.

Askew was a United States Trade Representative from 1979-1980, having been invited to the post by then-President Jimmy Carter.

“Furthermore, he was pivotal in the College of Law’s recruitment of our Eminent Scholar in International Law, Fred Abbott. The Governor was extremely proud of bringing Abbott to Florida State,” Weidner said.

“The Governor and Donna Lou enriched the lives of all of us on campus. He will always be the Governor.”

In 2006, the university named its Student Life Building after Askew to recognize his leadership and involvement during his days as a student. In 2012, the Florida State University Alumni Association created the Reubin O’D. Askew Young Alumni Award to be the highest honor given to young alumni.

Askew earned a law degree from the University of Florida in 1956. After serving in the Florida House of Representatives and the Florida Senate, he was elected governor in 1970 and re-elected in 1974, making him the first governor to serve two consecutive, four-year terms. He was asked to deliver the keynote address at the 1972 Democratic Convention and in 1984 became the first Floridian to formally run for the presidency.

Florida State President Emeritus Talbot “Sandy” D’Alemberte, a member of the Florida House of Representatives from 1966-1972, remembered Askew as a man of integrity who was the architect of the ethics program now in Article II, Section 8, of the Florida Constitution.

“When Reubin became governor, Florida was widely regarded as an ethical mess,” said D’Alemberte, referring to the numerous state lawmakers and other elected officials in trouble over ethics. “Reubin came in and straightened it out. He was a model for everyone.”

Askew accomplished his ethics reforms through the first use of the initiative-provision for revising the state constitution. The measure — which was Askew’s idea, drafted under his supervision and passed by him and his staff — called for full and public financial disclosure for all elected constitutional officers and candidates for such offices.

D’Alemberte also called Askew “tenacious” in his fight to modernize the state’s judicial system.

Allan Bense, Chair of the Board of Trustees, was elected to the Florida House of Representatives in 1998 and served as House Speaker from 2004 to 2006.

"Gov. Askew was a true trailblazer, a rare individual who focused not just on doing the right thing, but also motivated others to value the public trust and bring honor to public service," Bense said. "He will remain, in our minds and hearts, truly one of the best governors to have served the state of Florida, an exemplar for the entire country. He was a catalyst for change leading to policies that endorsed gender and racial equality as well as transparency in government affairs. We have all benefited from his leadership, which will inspire future generations. I shall miss my good friend and mentor."

Askew's papers, related to his time serving in the Florida House of Representatives, Florida State Senate and as Governor of Florida, are housed in Florida State University's Claude Pepper Library. Also included in the collection are the personal papers of his wife, Donna Lou Harper Askew.

Read the university's official statement on Askew's passing:

Our entire Florida State University family is deeply saddened by the passing of former Governor Reubin O'D. Askew, a 1951 graduate of Florida State.

Throughout his life, Gov. Askew set an example of leadership, courage and engagement during his term as student body president that never waivered through his two terms as Florida's governor. His service to the state and citizens of Florida continued as he educated generations of students as professor and eminent scholar in the school that bears his name, the Askew School of Public Administration and Policy, and as the Reubin O'D. Askew Eminent Scholar Chair in Florida Government and Politics.

As a scholar, Gov. Askew mentored several generations of students to become future state leaders. Students were inspired by the courses he taught as he brought to life history and public policy through his personal experiences.

As many of Gov. Askew's academic colleagues pointed out, his tenacity during his fight to modernize the state's judicial system was both courageous and groundbreaking.

We will continue to remember Gov. Askew as a man of demonstrative integrity — as the architect of a number of state government reforms including the ethics program now in Article II, Section 8, of the Florida Constitution, which calls for full and public financial disclosure for all elected constitutional officers and candidates.

We will continue to keep in our thoughts his wife, Donna Lou, and his daughter, Angela, and son, Kevin, and we will long remember Gov. Askew as an extraordinary colleague, and most of all, as a friend.

As both a student and alumnus of this institution, he set an inspiring example of leadership and engagement from his service as student body president to that of Florida governor and, finally, as professor and eminent scholar in the school that bears his name. Florida State University and its students will forever be richer because of Reubin Askew's contributions.

Eric J. Barron
President

Governor Askew was a true trailblazer, a rare individual who focused not just on doing the right thing, but also motivated others to value the public trust and bring honor to public service. He will remain, in our minds and hearts, truly one of the best governors to have served the state of Florida, an exemplar for the entire country. He was a catalyst for change leading to policies that endorsed gender and racial equality as well as transparency in government affairs. We have all benefited from his leadership, which will inspire future generations. I shall miss my good friend and mentor.

Allan Bense
Chair, Board of Trustees

I have very much appreciated the support Governor Askew has shown me throughout my tenure as dean. The Governor was an extraordinary colleague. He will be missed by the faculty and staff of the college.

David W. Rasmussen
Dean of the College of Social Sciences and Public Policy

The legacy of Reubin Askew's reputation, integrity and inclusiveness in service to others is what we intend to keep passing on to our students for many years to come. This is reflected in our school's mission statement, 'Promoting Scholarship, Democratic Governance, and Integrity.' His reputation is why our faculty members voted unanimously to name our school after our beloved alumnus and friend.

William Earle Klay
Director of the Askew School of Public Administration and Policy

He was a model for everyone.

Talbot "Sandy" D'Alemberte
Florida State President Emeritus

Governor Askew was a brilliant expert and analyst on issues of international trade and finance. Furthermore, he was pivotal in the College of Law's recruitment of our Eminent Scholar in International Law, Fred Abbott. The Governor was extremely proud of bringing Abbott to Florida State. The Governor and Donna Lou enriched the lives of all of us on campus. He will always be the Governor.

Donald J. Weidner
Dean of the College of Law