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SAMUEL PROCTOR ORAL HISTORY PROGRAM at
the University of Florida
P: I am doing an interview this afternoon in my office here at the Museum of Florida
History with Robert R. Lindgren, and this is Sam Proctor doing the interviewing.
Bob, let me start off by asking you your name.
L: Robert Renold Lindgren.
P: And you were born where?
L: In Muskegon, Michigan.
P: Where is Muskegon, Michigan?
L: It is in western Michigan, along Lake Michigan, not too far from Grand Rapids.
P: When were you born?
L: May 12, 1954.
P: So you have just celebrated a birthday.
L: Forty years.
P: Did it do anything to you? I mean, was that a down day for you?
L: Irreparable psychological damage, but I am recovering.
P: Very quickly. Let us find out a little bit about your family background. Who was your
L: My father is Richard O. Lindgren and he was born in western Michigan as well. His
parents came from Sweden.
P: He was born, however, in the U.S.
L: Yes, that is right, and he was in the retail and wholesale milk business in western
Michigan. He spent his entire career doing that. He and my uncle owned a dairy,
and then he sold to what is now the largest dairy in Michigan and he operated it for
them in the western Michigan area. My mother's name is Zelda I. Lindgren.
P: What is the I?
L: Irene, but her maiden name was Smith.
P: Okay, that is what I wanted to know.
L: I think her great-grandparents came from England and Ireland, and she was also
born in western Michigan. They are both living. My father will be eighty this
summer and my mother seventy-eight.
P: And they are still living in Michigan?
L: They are still in the Muskegon area.
P: Of course, one of the questions I want to find out from you very quickly is what got
you to Florida, but before we do that, let us get some personal [information]. You
are married to whom?
L: Cheryl Ann Knorr
P: When were you married?
L: Cheryl and I were married in June of 1982.
P: She is from where?
L: She grew up in Ocala, was born at Eglin Air Force Base, and she and I met at the
College of Law here. She was a student there at the same time that I was.
P: You had one child?
L: One child. James Richard Knorr Lindgren, born on August 21,1990. And a second
child is due on November 7, 1994.
P: Congratulations, I was not informed, as the University historian, about the second
L: Well, I was getting to that.
P: Where was your early education, elementary, high school?
L: I went to a local elementary school in Muskegon, Glenside, to the Bunker Junior
High School, and then Muskegon Senior High School. I came to the University of
Florida as a freshman in 1972.
P: Why the University of Florida?
L: Several reasons. My family had always vacationed in Florida, [they spent]
Christmas and spring vacations down here, and my older brother, who was ten
years older than I was, was residing in Florida at the time I was in high school. He
was in Fort Lauderdale and then moved to Miami. When my parents gave me a
choice of where I might want to go to school, Florida just seemed to be a great place
to look at. I knew I wanted to do law school eventually, and I thought I might fare
better in terms of getting into law school in Florida, if I did my undergraduate work
here, which is where I thought I was ultimately going to live.
P: Did you know anything about the University of Florida before you arrived?
L: Not a lot about it. My father's lawyer had done some work at the University of
Florida and was a University of Michigan graduate and had known a former law
dean, [Joseph R.] Dick Julin [dean, College of Law, 1971-1980], when Dick was at
Michigan, so he knew about the University of Florida. My father's plant manager
was on the local junior college board in Muskegon [and] the president of that junior
college had been the executive vice-president of Santa Fe Community College
before going to Michigan. This was a man by the name of Chuck Greene. So when
I was looking around [I] found that connection; the man had been here. Although he
was an FSU graduate, he told me the only place to go in Florida was here.
P: You arrived when?
L: September 1972.
P: And tell me about your student life on campus. Where did you live?
L: Well, my first year I lived in Tolbert Hall, and I pledged the Sigma Chi fraternity and
then spent three years, unbelievably now, in the fraternity house, my sophomore,
junior, and senior years.
P: And you survived.
L: Yes. In fact, I had a good experience there. I was very active as a student in
campus activities, student government. I was the student senator from Tolbert area
and then became involved in Tyrie Boyer's campaign for student body president.
Tyrie ultimately was succeeded by a man named Steve Merryday, but between
Boyer and Merryday there was a glitch in the election results being validated. It
ultimately meant that there was an interim president and student body vice
president, and I was the interim student body vice president and then became the
interim student body president for anywhere from a weekend to about three weeks
in May of 1974, and, as a sophomore, I think I was one of the youngest student
body presidents on record.
P: Does that still allow you to have your picture put up in the [Reitz Union]?
L: No, they do not do interim student body presidents up there, so I have never been
formally canonized on the third floor.
P: Who did you say was the one that glitched up things?
L: He was to be succeeded by Steven Merryday. Steve is now a federal judge in
Tampa. Tyrie is a practicing lawyer in Jacksonville.
P: I know Tyrie because he was once in my class.
L: Merryday, ultimately, was allowed to take the position of president of the student
P: What happened to the glitch? Sigma Chi's were not messing things up again, were
L: No. [From] what I can remember about it, Merryday won the election.
P: Fairly and squarely?
L: Yes. His opponents, however, won the senate, or at least controlled the old student
senate, and it was the senate's duty at the time, under the student body constitution,
to validate the election results. There were typical election problems, people
campaigning too close to the polls, and that kind of thing. So the senate, all of a
sudden, took umbrage at what had happened and decided to throw the whole
election out, basically on the partisan basis that their candidate had not won. So the
election got tied up.
In the meantime, Tyrie Boyer had been in the Florida National Guard and had
postponed his active duty throughout his year as student body president, and his
plan was to give up the reins and go into the National Guard, which he was prepared
to do. We were on the quarter system then; quitting school during a term was not
quite as significant a loss to him. He would do his guard duty, which he had put off.
Well, the election got tied up and he was asked to stay on, and he could not. He
A fellow by the name of Richard Cole, now a lawyer in Miami, became president.
The senate elected a new interim student body vice president; that was me. Then
Cole was about in his thirteenth quarter of law school, hanging on just to finish his
term. His plan was to get his term completed, drop out of his courses, [and] finish
his senior paper, which he needed to do. He had all of his coursework completed
two or three quarters before this, but he needed to do this paper. He postponed it
until after the election. So he quit school. So then I became the student body
president, all in the space of about a week.
P: That is great. We have some history on the student elections here on campus that I
had not counted on. Now that you were a spectacular politician, how about an
athlete? Were you in [athletics]?
L: No. I was an athlete in high school, and I came to Florida and never did anything
other than intramural athletics.
P: What kind of a social lion were you? You were a Sigma Chi.
L: I was in a fraternity, so I was active to that extent. Basically, I was in the College of
Business Administration and got my degree in finance. Later in my senior year, I
was elected chief justice of the Student Traffic Court in a campus-wide election. So
I spent my senior year doing that. And I was in Blue Key, and I got involved with a
program nationally, the Center for the Study of the Presidency, and I represented
the University at that. So I had a lot of irons going.
P: What kind of a student were you, Bob?
L: I was a reasonable student, I think [I had] a 3.5 [or] 3.6 [grade point average],
graduated with honors, and I was awarded in the spring of my junior year a
fellowship through Rotary International to study abroad. I ultimately wound up at
Oxford to do a graduate degree in management studies. So I left here in June of
1976, and went to Oxford that fall and spent two years there, and returned here in
September of 1978 to start law school.
P: Let us talk about your sojourn in England at Oxford. Is that not a strange degree to
be getting there, management studies? I thought you did not get anything but
degrees in literature and history.
L: Well, that is true. They started in the mid-1960s a program in management studies,
and at the time I was there it was still a very small program. They accepted ten
post-graduate students a year into] a two-year program, and in my year we
represented seven countries and even the people from the British Isles represented
Scotland, England, and Wales. So we had a lot of diversity in that group.
It was an unusual degree. It was not a very quantitative, business-type degree, it
was much more focused on what I might call a social studies approach to
management. It looked at issues concerning labor relations, a lot of economics, and
organizational behavior. It was a good degree for me, because I had majored in
finance as an undergraduate, so I got a more well-rounded approach in that regard.
Since I have been there, the management program has been expanded and, in
fact, Oxford is in the process of putting in an MBA [Master in Business
Administration] program. Cambridge has put in an MBA program. Sir John
Templeton endowed the management center at Oxford. It is now called the
Templeton College, so it is a program that is much more on the map than when I
was there, although I was a full member of Brasenose College, which is one of the
old colleges, located right on the Radcliffe square where the Radcliffe Camera is.
I had a very, very full experience in the two years I was at Oxford. In fact, one of the
great things that happened to me while I was there is that I met Andrew Banks, a
Rhodes scholar who had attended the University of Florida for three years, and
Andy spent his senior year at Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania where his
father [Samuel Alston Banks] was president. So he and I actually did not meet until
we met one another in Oxford, but we had spent three years as students at the
same University and knew a lot of the same people, and had attended all of the
same football games and concerts.
P: And his father, before he went to Dickinson, had been where?
L: He was a faculty member in the College of Medicine.
P: And also in the Department of Religion.
L: Was he? Okay. He was an ordained minister in the Methodist church.
P: I think he was actually being paid in Arts and Sciences and was the chaplain,
perhaps the first chaplain, at Shands.
L: And I guess he taught some kind of a medical ethics course.
P: He did.
L: Andy and I were there two years. In our second year, Billy Kynes joined us.
P: Who is Billy Kynes?
L: He was a second Rhodes scholar from the University of Florida in the space of two
years, in fact, the last Rhodes scholar that the University produced up until this time.
Billy is the son of [James W.] Jim Kynes, the youngest Attorney General in the state
of Florida [appointed 1964] and a great Gator from the era of the 1950s. He [Jim
Kynes] tragically passed away about five or six years ago with cancer. His father
was an executive with Jim Walter Industries. Billy came over and we had, at that
time then, three University of Florida people in residence at Oxford.
P: What was Kynes's major? What was he studying?
L: He studied religion, and, ultimately, he came back to the United States and went to
a seminary connected with the Evangelical Free Church, and then went back to
Cambridge and got his doctorate in theology.
P: Where is he?
L: He is now the pastor at the National Evangelical Free Church in Annandale, Virginia.
P: And what about Banks?
L: Banks studied politics, philosophy, and economics. He ended up spending three
years in Oxford, and then returned to Harvard law school and got his law degree.
But rather than practice law, he went into the management consulting business with
a firm called Bain and Company in Boston. [He] worked for them for several years,
and then he went on to start up his own firm with a partner, a company that owns
and operates half a dozen independent television stations around the country. And
that is what he is doing presently, still living in the Boston area.
P: Bob, tell me again what degree you carried away from Oxford.
L: An M.Phil., master in philosophy in management studies.
P: And what years were you there?
L: 1976 to 1978.
P: Did you take advantage of your presence there to do some traveling around Britain
and on the continent?
L: Yes. I did a lot of traveling. I was there for the first year as a Rotary fellow which
meant that I had an obligation, which was a great pleasure as it turned out, to travel
around, particularly the Rotary district in which Oxford was located, and speak to
Rotary clubs, which I did with great regularity. I think I spent eight or nine weekends
during that first year in the homes of Rotarians around the district. There were, as I
recall, fifty-six clubs going all the way into the outskirts of London, so I had a great
opportunity to sample the kind of everyday life of the British by virtue of that contact.
But I did a lot of traveling. I was in seven or eight countries in western Europe,
Greece, Israel, and I returned to Paris, I think, three different times during my stay
there. I saw every Shakespearian performance put on at the Royal Shakespeare
Theatre in Stratford, which is near Shakespeare's home, during the two years there,
which, I think, amounted to be about two-thirds of his repertoire.
P: Did you get back to Sweden to see where your roots were?
L: I did not get up to Scandinavia, which is a great regret of mine to this day. I thought
it was too expensive at the time, and, of course, now I certainly cannot afford to go
there, so I did not do that.
P: You come back to the United States, and did you come immediately back to
Gainesville and start law school?
P: So you enter here when?
L: I entered in the fall quarter of 1978.
P: There was never any question but that your plans were to go into law; none of this
work at Oxford had changed you in any way?
L: Well, that is an interesting question because it did not change my plan. I had always
planned to go to the University of Florida College of Law almost from the day that I
applied here early as an undergraduate, and that plan did not waver. I had gone to
Oxford initially for one year on the Rotary [fellowship] and then quickly decided to
stay a second year because I could get a degree, and my father helped me finance
my second year over there. But my plan was to return here to law school.
I came back and found myself in a situation where I was experiencing sort of a
reverse cultural shock. I had greatly enjoyed my undergraduate life at Florida, and
very much enjoyed the experience I had in England. Then, when I came back here
to Gainesville, a lot of my friends were gone, I was in law school, it was a very
different teaching technique from the one-on-one tutorial method I had been used to
in England, the small seminar system that was in place there. As I say, I felt like I
had almost a reverse cultural shock coming back to a place that I thought would be
totally familiar. Of course, it was mostly familiar, but because most of my
contemporaries were by then gone, it was not quite the same place, and I was a
different person. I was doing fine in law school, but I just found myself not enjoying
it, and particularly not, early on, thinking that I would not want to practice law.
L: I guess the experience in England had given me some insight into the idea of doing
P: Going into business?
L: Going into business, going into management. I cannot really put my finger on why I
had that initial reaction, but the person who helped me work through that the most
was Robert Marston, who was president at the time [president, University of Florida,
1974-1984]. I knew Marston from the time when I was an undergraduate here, and,
of course, when I was on my way to England he took a particular interest in me
because of his background as a Rhodes scholar. In fact, one day my first year in
Oxford I was sitting in my room with a friend of mine and I had a knock on my door,
and Dr. Marston was there to say hello. He was visiting Oxford and looked me up,
and there I was.
P: Surprise, surprise.
L: So shortly after I got back and started law school and was feeling these doubts
about whether I was doing the right thing, and in the right place, and so forth, he
asked me to go to lunch. We went to lunch and I told him what I was feeling, and he
responded by saying that this had been a lifelong plan of mine to go to law school,
and I should persevere on that; but at the same time, if I were interested, he would
enjoy having me come over and work in his office, and perhaps I could do that and
go to law school at the same time, and somehow find a way to tolerate law school,
which is what I ended up doing.
P: Were you unhappy with law school, or was it just the fact that you thought your
goals might be different?
L: I think it was a combination of both. I think I was reacting to the fact that my goals
might be different and that I, maybe, had a larger world view than when I had left
Gainesville two years earlier. Particularly in the first year of law school, [with] the
emphasis on very large classes, the Socratic method, and a sort of almost
adversarial relationship with the faculty members, I just found myself thinking that is
not a very good way to learn.
P: You said you were doing fine in law school, what did that mean?
L: Oh, in the first term I think I had a 3.0. I "booked" one of the courses, which [means
I] got the highest grade of the class, so I was doing reasonably well as a student, but
it was not fun. Of course, law school, and particularly the first year, and particularly
the first term of law school, is not supposed to be fun for anyone. Anyone who says
that it is [is] probably not telling you the right story, or that [person] is probably not
doing well, so that, in and of itself, as I look back on it, was not something so
unusual. But I had come from this incredibly rich and fulfilling experience over in
Oxford where I had really felt like I had grown and had a good educational
experience, and I just was not experiencing that when I started law school. So
Marston gave me the offer and I quickly took him up on that.
P: Maybe it was the fact that it was Gainesville, it was the University of Florida, deep
South, redneck, rural, all of those things.
L: Well, I do not think I reacted so much against those things, although they were
certainly different than what I was used to.
P: And Gainesville was not London.
L: Gainesville was not London, that is true, and I had had this very varied and good
experience as an undergraduate. I did a lot of things, and that was appropriate and
reasonable at that time. When I came back, I had no interest in the idea of getting
involved in Florida Blue Key and campus politics and those kinds of things.
P: Seemed like child's play?
L: Not that I did not think that they were significant--I did then, I do now--but I had kind
of moved beyond that, and more importantly, all those people I was with at that time
had moved beyond that too. So I was there, essentially, with a group of people who
were two years younger than me, so I really had very few personal ties.
P: So working in Marston's office filled that gap for you.
L: Yes. It also gave me an outlet to think about some management issues that I had
started thinking about when I was in England. The idea of how do you run a large
enterprise like the University of Florida, and Marston was very open to talking with
me and sharing with me what he was doing and what was happening.
In early 1979 just after I started with the president's office, the legislature passed a
bill that resulted in a lot more authority being given to the universities from the Board
of Regents and other state agencies. I was given the task of developing the
administrative rules which would give us the authority to handle those new
responsibilities, and so that immediately got me out among all the various units and
components of the institution.
P: So you worked with colleges and deans around campus?
L: I worked with the colleges, I worked with IFAS [Institute of Food and Agricultural
Sciences] and with the Health Center, and Shands.
P: Spell out some of the work that you did with these operations on campus.
L: Well, basically, we got legislation which said we would handle our own purchasing
and some of those kinds of things. We had to figure out then, how do we do that,
and whether we needed administrative rules. Prior to that time we did not have a
very large set of administrative rules under which the University was operating by
itself. The Board of Regents had rules, but we did not have similar rules, so we had
to develop a whole administrative rules structure. I worked, at that time, with the
general counsel's office and with the various units, and we came up with a whole
series of administrative rules that ultimately helped us implement what was House
Bill 1689, which, to this day, remains one of the more significant pieces of legislation
in the last twenty years [that had] an impact on the state university system.
P: Did you have an office in Tigert Hall?
L: I actually office in the study right next to the president's office.
P: Where [Steven G.] Steve Wilkerson [vice president for Development and Alumni
Affairs] had a place later on?
L: Before me.
P: Oh, before you.
L: Steve Wilkerson had been in there before me and had left the University and that is
where I was lodged.
P: Did you do the same things that Steve had done?
L: I am not quite sure what Steve had done. It was my understanding that Steve
worked on some ad hoc projects, and I think to that degree I did as well. Yes. I
ultimately did some projects that interfaced with the Foundation and with the office
of development, and I was interested in that area particularly because Dr. Marston
paid such careful attention to fundraising issues.
So, as a result, I spent some time dealing with [William K.] Bill Stone [director of
University development] and J. Ardene Wiggins [vice president for Development and
Alumni Affairs and Executive director of the UF Foundation]. Ultimately [in] 1980
there was an appropriation by the legislature to commit what was then thought to be
half of the money for a second building at the College of Law, $1,500,000, with the
understanding that the college would have to raise the other half in order to build the
building. At the time, the college had a very nominal annual giving program, which it
administered itself, and Bill Stone was asked to hire a major gifts officer to take on
this responsibility. But because the legislature had given us just twenty-two months
in which to raise this money, he asked me to organize a campaign.
P: This is Stone asking you now?
L: Yes. Bill Stone asked me to organize a campaign while he did a search for a full-
time development officer. So I started organizing the campaign and he recruited
John McCarty from Fort Pierce.
P: Before we get into the campaign for the law school, let us go back to your
responsibilities and duties with Marston. In addition to implementing this special
legislation enacted from Tallahassee, what else were you responsible for? Was
Fred [H.] Cantrell [director of university relations], by the way, still in the office?
P: He coordinated what?
L: Fred coordinated the special events that were handled by the president's office.
P: The social things?
L: Graduation, and ground breaking, and official ceremonies and those kinds of things.
P: That was not part of your responsibility, though?
L: No. I was involved to the extent that if there was ever anything that I might do in
those situations, for example, if we had a guest of the president, an honorary degree
recipient, I escorted them while they got to the campus, and did some things as a
P: But nothing as a special kind of an activity, assigned activity.
L: No. As I say, I worked on special projects, I reviewed all of the president's mail and
answered certain pieces of correspondence. [I] almost acted as an ombudsman to
the degree that I would try to track things down if someone had a specific request or
a specific complaint [and] try to find out what was happening and prepare a
response for the president. I attended Board of Regents' meetings with him, and a
lot of what I did was simply attending meetings with Marston and listening to what
was going on and responding to those things. He was very keen to help me gain an
understanding of how the University worked and how his decentralized management
philosophy was being carried out. So as a result, I probably spent more time as a
student of the president of the University of Florida than [doing] what a typical
assistant to the president would do. At the same time, I should add, I was a full-time
P: I was getting ready to ask you about what had happened to your law school career.
