FSU faculty honors Seminole Tribe, four others, with Torch awards

The Florida State University Faculty Senate has honored four individuals and The Seminole Tribe of Florida with Torch Awards for their contributions to excellence in FSU’s academic programs.

Faculty Senate President James (Jim) Cobbe presented the awards during the Fall Meeting of the General Faculty.

The 2005 Torch Award honorees, in addition to the Seminole Tribe, include Russell Kropp, Dr. Charlotte Maguire, Sarah Jane Alexander and Beverly Spencer.

The VIRES Torch Award, symbolizing moral, physical and intellectual strength, went to faculty member Russell Kropp. During an outstanding 42-year tenure, he served as a professor of education, an assistant dean for the College of Education, and as the associate vice president for Academic Affairs under the late Provost Gus Turnbull. In that final position, Kropp was recognized for expediting programs that would grow and forever enhance FSU, such as the School of Motion Picture, Television and Recording Arts—better known as the Film School. He also was a prominent member of the Florida Educational Research Association, which named an award in his honor.

Dr. Charlotte Maguire also received a VIRES Torch Award. Though not an official alumna, her dedication to excellence in academics, most notably in the College of Medicine, has left an indelible mark on FSU. A current member of the FSU Foundation’s Board of Trustees, Maguire was the only woman in the 1944 graduating class of the University of Arkansas’ medical school and the first female physician in Orlando. She served as the first female president of the Florida Pediatric Society, as a delegate to the World Health Conference in London, and as Assistant Secretary of Health and Scientific Affairs for the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare. Maguire established a $1 million endowed scholarship fund that provided 23 medical school scholarships and granted two full-tuition scholarships with an additional $130,000. Recently she made an additional $1 million contribution to the FSU College of Medicine to establish a Chair in Geriatric Medicine. In February 2005, the College of Medicine dedicated the Charlotte Edwards Maguire Medical Library in her honor.

The ARTES Award, symbolizing appreciation of aesthetics and the beauty of intellectual pursuits, was presented to Sarah Jane Alexander, a 1958 home economics alumna and a member of both Pi Beta Phi Sorority and FSU’s Flying High Circus. As a homemaker dedicated to her family, she also has actively supported education through her involvement with the Girl Scouts of America and generous contributions to the College of Human Sciences. Alexander served in many capacities during 12 years on the FSU Foundation Board of Trustees and is a lifetime member of the FSU Alumni Association.

Beverly Spencer was honored with one of today’s two MORES Torch Awards, signifying respect for customs, character and tradition. A history major and 1962 alumna who became a teacher upon graduation, Spencer served the university for more than 25 years as a boundary-breaking leader and dedicated volunteer. In 1976, she became a member of the Florida House of Representatives, serving as the first woman legislator from Polk County. Following an 11-year political career, she acted as Assistant Secretary of State at the Florida Department of State. She returned to FSU in 1992 as the first female vice president for University Relations. Spencer also has served on the FSU Foundation Board of Trustees, Alumni Association Board and Seminole Boosters Board. Her continued contributions have benefited campus beautification efforts, academics, athletics and alumni projects. Last March, she was honored with the Distinguished Alumni award.

The second of this year’s MORES Torch Awards—the first to be presented to a group—went to the Seminole Tribe of Florida for the myriad ways it provided the foundation for the traditions, cultures, customs and morality within the FSU academic community. For almost 60 years, since becoming FSU’s official symbol in 1947, the tribe’s history and spirit as an unconquered people have provided guidance and inspiration to FSU students, faculty, friends and supporters. The university honors the bravery, courage, strength and determination of an indomitable people who never surrendered and who persevered to safeguard their heritage and traditions.

Nominations for the Torch Awards are accepted from the entire FSU community and reviewed by the Awards Committee, which recommends candidates to the Faculty Senate Steering Committee for final selection.