The Florida State University Alumni Association welcomed new members from the classes of 1970 and 1971 into the Emeritus Alumni Society during the annual Emeritus Brunch Sunday, Oct. 24. Unable to gather last fall, the association inducted two classes into the Emeritus Alumni Society this Homecoming.
The FSU Alumni Association’s Emeritus Alumni Society Awards recognize worthy individuals who personify the university’s tradition of excellence through their service and achievements. The 2021 honorees were former President John Thrasher, former First Lady Jean Thrasher, Gene Deckerhoff, Bill Durham and the late Wilma Rosenbloom.
Julie Decker, president and CEO of the Alumni Association noted that the new class included veterans and participants of the Center for Academic Retention and Enhancement (CARE) program which provides academic support programming for students who are among the first in their family to attend college.
“It was a pleasure to welcome home the Classes of 1970 and 1971 this weekend”, said Decker. “Our emeritus group gathers throughout the year and supports scholarships for Veterans and the CARE program; celebrating them is always special. Our staff and volunteers were immensely grateful for the opportunity to honor their legacy here at Florida State University.”
The emeritus classes had a full weekend of activities in celebration of their Homecoming. This included a guided bus and walking tour, welcome luncheon, priority seating for the Homecoming parade, as well as the Classes of 1970 and 1971 Induction Brunch and Emeritus Alumni Society Awards Ceremony.
The awards program closed with the hymn to the Garnet and the Gold in remembrance of the late Stella Cottrell, Class of 1971 member, talented pianist, and dedicated volunteer to Florida State.
The Emeritus Alumni Society is a constituency organization of the Alumni Association organized to encourage the continuing interest and participation of those alumni who have reached emeritus status: alumni who graduated from the university 50 or more years ago.
Former President John Thrasher: John Thrasher became the 15th president of Florida State University in November 2014 following a successful career as a state legislator, businessman, lawyer, and lobbyist. As president, Thrasher focused his efforts on elevating FSU’s reputation as a preeminent research institution, leading the university to be recognized as one of the nation’s Top 20 public universities.
Former First Lady Jean Thrasher: With her husband’s selection as Florida State University’s 15th President, Jean enthusiastically embraced the role of First Lady and participated in university activities supporting faculty, students and alumni in their goals and achievements. She was instrumental in raising funds for the Lighthouse Learning Center in Clay County, Florida, and a local nonprofit which raised $1 million to build Quigley House — a center providing crisis intervention and temporary shelter for victims of domestic violence.
Gene Deckerhoff: Gene was named “Voice of the Seminoles” in the summer of 1979, and his first play-by-play broadcast of FSU football was in September when the Seminoles opened the season against Southern Mississippi. He is also the radio play-by-play announcer of the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers, which he has held since 1989.
Bill Durham: As a student at Florida State, Durham first suggested that the Seminoles have a horse and rider on the field for football games while serving on the Homecoming Committee in 1962. He sought and obtained the approval of the Seminole Tribe of Florida for the portrayal of Osceola. The legend officially began at the opening game of the 1978 football season against Oklahoma State.
Wilma Rosenbloom: Wilma and her husband Ben Rosenbloom began their FSU journey in the mid-1980s when their sons were FSU students. Following her husband’s death in 1994, she established an endowed scholarship in the Center for Civic Education and Service in his memory. Each year a student service scholar is awarded the Ben Rosenbloom Memorial Service Scholarship. She became a “permanent volunteer” in the Visitor’s Center, where she accompanied parents and prospective students for campus visits.
The 2022 Emeritus weekend will be held during Homecoming as determined by the FSU football schedule. For more information on upcoming FSU Alumni Association events, visit alumni.fsu.edu/community/events.