L: I was a full-time law student. I dropped down to the minimum number of hours
which was, I think, ten or twelve or nine, I cannot remember exactly now. I
remained a full-time law student throughout my time.
P: And you were graduated on time?
L: I graduated on time; in fact, I spent an extra quarter because of the fact I took fewer
hours. I remained full time throughout, but I took the minimum number of hours.
P: So your job was in the president's office, not in the president's home, none of those
kinds of activities involved you in any way.
P: And when were you graduated from the College of Law?
L: I graduated in June 1981, which would have been the end of the third academic year
after I started.
P: I do not know if they numbered graduates, but if they did, about where would you
L: I was in the top half, probably close to the top third.
P: Okay, it is while you are working for Marston that you come into this fundraising
L: That is right.
P: Selected by Bill Stone?
L: Was I selected by Bill Stone? Yes. As I say, I was working for Marston and I had
gone with Marston on some fundraising trips. I had worked on a project involving
some of the private assets held by the University that were not in the Foundation, so
I made a report about those and ultimately worked with Ardene Wiggins, and the
president, and [William E.] Bill Elmore [vice president for administrative affairs] about
finding where those assets were and getting those transferred. And, as I say, this
legislation in 1980 to provide the appropriation for the second building at the law
school came along, and Bill Stone, with whom I had become friendly, [approached
me]. By this time, after having worked for Marston for a year, I had decided I might
well enjoy higher education administration.
I should just say, parenthetically, earlier in my life I had two great part-time jobs,
summer-type jobs. One was working at my father's dairy delivering milk and ice
cream in the summertime during vacations and so forth. The other was involved
with a man who was the superintendent of schools in my hometown, a man by the
name of Dr. William L. Austin. Austin had a really profound effect on my life in the
sense that he picked me out and had me work with him. He ultimately became
president of the national organization of superintendents, something called the
American Association of School Administrators, AASA. So I got interested in
education starting with him in high school and through my undergraduate years
working for him during my vacations and so forth. So then, fast forwarding up to the
time I was with Marston, somewhat disaffected with the prospect of practicing law, I
started thinking about maybe higher education administration.
P: Here is a third change, a third new set of ideas coming in of your career activity.
You were thinking at one time of perhaps of abandoning law and becoming a
L: [I thought of] going into some sort of business management. I guess I refined that in
terms of thinking rather than [in] business management, maybe it would be in the
area of higher education management. That is what Marston gave me the
opportunity to learn about.
P: And now you are sacrificing yourself entirely for the classroom.
L: I do not know what you mean by that.
P: Well, I mean you are thinking now about becoming a full-time teacher, an academic?
L: No, I never really thought about becoming a teacher or a professor, per se. I will
say a little bit later on that I had arranged to finish my doctorate at Oxford; I guess I
will get to that. Coming back to the situation with Bill Stone and the law school
opportunity, by that time I was thinking about the prospect of working in higher
P: But never as a fundraiser, never as a development officer?
L: Well, no, not specifically until I started thinking about what does somebody do if one
wants to be an administrator in higher education and that somebody is not a faculty
member, so one does not become a dean, nor does one become a provost, nor an
academic vice president? One can go the administrative route.
P: The academic life did not seem to satisfy a need in you?
L: No. It did not.
P: Not then.
L: I greatly respected and admired it, but I did not think that I would be satisfied if I
were to concentrate on being an academic.
P: In other words, you did not see yourself as a professor of law, or a professor of
management, or anything like that?
L: No, at that point I did not.
P: Who was Ardene Wiggins?
L: Ardene Wiggins was the vice president for Development and Alumni Affairs and
executive director of the University of Florida Foundation.
P: Now he had come aboard during the Marston administration?
L: Yes. He was a 1971 graduate of the University and went right into the alumni office.
[He] worked his way up until 1978 or 1979, when Steve Wilkerson, his predecessor,
left to go to Boston University and Ardene was made vice president. At that time Bill
Stone was a development officer on Wilkerson's staff, and he was made director of
P: So he [Bill Stone] and Ardene shared responsibilities?
L: Well, technically, on paper, Bill Stone reported to Ardene Wiggins. The director for
University Development reported to the vice president for Development and Alumni
Affairs. De Facto, Bill Stone reported to Robert Marston and tended to operate
somewhat independently from Ardene Wiggins.
P: Where did William Stone come from? What is his background?
L: He grew up in Chicago, the son of a patent attorney. He went to Harvard for his
undergraduate degree. I do not remember exactly what he did in his early work.
P: So he does not emerge out of the Florida system, he comes in from somewhere
L: Yes. He came to the University of Florida from Hope College. Actually, he started
fundraising at Albion College, in Albion, Michigan, a little liberal arts college, and
then moved over to Hope College in Holland, Michigan. About 1974, the University
[of Florida] was looking to hire one of its first development officers, one of the first
[who would raise money] on behalf of the University, and specifically for the College
of Liberal Arts and Sciences. The dean [of CLAS] was Calvin A. Vanderwerf, who
had been, during the 1960s, president of Hope College. So when this position was
open, and when Bill Stone from Hope College applied, he was hired, and he worked
his way up the development front. We had very few development officers on
campus. Wilkerson was hired, as I recall, in 1970 or 1971. That was when the job
was elevated to vice president for Development and Alumni Affairs. We had an
alumni director at the time and a couple of other staff.
P: Who was the alumni director?
L: I do not know who it was when he was hired. [Donald Walton] Don Poucher
[director of Alumni Affairs] served in that job in the mid-1970s. I do not know when
Don was hired as the alumni director.
P: Where was the development office?
L: It was located on the ground floor of the Reitz Union, and actually, in the basement
of the Reitz Union. It was where the Career Resource Center was located in 1994.
P: You mentioned Bill Elmore; who was he?
L: He was a vice president for administrative affairs.
P: William Elmore?
P: He is deceased now.
L: Yes, he is.
P: You worked with him when you were in Marston's office?
L: Yes, I did. I was given the freedom to sit in when vice presidents met and on budget
hearings, and things like that. Again, both out of a sense that I was representing the
president's office, but at the same time, I was this student who was interested in
management and Dr. Marston had given me entry, and people like [Robert
Armistead] Bob Bryan [vice president for Academic Affairs, Provost, and Interim
President of UF, 1989-1990] and Bill Elmore and others were open to having me
around even when my portfolio might not have included exactly what they were
dealing with at that point in time.
P: Marston was really almost like a father figure to you on the campus, was he not?
L: Well, he was a good mentor, certainly, in that regard.
P: You said that Ardene Wiggins came out of the University [system]. He was a
graduate of the University of Florida?
L: Yes. [He graduated from] Journalism and Communications in 1971, as I recall.
P: Was he not a strange selection as kind of the epitomy of the "good old boy" for
development officer, or was that perhaps a good thing?
L: Well, I was not a party to it at the time.
P: You were not into it yet.
L: It is hard for me to judge how sophisticated our program was at that point. The
University had gone out and hired Steve Wilkerson, who had appropriate credentials
at the time he was hired, to develop a program that was virtually non-existent. Prior
to that time we had a person in charge of development for the University. Fred
Cantrell did some of that.
P: Was Alan Robertson [dean, University Relations and Development] the first?
L: I believe Alan Robertson was the first. [Arthur J.] Buddy Jacobs was put in charge
of that area for a period of time.
P: Well, let me see. I want to get the chronology straight here and then I am going to
jump back into moving you into the development program with the law school. It is
my understanding that Alan Robertson, who later became the president of Santa Fe
Community College here in Gainesville, had been invited to return to Gainesville; he
had been here earlier as a professor in Economics. [He was invited] by Dr. [J.
Wayne] Reitz [president, University of Florida, 1955-1967], so that means that he
came prior to 1967 when Reitz retired. Would he have been the first to your
knowledge in the development office as a full-time development person?
L: Well, I am not sure that he was full-time development. My understanding was that
he was dean of University Relations, or something.
P: That is right. He held that double title. You are right. See, I thought that Buddy
Jacobs worked for him, but I gather from what you are saying that he was there and
then Buddy came in. But go ahead. Start back with Alan.
L: In fundraising, the University had an alumni association that was started in the very
early days of the University in Gainesville.
P: From the very beginning there was an alumni association that even predated the
operation on this campus.
L: In 1906, I think.
P: Well, we opened here in 1906, but the earlier schools also had alumni associations.
L: Well, at some point the alumni association charged dues, and then beyond that
started an annual giving program, and I do not know when that happened.
P: The giving came relatively late after World War II, maybe not until the 1960s, even.
L: The precursor to the University of Florida Foundation was the Florida Endowment
Corporation, which was started in about 1933 or 1934 with a bequest that was
made, and that was a corporation that was actually chartered and operated in
Jacksonville. It was not until the early 1960s that it was reformulated as the
University of Florida Foundation and moved to Gainesville.
P: Now you say there was a bequest in the 1930s. Do you know what it was?
P: Although there were several (for those times) rather substantial gifts that were made
to the University. The American Legion, for instance, gave the University several
thousand dollars to create a chair in Americanism on the campus in the 1930s, even
prior to World War II. And there were other gifts like that. Then after the war, for
instance in 1947, a Mrs. Neff, Senator David Levy Yulee's daughter [David Yulee,
1810-1886, Senator from Florida, 1845-1851, 1855-1861], made a bequest to the
University for the establishment of a lectureship. So I was just wondering if this
corporation, that you say was chartered in the 1930s, was the recipient of those
gifts, or whether there was another piece of machinery here at the University.
L: Well, I think the University itself received gifts.
P: Maybe that is where these earlier gifts came to then.
L: And, in fact, the project I referred to earlier where I looked at assets that had been
contributed to the University, many of those were in the form of stock securities, and
they were not liquidated until very, very recently. Some of those gifts go back thirty
or forty years and before, and they were not ever liquidated, they were just held.
P: I think [J.] Hillis Miller [president, University of Florida, 1948-1954] also had the idea
of developing fundraising for the University, and certainly when they got ready to
build the Century Tower there was money that came in, for instance, from the Davis
L: The Davis brothers [A.D. Davis and J.E. Davis], yes.
P: [They] provided funding for the bells.
L: And I do not know whether they used the mechanism of the Florida Endowment
Corporation, the University of Florida Alumni Association, which at that time was
operating and raising annual gifts, or whether it came directly into the University, into
the State of Florida.
P: You think it was during the 1960s, then, that the Florida Endowment Corporation
became the University of Florida's development office?
L: Well, I think it was when the endowment corporation became the University of
P: I see. You think that might have been during Robertson's period.
L: I think it was about 1963, maybe, and my guess is that it was earlier.
P: Because Robertson does not come until 1967.
P: 1966 or 1967. So there is somebody that predates him, then.
L: Yes. How long was Robertson here?
P: About four years. Well, maybe not even four years. He comes in late 1966 or early
1967, and he then goes out to Santa Fe [Community College] in 1970, so he was
here nearly four years.
L: I am trying to think when Buddy Jacobs came. Buddy Jacobs might well have
worked for Robertson.
P: He did. Robertson told me that Buddy had worked for him, but I thought perhaps
when Robertson left, Buddy may have stepped into that [position].
L: No. Buddy was only here for a year in a job. Now that I think of it, he might have
been called the dean for Development, or something like that.
P: Allright, now Buddy is an attorney.
P: And he lives and works where?
L: Fernandina Beach and Tallahassee. He has offices and residences in both places.
[His full name is] Arthur J. Jacobs, former student body president and now an
P: And a former student of Samuel Proctor.
L: Yes. You are being redundant again.
P: Right. So is [it] Alan [Robertson], and then perhaps Steve Wilkerson?
L: Well, I think Cantrell might have come in there. Cantrell was certainly the
administrator of the Foundation for a period of time.
P: So it is just getting that chronology straightened out. What was Steve Wilkerson's
L: He was a graduate of the University of the South, in Sewanee, [Tennessee] and he
had done fundraising somewhere. I do not remember now where he had been
before he came to Gainesville, but he indeed had a professional development
background. Steve Wilkerson was not hired immediately as a vice president, as I
recall. I think he might have been executive director of the Foundation or something
and then he became vice president for Development and Alumni Affairs. There was
talk, at that time he was hired, of the University undertaking a major campaign.
P: A University-wide campaign?
L: And University-wide campaign. A consultant was hired and brought in.
P: This was while Steve was in charge?
L: This was while Steve was there, or just before he got here. It was definitely while
[Stephen C.] Steve O'Connell was president [University of Florida, 1968-1974].
It seems to me, from what I remember about what I have heard about this, is that a
consultant came in and determined that we had too small a staff and needed to put
more resources into] the development area before we could launch any kind of a
significant campaign. We were also struggling at the time with the distinction
between the alumni program and its annual giving program, and a beefed-up
fundraising program that might come under the aegis of the University of Florida
One of the most significant accomplishments during the Wilkerson-O'Connell era
was the decision to move all proactive fundraising under the mantle of the University
of Florida Foundation. That was including the annual giving program, and leaving
the Alumni Association to what we call friendraising in a sense that the Alumni
Association would not longer try to raise money, but rather simply communicate with
and establish relationships to alumni.
P: And they were really physically apart at the time. I remember the Alumni
Association had offices in what was then the bottom floor of the auditorium.
L: I was not aware of that, but then the programs were integrated under one vice
president. That could well have been at the point when he [Steve Wilkerson] was
made vice president of both.
P: Then Steve comes in under Stephen O'Connell?
L: Yes. He was hired under O'Connell, and I think [Whitfield] Whit Palmer [graduated
1950, Ocala businessman] and Doyle Rogers [graduated 1952, lawyer in Palm
Beach] and others were very key to that decision because they were people who
had been leaders in the alumni association and now were leaders in the Foundation,
and their credibility allowed for that decision to be made.
P: Was the effort to secure the funding for this building, the Florida Museum of Natural
History, the first University-wide fundraising program?
L: Well, it is one of the first University priority-type efforts. I would use the word
campaign, but I do not know exactly how it was described back then. But today we
would call it a campaign.
P: Although earlier than that they had raised funding for the Century Tower, so that
predates the museum by a dozen years.
L: Well, that is why I say it is one of the early [projects]; I would not say it is the first
one of that type.
P: Now, I recall that Wilkerson moved out of his office in the Reitz Union to the office
over in Tigert Hall.
L: Well, I think late during his time at the University of Florida, he was asked to take on
some additional responsibilities by Robert Marston. I think that was a result of a
combination of things, one being that Robert Marston had a need for an executive
assistant, and that is not exactly what Steve did or what I did. But some of those
functions were done. You might recall that when Marston became president in
1974, there was a huge financial crisis in Florida.
P: And throughout the United States.
L: Yes, but it had a particular impact in Florida and he took office at a time when the
University had a severe retrenchment program. As part of the retrenchment
program, he vacated the position that Don Poucher had filled in the president's
office. In fact, I think we can date now when Don Poucher became executive
director of the Alumni Association, because it was when Marston became president
of the University.
P: In 1974.
L: In 1974. Because 1973 to 1974, Don Poucher served as the assistant to the
P: And I think that is when he occupied space over in the auditorium.
L: No. In 1975, he was over in the Reitz Union. In 1973-1974 he was in the office
[located] where Sid Martin is in the president's suite in Tigert. He was executive
assistant to interim-president E.T. York 
P: The reason I made the point that I did was, in terms of the dating, is that the Oral
History Program had to find new space because we had outgrown our space in
Library West. And John [Keith] Mahon [professor of history] and I had our eye on
that space in the auditorium, and by the time we could [move on it], the alumni office
had taken it over and that is when we came here.
L: What you say could be true. The alumni office could have been there from 1973 to
1974. But Poucher was not in the alumni office.
P: Oh, that is right.
L: He was in the president's office. He was assistant to the president under York, who
was the interim president [1973-1974], and it was his [Poucher's] position that
Marston did not fill.
P: I understand.
L: Therefore, it resulted in a lack of support in the president's office that I think
ultimately resulted in Steve Wilkerson's coming over. I think there were a couple of
other factors. Steve may have been a little bored in what he was doing.
P: Steve had his own special problems.
L: Right. And he was also interested in becoming a president of a university sometime
in his life, and I think it was attractive to him to go over there and work at Marston's
P: Why did you think that Marston has been given so much credit for being the
president who did the most for fundraising, for the development on this campus? In
my interviews I have heard that over and over and over again.
L: Well, I think [for] two reasons, primarily. One is that the program moved from
virtually no staff support. I think in 1974, when Marston came, we had Wilkerson,
Bill Stone was just coming on board at that time, [Gerald H.] Gerry Eidson
[development officer for the College of Medicine, J. HIllis Miller Health Center] was
just coming on board in the College of Medicine, and IFAS, I think, had a full-time
development officer. They were the only development types on the campus, and
the Alumni Association had two or three staff members, so that the early growth of
the development program to the extent that we had a professional program, took
place during Marston's ten-year tenure.
P: But we really have to give both Reitz and O'Connell some credit because the
foundations of it began in the 1960s.
L: In the 1960s and the early 1970s, and certainly [part of it was] the development of
the President's Council which started in 1969 or 1970 or 1971 by O'Connell, and he
was the president who began attracting private support. Keep in mind that in the
1960s, presidents of public universities in Florida were not encouraged to raise
money. In fact, I am told that the first president [Charles N. Millican] of the
University of Central Florida in Orlando, which was then called Florida Technological
University, was told by Chester [H.] Ferguson [from Tampa] or whoever the
chairman of the Board of Regents [was] at the time that that person should
specifically not do fundraising, that he was responsible to administer the public
university in Orlando, and he was not to get in the way of the private institutions
such as Rollins [College, Winter Park] which lived off the private support it received
from individuals and corporations in the greater Orlando area.
A couple of other things happened during Marston's time. One is that the State of
Florida adopted the first matching gifts program in 1979. This was also a part of that
legislation that I spoke about earlier that gave so much new responsibility to the
individual institutions. This was the first eminent scholar program whereby a gift of
$600,000 would be matched by a state transfer of $400,000. It was almost unheard
of at the time for a university to get $1,000,000 commitments.
We got, very soon after the passage of that legislation, a commitment from Mr.
Alfred A. McKethan [banker, citrus grower] from Brooksville for a gift which would
become the first eminent scholar of two that he has funded at the University of
Florida in the College of Business Administration. That was such a significant event
that I think Marston's tenure was recognized for that event happening during that
Finally, I would say that Marston himself treated the development operation and
fundraising as a priority both in terms of his time and in terms of the way he
described what he did for this institution. So from that standpoint I think the public
relations effect has stuck, that he was a proactive president in the area of
fundraising. He was, and indeed that is how he is remembered.
P: You said the McKethan chair was the first endowed chair under this program,
because there were earlier endowed chairs at the medical school.
L: Yes, there were.
P: There was the chair that was named for Reitz on money that Harry Prystowsky
[medical doctor, prominent obstetrician and researcher] had gotten.
L: Yes, he received the endowment funds for that chair from the Scaife Foundation out
P: And then I think there was a second chair that came that was named for Harry
L: I think that is true. And then, of course, when O'Connell retired in 1974, Wayne
Reitz undertook an effort to fund a chair in the College of Law in O'Connell's name.
P: Which was only partially successful at that time.
L: Well, we completed the funding for that chair at a level of $750,000. Parenthetically,
it did not qualify for any state matching monies because it had been started in 1974,
well before the program was established in 1979.
P: Bob, it is interesting that the State of Florida, which had not been very progressive in
its support of higher education, would come out with a program like this in 1979. To
whom did you give credit? Who was chancellor? [E. T.] York?
L: York was the chancellor that year. A similar program was in operation in Virginia,
except in Virginia the state matched--then and still--the income from certain types of
endowment gifts, so that if somebody gave $1 million and the income from that was
$50,000, the state would then provide a match of that $50,000 in some formula.
And I am not even sure how it works. The critical difference in what is done in
Florida is that if the donor makes the contribution, the state matches the corpus,
matches the contribution, and actually cuts a check that is transferred to the
Foundation at the respective university, and it is just as if that private donor had
made that entire contribution.
Now, what I remember of that era was that York was the chancellor. [Samuel P.]
Sam Bell III [of Daytona Beach] and [J.] Hyatt Brown [of Ormond Beach] were
among the leadership of the [Florida] House, and the biggest part of that higher
education reform bill came out of the House, the House bill 1689 that year.
P: I understand that [state senator] Jack [D.] Gordon played a pivotal role in the senate.
L: [He] was in the senate and played a pivotal role. [Richard S.] Dick Hodes, I believe,
was a House Representative [from Tampa]. He was a dentist or a doctor.
P: I think he was a dentist.
L: He was also a pivotal person in that discussion. And so was, of course, Robert
Marston himself. Marston, who had come to the University of Florida after a year in
Virginia, was well aware of what was going on at the University of Virginia and was
aware of the need for some kind of a kick start to the fundraising program. We
suffered at the time, and still do to a certain degree, of Florida not having a lot of old
wealth. The old wealth we have in Florida is transplanted wealth from the Northeast
or Midwest, and therefore does not have the relationship with the University of
I think it was Marston's belief that this kind of a matching program would give an
impetus to fundraising that would maybe move us up a generation or so in the
chronology of an institution in terms of fundraising. And I think he was right. I go
back to my comment about Alfred McKethan. He made the gift of $600,000 which
was extraordinarily unusual and that got matched to bring the total up to a million.
That was literally unheard of at that time.
P: The University got a lot of national publicity on that.
L: Right. We certainly did. I have been told by Dr. Marston and others that Jack
Gordon recognized that this program, while it would be in effect for all institutions in
the state university system, would be of special significance to the University of
Florida because we were the oldest and therefore had the oldest alumni who were
established and wealthy, and we were the biggest and therefore had the most
programs for people to support, and we were the best. That was something that
was hard for Gordon to recognize, and therefore, from time to time, this eminent
scholar matching program was known as the "Marston relief bill" or the "University of
Florida relief bill," because it had the effect of allowing us to raise much more money
than we might have otherwise.
P: I want to get back to Bob Lindgren now as a development person. You were telling
me earlier about the effort to raise matching money for the law school. Is that not
your first effort into the development?
P: How did that come about that you became involved in it?
L: Well, as I mentioned earlier, I was working in Dr. Marston's office and had
established relationships around the campus, including in the Foundation with Bill
Stone, the Director of University Development, and Ardene Wiggins. I had at that
time also decided that I might be interested in higher education administration, and
Dr. Marston said that I ought to pay more attention to fundraising. That was an area
that was growing, it was an area of particular interest to him, and so I made a
special point of making those contacts and expressing interest in whatever projects
they might have going.
P: You found no resistance from Wiggins or Stone?
L: No. I do not know that initially they knew quite what to make of me in my position
and so forth. Wiggins, while a vice president of course, was not office in Tigert
Hall, so I did not have the kind of "bumping into" contact that I had with say Elmore
or Bob Bryan or [Arthur C.] Art Sandeen [vice president for Student affairs], whom I
had known as a student, but who was around Tigert, or [Thomas S.] Tom Biggs or
any of the other officers.
P: Tom Biggs was the University attorney?
L: Yes. But they were certainly open to [my learning about fundraising]. In fact, I recall
making a couple of trips with Bill Stone where he went out and called on perspective
donors. He took me along just as a sort of educational experience.
P: So the goal then was to raise a million and a half dollars?
L: Well, that is where I had established those relationships.
P: So you had gone out with Bill Stone and others on fundraising before you ever
L: [Before I became involved] with the law school.
P: You were getting your feet wet.
L: Right. As a part of my service in the president's office and as a part of my
P: And you were doing this with Marston's encouragement, obviously.
L: Yes. So in 1980 the legislature passed the appropriation. They did that,
incidentally, with the tacit approval of Dr. Marston and the law school building was
not at the top of the University's priority list. In fact, it was not in the top group of
priority projects for the PECO [Public Education Capital Outlay] fund from which
monies are appropriated for buildings on university campuses.
As I understand it, a group of University of Florida law alumni, well-placed law
alumni such as Chesterfield Smith [Coral Gables, attorney with Holland and Knight]
and Buddy Jacobs and others, paid a visit to Dr. Marston and strongly encouraged
him to move that project up on the list. I think in the course of that meeting Marston
said he would do so if they would agree to raise half of the money. The gauntlet
P: Did you meet with the group?
L: I was not in that meeting but I heard about that meeting many, many times after that,
and it was not long after that meeting, as I understand it, that Dick Julin stepped
down. I think, in part, Julin recognized that that campaign was going to be a very
difficult campaign for the law school to undertake, given the fact that it had a very
modest annual giving program and not an organized major gift program at all. We
did have the experience of the O'Connell chair, which by that time might have had
four or five hundred thousand. It was well short of its goal.
P: You had not played a role at all in raising funding for the O'Connell chair?
L: Not up until that time.
P: Not yet, but later?
L: I did ultimately. I know there are lots of reasons why Dick Julin ultimately decided to
retire from the deanship, but my understanding was at the time that this campaign
and the amount of energy it would take to do it successfully was a factor in that
decision. Bill Stone came to me at the time. We were going to a staff retreat of his
development office and the Foundation and I was invited to go along.
P: We are in 1979 or 1980?
L: 1980. I was, at that point, going with Bill and his staff as an observer. I was invited
to attend their retreat, without any specific portfolio, but again part of my ongoing
education. I recall riding back from the retreat with Bill and his discussing with me a
couple of positions that he had coming open and the possibility that he might need
some help even before filling those positions. One of them was this campaign in the
College of Law, that had just been announced, if you will, by the Florida legislature.
P: You were hearing about it for the first time, then?
L: Yes. But it was an unusual campaign in that there was not a feasibility study done
and a quiet leadership phase where you go out and test the waters and determine,
"Can this be conducted and how much should our goal be based on what our
leadership and our board members and our other major prospects give?" It was
announced, the legislature set the amount and the time by which it had to be
P: Twenty-two months.
L: It was twenty-two months based on the appropriation they made for this building and
we had to raise the money and get it matched in that period of time.
P: Did that not seem like a pretty impossible thing to do in view of the fact that you had
no background, the University had no real history in this kind of thing? Was Bill
L: I think Bill Stone was reasonably optimistic. Bill Stone was a consummate major-gift
development officer and I think his real game plan was to very seriously go through
the motions of organizing a campaign, but finding a person to give $1,500,000 and
you had twenty-two months to do that, rather than thinking that we were going to
P: Rather than $100 from a lot of people.
L: Right. But, basically, he asked me at that point then to organize this campaign while
he conducted a search for a full-time major-gift development officer.
P: Would this not feel like dumping a real load of hay on your shoulders?
L: Well, it could have if I thought I was going to have the ultimate responsibility for it. I,
at the time, was given the charge to go through the files of the law school and help
him identify donors.
P: You were looking for potential donors.
L: Yes, potential donors, and we were going to organize a committee. [E. L.] Roy Hunt
[professor of law and associate dean] was the interim dean at the time and he was
enthusiastic about the prospect of working on this and committed some time.
P: You were more than a research person, obviously?
L: Oh yes. But that, I think, was the initial thought of what I would do as we started
organizing this, until they hired some outside expert to come in and do this job. So
we then started with the process of recruiting a chairman. In the very early months
of that campaign, Bill Stone was quite involved to the extent that everything I was
doing I was sharing with him and with Roy Hunt, and we were collaborating on the
We asked Steve O'Connell to chair the campaign, and O'Connell passed on it
because he did not feel it was appropriate to do that as long as the O'Connell chair
was not finished. Then, I think we asked one or two others. I cannot rememberwho
that was now, but we ultimately came to the name of John McCarty from Fort Pierce
whose brother had been the governor of the state of Florida, for whom McCarty Hall
P: That is Dan McCarty [governor of Florida, 1953].
L: Yes, Dan McCarty, for whom McCarty Hall was named on our campus; and John
[McCarty] had retired from a small law practice. He was a citrus farmer and had
land holdings but he was not really actively engaged. In fact, he had just lost his
wife, Sis McCarty, so we caught him at a time when he was still recovering from her
P: Did you think you were going to get the million and a half from McCarty?
P: That was not in the game plan at all?
P: He did not have that kind of wealth?
L: I think we thought John had substantial wealth, but I think more importantly we felt
like he was a fellow who had been on the law school board of trustees and therefore
P: And had a name.
L: Yes, and had the time. He, after some period of time, agreed to chair the campaign.
P: Did you then become the central person in it?
L: I cannot remember, Sam, exactly when that happened. It was a period of months
after I started, not many months, maybe two or three. I remember seeing these
candidates come to the campus, and I had an interesting experience in that.
Remember, I am still in law school, still not really enamored with the law school, but
now I am in charge of selling it.
P: You have not gotten the degree yet?
L: No. I was still going to law school, and with Julin's resignation and Hunt assuming
the interim deanship, Julin's office was vacated. Hunt had no interest in being the
full-time dean and did not want to take on any part of that office which would give
anybody the idea that he was angling for that position, so he stayed in his office. So
the dean's office became available. The dean's office actually had a small study
attached to it, so I moved into the study.
P: Do not tell me that they turned a student into the dean's office.
L: I will not say for a minute that I was the dean, but I was in the dean's office, and the
dean's secretary at the time, became my secretary.
P: So you were demoted, then, from Marston's office to a dean's office.
L: That is right. And I moved over there. In fact, I kept my office in Tigert Hall and had
a couple of projects that were still ongoing. I remember going back and forth. I was
still paid out of the president's office, not very much, I might add. I did not give up
the president's office responsibilities until several months laterwhen it became clear
that Bill [Stone] and Roy Hunt and the others were not going to find somebody soon
enough to do this job, and they were pleased. At least they indicated at the time
that they were pleased with what I was doing so far, and [they asked] would I be
interested in staying on.
By this time, it was late 1980; I was in my last year of law school. I think I did not
[attend classes] at all that summer. I think I had worked full time. I think I only went
ten quarters to law school. I cannot remember whether I went ten or nine, now. The
point is, I was in Gainesville working full time on the campaign, and even during the
school year I was a full-time student in name only. I spent most of my time
P: I do not even want to ask how the other students regarded you.
L: Well, by that time, I had met my wife-to-be.
P: You were safe.
L: She was kind enough to take notes for me when I would miss a class here and then.
I was in a bit of an odd situation: working for the law school, being a law student.
At that point a new dean came on board, [Frank T.] Tom Read, in the spring of
1981. I committed at that point to stay on.
P: I can see you and Read getting along very well.
L: Yes. We got along famously. It turned out to be a great situation in that Tom was
interested in external activities. He had a very high degree of confidence in, first,
Roy Hunt, who returned to associate dean activities, and, then, to [Jeffrey E.] Jeff
Lewis [professor of law, dean of the Law School, 1988-1995].
Tom Read had come to us from two other deanships, University of Tulsa and the
University of Indiana at Indianapolis. Indiana University has two law schools, one at
Bloomington and one at Indianapolis, and he was at Indianapolis. He was quite
interested in external activities, and when he came on board I guess we were about
halfway through the campaign in terms of our goal. He was eager to travel and get
out and meet alumni, and campaign, and he really put himself in my hands to
introduce him around the state and country. The campaign was a perfect subject for
him to go in and talk to people about, and he did that very well. One of the early
people that we met was Judge [James D.] Bruton down in Plant City, and Bruton
ultimately made a contribution of $1,200,000 in real estate.
P: That was in land.
L: Yes. Land that he owned that was at an interchange of 1-4, and that was a gift,
ultimately, that resulted in the naming of the new building as Bruton-Geer Hall,
named for the parents of Judge Bruton and his wife Quintila Geer Bruton. So I did,
in fact, graduate in June of 1981 and just continued working.
P: When did you assume the title of Assistant Dean for Development and Alumni
Affairs? Was it at this point upon graduation?
L: No. It was actually, I think, a year later. I was given the title Campaign Coordinator
in the very beginning.
P: Still for the law school, not beyond that?
L: Still for the law school. In 1980 I was called Campaign Coordinator [for] my work in
the campaign. Bill Stone did not want to call me a director because he was hiring
directors and they had experience and they were full time and so forth, so we finally
settled on the name "coordinator" and I carried that title until July 1, 1982, when I
was made an assistant dean in the College of Law, Assistant Dean for Development
and Alumni Affairs.
P: Marston is still in place, of course [until 1984].
L: Yes, but really by the time I graduated from the College of Law, I had pretty much
finished my responsibilities in the president's office.
P: And concentrated more in law.
L: And concentrated fully on this campaign in the College of Law. Of course, it was a
campaign that Marston had a keen interest in and a lot at stake because it was a
project that the legislature had obviously committed to with this matching
component, and it was the first building we had ever raised money for with this
matching idea in mind, so he certainly did not want to fail.
P: Bob, can you take credit for the Bruton gift?
L: Well, I was the lead staff member on the Bruton gift. The actual credit belongs to
Warren Cason [Tampa attorney with Holland and Knight] who had been president of
the Foundation board and had grown up in Plant City and was a very good friend of
Judge Bruton, [and] Tom Read, the dean.
P: As with all big gifts, there are a lot of people involved in it.
L: Yes. Marston, Read, Cason, and I made the proposal to Judge Bruton. Read and I
had visited with Bruton early on, and he told us we would never get any money out
of him and that just made us redouble our efforts to go back, and we ultimately got
the biggest gift.
P: And do not forget the Bruton's were very much into Florida history, particularly Mrs.
L: Mrs. Bruton for whom the library in Plant City is named. She was a wonderful lady.
P: She sent me two copies of her book [Plant City, Its Origin and History (St.
Petersburg: Valkyrie Press, 1977)]. She had forgotten she had sent me one and
then she forwarded the second one.
L: We announced that gift at a Blue Key banquet, and I remember well Judge Bruton
saying that we asked him for a million dollars and he gave us this land that was
worth $1,175,000, I think that was the specific appraisal amount, and that we had
failed to give him his change. He dubbed Marston and Read as "the great
separators," having separated him from his wealth. [Laughter]
P: I gather that you and Bill Stone worked well together, or maybe it was a love-hate
L: Well, we worked very well together, particularly in the early years. I certainly learned
a great deal from Bill. I should say virtually everything I learned in the early days
about fundraising I learned from Bill Stone.
P: But he really, to begin with, had great regard for you, did he not?
L: Yes, I think so.
P: I mean, that was the impression I have always had, that he looked upon you as
being a highly-talented, highly-skilled person.
L: Yes. I really went through a series of one-year appointments there at law school. I
graduated and decided I would stay a year and finish the campaign. We finished the
campaign the next year. Then I decided I would stay on and complete the O'Connell
chair and some other projects in 1982-1983, and we did that. Then I committed to
stay through the end of 1984, which was when the building was going to be finished
and dedicated, but, at the same time, I decided that if I was going to progress in the
area of higher education that I should get my doctorate. I was in a position at the
time where I could spend one more year in residence in Oxford and produce a
dissertation without any further coursework or examinations, and, if the dissertation
was approved, I would earn what they call the D. Phil.
P: A D. Phil?
P: Doctor in Philosophy.
L: In management. So in fall of 1983, I submitted a dissertation proposal to them for
P: To Oxford.
L: Yes. It was accepted, and I then began to make plans to go back to England by
January of 1985. So I then informed Bill Stone and Tom Read that I would be
leaving at the end of 1984.
There was a conflict that developed between the College of Law and Bill Stone's
office in 1983 when he (Stone) desired to have the Law Center Association, a
separate foundation which receives and manages gifts much like the University of
Florida Foundation, reduced in scope. The Law Center Association was started in
the early 1960s, 1960 or 1961, by Frank Maloney, the dean at the time [1958-1970]
who wanted to raise money for the College of Law, and when he inquired, I guess at
the time with the University Alumni Association, he was not given very much
He was certainly ahead of his time as a college on this campus in trying to raise
money, and therefore, he, with a group of lawyers, formed a foundation called the
Law Center Association, Inc. This was before the University of Florida Foundation
was reincorporated as such; it was still the Endowment Corporation located over in
Jacksonville, so it was not in the minds of Maloney and his colleagues at that point
as a good vehicle for the law school.
So the Law Center Association and the law school went along for the 1960s and
early 1970s as a separate foundation. It did not handle the money for the Stephen
O'Connell chair, but it handled, basically, the annual giving money for the law school
and a few larger gifts.
P: And it made the decisions of how the money was to be dispensed.
L: Yes, on behalf of the College of Law.
P: So it had no relationship at that point, with the office of University development, [nor
did this] office determine how the money was going to be spent at all.
L: No. Nor [did] the University of Florida Foundation board.
P: This was all handled by the dean and the officers [of the Law Center Association]?
L: Yes, by the board members and the trustees of that association. In the early 1980s,
Bill Stone determined that that association should be folded into the University of
Florida Foundation. Suffice to say, there developed a conflict at that point between
the dean of the law school, and the Foundation.
P: The dean of the law school and Bill Stone?
L: Yes. The dean, feeling that if a case could be made on a business standard that the
money should be transferred, that would be okay, but to transfer it over simply
because the present situation suggested a lack of control by the University was
unacceptable and would be politically unpalatable to the trustees of the College of
Law, the same trustees who marched into Marston's office and demanded that the
building be placed [near the top of the list of projects to be done].
P: And who were politically important in the state.
L: And very politically important in the state and to this University. There developed
then a schism of some degree.
P: Were you then caught in the middle of this?
L: And I was caught in the middle serving the law school and serving the Foundation
and Bill Stone, and I think that contributed to some estrangement in my relationship
with Bill Stone. There were some other factors. Ultimately, I was named to replace
Bill Stone by Marshall Criser [president, University of Florida, 1985-1989] when Bill
P: But this is after your decision not to go to Oxford?
L: Well, I will cover that. I had planned to go to Oxford and then had given a year's
notice. One of the disagreements between the dean and Bill Stone was whether I
was going to be replaced immediately. I think Bill felt that if I were replaced
immediately, then perhaps the next person he might recapture [for my position,
would show him] more loyalty or something.
I do not know what all of his considerations were. But he basically said--as soon as
I made my announcement in January of 1984 that I was going to be leaving--"Let us
replace this position immediately. Let us start the search and replace it
immediately." Although I [accepted that] there could be some overlap, I also felt that
I was the assistant dean in charge of Development and Alumni Affairs and that
would be my job until I left. He [Bill Stone] felt that maybe I could handle special
projects, or something, and they would hire somebody else [for Development and
This was a point of contention. Of course, Marshall Criser had been named
president in November of 1983. He came to the campus in April of 1984 to be in
residence until he assumed the presidency on September 1, 1984. It was a very
interesting time on campus, because Robert Marston was in the last year, winding
down his presidency, and a lame duck by definition.
P: And purposely too, I think.
L: Quite purposely. But it was certainly accelerated by the presence of his successor
on campus in a little office on the second floor of Tigert Hall.
P: And actually residing on campus in the apartment over the Hub.
L: It was a very interesting transfer of power that occurred much earlier than
September 1. I think one of the areas of concern for Marshall Criser was the
operation of the Foundation. I think he was concerned that some new leadership
take place there and that ultimately resulted in Ardene Wiggins stepping down and
then Bill Stone stepped down.
P: I can see Criser wondering about Ardene and Ardene's personality; Ardene is a
good-old-boy type, but I always wondered why he was willing to let Bill Stone go.
L: Ardene, of course, was in charge of the Foundation that was growing by topsy
during that period of time. The assets were growing each and every year.
P: It was really getting too big for Ardene.
L: It was severely undercapitalized in the sense that the infrastructure, the kind of
professional management support [that was needed], was not in place. I think
Ardene, whether he could do this job today or not, is not even an issue, because he
was operating at a time when he had very little support, and there was not a sense
that we needed to change that until it became such a crisis that, I guess, he was
viewed as part of the problem.
P: Had the development office also moved from Reitz Union?
L: Yes. The Foundation development office had moved over into the Sigma Nu house
and displaced the office of continuing education. The first displacement took place
P: So it was expanding and it needed additional space.
L: It needed additional space, and the development office, the development portion of
the Foundation, was expanding in staff.
P: Now, Ardene is still in place while this move is being made?
L: Well, the move was made in 1980.
P: I see. So they are already in place over there.
L: Yes. That was done in 1980.
P: Now, is this phenomenal growth in staff after Criser comes in, or does it predate
L: Well, the growth in staff started in 1974, but really took off in the late 1970s, 1978-
P: Marston encouraged its expansion.
L: Yes. Bill Stone was very entrepreneurial in terms of his ability to add staff, to work
out deals with various deans and others on campus.
P: And, of course, this legislation, which enabled the state to come in, called for
L: It gave us the impetus to do that, plus we had a couple of state-supported positions
funded in 1979, again, I think as part of this higher education bill. The end result
was that the Foundation had grown significantly on the development side. The
asset management, or what I like to call the banking operation of the Foundation,
had not grown significantly.
P: This is Ardene Wiggins's side?
L: Which was Ardene's principal responsibility. The alumni staff had not grown
significantly. [Growth] was really on the side of the development office.
P: Which is what Stone was involved with. So I still wonder why Criser let Stone go.
L: Well, I am getting to that, [to] my theory. What happened was that the Foundation
was significantly undercapitalized. We were in need of more infrastructure support,
people to do real estate activity, accounting, computing, work that an operation of
our size needed, because every time we hired a new development officer there
came more demands on our research department and our computing department
and our accounting department. And the assets were growing all this time. We
were funding ourselves through a taxing mechanism primarily placed on endowment
funds, which were growing, but the tax was growing faster than the funds were
growing. That was, in turn, creating a lack of support on the campus in certain
quarters. Certain deans, certain key faculty were becoming critical of the
Foundation because their returns were not high enough and they saw this tax
bleeding away what returns they were getting on their endowments.
So that was the kind of environment into which Criser [entered] when he came into
the picture in 1984. I might add that the Foundation board, the structure of the
board, had also not changed. The primary business of the board was carried out
through an executive and finance committee, which was one committee, and it
would hold marathon meetings at which it dealt mostly with the complicated real
estate matters with which the Foundation found itself involved.
P: These are people like Jim Richardson?
L: Jim Richardson [UF faculty member], Warren Cason [Tampa lawyer], Raleigh
Greene [savings and loan executive and lawyer, St. Petersburg], Burke Kibler
[Tampa lawyer] and [William] Billy Dial [lawyer and Sun Bank CEO, Orlando], and
that group. And as a result they were not paying enough attention to the
investments area and the financial area and the other areas, because the real estate
matters were urgent. They were the things we had to act on, or something would
happen. So there was a structural problem.
P: So Ardene leaves because he cannot cope with this kind of situation, presumably.
Maybe he wanted to get out.
L: And Ardene was not in good health at the time, and he left.
P: Of course, it seems to me it was strange to bring somebody like [Richard T.] Dick
Smith [chairperson of pathology, then vice president for advancement] in to take on
the responsibility, at least from the image of a pediatrician coming out of Shands.
L: Well, I will comment on Dick Smith. Dick Smith was a pediatrician, chair of the
Department of Pediatrics, of course, and then chairman of the Department of
Pathology. But Dick Smith is an extraordinary person. He is a physician, he is a
scientist, he is a good business man. He had been in charge of investing the
Clinical Practice Association funds for the College of Medicine for years [and] had
done a terrific job with that. He is a renaissance man.
P: So he was able to move into this?
L: He was able to move into it, and I think what Marshall Criser was looking for at the
time was a person who would be from the campus, who would restore credibility with
the faculty and deans, who looked at the Foundation and felt like it was not
responding to their needs and interests. In fact, Dick Smith had an endowed chair
and had other endowments in his department and was one of the leading critics of
the Foundation and the policies and practices of the Foundation.
He was an exceptional academic administrator. He chaired two departments in the
College of Medicine. The first was pediatrics; he was one of the youngest chairmen
of the Department of Pediatrics in the country when he was hired. Then [he] shifted
over to become chairman of the Department of Pathology. He was clearly one of
the leaders in the Health Center and the College of Medicine. It was an unusual
appointment, but the other thing to keep in mind was that he was given responsibility
to run the Foundation and the alumni program and that is all.
I was hired to become the Director of University Development, and we were
organized structurally the way that Bill Stone and Ardene Wiggins were organized
on a de facto basis. Remember, I said Stone really reported to Marston and did not
report in practice to Wiggins. In fact, the two of them did not really get along, did not
communicate very well, and I think that contributed to some of the problems. We
would hire people before we knew where the budget was for those people and so
forth. Marshall Criser, in effect, made that system permanent. The two conditions
that I had when I accepted the job as director of University Development was that I
would report to the president, and that I would have responsibility for the total
development program because, at the time, IFAS viewed itself as being
P: You are saying that Bill Stone did report directly to the president. I thought that was
one of the things he was unhappy about, that he was not able to report directly to
L: I am saying that he did in action; de facto he did, but he did not on paper. He felt
like he should have that place. You are right. Now, you asked the question earlier
about why Criser let him go. You should ask that question of Marshall Criser.
P: I asked him that question. I also talked to Dick Smith. I have already had interviews
with those gentlemen.
L: Well, my understanding is that Bill Stone went to Marshall Criser with the
expectation that he would be made vice president. For reasons that Marshall Criser
can share with you, he decided not to make him vice president, and that is when he
[Bill Stone] left.
P: I think there was a conflict of personalities there too. [That is what] I gather from
what Criser had to tell me. So that leaves a vacancy now, and you filled that spot.
P: Now, is this where you make the decision about Oxford?
L: Yes. That is when I make that decision. I am asked in June to go to lunch with
P: June of 1984?
L: Yes. Bill Stone came to the staff and told us he was leaving. I do not know how all
that worked in terms of Bill getting his offer to go to Harvard Medical School as their
chief fundraiser, but apparently very soon after he drew the line in the sand with Mr.
Criser, he was able to work that out.
P: I thought he already had that in his pocket. Maybe, I have forgotten. I really do not
L: I do not know either. He could well have. But the point is that he called together the
people reporting to him and said that he was leaving, which came as a great shock
to me. I knew something was up with Ardene, but my expectation was that Bill
would be staying. I had no indication that Bill was going to be leaving. So a week or
so after that meeting Marshall Criser asked me to go to lunch, and at that point
asked me to join his team to head up the development program.
P: You think at that point he had checked you out and was satisfied with your ability to
do what he expected you to do?
L: Presumably he had, yes. It was a position, at that time with my level of experience
and at my age, I probably should have turned down. But I was not smart enough or
experienced enough to know enough to turn it down.
P: Well, was the Oxford thing still standing there?
L: Oh, yes. In fact, I had bought, about three days before that lunch meeting, $6000 or
$7000 worth of English pounds. Cheryl and I had been watching [the exchange
P: If they are still cheap, I will buy some of them off of you now.
L: I just sold them last week. I just sent the letter to sell the last batch of them last
P: Too bad, you see, I was going to give you $1.20.
L: Yes. I would not take it. But I was at about $1.25, or something. I had been
watching the pound and dollar that spring, and, of course, we knew we were going.
We had worked out where we were going to live. Everything had fallen into place for
us. I had made inquiries as to how to buy English pounds.
P: So you did.
L: And I did. Literally, three days later, I get this phone call. So I then went home and
talked with Cheryl. I was actually the acting director for a period of months. It was
October when the permanent job was finally resolved. So I really committed to take
the job with the understanding [that I would be the chief development officer, and all
development people on campus would report to me].
P: Tell me why you decided not to go to Oxford and to take the job, because this is a
major milestone in your life. It is really a watershed decision.
L: As it turns out, it was. I guess at the time, Sam, I thought a couple of things. One
was, I did not think I would give up Oxford forever. In fact, I always thought that was
my ace in the hole. If anything ever happened here, I could still do it. I had my
pounds over there, and away I would go. It was, as you recall, a new president,
[and] there was a lot of excitement and anticipation.
P: And the economy had recovered.
L: Yes. And I thought the job itself was terrific. In fact, I had made one of my early
calls for the law school on Marshall Criser, as a lawyer in his office in Palm Beach,
to provide support for the law building. So I had known him in a very remote way.
P: So you looked forward to working with him?
L: Yes. As you know now from my conversation, I had a high regard for Robert
Marston and a good relationship, but I anticipated having a high regard for Marshall
Criser as president. I thought he was going to be an outstanding president, so there
was that kind of anticipation of joining this team. I felt that the opportunity at [the
University of] Florida in fundraising was terrific. I felt we were just beginning to
realize what our opportunities were as being the oldest and best university. We had
postponed the idea of a campaign, but that clearly was going to come up early.
P: I was going to ask you whether that idea had been revived when you came aboard.
L: The idea had been revived. There had been no work done on it, but Bill Stone had
certainly talked to us about the possibility that when Marshall Criser started we
would do a campaign.
P: Sometime, somehow, somewhere.
L: Right. As I say, I was thirty years old at the time. I was the youngest staff member
of the professional staff. I did not have that much experience--four and a half years
of direct fundraising experience--and I was being given the opportunity to head a
program at a major public university, with what looked like to me to be the resources
in place, to make it work.
P: Cheryl supported you on this?
L: Cheryl was very supportive of it.
P: Were there not some people who thought that it was strange that you would give up
Oxford to become a fundraiser?
L: To do the doctorate [at Oxford]?
P: To give up Oxford, your plan to go there and work.
L: I should also say that by this time in my career, I had really begun focusing on a
career path that might, and I underscore might, ultimately lead me to a place where I
would be competitive for a small college, liberal arts presidency.
P: So you already had that in mind.
L: I had that in mind. In fact, the doctoral dissertation proposal, that I had accepted at
Oxford, was to study a half dozen small college presidents.
P: Would not Oxford have been better preparation? Would not that have looked better
on your resume than development officer, University of Florida?
L: Well, it might have, but I think what ended up happening was I have now spent ten
years as a chief development officer here with a vice president's title for six of those
years. I think at this point in time, while it would be helpful to have a doctorate from
Oxford, I think my work experience makes up for it.
P: As you look at it in 1994, you do not think you made the wrong decision?
L: No, I do not. Because, one never knows, I got to Oxford in for 1985, 1 come back in
1986 and what do I do?
P: You become president of a college.
L: Not at age thirty-one or thirty-two. And I do not think there is any other set of
circumstances that make me the chief development officer at a major university, at
that age, at that point in time, even with a doctorate.
P: Okay. So you become director of University Development in 1984, and you hold
that position for four years.
P: And you are working side by side now with Dick Smith; you are sharing
L: That is right.
P: What were your particular responsibilities? You had only to do with fundraising?
L: I had only to do with fundraising.
P: The alumni office affairs came under Smith?
L: The alumni office came under Smith and the operation of the bank, the Foundation,
P: You brought the money in and he was responsible for it.
L: That is right. But, I hasten to add, I was made secretary of the Foundation and Dick
was very good about including me. We really worked as a team. He was the
executive director and then that title was changed to executive vice president of the
Foundation, but I was sort of his second in command in the Foundation, even
though I did not have a portfolio in the Foundation, per se.
P: So you really wore two hats, in a way.
L: Yes, but the second hat was one that he allowed to happen. Dick kept his lab going
full time in the College of Medicine, so there were times when he was absent.
P: And you ran the office?
L: I was in charge of the office.
P: You made those kinds of decisions that needed to be made.
L: And unlike what I learned about the relationship between our predecessors, Dick
and I got along very well and worked well as a team, and I think we did good work. I
think Dick did a terrific job of doing what he was charged with doing which was
coming in and reviewing the business operation of the Foundation, overhauling it
substantially, putting the operation on a much better financial footing, reorganizing
the board, dividing up that one committee that dealt with every piece of business
into the finance committee, an investment committee, and a real estate committee,
and executive committee. There are really four committees now that do the work of
what one committee did back then. The end result was that I got four years of
additional experience. When Dick resigned to go back to the college full time,
Marshall was comfortable in bringing the three functions, fundraising, alumni affairs,
and the Foundation, under one hat. And in a way, like it really had not been since
[Steven] Wilkerson's day, when there was not an inbred conflict between the [raising
and administration of funds].
P: Well, in Wilkerson's day it was so small.
P: During the four years that you serve as the director of University Development, what
was the expansion under you?
L: Well, I think when I became director we had fifteen or sixteen development officers,
and we got up, during the time of the campaign, to about thirty-five or thirty-six, so
we doubled the size of the development staff.
P: During this four year period we are talking about now, was the capital campaign
L: Well, as I mentioned before, there was an idea that we would do a campaign.
P: And Bill Stone is talking about it a little bit.
L: Yes. I think he certainly introduced the idea to Marshall Criser. One of the
understandings that I had with Marshall Criser when I took the job was that we
would do a campaign. Now, there was nothing done in preparation for that until
really the beginning of 1985. I spent most of 1984 trying to get my arms around this
development program. I mentioned before, one of the understandings that I had
was that the complete program, all the development professionals on campus would
report through to my office. Prior to my time, that had not been the case.
P: Was this true of medicine and IFAS and law, also?
P: Because they had operated so independently.
L: Well, law, interestingly, because I was in that position, was not independent. We
had that independent foundation, but I really, in my role as the chief development
officer for the College of Law, felt like I reported to Bill Stone and to the dean. With
medicine, there was sort of a tacit dual reporting. Of course, Gerry Eidson was
always sort of an independent operator, and then [Michael] Mike Poston [director of
Health Center Development] was hired in over Jerry to build a program for the whole
health science center [J. Hillis Miller Health Center]. That was a joint decision
between [David R.] Challoner [vice president for Health Affairs] and Bill Stone. But
there was a sense of independence there. IFAS was clearly independent. They
attended the Foundation Monday morning staff meetings by courtesy, not by any
sense of obligation.
P: Was the athletic department also separated like IFAS, and were the Gator Boosters
L: At the time, Gator Boosters were separated, but the athletic fundraising was done
through a major-gifts development officer by the name of [Thomas W.] Tom Scott
[development director for Intercollegiate Athletics] who was hired under the joint
reporting between Bill Stone and the athletic director.
P: So that means if somebody like Ben Hill Griffin gave a major gift for athletics, it
would come to the University, to your program, to you?
L: Yes. And more importantly, that would have been coordinated by all of those
parties. Now, that changes in the middle 1980s after I take the position, and I will
share that with you if that is relevant. At the time, when I took the job, IFAS was
independent, medicine was sort of quasi [independent].
P: And IFAS is still independent?
L: Oh, no. That was the understanding, and when Marshall announced my
appointment, he indicated that I had full responsibility.
P: Okay. He is sort of giving you the role over fundraising that he gave to Bob Bryan
over the academic program.
L: Right. And he put that in writing and certainly supported me, but I have got to say
that it was a great challenge in my early tenure to make that into reality.
P: I can see you had to do a major selling job on that one.
L: I spent really my first six months or so getting my arms around the development
program. We had some people leave. Bill took two people with him immediately,
and we were filling some positions.
P: One of them has returned.
L: That is right.
P: Who was he?
L: Carl Moyer. He was Director of Development for the College of Liberal Arts [and
P: And Carl is back now?
L: Yes. He is the Assistant Vice President for the Health Science Center Development.
Those early months were exciting and challenging. Of course, even more so when
put in the context of Marshall just assuming the office and Charley Pell [head football
coach] being fired. The whole NCAA investigation completely absorbed his attention
that first fall, and I was trying to get him out to meet and deal with key donors and
Foundation board members. And the board was itself in a transition with new
P: All this smooth sailing that you had contemplated did not happen.
L: No. Not for a minute.
P: When do you finally get to this capital campaign planning? You come aboard in
1984 and Criser comes aboard in 1984; it has taken you a few months to get used
to things. [Do you get to it in] the summer of 1985?
L: Well, I think really we start the planning in the spring of 1985.
P: Well, how did it come about? You sit down with Marshall and say, "The time has
come," although you said you had a commitment from him when you took on the
L: We had a commitment from him when I took on the job that he was going to do a
P: But you did not know when?
L: Did not know when, did not know what, did not really know what that entailed. I then
went to a national conference on campaigns and got a little better feel for it, and
came back and we organized a staff retreat. I brought in a fellow who had been the
director of development at the University of Illinois, and who had just finished, in
about 1986, their first campaign, a $130 million campaign. This director of
development, incidentally, has a graduate degree from the University of Florida, and
his name is Royster Hedgepeth. He came down for the first staff retreat that I did as
the director in the spring of 1985. He came down and told us what [they did] at
Illinois. At the retreat we started talking about the specifics of a capital campaign.
Royster Hedgepeth worked with our staff, and that was really the time when we
developed an internal group.
P: You were convinced that this could be successful in Florida, were you not?
P: I mean, it was not a matter of selling you, you had been sold on the concept and the
idea that it would work?
L: Yes. I certainly was. So the big task left to us at that point was how to organize it,
how to staff it, how to fund it.
P: Did you find any people on the campus who were saying, "We cannot do this?"
Were you running into any roadblocks, I guess is really the question.
L: Yes. Yes. Oh, sure. There was that [negative] sense in certain quarters.
P: How did Criser feel about it?
L: Well, Criser was very positive about it. As you know, he is not a very demonstrative
person. He did not spend a lot of time talking about it. His attitude was, I have
decided to do it, and let us do it. It will work out.
P: Where did you find people who wondered if this could work? Were there any
specific departments or areas on the campus?
L: I think agriculture was an area where there was still a need to express
independence. As a result, there was opposition to some of the things we were
trying to do to organize a campaign.
P: But even they thought that it could work, probably, that there was enough wealth in
Florida and that the University could separate people from that.
L: Yes. But they were not convinced that the conventional pattern of a five or six-year
campaign [would be a success].
P: So a lot of what you got would have to come from the agricultural interests of the
state, citrus and all of those people.
L: Yes, it would.
P: So they were really vital to the success of this, were they not?
L: They were, but they were very reluctant, particularly in the early days. I do not recall
specific individuals now that were doomsayers, but there were certainly people who
were not wildly enthusiastic about the prospect of a new kind of campaign.
P: But I presume you were able to overcome that fairly early on.
L: Yes. The campaign we constructed started with a process whereby Marshall Criser
recruited leadership to the campaign, [Frederick] Fred Fisher [Clearwater, Florida,
businessman] being the most significant.
P: Who found Fred?
L: Well, Wayne Reitz called on Fred twenty years ago in his office down in Clearwater
and got him re-interested in the University of Florida, got him to join the president's
council again. From that point, his interest grew until in 1982 or 1983, I believe, he
was asked to make the gift to support the School of Accounting which ultimately
became his $6,500,000 gift which ended up naming the School of Accounting. We
approached Fred to be the chairman of the campaign; he was really one of the very
first people we talked to about the campaign.
P: You were really asking him to do a lot, asking anybody to take on that responsibility.
L: He made his gift in the fall of 1985, and we started talking to him at the time that that
gift was coming to fruition. That gift was actually announced at the FSU game in
1985 here in Gainesville. Fred will say, I think, that he was told that we were not
going to accept his gift unless he agreed to be chairman. I think he is exaggerating
a little bit. I think maybe we said we would not publicize his gift, or something to that
effect. We talked to him early on. Of course, we had identified early on people like
Ben Hill Griffin as major prospects for the campaign.
P: And Alfred McKethan again?
L: And [we identified] Alfred McKethan as a major prospect. We determined early on
that they would be good leaders for the campaign.
P: Did you not hire a national firm to come in and manage it?
L: We did. I was just going to mention that. I really should back up and say, we had
Royster Hedgepeth come in in the spring.
P: That was the retreat.
L: Yes. Then a fellow on the development staff by the name of [Jeffery J.] Jeff
Robison, who was the director of Corporate and Foundation Relations, moved up.
P: Where is Jeff now?
L: He is an associate vice president at Ohio University.
P: You were getting ready to give his position here and I interrupted you. You said he
L: In 1985, he moved from Corporate and Foundation Relations to associate director of
Development. He really became my number two person in the early organization of
P: Is this kind of the same role that Paul Robell [assistant vice president for
development] plays today?
L: No, it is different because the staff has grown so much. At that time, I supervised all
of the development officers. Today I supervise a group of people who supervise all
the [development officers].
P: I understand. It has grown too large for one man to handle.
L: Yes. So Jeff headed a small two or three member staff group that started
developing a plan for the campaign. Really, the first thing they did was develop a
description of what a university-wide campaign would be, how it would work, how
long it would take, what it would mean in terms of gift support, what it would cost,
and basically an A through Z explanation of how a university campaign would work.
We first met with Marshall Criser and then we met with Criser and Bryan and some
other key people and made this presentation to them to say, "This is what we are
P: Had anybody yet--you or the organization--determined what the goal was going to
be in dollars? That was too soon?
L: No, it was too soon. I mean, we really had no idea at that point.
P: You had to ascertain what you or somebody thought Florida would be willing to
come up with?
L: Willing to commit to, yes. That is where we get to the point where you were asking
just a minute ago about hiring a national firm. We knew a couple of things. We
knew that we had a staff that was fairly well experienced in fundraising. One of Bill
Stone's principles in hiring people was that they have major-gift fundraising
experience. I was an exception to that as I have described. I came in the back
door. It was not his intention to hire me as a full-time person until that just worked
out. For the most part, the people he hired into the college development positions
and other central development positions were people who had experience.
However, with all of the experience we had on our staff, we really did not have
people who had experience in a large fundraising campaign of this type. That led
me to believe that we really needed to hire a consultant to help us organize a by-
the-book, traditional campaign. We were not going to try to break new grounds or
try new techniques or do something very different. We did not really need to. We
had not done a campaign. We needed to do a campaign, and we ought to do that
with as many tried and true methods as possible.
With that understanding, we wrote a RFP [Request for Proposal] and sent it to the
eight or ten national firms in the country that deal with institutions like this and
fundraising campaigns of this type. We wound up, I think, interviewing five or six of
those firms on campus, and we ultimately brought three of them back for a second
round of interviews when we brought in people like Fred Fisher and Burke Kibler,
who was a president of the Foundation at the time, and key vice presidents and Bob
Bryan and [Kenneth Ray] Tefertiller [vice president for Agricultural Affairs].
P: Key people.
L: Key people on campus, to interview these people. That was a two-prong process in
the sense that we were interviewing those people to decide who we wanted to have
come help us. It was also a great education process for all of us, but particularly
Marshall Criser and particularly Fred Fisher and others. These people came in and
talked about what a big league fundraising campaign process is like. That was just
a good experience for us to have these people who were dealing with comparable
P: None of this scared anybody yet, did it? The work and the scope of it?
L: No. I think we were concerned about the scope and the budget, and whether we
could pull everything together, but I do not think we were ever scared of this
undertaking. We recognized that we were an institution that had the resources to
pull this off.
P: Because it was so mammoth and it was for the first time.
L: But we did not know at that time how big it was going to become, even in terms of
our early working goal. I must say, when the Grenzebach firm, whom we ultimately
hired, (John Grenzebach and Associates from Chicago), told us what we could
raise, [we all thought the figure too high]. That is a firm that does this kind of work
for institutions all over the country, but particularly specializes with public
universities. I think at one time [they] represented six or eight of the Big Ten
P: So you went right to one of the best.
L: So we felt like we were going with one of the best who understood public universities
particularly well. In fact, at the time we hired them, they were working with Penn
State and the University of Kansas, two not dissimilar institutions.
L: They had worked with [University of] Illinois, they had worked with [University of]
Tennessee, they had worked with [University of] Iowa, [and University of] Michigan.
P: So they had worked with state and private [universities].
L: Right. But the point is, they understood big, comprehensive, complicated, politically-
challenging environments. They did a great job of helping educate us. My point I
was going to get to earlier was, when they came in initially after doing a feasibility
study, they went out and interviewed 150 alumni and friends and donors and
administrators and others, and they came back with a preliminary working goal
estimate of $200 million. We were a little shaken at that point.
P: I bet.
L: We felt like that was an ambitious goal. We were raising about $25 million a year
when I came in 1984.
P: Did they break it down and suggest where the money would come from?
L: Well, [when they conducted] the feasibility study, they went out and had
conversations with people like Ben Hill Griffin and others and so they had a sense
as to whether those people would be inclined to give support.
P: Big support.
L: But they were not specific. They really could not be specific based on those
P: I can see that they are not going to tell you that Ben Hill Griffin was going to give you
L: Or even that x-number of people were [going to give specific amounts]. They were
kind of testing. Do we have enough people? And, of course, 150 people are not
enough to make or break that campaign. But they had a sense based on their
experience and dealing with enough of these, of just knowing that if we identify 150
who we feel are the most important people, then they will know whether we are
going to succeed and about at what level, based on those interviews, based on what
we have been doing. Then one of the things that set them apart from the other firms
was that they did a very stringent internal review of our program, then they
recommended some new positions and new structures.
P: Both for development and alumni?
L: They did not go into the alumni program. They were really focusing on our
development and our ability to do a campaign. They did go into the Foundation, into
the areas of our computer, our record keeping, the way we were managing
information, our research area, all the infrastructure areas that bore directly on
fundraising. That was very helpful to us.
It was interesting. It was people like Burke Kibler, who in hiring them said, "You
know, that firm [is] not just going to go out and talk to people. They are going to
come in and see what we need to do internally." Now, as a staff member, you must
understand, I am a little apprehensive about a firm who is going to come in and audit
what I am doing. So that was not my first choice in terms of activities. They were
my first choice in terms of firm, but I was a little concerned that they would come in
and say, "Well, you replace this top layer of people and you will be fine."
Fortunately, they did not do that.
The point is, they did a very good job. They came in 1985, started working for us,
did the feasibility study, went out and visited people, [and] helped us restructure
internally. That is when we were adding people, kind of filling out all of the college
people. We added an additional person in planned giving, and brought in a person
in corporate Foundation relations, moved Jeff [Robison] into the administrative
position, and added people in annual giving.
P: You had a reputation as a hiring agency here.
L: Yes. We hired a lot of people.
P: I am curious; when you employ a consulting firm like this, what is their fee?
L: Per diem. When they did the feasibility study, they did that for a set price, and when
they did the internal audit, they did that for a set price.
P: What were the prices for things like that, $1 million?
L: Oh, no! I am going to guess that they would have cost us in the neighborhood of
$50,000 back then.
P: That is cheap advice.
L: Yes. For that initial piece.
P: I understand, for the first part of it.
L: Then we ultimately had a fellow who worked for Grenzebach, a man by the name of
Richard Hayes, who was assigned to us and came in about four days a month.
P: From Chicago?
L: Yes. He actually lived in Charlotte [North Carolina], but Hayes had been at
[University of North Carolina at] Chapel Hill and several other universities, and was a
real professional. He came in and helped do the early organizing, four to six days a
month, a couple of times a month, he would come in and help us write job
descriptions, do the organizational charts, and set up accounting policies.
P: I am continuing the oral history interview with Robert Lindgren that we started
several days ago. We are back here in the museum office and this is June 17,
1994. Bob, we were talking about the preliminaries of setting up the capital
campaign and you were telling me about the consulting group that you had brought
in and the individuals too to format this kind of thing. How long did this preplanning
L: Well, as I recall, we spent about a year in the planning process that ultimately led to
the decision by the Foundation board, I believe, in November of 1986 to start the
campaign. We spent the year before that time doing a feasibility study and other
kinds of planning for the campaign.
P: When you got a blueprint, how concise was it? Did they tell you that you needed a
chair for this and a chair for that and the various segments with which you would
have to operate?
L: Oh, no. Quite to the contrary. The process of determining the needs for the
campaign was done on campus through the leadership of Robert Bryan, who was a
provost at the time. Then the consultant helped us analyze those needs in order to
help us determine, from a marketing perspective, what we might be able to sell with
some degree of certainty. The process that we initiated with Dr. Bryan resulted in a
wishlist, if you will, of some $800 million to $900 million for the campaign.
P: And this was gathered in what way?
L: This was gathered through each dean and the major area heads including athletics,
the libraries, the museums.
P: And the schools, like the school of forestry?
L: And the schools. The schools really worked through their respective colleges, but all
the colleges [took part].
P: This would have included both IFAS and the Health Center?
L: Yes, and there was a goal for the Health Science Center, specifically the academic
research building. That encompassed more than just the College of Medicine or any
of the other colleges there.
P: So they were talking not only about people and programs, but also bricks and
L: Yes. In fact, virtually every college had a building project in the campaign-needs-
assessment process. Indeed, one of the great challenges for us in those early
stages was figuring out how many buildings we might be able to conceivably find
private support for and then where those buildings should be.
P: Allocated to what discipline?
L: Yes. And which discipline had the ability, if you will, to raise money for a building.
The deans prepared those lists. They went to Dr. Bryan. At the same time, the
Grenzebach firm was doing the feasibility study. They, in that process, interviewed
something on the order of 150 to 175 individuals, including people on campus, but
primarily focusing on 125 to 150 interviews with people off campus, people whom
we had identified for them, who would have been alumni and donors and leaders in
our Foundation and Alumni Association and in the various support groups on
They had found a process, over a long period of time, in working with other
universities, of interviewing this type of group and coming back with a sense about
an institution's ability to raise a large sum of money, and that is certainly what
happened in our case. They interviewed this group and used the collective results
of those interviews as well as an analysis of what we were doing presently in the
fundraising area to ultimately make a recommendation to us on a goal to proceed
with in the campaign.
Those interviews would be one-on-one interviews with the person and a
representative of the Grenzebach firm. They would talk to them about their
interests, about their impressions of the University, their impressions of the
president, of the academic leadership, of the Foundation leadership, and ultimately
they would get to a question that would, they hoped, elicit a response from the
person in terms of their eagerness to make a gift and what the general size of that
gift might be in the campaign.
P: So right from the initial interviews you were already laying the groundwork for
L: Yes. In fact, that is one of the reasons you do a feasibility study, to, in effect, seek
out your 100 top volunteer donor types and start educating them about what is going
P: This also begins to pinpoint who your chairpeople are going to be?
L: Well, it does. In our case we had already focused on Fred Fisher as the general
chairman of the campaign, and we also had been focusing on both Ben Hill Griffin
and Alfred McKethan to serve in an honorary chair capacity.
P: And how about when you begin to move down the scale a little bit, like [William
Allen] Emerson for instance?
L: The interview process did indeed help identify people who would be leaders in the
campaign. Those interviews, I must also say, are confidential interviews conducted
by the firm and with those individuals. So the firm never came to us and said, "We
interviewed Mr. Jones and he indicated he would make a $5 million gift." But they
did have other ways of sending us signals, you know, we ought to spend more time
with Mr. Jones or Mr. Jones is somebody we might want to get involved [in the
campaign] more actively.
P: Or if Mr. Jones was unhappy, this would allow you to correct that problem?
L: Likewise, yes. But they really tended, particularly in the very early stages of our
relationship, to focus on general trends as opposed to individual concerns or
antagonisms or even, as I have mentioned, the case of somebody indicating they
would make a large commitment. They were very ethical in terms of protecting that
P: Bob, how did Bryan present the wish list to you, and were you appalled at the
hugeness of it?
L: No, I was not appalled by it. When we gathered the information--and as I recall that
was a joint effort between his office and my office--we had some sense that the
numbers were going to be excessive. What one must keep in mind is that this
University had never undertaken this kind of exercise. We basically went to each of
the units and said, "If you were going to raise money privately, for what would you
like to raise that money," and did not really put, in the initial process, any sort of
restraint on the deans or any other of the officers in terms of how much they could
be focusing on at that point. That came later in the process, obviously, as we then
took a look at each unit and the prospects, the identified, major-gift prospects, for
each unit, and tried to develop an estimate on what they would ultimately be able to
P: What was the dollar goal that you first set?
L: I think privately we started out with a University goal that would be somewhere
between $100 million and $200 million. I think, at the time, we were raising about
$30 million a year.
P: You were looking for new dollars.
L: We were looking for new dollars and, ultimately, we started with a working goal of
P: In your heart, did you think you were going to be able to achieve that goal?
L: I guess I did.
P: You were not skeptical?
L: No. I was concerned. I did not think it would be an easy proposition by any stretch
of the imagination, but I was confident that we were going to achieve some larger
goal than what we had been doing up to that point, and also [achieve] a more
focused set of priorities. If I did not say it earlier, there were really two reasons to do
a campaign. One was to, in a sense, focus your fundraising process to where you
are looking at larger commitments from people, including what we call ultimate gifts,
people who are making "once in a lifetime" type contributions. And also as a part of
that process, ultimately trying to make an appeal to everyone to be part of a
But the other very important and maybe even equally important reason for doing a
campaign is that it forces an institution to set private support priorities. That was,
quite simply, something the University of Florida had never done. We had
developed a pretty good major-gift program, particularly for the age and maturity of
the fundraising program of the University of Florida, but we were still very much in
the mode of looking for a big gift first and worrying about its purpose second. The
campaign gave us the ability to identify what we would want a big gift for and then
attempt to sell it to a specific donor or donor group on the basis of having that need.
Now, ultimately, the donor determines how the money will be used, and we did
raise a lot of major gifts in the campaign for purposes other than the stated
objectives of the campaign. But the fact remains, I think we fulfilled many more
stated objectives than had we not had a campaign, and particularly had we not
identified those goals.
P: Bob, I know that the size of the campaign was one of the major things that made it
different from what you had done in the past. In what other ways was this other
capital campaign different than anything else that had been attempted here? Was
the audience larger?
L: Yes. I think it gave the University the confidence to go to certain individuals and
institutions that we might not have approached before because we had a defined
program, if you will, through the campaign. The most significant difference in terms
of our fundraising process was the extensive use of volunteers. Prior to the
campaign, the University, again as I mentioned before, was known as a pretty good
major-gift program, but we were almost solely staff-driven, in the sense that the
fundraising activities, the identification, the cultivation, the solicitation, and follow-up
activities, were almost always exclusively done by fundraising staff in connection
with a dean or with the president.
P: The traditional way of doing it.
L: Well, it was traditional here. It was not traditional in the sense of the old mainline
university development programs across the country, particularly in the private
sector which depended heavily on their boards of trustees to assist in private
P: Are you not back, though, in the old mode here of going to a donor for x-number of
dollars to rehab a building, or to set up a specific scholarship, or to fund a chair, that
is already planned or already hoped for?
L: I do not understand your question.
P: I mean, once again, are you not selecting what you want to do, rehab Flint Hall, and
then going out and finding somebody who will put up the dollars to do that rather
than going to Mr. Jones and say, "Will you give us $100,000," without a particular
project in mind?
L: Well, we never really much went to people asking for $100,000 without a project.
P: In the capital campaign you did not do that either?
L: No. At those levels of gifts, you still have to have a purpose.
P: A goal.
L: An idea in mind. The distinction in terms of selling priorities was in the old days we
might recognize that Mr. Jones had a lot of money, had great capacity, and so our
initial thought was then, "Well, what would Mr. Jones be interested in doing?" Our
dear friend Wayne Reitz used to accuse us of going out and looking for endowed
chairs in "zymology" which he described as "the study of nothing," but we would be
interested because if somebody had money, we would do a chair in zymology.
P: Even if you had to create the science.
L: The discipline, right. And the process of the campaign was no longer to simply find
out that Mr. Jones was interested in zymology so let us go after him for that
purpose, but rather to say we have a program in this area and we think Mr. Jones
may have an interest. Let us go talk to him about our existing program and priority.
It is a subtle difference, but the end result is that you are attempting to match up the
donor's interest with your stated priorities which are stated before you go see the
donor. In other words, you do not go see the donor, find out they are interested in
zymology, and then go back to campus and cook up a center for zymology studies
and take it back out to the donor and say, "Please fund this," when three days earlier
the dean would not have had any interest in that center, and the center would have
to be cooked up.
P: Did not this capital campaign focus, to a greater degree than ever before, on the so
called "small donor" also, faculty, for instance?
L: Well, we did a faculty campaign that was much less successful than what we had
hoped for, which was simply a result of the fact that we went for, initially, a faculty
club. We were going to renovate the Women's Gymnasium to house a faculty club
and determine that we needed $1,500,000 for that renovation. When we started the
faculty campaign, we pulled together a steering committee that was chaired by
Larry and June Hench [Larry Leroy Hench, professor of materials, science and
engineering] and had a number of outstanding representatives from around the
campus serving on that committee, and that group determined that the faculty club
would be the best priority with which to approach the faculty.
We got things organized, and identified in each college the potential major donors of
the faculty, and started that process. We found out in the course of that process
that there just was not enough support for a faculty club and for the faculty to pay for
the renovation of this building. Now we also had to find out what the parameters
might be in terms of how a faculty club might work, and what the dues might be, and
how many menu selections there would be, and a lot of detail that got us far afield
from raising money; but yet they were relevant to the issue of having a faculty club,
and whether it would be feasible, and whether it would work even after we got it
So the end result was, that it just did not work. We gave it a good run, but it just did
not work. So then we reorganized and ultimately went to the faculty with the [new]
first choice, a campus-wide minority scholarship fund. [Moreover], each individual
college or unit also could identify their top priority from faculty. But that, coupled
with lower faculty raises, by the time the campaign was winding down, resulted in
the faculty not being as participative as we would have otherwise liked or even
P: Would you classify that as one of the major weaknesses of this capital campaign in
totalling up the results?
L: Yes, I would. Now, when you analyze the results of the campaign, you will see that
we wound up with a very generous amount that had come from faculty sources, in
part due to commitments from individuals like Manning [Julian] Dauer [distinguished
service professor of political science], who passed away during the campaign and
we were the principal beneficiary of his estate. So that was a million-dollar- plus gift
that helped us.
P: But just on an individual by individual [basis] it was not a very successful [part of the
L: That is right.
P: Much less so than with alumni, for instance?
L: Well, much less so in terms of the gross dollars. I do not recall offhand what our
participation rate was with faculty. You assume a much higher participation rate with
faculty than you do with alumni.
P: Why do you think that the faculty, even long-term faculty, seemed to be so
disinterested in something like this capital campaign and fundraising and giving to
the University? Have you not sold the program effectively?
L: Well, I think in the context of the capital campaign, the reason that we were as
unsuccessful as we were relates to the issue involving the faculty club and how we
stopped and started and lost all momentum for the campaign. By the time we went
to solicit the faculty, we were in the later stages of the campaign, whereas the
textbook says you should do that in the early stages, when momentum, interest, and
enthusiasm [are high]. You use that as a building block of the campaign.
As it turned out, we did not do that because of that fiasco with the faculty club. I
think that was a major [mistake]. Our timing was bad, our timing vis-a-vis the state
budget and faculty raises was bad, our timing vis-a-vis the fact that the campaign,
by the time we got to the faculty, was very successful in terms of overall results, thus
indicating to the faculty that their support was not as necessary.
P: Once again you are talking about the Manning Dauer gift.
L: No, I am talking about the overall campaign, not just the faculty piece of it. I regret
the fact that the campaign did not work for the faculty because I think we did miss a
opportunity to create greater interest [among the faculty] in fundraising, in the
Foundation, in the benefits of private support, that has been done at other
P: I bring this up, Bob, because, as you know, I am a long-time member of the faculty
and I heard much more during the capital campaign from people not on the campus,
away from the University, who were not alumni at all, who had no particular
connection with the University, than [I heard] from my own colleagues. I never
heard anybody [among the faculty] talking about it, or saying we should do
something, or "I am going to do something about it." It was as though something
was happening 1000 miles away, and I think that has been a continuing problem
and I am just wondering why there is that kind of barrier between the faculty and the
agency that, obviously, is trying to raise money for its own welfare.
L: Well, I guess I would say a couple of things. One is that this varies from college to
college. For example, in the College of Law they had a very high degree of
participation in their scholarship program, that they developed from the faculty.
They were probably the most successful of the faculties in terms of supporting the
campaign or a campaign objective. Now, that might have been in part because five
or six years earlier we had gone to that faculty for the building campaign that I talked
about earlier and there was already a sense of how you do those sorts of things,
and so it was not a universal problem. But I would acknowledge that we have not
been as successful in raising money from faculty or in involving large numbers of
faculty in the fundraising program.
P: Programs. Not only this one, but others, I guess, past and present.
L: Well, that is right. As I say, part of the problem in the campaign was I think we really
felt like we were going to do a great thing vis-a-vis the faculty and it turned out to be
a very modest effort, at best.
P: I am thinking of my own college, Liberal Arts and Sciences, the largest on the
campus, and, at least as I look at it, the least cooperative, or one of the lowest in
terms of cooperation, and yet greatly in need of everything.
P: Buildings, libraries, laboratories, faculty salaries, graduate students, scholarships,
L: Well, of course, we try to involve individual faculty in fundraising, as you know, as
you have been involved with this, and your observation is correct. We probably
have not been as successful and as proactive in that area as we should have been.
P: It is almost as though, and I do not want to prolong this because there is so much
else to discuss, but it is almost as though they look upon the fundraising arm of the
University as perhaps the enemy, or something that they are not a part of, not
interested in. You just do not hear that kind of discussion. But let me get on to
other things. You start out with $100 million to $200 million as your goal. Now, very
quickly you decide that you can achieve that and go beyond that, right?
L: Well, not very quickly. Let me put that in the context of the planning process. I think
we had $100 million to $200 million in our minds at the time we started this process.
When the Grenzebach firm came back with results of their feasibility study, they
recommended a goal of $200 million, and an accounting process that would take
into account all of the gifts that would come into the University during the time of the
campaign, but would not include any sponsored research that might otherwise be
counted as private support in the University totals.
So for example, when I said at the time that the University was raising about $30
million, it was, but about $5 million or $7 million of that would have been sponsored
research. It would have been private support to the University that had been
channeled through sponsored research. So the Foundation's total might have been
$23 million or $25 million.
P: Which was small potatoes by comparison with $200 million.
L: That is right. So even if you multiply that times five, you still are $75 million short.
That was the kind of premium we were looking for.
P: Did you gasp when you saw them come up with the recommendation of $200
L: I was a little nervous about it, yes.
P: A little nervous?
L: A little nervous.
P: You started shaking and about a week later, they calmed you down?
L: No, I figured that these people were professionals and these people were interested
in having a longer-term relationship. In other words, they did not want to just do the
feasibility study and go away, they wanted to continue to consult with us. As such, I
figured they were not going to recommend a goal that was so totally out of the realm
of possibility for us that they would look bad, like we would look bad if we did not
P: When they give you a study like that, do they say, "We think that you can get
seventy-five $1 million gifts?
L: They gave us a gift chart, yes.
P: They do do that.
L: But not based so much on what we would expect based on our own constituency,
but rather based on their experience with similar campaigns in similar institutions. I
think I mentioned earlier this is a firm that had specialized with large, public
universities. In fact, at the same time we were doing our campaign, the consultant
with whom we were working was also working on the campaigns at Kansas
University and Pennsylvania State University, which were similar institutions in terms
of their size and age and type of constituency they were dealing with, and it had
finished campaigns at places like Iowa and Ohio State and Tennessee and Auburn
and Michigan State and Minnesota, other institutions that were public universities
that have a lot of similar characteristics. So consequently, they were able to show
us what the present state of major-gift, capital campaigning was like in this country,
and that is where we really derived the gift table which would say if you had a $200
million campaign you might need x-number gifts of this size and that size. Of
course, things could deviate a little bit, but what it did show was we needed a very
significant number of large gifts, and indeed we ultimately had a very high
percentage of the campaign funded by a relatively small number of donors.
P: How did the campaign here differ from one launched at Kansas or Penn State? The
make-up of our population is different. People come here from other places without
an identification to the state, much less to the University of Florida.
L: Well, that is true, and yet this state is wealthier than Kansas. Pennsylvania is a little
bit different because it is a big state as well [with] probably more industry, and that is
a University that has had a greater impact outside of its homestate than I think the
University of Florida has had, at least to date. In other words, Penn State would
have more national alumni. They have people in New York and Washington who
migrated there more easily than our folks have done from here. In fact, our
campaign ended up being slightly larger than Penn State's and considerably larger
than the one by the University of Kansas.
P: There they were soliciting funds from Kansas folks and from Pennsylvania folks,
alumni from the universities. Here you are going to people, some of whom have
never been to Gainesville.
L: Well, you do that in some instances. But we found over and over that you have to
have some kind of a connection and relationship. It just cannot be that people are
wealthy or even that people now live in the state of Florida, having left New York, or
New Jersey, or Michigan, or Ohio.
P: So you did have to develop some sort of an attachment, either with the individual or
with a child, or in some way.
L: In some way, that is right.
P: Now when did the campaign end?
L: December 31, 1991.
P: How long had it gone on then?
L: November 15, 1986, was the day that the Foundation board approved the beginning
of the campaign, and all gifts received on that date or after, I believe, until the close
of the campaign, were counted.
P: So it was five years?
L: Just a little over five years. We did reach back and pick up a very few gifts that had
come in earlier than the November 1986 date in order to include those in the capital
campaign counting; most notable would have been Fred Fisher's gift which was
made in December of 1985, but was counted in the campaign because Fred was
talking about the campaign and being talked to about the campaign at the time he
made his gift, and he made the commitment to be chairman of a campaign even as
he was making his gift. In fact, he will tell the story that Marshall Criser and I told
him that we would not accept his gift if he did not agree to be chairman of the
campaign. I am not sure that is actually the way it happened, but it does make for a
P: I had forgotten whether we identified Fred Fisher or not in our earlier interview. But,
just in case we overlooked it, would you identify him briefly here?
L: Fred is a 1959 alumnus of the College of Business who became active again with
the University in the early 1980s, and by virtue of being called on by Wayne Reitz in
1983 he was solicited to make a large gift which would ultimately endow, or name,
the Fisher School of Accounting, and he indeed made that gift in December of 1985,
[amounting to] $6,500,000.
P: Of course, you were going to develop that school anyway, were you not?
L: The school was already in place by that time, but this was a gift that would create a
large, unrestricted endowment for the school.
P: Where did Fred Fisher make his money?
L: Well, Fred was, for most of his professional life, a senior officer of US Home, a
company based, at one time, in Clearwater and then it moved to Houston, Texas.
P: Is that a land development company?
P: Is it also in the contracting business or does it just develop land?
L: I think, for the most part, [it develops] land and other commercial real estate, [for] a
lot of residential housing. Fred was at one point the chief financial officer for U.S.
Home and had a very significant stake in it. He oversaw the financial operations of
the company during a period of phenomenal growth and that resulted in his
becoming a wealthy man. He retired from U.S. Home relatively young, and has
since devoted his life to working on behalf of charitable activities including the
University of Florida, but also he was instrumental in raising money for and building
a youth center in Clearwater, a state of the art facility for youth to use for all kinds of
activities. He has also been the principal fundraiser for Ruth Eckerd Hall.
P: That is a concert hall?
L: It is a performing arts hall in Clearwater.
P: Earlier you mentioned Larry and Joan Hench. I wonder if you would identify them
L: Well, Larry and June Hench are faculty members in the College of Engineering in
the Material Sciences Department. Larry is the developer of a substance called
"bioglas" which is a substance which can be implanted into the human body without
rejection and it has been used successfully for correcting ear problems as a part of
the inner ear bone structure. I believe Larry is a distinguished research professor.
P: He is. And how about June?
L: June is a faculty member as well. I do not know as much about her academic
P: But both are at the University of Florida.
P: Now, when the campaign was concluded in December of 1991, how many dollars
did you chalk up?
L: $392,800,000 had been committed during that period of time.
P: How did the University of Florida compare with other public universities?
L: At the time we finished, we had the third-largest campaign ever done by a public
university. Ohio State and UCLA had each done slightly larger campaigns.
P: Is this UCLA or University of California at Berkeley? I think it is the one at Berkeley.
L: Is it?
P: It was the third after those two. Have all of them been surpassed in the more recent
L: I have not heard that any campaign has been completed that has been larger than
the three of ours, but we certainly will be surpassed. The University of Michigan is in
the process of a $1 billion campaign, and there are several other $400 million and
$500 million campaigns that are underway.
P: How about comparing the campaign at the University of Florida with that at the
University of Miami, which I understand was going on at approximately the same
time and hitting, maybe, the same audience.
L: Miami's campaign was actually, as I recall, a year or two ahead of us. It did,
certainly, hit the same audience in the corporate community in Miami, a community
with which the University of Florida has not had tremendous success in any event.
Miami's campaign finished with, I think, something about $500 million and was, by
all accounts, a great success, and, I think, helped the University of Florida in our
campaign because it suggested to people in the state of Florida that we could have
a big-time fundraising program here. Those numbers were feasible. [It] particularly
helped to put large seven and eight figure donations in some sort of context for
people like Ben Hill Griffin and George Smathers [U.S. Senator from Miami, Florida,
1951-1969] and others. Keeping in mind, as we talked about earlier, when the
University of Florida got its first eminent scholar chair in 1979, people were amazed
that a public university would attract that level of support. And there we were, just
five years later, getting a commitment from Fred Fisher for $6,500,000.
P: So the University of Miami campaign, in terms of dollars, was more successful than
L: It was a larger campaign than the University of Florida's, yes. It had a more liberal
accounting policy, as we understand it, allowing the inclusion of some sponsored
research [monies] that all universities count in terms of their private support totals
each year, for purposes of national reporting, but relatively few universities count
those sponsored research numbers in capital campaign totals.
P: But they did.
L: I understand they did.
P: Approximately, how many donors did you have? What was the total count?
L: 103,000 gifts and gift commitments made up the campaign total. Almost 55,000 of
those commitments came from alumni for $117 million; 40,880 came from what we
call friends, non-alumni, for $112 million; 5,600 from corporations for $84 million;
and 250 private foundations for a total of $19 million.
P: Go back and tell me again the figure you had for friends and organizations.
L: 40,880 friends for a total of $112 million.
P: Because I have $183 million. That is wrong?
L: Yes. Well, at least that is the number I have in this book. I am reading from the final
campaign report that was sent to all donors in the campaign. I should add that we
also had $45 million in state matching monies.
P: And that counted into the [total].
L: We counted that in the campaign. Our philosophy on the campaign counting to
include state matching was that Florida has the most generous and imaginative
matching program in the country, and it operates by virtue of a trigger from a private
donor. In other words, it takes a private donor's gift to trigger the state match, and
the state match follows the purpose of the private donor. It is not like some state
which says the state will put up $400,000 for a building in the business school if it is
matched by a like number of gifts, and that way, the state is really determining what
those gifts are going to be for if they are indeed matched. Here, if a donor
determines to make a gift for a chair in zymology, the state will match it. There is no
P: Does the state match it or give you the $400,000?
L: In the case of a chair, the state would provide 70 percent of a $600,000
commitment. I use match just in a general sense. And, we should also say that the
Florida matching program works in such a way that the state actually transfers by
check that amount of money to the Foundation on the respective campus.
Some states, like Virginia, will match a gift for endowment by merely matching the
amount of income that is produced by that private endowment year by year by year.
In Florida, the state goes ahead and transfers the principal and then that money is
combined with the donor's money to create the larger endowment and it is invested
by the local foundation. So it is all treated as if the donor would have made the
P: How does the state handle dollars that are given to the University for bricks and
L: The state will match dollar for dollar gifts for bricks and mortar if the projects to
which the gifts are made have been approved by the Board of Regents and appear
on the University's approved PECO list. PECO [is] the utility tax base that enables
the state to build public buildings.
P: What does PECO stand for?
L: Public Education Capital Outlay.
P: Approximately what percentage of the commitments were in cash?
L: 54 percent at the time of the conclusion of the campaign had already come in in the
form of cash, actually 54.8 [percent], which our consultant said, at the time, was a
very high percentage.
P: And what about commitments?
L: We received another 18.2 percent in real estate and in-kind gifts and trusts, and
11.6 percent in bequests.
P: When you say "in-kind," how about spelling that out.
L: Sure. In-kind would include computer, scientific equipment, and any other kinds of
books or equipment that would have been used by the institution rather than sold.
P: Books, manuscripts. How about art?
L: It would also include art.
P: Were there many gifts like that?
L: 18.2 percent of our total.
P: No, I meant things like art and books and so on.
L: Yes. Not multi-million dollars, but some.
P: How do you guarantee that those pledges are going to be paid off?
L: You do not guarantee it perse, but I think we have had a very, very high percentage
of our pledges paid.
P: Are these insurance policies and that sort of thing?
L: No, they are pledges. Someone would say, for example, that they would make a gift
of $500,000 [at] $100,000 a year. Even if they made that commitment in the last
year of the campaign, we would count the full $500,000 [with] $100,000 being paid
and $400,000 as a pledge.
P: You would not count things left in wills and that sort of thing?
L: Bequests counted for 11.6 percent.
P: How would you guarantee those?
L: Well, you do not guarantee bequests, by their nature, but our campaign committee
determined that we would count bequests if the donors were aged sixty-five or older,
if they would document the bequests, and if they would document a specific amount.
In other words, if they told us they were just leaving the residual of their estate, we
would still ask them to give us a specific amount before we would count it. And our
experience has been very, very good. In higher education in general, it has been a
very good experience in terms of people paying off on bequests.
P: Now, talk about the allocations. How did you divide up all of this huge amount of
money that you took in?
L: By the wishes of the donors. Virtually all the money we raised was restricted by the
donors as it was committed to us.
P: How did you allocate, or how did the Foundation allocate the funds?
L: Again, these were not allocated by the Foundation. These totals represent the way
the donors made restrictions on their gifts. There were about $80 million in eminent
scholar chairs and professorships, and a total of almost $75 million for scholarships
and fellowships, program support [received] about $186 million, and our annual
giving total, which was basically the smaller, under $1000 gifts, many of them
unrestricted to the specific college or unit. Those totalled $24,800,000 during the
P: What about construction and renovation? For instance, I am thinking of Floyd Hall?
L: We had something on the order of about $68 million in building renovations and new
buildings. The principal buildings that were done during the campaign would be the
Harn Art Museum, a portion of the academic research building at the Health Science
Center, Floyd Hall was renovated, and several athletic facilities were built or
P: Was Peabody Hall included in that, or was that by the state?
L: No, that was done by the state. Those were the principal ones that I recall off the
top of my head.
P: When the campaign was all over at the end of 1991 and the beginning of 1992, 1 am
sure you breathed a great sigh of relief and felt that it was most successful, but as
you look back upon it now, two years later, were there things that you would have
L: Well, certainly, we would have done the faculty portion of the campaign differently,
as we talked about earlier. I think that was an area that we did not do as well as we
could, although it would not have changed dramatically the figures that we ultimately
produced in the campaign. I think faculty accounted for something like $6 million in
total giving, and had we broadened our participation among the faculty that might
have meant another $500,000 or $1 million, which would have been terrific, but it
would not have had a great impact on the overall total.
P: Not the total amount.
L: It certainly would have been a better result and might have had a better lasting
impact on faculty giving and faculty relationships with fundraising as we have
already discussed. At the time we started with the campaign, we were very blessed
with having a very focused, determined president in Marshall Criser, who made the
campaign a very high priority. In fact, I think it was the single highest priority for his
time, particularly during the last couple of years of his presidency. President Criser,
as you know, was a very forceful man, who I think was able to enlist the support of
the Foundation board and other volunteer leaders through his vision for what this
University could be, particularly with an infusion of private support on the order of
what we were considering with this capital campaign. As we know, he kicked off the
campaign in grand style on September 30, 1988, and then very shortly thereafter, in
early December, announced his resignation, in part, because he was "burned out"
Had I to do it over and knew what might happen, I guess I might be a little more
mindful of his time, because I feel, to some degree, responsible for a portion of that
burnout. We kept a very strong pace during the twelve months or so up to the
kickoff and then after the kickoff that fall, traveling every week, many times one, two,
or three days a week on campaign business. He did that at the same time that he
did everything else. I also might not have characterized this campaign as being so
much the vision of a single president as much as it was the collective vision of a lot
of the people responsible, the volunteers and the provost.
P: But you feel that was a strength, you would not consider that to be a weakness.
L: No. But it became a weakness, in part, when that leader stepped down.
P: I would like to speak to that for just a moment. I know of your loyalty and dedication
to Marshall Criser; do you think it was rather strange for him to leave right at the
moment that the campaign was ending in its final months?
L: He did not leave at the time that it was ending. We kicked the campaign off in
September, and he announced his resignation in December, just over two months
after the kickoff. And, keeping in mind, with no pre-notification of that pending
P: You remember that I have done an interview with Marshall Criser.
L: You told me that you did. I would be interested to know what he had to say about
that. I will say, I probably spent as much time with him as anybody, certainly
anybody on campus, in those months leading up to that decision, and I had no clue.
P: When I asked you about weaknesses or things you would do [differently], would you
now say that you would not have started the campaign had you known that Criser
was going to bow out?
L: No. I would not say I would not have started, and I do not even want to suggest this
as a criticism of Marshall Criser because he gave the campaign what would be in my
mind an extraordinary effort during the time he was president. The weakness in that
sense was that he was such a strong person and was so singularly the focal point
for the campaign, that when he left it created a vacuum for us to indicate to people
that they were not doing this simply because Marshall Criser had asked them to help
him, but they were doing it for the University of Florida, which ultimately everybody
That was, in fact, the larger issue here, the University of Florida, not Marshall Criser
or Bob Lindgren or Ben Hill Griffin or any of the other people who were involved in
this effort. But Mr. Criser's strength was his ability to motivate people, to get their
loyalty, and so the campaign suffered for a very short time when we had that
transition. We were very, very fortunate to have Bob Bryan step in.
P: He filled the vacuum well?
L: Yes, and dedicated himself to carrying on, and I should also say that the success of
most campaigns is determined by the time you make the public announcement and
that was the case in this campaign. We had something on the order of $137 million
already committed. We upped the goal to $250 million from our preliminary working
goal of $200 million. There were some who felt that that goal might have gone as
high as $300 million, but the decision was made at the time, largely influenced I
think by Marshall Criser, who may have had in the back of his mind the idea that he
might not be there, the notion that we should keep the goal at $250 million.
So that was the public goal that we announced on September 30, and that was very
feasible, even though we had this change. And, of course, twelve months later we
got a brand new president, John Lombardi, who was the president for the last year
and eight months of the campaign from March 1990 through December 1991. In
some ways, changing presidents was a benefit to us, because in each case we were
able to take those new presidents, Bryan and Lombardi, and have them meet with
prospective donors and have them restate the case for making a large contribution.
Of course, in each case, those two men made a commitment to make the campaign
a very high priority, and Lombardi was particularly effective in the period that he was
president, moving around to various regional campaigns and traveling around the
country. Again, it had the great value of being a means of introducing the president,
and we no doubt attracted large crowds of people who were simply interested in
seeing the president when he attended a regional campaign kickoff.
P: So you started out with Criser, you continued with Bryan, and you ended up with
L: Yes. Your question, if you remember, was a weakness or what I might change. I
would say, if everything was equal, I would like to have one president through a
P: So you did not have to relearn two or more of them.
L: Right. And not just go through me relearning them, but the volunteers and the staff
and other things. On the other hand, I think in our case we used it to our best
advantage. I do not think we left a lot of money on the table. We might have left a
little and that might have been made up by the fact that [there] was a succession
during the campaign. I felt we might have left a little money on the table with the
changing of the guard, so to speak, on the one hand; on the other hand, changing
the guard might have resulted in some other gifts that may not have happened if we
had had one president all the way through.
P: So one balanced itself against the other, you think?
L: I think it probably did. I did find, in the course of the campaign, in the various
colleges when we lost deans, we sometimes stalled. That can be a very significant
problem. We did not have that happen at the University level. Just to provide a
summation of my point here, had I to do it over and knew that this might have been
a possibility, I would not have had the campaign become such a personal vision of
Marshall Criser and such an enterprise of Marshall Criser, as much as an
At the time we were organizing it, and at the time that we were executing it,
particularly in the leadership gift phase, which was the phase of the campaign that
we undertook before the public announcement, we were really pushing to get people
to make their major six and seven figure commitments before the public
announcement. Had we known that, we probably would have changed a few things
in the way that we handled people. So therefore, I would categorize that as
something I would have done differently, perhaps not even a weakness per se.
Otherwise, I would say, even from a two year perspective, I feel reasonably good
about virtually all that we did in the campaign. I have not mentioned the fact that
we, in the last year of the campaign, did a telephone-mail program in which we hired
an outside business to make the telephone calls for us. They, in fact, made those
calls out of California and that resulted in an amount close to $4,000,000 being
pledged and we have now collected something on the order of $2,100,000 of that
and the expectation is that you get about 60 percent of those dollars, so we are
about on target with that part of the campaign.
We debated the issue of whether to go off campus. We did not have, at the time, a
facility on campus nor did we have the computer calling capacity to handle that kind
of a program. In hindsight, I think we made the right decision to go off campus, but
had we tried to do that on campus with our own students and simply brought the
people in from California to act as consultants, that might have worked too. We
certainly are ready in a new campaign to do that kind of program on campus. We
learned a lot about how the so-called telephone experts do that by virtue of having
contracted with that company.
P: Anything else?
L: I think that is pretty much it. We did, I think, a very adequate job in our campaign
kickoff celebration and our campaign finale. Those were very, very well attended
and had the spirit of the campaign in both cases very well expressed. Earlier, you
touched on the feelings of the faculty about the campaign.
P: Or the lack of feeling.
L: The lack of feeling. I think one always understands that the communication on the
campus may not measure up in terms of people understanding what a campaign is
about, what is being funded, how much of it is in deferred commitments; because
even if 54 percent came in cash, many of those gifts were for endowments that do
not have an immediate impact on the institution. So as a result, I think I would have
worked harder at communicating on campus than we were able to do during the
campaign. But I have to confess, I knew going in that this was going to be a
problem and we made a commitment to ourselves that we would try to do better
than what other campaigns had done and we still ultimately suffered from some of
the same criticisms that virtually all big-time campaigns do, [such as] the fact that
people did not seem to think they were getting their fair share and that the money
was as readily apparent as it should be with these kinds of numbers.
P: If you recognize that the relationship with the faculty was one of the few weaknesses
of the campaign, then has the Foundation done anything in the last few years to
strengthen that bridge?
L: We have tried to be more proactive in terms of our relationships with certain faculty
members and we have just organized a faculty liaison committee through the
University Senate and that committee has just been appointed and will start work
this fall. I might add that is an idea that I offered two years ago. I have worked with
two different heads of the University Senate to finally get to the point where such a
committee has been named, and we will now have our third head of the University
Senate under which the idea finally gets started.
P: That is a great idea.
L: In part, the idea was a response to the concerns that you have raised, that we did
not have as good a communications link with faculty as we should have.
P: Most faculty do not even know where the Foundation office is located, or who is
directing the Foundation activities, or where the funds are coming from and how
they are expended, and yet they are right next door.
L: That is right. You know, part of the fundraisers, by definition, should be people who
are outgoing and willing to meet and greet and cultivate and ultimately ask people
for large sums of money. At the same time, we try to instill in our staff a certain
sense of humility about what they are doing so as to subordinate their ego to the
dean or to the president or the volunteer, and let them play the lead roles in terms of
announcing gifts and working with donors and so forth.
I am not sure, however, having said all that and having always believed all of that,
that the chief development officer for the Foundation and each of the respective
chief development officers for the colleges should not try to be higher profile in their
respective domains for the very purpose that you outlined. I have struggled with that
because my inherent nature is not to try to have my ego supersede what I think
should be the way we do business vis-a-vis our volunteers, our deans, and others.
Yet, I can see the value in faculty and others knowing that there is a Foundation,
that there is a person who is involved there, that that person is approachable.
P: Bob, all campaigns cost money. What percentage would you say that this campaign
cost? Overhead? Publicity?
L: I would say that the additional premium for the campaign over what would have
been our regular budget for the development and alumni Foundation areas during
the course of the campaign was somewhere between $6 million and $7 million which
was about what we had projected at the time we went into the campaign.
P: So what is this percentage-wise?
L: So percentage-wise it would be around 2 percent.
P: That is a fantastically small amount, is it not?
L: Keep in mind, that is a premium over what we would have normally spent.
P: I understand.
L: I certainly would be happy to compare the expenses in our campaign with other
similar campaigns at other similar institutions. We did not do things cheaply, or we
did not cut out, wholesale fashion, portions of the campaign that we felt should have
been done. On the other hand, there were no outlandish expenses. Our
publications were, I think, very reasonable. They should have probably been more
plentiful than they were, but we certainly did not waste a lot of money on four-color
publications or case statements. The biggest problem we had with the case
statements was changing the picture of the president each time that we changed
P: Bob, why is it that private institutions generally seem to be able to raise more dollars
than public institutions? You hear about Harvard and Yale and Cornell.
L: And Miami. Quite simply, because there is a culture of fundraising in those
institutions that goes back much further than what we have experienced at the
University of Florida.
P: Is this true of Miami?
L: Yes, certainly to the degree that Miami was raising money twenty and thirty years
ago, and that the leadership in the city of Miami understood that the University of
Miami was a private institution, in part, supported by private donations. As I said
earlier, when you look back just five or six years before we started this campaign,
people at the University of Florida thought a $600,000 gift was extraordinary. We
had had, up until the beginning of the campaign, in the history of the University of
Florida, something like thirty-five commitments of $500,000 or more, and those
accounted for something like $35 million or $40 million.
Just in the five-year campaign alone, we had 127 commitments of $500,000 or more
compared to thirty-five or so, in the whole history prior to that time, for $228 million.
So you can see there is a significant difference in the number of large gifts. That is
what a first campaign does for an institution. You look at the big private universities
that you are talking about and they are involved in their forth and fifth campaigns
now, not their first campaign. So the people who are making the million dollar
contributions in the Harvard $2 billion-plus campaign now, those people gave
significant contributions in the last three Harvard campaigns. There is no educating
them to the need or to the process or to the culture of private support, but that is
changing now. The next campaign will be better for us in that regard, because we
have done one already.
P: In Fiddler on the Roof, one of the great songs is "Tradition."
L: That is right.
P: And here it pops up all over again. Well, saying that, what do you think about a
future campaign here? Is one in the works already?
L: One is in the planning process as we speak, and my decision to leave here is going
to delay the planning process slightly, but not significantly. I would say by a matter
of a few months at most.
P: So you are not doing a Marshall Criser exit.
L: No. I am not doing a Marshall Criser exit. Remember, I was not critical of that.
P: I know, I know. I am just asking a question now.
L: No. In fact, one of the factors in my decision to leave was the fact that this is a good
time for the University of Florida to hire a new chief development officer. We are not
in a campaign, we have a couple of years before we will kickoff a campaign, and a
new person coming on board in the next six months will be well poised to lead that
P: He may need that book.
L: There will be a number of those around somewhere.
P: I want to leave the campaign now, but I would like to go back now and ask you
about the Foundation itself. I know that you are the vice president and your
successor will be a vice president. Who do you report to?
L: I report to the president of the University. I wear three hats in my present role, one
of those being the Vice President for Development and Alumni Affairs, the second
being the Executive Director of the Alumni Association, and the third, and the one to
which you refer, is the Executive Vice President of the University of Florida
Foundation. But, in both the instance of the Foundation and the Alumni Association,
by Board of Regents' rule, the chief executive officer--in other words, my position in
each of those organizations--still reports to the University president with, I guess, a
dotted line-type reporting relationship to the Board in each case.
P: Bob, from a very practical day to day basis, how powerful are you in making
decisions, in hiring, firing, etc.? Are you in Lombardi's office everyday?
L: Well, I am not in Lombardi's office everyday, because I do not need to be there, in
the sense of operating the area for which I am responsible. I am in communication
with the president daily. We have a president who is particularly gifted at
communicating with people in positions like mine who use electronic mail and other
resources, and then, of course, up until just recently I was traveling with the
president virtually every week or every other week, in which case, I would have an
opportunity to spend time alone with him reviewing what I was doing. So in the ten
years I have been responsible for the fundraising program here, I have never had a
need for regularly scheduled meetings in the president's office to cover business. I
have almost always been able to do that with all of the time I have spent with the
P: And that was true of Marshall Criser?
L: Yes. [It was] particularly true of Marshall Criser because I probably traveled with
him more. Although, again, when Bryan came on, he committed to the campaign;
we were out a couple of days a week every week, and the same thing was true with
Lombardi. In fact, Lombardi made a number of visits and calls, including a trip to
New York, before he even became president.
P: So it is not necessary for them to call up and say, "Hey, I just read about this in the
Alligator, bring me up to date."
L: Well, that might happen, certainly, if something were to fall between the cracks. But
my style has been to keep them very much informed about what I am doing and
what is happening in my area. So that has not happened too much in the ten years I
have been involved in this position. My position is an interesting one. I do not know
exactly how to characterize how powerful it is. The Foundation has a lot of assets, it
handles a lot of money, a lot of money gets processed through the Foundation, $40
million or more a year gets spent out of the Foundation by various deans and others
on campus to supplement their state funding, and so to the extent that I influence
the process by which they handle that money, it is a pretty significant position, but I
am responsible for the process, and not for the substantive issue of how they spend
Fundraising has become an increasingly important activity for the University and for
each of our colleges, and so to the extent that I am involved in the direction of the
fundraising program, I have an important and influential position.
Almost more importantly, I guess you would say that my position is predominantly
external in focus, and I deal daily, almost hourly, with alumni and other influential
friends and donors and contacts of the institution. I am a contact person, a
reference point, the person from whom they learn what the University is doing, and
so that is an important position in terms of dealing with those people and making
sure they are getting the right [information about the University]. I must make sure I
am hearing what they are saying, and translating that to the president and to others
on campus, who need to hear those messages. So it is, in that respect, an
P: Who makes up the board? Where do they come from?
L: Well, the board is made up of individuals. There are two kinds of board members.
[One is] what I might call a regular board member; we have forty-five of those and
they are each chosen for a four-year term.
P: Elected or chosen?
L: A third of them are chosen by the board, therefore they are nominated by a
nominating committee and elected by the board.
P: Who presumably would work with you.
L: I work very closely with that nominating committee. A third of them are appointed by
the president of the University.
P: Who works with you.
L: With whom I work closely in this process. And a third of them are appointed by the
Alumni Association. I have worked with the each president of the Alumni
Association. Basically, I have taken a full slate of new regular board members to
this nominating committee and then worked with the respective presidents of the
Alumni Association and the University to parcel out which ones they might sponsor.
Because once an individual becomes a member of the Foundation board, their
designation as an alumni appointment, or presidential appointment, or board
member appointment is really insignificant.
P: Can they be reappointed?
L: For one four-year term, so they can serve as long as eight years. Then we have a
large group of ex officio members. That group includes all past presidents of the
University, all past presidents of the Foundation board, all vice presidents of the
University, and a select group of other administrators, [such as] two deans, two
faculty members, and other heads of approved activities, such as the president of
the Alumni Association, the president of Gator Boosters, the head of the IFAS Share
Council, [and] the Health Science Center board of overseers.
P: Did I hear you say there was faculty representation on the Foundation board?
L: Yes, two faculty [members].
P: I knew that there are dean representatives.
L: Yes, [Albert L.] Al Rhoton [professor, chairman, Department of Neurological
Surgery] and [Robert J.] Bob Cousins [professor, eminent scholar, Food Science
and Human Nutrition] are the two present faculty members. The two former faculty
were Dennis [A.] Calfee [professor of law] from the law school and Professor
[Norman N.] Holland [professor of English].
P: Norm Holland?
L: Norm Holland from the Department of English.
P: Now, these board people should be, presumably, geographically representative.
L: They are geographically representative and we hope they are more representative
of our various constituencies.
P: From a practical point of view, are you only taking into consideration the amount of
L: No. We certainly like to have people who might be in a position to make a gift, or to
influence a gift from another source, but we do not look at those criteria strictly. In
other words, we are operating a business now that has $375 million or $380 million
in assets. The work of this large board that is, as I have described, seventy-five or
eighty members strong, is really done through its standing committees. Those
committees require a lot of time and expertise; there is the investments committee,
the real estate committee, the finance committee, and the development committee.
There are a number of individuals on the board who are there primarily because
they have lent such great service to the University through their service on the
board, for example, on a finance committee or an investments committee.
P: But the point I think that you are trying to make, also, is that the board is not made
up of just Ben Hill Griffins.
L: That is right.
P: They are there, but you want other talent and other experiences.
L: I think it is an extraordinarily talented board from the standpoint that we have the
Ben Hill Griffins as well as the kind of people who have been active in the University
and are talented in a specific area like investments.
P: How powerful is the board, Bob?
L: Well, I think the board is pretty powerful from the standpoint that the University of
Florida does not have a board of trustees, per se, and, in that regard, the
Foundation board, in effect, acts as the quasi-board of trustees for the University. I
think it is a very important sounding board for the president, and it has been
effective in helping in lobbying activities and other kinds of influence, and
relationships, and so forth. So I think it is a significant board.
P: At board meetings do they ask questions about the academics at the University?
L: The board meetings are not generally focused on the academics, although in recent
years we have had presentations by academic units and academic officers to the
board as an education process. Keep in mind that most of the board members have
a particular interest and many of them serve on other boards and committees of the
University, so they come to the full board meeting already grounded and attached,
for example, to a College of Business dean's advisory committee or to some other
similar kind of organization. For the most part, the full board meetings involve the
business of the Foundation board and it is a $380 million business, with a board
meeting three times a year in which those business activities need to be covered
and approved, and so it is a board that has tended to spend more of its time in those
areas. One of the future directions of the board will be to learn more about the
institution and, we hope, get more involved in discussing academic issues, but, at
the same time, we do not want to set up a board that tries to exert any kind of
governance authority over the academic part of the University. That is not
consistent with their role as a support organization for the University.
P: Bob, one of the three responsibilities that you have, as you outlined a little bit earlier,
is the director of the Alumni Association. Should that properly be part of the
L: Well, it is not part of the Foundation, perse. The alumni organization is a separate,
incorporated entity with its own board, its own director, and its own activities. It is a
part of the Foundation in the sense that its budget is a part of the Foundation's
overall budget, much like the fundraising budget for the University is a part of the
Foundation's own overall budget. But it is not provided any sort of governance or
oversight [authority] by the Foundation in that regard.
The budget of the Alumni Association, much like the budget of the alumni program
and the budget of the banking operation of the Foundation, is my responsibility, and
I look at that responsibility, really, as the University officer charged with those three
functions: asset management, development, and alumni relations. I work with the
respective boards to review those budgets, but I also work very closely with Gene
[Willard] Hemp, the vice provost and chief budget officer of the University [associate
vice president for Academic Affairs], and the president, and the provost, and other
academic officers to make sure that our budget is consistent with what else is
happening on the University.
In fact, we have maintained a very strict policy that our personnel policies and pay
raises and other financial matters have been consistent with the other policies on
campus even though the source of our funding might be slightly different. I believe
very strongly in the philosophy that the Foundation exists as a legal necessity, but it
does not have a life of its own. In other words, a private university does not have a
Foundation, with very few exceptions, because a private university does not need to
have a separate entity.
The Foundation has its own board of trustees, it has the capacity to receive gifts,
and when those gifts are received they do not become state monies in which case
they have to be spent by June 30 and accounted for in a state system. With the
Foundation, private donations like real estate and securities can be sold and
managed [in the same way] as any private corporation would [manage its assets],
which would not happen if those donations were made directly to the state of
Florida. [If] a gift of real estate [were given to the state, it] would have to be put out
for public bid with all of the red tape that is entailed in the public land management
So, consequently, I do not look at the Foundation [as a separate entity, and I have
tried to instill in our people the sense that the Foundation is not this separate entity
unto itself, which would exist whether the University of Florida was nearby or not.
Rather, [it exists] to serve the University of Florida, because legally it does some
things the University of Florida could not do, or it would be very onerous for the
University to do, such as buying and selling real estate.
P: Are you going to be in charge of alumni arrangements at [Johns] Hopkins?
L: Yes. I sure am.
P: So you are carrying that responsibility with you?
P: What does the Alumni Association do? What are its responsibilities, its work, is
L: In the broad sense, we like to say that our fundraising program is in the business of
fundraising, and our alumni program is in the business of friendraising. That is, to
communicate with our alumni and involve our alumni in such a way that they will
maintain a relationship with the institution. I have always maintained that it is
important to have such an organization, to maintain those relationships, so as to turn
an alumnus into, we hope, both a donor and an advocate on behalf of the institution,
a donor to the institution and an advocate on behalf of the institution. An advocate
in the sense of talking to legislators who are responsible for providing funding to the
institution, talking to prospective students about the institution or to prospective
employers of our students. That is what we want our alumni to be: advocates, and,
of course, we want the alumni to feel good about the institution and to know enough
about the institution that they feel comfortable in making contributions. So the basis
of an alumni program is to provide programming and services, and communications
with that large body of alumni that will facilitate those same alumni becoming donors
P: Are you responsible for the alumni publications?
P: Are you ultimately the editor of Today? Or the publisher?
L: I am the de facto publisher of that publication. We have not operated with a strict
publisher relationship. In fact, that relationship has really been borne by the office of
news and public affairs on this campus, who, in the person of Linda [S.] Gray
[assistant vice president for University Relations and director of News and Public
Affairs] and her predecessors, have overseen the day to day work of the editor of
the Today magazine. At the same time, we have an editorial committee that meets
periodically to review the prospective articles that will come into the future
P: Do you have censorship power, theoretically?
L: I think legally, yes. I will say in six years I have never exercised anything close to
censorship on the Today magazines.
P: Do you look at the manuscript before it goes to press?
L: I could. I certainly have that right. I see the blue line of the publication and have the
right to make changes as needed. But, frankly, we have not had any instance
where that has become a problem. I think that is a testimony to the good people we
have had involved and their ability to communicate with us. Of course, [R.] Wayne
McDaniel, our director of Alumni Affairs has an even closer, hands-on relationship
with the publication and the editor.
P: How much of a hands-on relationship do you have in programs like recruiting
National [Merit] Scholars and that sort of thing?
L: Well, to the extent that that is an important program of our Alumni Association, I
monitor what is going on there. The assistant director, [J. Phillip] Phil Griffin
[assistant director of Alumni Affairs], who handles that program reports to Wayne
McDaniel, who reports to me. I review that program periodically with Wayne
McDaniel and I know about its general success and I am involved in some of the
functions. It is not a high priority as a personal activity of the vice president. It is
certainly a high priority of the alumni program, and, indeed, a very successful part of
that alumni program, but it is not one that has demanded a lot of my time, in part
because it is done very well at this University and has not been a problem. Most of
the time I have spent has been reviewing successes and attending events, from
time to time, associated with the recruiting process.
P: Bob, talk about Gator Boosters. What is it, and how does it relate to what you are
doing, and to what degree are you involved?
L: Well, Gator Boosters is the support organization for the athletic program, and it is
one of the older organizations of its type on this campus and in the country. It
primarily deals with donations to our athletic program that come as a result of people
buying season tickets. In other words, when people buy season tickets for football,
and now basketball, most of those season tickets need to have a booster
contribution made along with the season ticket payment in order for the individual to
get their seating priority in a specific location in which they would like to sit. As a
result, the booster organization has generated in the last several years over $10
million in annual receipts because of the phenomenal success of our football, and
recently our basketball programs. Because the culture here has been, for forty year
or more, that people will pay above the price of the ticket in order to sit in a specific
spot, not unlike the cultural change and difference that we talked about relating to
the private institutions and our own public institution and fundraising. We have had
a phenomenal program here with people paying that premium. I think we are the
most successful program of its kind in the country, in that regard.
The booster organization has always had a relationship with the athletic department.
It has not been until recent years that it has come under the fold of the vice
president for Development and Alumni Affairs to the extent that I co-supervise the
executive director of the Gator Boosters organization along with the athletic director.
The athletic director and my position serve as the supervisors, again, by virtue of a
Board of Regents rule that requires the chief executive officer of any organization
like the Foundation or like the Gator Boosters organization to report to the president
or his or her designee on the campus who must be at vice presidential level or
above. That is the role that the athletic director and I fulfill in supervising that
In the last two years the Foundation and the booster organization have reached an
agreement on how we will handle certain kinds of gifts made on behalf of the athletic
department that might have earlier been deposited into the Gator Boosters
organization, such as a gift for an endowment. Anybody making a gift for an
endowment in athletics will now make that gift to the Foundation and we hold it like
we do for any other academic unit, in investments as part of our endowment pool.
The booster organization is no longer in the business of managing endowment
monies like it had been prior to a couple of years ago. I now serve on the board and
executive committee of the Gator Boosters in my role as vice president for
Development and Alumni Affairs, and suffice it to say, there is a very close working
relationship, and by virtue of the reporting arrangements we have a relationship
such that all fundraising on this campus is coordinated through my office, including
athletics, which is not always the case. In fact, it may be the exception to the rule at
major public universities.
P: Did you run into opposition on that from the athletic department, from Gator
L: Not from the department. There was some opposition from certain members of the
board of Gator Boosters who thought that such an arrangement might impede their
ability to raise money, might result in a lack of their controlling their own destiny, and
just from the normal concern about change. But we worked through that, and I think
have a very good working relationship, in large part due to, I think, the good
leadership of our athletic director, Jeremy Foley, and the executive director of Gator
Boosters, John [W.] James, both of whom have not in any way misrepresented to
those board members the importance of how our organizations can work together
and how they are a part of the University. Of course, the president's overall
leadership in this area has been important.
P: Who was responsible for persuading Gator Boosters to give money to the library?
L: That started several years ago. Bob Bryan and Marshall Criser were the instigators
of that. You know, that started out with $25,000 or $50,000 a year contribution.
Now, of course, the transfer is much larger than that, in part, based upon the
financial stability of the athletic program which is in large part based on this
incredible and phenomenal booster program that puts $10 million-plus a year in the
coffers of the athletic association.
P: Which is based upon the winning schedule.
L: Well, which is based on that plus the culture. Keep in mind that even through the
1980s, when we had the NCAA problems, but also when we were 6-5 in football and
not going to bowl games, people were still paying for those seats, and paying those
P: And still cheering.
L: And still cheering. I think that is, as I say, remarkable.
P: Are you satisfied with the working relationship of Gator Boosters to the Foundation
or would you change that?
L: No. I think it is working extremely well. There is really nothing at this point about it
that I would change. There was a time when the booster organization was not
reporting as it is now, and [when] the executive director was hired by that board and
really felt that he reported to that board, and there was not a reporting relationship to
the athletic director and to myself. That was a result of a change in their structure
after [William C.] Bill Carr left as athletic director. Prior to Bill Carr's leaving, the
athletic directorwas the executive director of the booster organization, and therefore
the University had a direct link, or control, over the organization. When he left, the
board voted to hire a separate person as the chief executive officer, and when they
did, in effect, they separated themselves from the University. I do not think that was
their intent, but that was the effect of what they did.
The end result was a somewhat independent organization. When Bob Bryan
became interim president [1989-1990], it was his intention to approach the board
and tie them back to the University. That would have been an interesting
conversation, to say the least. However, he was preempted in that approach by an
event which took place in Boca Raton on the campus of Florida Atlantic University
where my counterpart in the Foundation, a long-time employee of the University was
asked to take an early retirement by an interim president there, John Ryan.
My counterpart, in the middle of the night or during a weekend, moved out of her
campus office, took all the records of the Foundation, moved them downtown to the
office building of the president, a volunteer lay-leader of the Foundation, and
declared that she would not be vice president for Development and Alumni Affairs
but she would remain as the executive vice president of the Foundation and report
to the board, not the university. Then the board, through its executive committee,
told the president that they would hold and freeze all transfers of funds to the
university until this person was reinstated as vice president for Development and
Alumni Affairs, and immediately the Board of Regents realized they had a direct
support organization which had declared independence and was operating apart
from the university. That resulted in the Board of Regents putting in rules which
governed direct support organizations in such a way that we no longer have the
ability to have our chief executive officers be independent of the institution.
That policy included the booster organization on our campus, and that is when we
finalized the reporting relationship with the athletic director and myself. The end
result has been virtually no change in our substantive relationships, in our success,
in our day to day activities, but there is a defined reporting relationship, whereas,
prior to 1990 there was not for a period of years.
P: Have you had other fundraising agencies on the campus, and I am thinking of I FAS,
the law school, and the Health Center, that wanted to strike out on a more
L: Well, when I took the job of Director of University Development in 1984, IFAS
fundraising did not report to my predecessor. President Criser agreed that he would
centralize the coordination of all fundraising under my office. That was the one
condition under which I accepted the position.
P: You wanted that to happen.
L: So that brought IFAS under my supervision as well as the medical center [which]
was somewhat independent, but not on paper. Any thought that they might become
more independent was restricted at that point. The law school has not been
independent, ever. There was talk in the early 1980s of closing down the law center
association, the private foundation that operates with monies that come in through
the law school. Those discussions did not materialize. When I became Director of
University Development, we did not pursue those discussions.
We ultimately reached an agreement with dean [of the Law School Frank T.] Read
and with his successor, dean Jeffrey [E.] Lewis, to deposit all new endowments,
much like we are doing now with the Gator Boosters organization. We have, for six
or eight years, had all new endowments coming in for the law school come into the
Foundation rather than to the law center association. We are in the process of
discussing moving all their old endowments into the Foundation for us to invest, and
my expectation is that will happen this fall. We did that with the booster organization
and we will have, after the law school monies are put in our Foundation, all the
endowment money on campus invested in one big pool.
P: Why do you want to bring the business operations, like the gift shop of the museum
and Harn, into the Foundation? Is that not just a headache?
L: We do not have any interest in having the gift shops under the Foundation. That
was not the proposal. In fact, I think the proposal was to make them part of the
P: Is that what is going to happen?
L: Or to make them into a separate auxiliary in which case they could operate
independently. They would just have to balance their budget every year. In fact, we
would be opposed to having those be a part of the Foundation, because they would
represent to us income that would be taxed under what is called in our business
UBIT, unrelated business income tax. It is [unrelated income] for a Foundation to
earn money selling t-shirts in a gift shop. We are not in that business, [and] that is
not what we are set up to do.
P: So that is not happening?
P: Because that is what I understood when they were changing over here.
L: There was a lot of misinformation with what was happening there. We are very
much interested in a relationship with the board, which had been the board of the
associates of the museum, and that it operates as a support board of the museum
as many of the other groups do around the campus. The monies they raise will be
deposited in a Foundation account, [and] spent out like all the other units do.
P: Because when you write out your membership check, for instance, to the Harn, you
write it out to the Foundation.
L: Yes. Our auditors like to have one name used. We have gotten away from that a
little bit in the case of the Center for Performing Arts. For example, when you write
your check for membership in the performing arts affiliates, you write it to something
other than the Foundation, but we still deposit it. The same thing is true of Classic
89 or Friends of Five; those monies all come into the Foundation as well.
P: I know.
L: We have allowed a few separate identifications out there with those groups which
are indeed slightly different than the College of Business or the College of
Engineering, in which case a check to the Foundation with a restriction to the
College of Business, or to the Oral History Program, or whatever, has worked and
will work and does not create a huge identification problem.
P: Bob, you are ending up your career now in the Foundation here at the University of
Florida and your relationship with the University. What have you contributed? As
you look back on your years now here, what do you think are the main things you
L: Well, I would have to say I think that my tenure as head of the fundraising program
brought, certainly, a sense of growth and expansion, particularly in the sense of
conducting our campaign which was so successful. I think I played a primary role in
designing and directing that campaign, and, probably more importantly, in recruiting
the other senior leadership that helped us be successful with it.
And then, of course, I staffed Marshall Criser and Bob Bryan and John Lombardi
and Fred Fisher in terms of the important work that they did in the campaign. In that
regard I think I have made a contribution. I was involved in all of the major gifts that
happened during that period of time. I was not necessarily the lead fundraiser on
every major gift, but I count that as one of my contributions, in the sense that people
like David Woodall, our assistant vice president for major gifts, has come to the
University. I recruited him here and he has been successful and I have been
comfortable in having people like him and others play lead roles in attracting major
I think the University is better off for having more than one lone gunner on the deck
in fundraising. At the same time, I think I have brought a sense of organization and
stability. We have just talked about how we have brought a centralization to our
program, but at the same time I do not think we are overly centralized. We have
maintained our focus of decentralized fundraising with each college and unit having
its own staff, working on behalf of the respective units and colleges.
I hope I have brought a sense of organization and a system to that process, things
like gift agreements and a prospect tracking system that helps us manage our day to
day business better, and I hope that fifteen years from now we are not untangling
problem gifts for lack of documentation, because I think we have put in a system
that has safeguarded against that.
On the Foundation side, I think we have built an infrastructure in the Foundation.
We have attempted, again, to put in systems across the board that have wound up
with, I think, a business that operates very much like a highly professional business.
When we look at other Foundations around the country, we do not see any of them
doing things differently or better. We see them doing things differently, but not any
better than what we are doing. We think we have really maintained high levels,
almost state of the art, in terms of how we function.
I think we have improved our board. I think we have improved an attitude among
our staff in terms of how they serve this campus. I know you have commented
about some of the concerns the faculty have about the Foundation, and I know that
exists out there. I can only say I think we are light years ahead of where we were
ten years ago in terms of people's attitudes about it and people's concern about the
management of the Foundation. I would like to think I have played a role in that.
I guess, finally, the alumni program has grown dramatically in the last few years with
our news program and our outreach activities. I think it is starting to become the
kind of program that this kind of institution must have.
P: Have these been happy years for you as a student and [employee]?
L: Oh, gosh, yes, very happy. I have had a wonderful experience at the University of
Florida in every respect. I met my wife here.
P: Your child was born here and another conceived.
L: My child was born here. We have made good friends and had great support from
people. It really has been a wonderful experience.
P: Do you take the Foundation home with you at night?
L: Yes. That is not because of the Foundation, that is because of me. I must say I am
better about that today than I was ten years ago, but that is part of maturing.
P: What else do you do with your private life? Are you a reader?
L: I am a reader, I guess more than anything else. At one time my wife and I were avid
golfers and then we moved to sailing prior to our son's birth. We became
responsible for two nieces and all of the sudden our family life was a lot more
complicated than it was when there were just the two of us.
P: What do you mean, you became responsible for two nieces?
L: Well, in 1989, my brother and sister-in-law were killed in an automobile accident, so
their daughters became part of our family.
P: Oh, yes, I remember that, and now you have the children. So you sold your
L: We sold our sailboat.
P: And became a full-time parent.
L: Put my golf clubs on hold.
P: So now you are almost a family of four.
L: Or six, depending on how these nieces will get counted.
P: When I say four, I am talking about four children. The two adults do not count in this
counting up there.
L: No. I came here as a freshman twenty-two years ago, from Michigan, with the
expectation that I might stay in Gainesville as many as seven years to go to
undergraduate and law school.
P: And move on.
L: That seemed like an inordinate commitment at that time, and here I am fifteen years
after the fact.
P: Finally packing up to move.
L: Finally packing up to move, that is right.
P: Do you like to travel?
L: We do, and we have done a fair amount of that. My family is still in Michigan, so we
have made that an annual trek. We have gotten around the country some in terms
of my professional work, and [we traveled in] Europe a couple of times. I will say
that in a job where I travel incessantly, I probably do not travel as much as I would if
I had a [more sedentary job].
P: Is there anything you want to add to the interview that I did not ask you about, or
that you may have forgotten?
L: Well, I do not know that I have forgotten to say anything. I do not know if there are
any other people that you want to ask me about, to fill out the record for your
P: Well, I would like to know a lot about people, good and bad, but that really was not
the purpose of this. I wanted to document the history of the Foundation and your
relationship to it. That is really the purpose of oral history, not so much the other. I
presume you have gotten along well with people. You are not leaving here with
many enemies, perhaps none at all.
L: I do not think I have many enemies. I think one of the things we have been
successful in doing in the Foundation is creating an environment in which people
have felt like we have been approachable. We have tried to be inclusive in terms of
numbers and kinds of people we have had participate in our activities.
P: And it seems to me your office door has been open the times that I have walked by
L: Yes. I have tried to be as flexible as I can be.
P: Has not your staff felt comfortable, as you view it, around you?
L: I think they have. Certainly, the feedback I have gotten, both directly and indirectly,
is that they have seen me as someone that was approachable.
P: That has not always been true during the long history of the Foundation.
L: Well, I think that is true, but, again, you know the personalities change. We actually
have only had four vice presidents in the Foundation. Ardene Wiggins was there at
our going away function last night.
P: I did not even see Ardene last night. I am sorry I missed him.
L: He and I constitute one-half of the living population [of the Foundation's vice
presidents] and Steve Wilkerson and Dick Smith are the other half. It is not a long
P: It is a long history if we go back into the early years.
L: Well, that is right, back into the 1930s. But I am really talking about the modern
Foundation dating from about 1971 on. I will say, I think the situation in which
Ardene Wiggins operated where the Foundation was under-capitalized [and] under-
staffed, created an environment that was difficult for people who worked there and
people who used the services of the Foundation. I do not blame him or any one
person or group of people for that. I think those were just the times in which we
were operating. The place was growing so fast and we were not experienced in how
to grow this kind of organization, and that created a lot of misperceptions and ill will
that, in hindsight, remain unfortunate, because they did not have to be that way and
they were not anybody's particular responsibility.
P: Before we leave, one of the things I think I would like you to talk a little bit about is
the research park out at Alachua. That seems to me to have been a dud from the
day it started. Maybe not, maybe I am seeing it differently than I should be seeing it.
L: The point about a research park, whether it is here or anywhere else, is that those
are twenty to thirty year land development propositions. We built that in 1980 or
1982 with the expectation that it was going to become another research triangle like
they have up in North Carolina. That simply was not an appropriate vision at that
point, and that attitude and experience has been replicated all over this country.
You have got to have a lot of infrastructure factors in place in order to have a
successful research park. We have a terrific University, generating a lot of research,
but we have little else in the way of industrial base to attract other industrial activity
here. That is where we have fallen short of what our expectations were.
P: Do you think it will never work?
L: No. I think it will work. I think it will take a long time. I think in time this community
is going to attract more industry, this area is going to attract more industry, this
University is going to attract more interest from high technology firms, and I think it
P: Do you think it is the wrong place? If it had been a little bit closer to the campus
[could it have been a success]?
L: Sam, I know that is a big consideration. I do not think that would have made a
significant difference in its success to date. I do not think IBM would have built a
plant if they would have been closer or [farther]. The issue about that is, would it be
better for faculty? Yes. Would more faculty locate there with their incubator firms?
Maybe a few more. But if we are only going to build that with faculty doing incubator
companies, that is not going to make or break [the park]. I mean, the incubator
business is holding it together now. The Larry Henches of the world are what have
kept that place going to this point, so it might have been a little more successful,
from that standpoint, had it been closer. But in the greater scheme of things, it is not
a big distance and that will not be the deciding factor for an IBM or a Sony or a
Merck Pharmaceutical, or somebody, to move here.
P: So you think if the University can just hold on to it, in time, it will become an asset.
L: Sure. The University is putting more out there. They are building a biotechnology
building out there and we will, when we assume full ownership of it again, I think,
psychologically, have a bigger stake out there. We certainly will financially, but,
more importantly, psychologically.
P: Bob, one of the persons who played a major role in the history of the University was
Dr. Reitz, and he also played, obviously, a major role in the Foundation after he left
the presidency. I would like you to talk a little bit about Reitz. I know you and he
were good friends.
L: We were very good friends, and it was really a great blessing for the Foundation to
have J. Wayne Reitz in residence for the time that he was following his tenure as
president. Then he went off to Washington, and Thailand, and came back and was
office for a while, as I understand it, over in Grinter Hall, but finally made his
permanent campus office [at] the Foundation. He was a tremendous resource to
our staff, always willing to talk with anyone about anyone, and faithful in his
attendance in our staff meetings during which we would talk about our travel plans
and whom we were going to see. Invariably, he would end the meeting by telling
someone to come see him about so and so because he knew that person, or he
knew their father or grandfather, or had some background to share with them. He
also would, invariably, end the meeting with some sort of historic anecdote that
related to something that somebody said during the meeting. In fact, I remember
what I think was his last staff meeting with us, it was the Monday of the thirtieth
anniversary of Kennedy's assassination in November. And he took the time to tell
us about the weekend that John Kennedy visited the campus, and how, at the time,
the campus and the county and the president's house were dry. There was some
need to get Senator Kennedy a drink before he went over to the Blue Key meeting,
and there was much scurrying about. He would relish in telling us those sorts of
anecdotes about his time on campus.
P: Did he tell that Kennedy did get the drink?
L: He thought that he did, yes. He said something to the effect that there were some
things which he chose not to know about. But he would often provide that kind of
historical footnote to whatever we were talking about, whether it be athletics or
something having to do with people who might have visited campus, or people that
he visited, or places he had seen. He was a man who remained totally dedicated to
the advancement of the University of Florida up until the time he died.
He was very effective in maintaining relationships; he had a number of prospects
with whom he was working. Perhaps the most famous of those was a man by the
name of James Goethe [timber farmer near Ocala] who was even older than Dr.
Reitz. He was in his mid-nineties and had a huge holding of timberland in central
Florida. Dr. Reitz would faithfully, every two or three months, go down to his place
of business, near Dunnellon and meet with him, and talk to him about making a
large, unrestricted gift to the University.
At one point, I understand, Mr. Goethe had a whole stack of proposals on his desk
that we had carried down in one form or another over the years. Dr. Reitz took
every new president down there for at least one meeting with him, and David
Woodall went down with him several times to meet Mr. Goethe, and it is interesting
to note that Mr. Goethe passed away just a couple of months before Dr. Reitz did.
We have all speculated on the fact that Mr. Goethe died and never got around to
including the University in his will which is what Dr. Reitz had been talking to him
about for ten years.
P: He took me down there one time too to meet Mr. Goethe and see about doing an
oral history interview. Mr. Goethe was very pleasant and very cordial, but even
though he was ninety years old he was too busy.
L: Yes. And did you see his palatial surroundings?
P: I saw his office. Who is getting Mr. Goethe's money?
L: Three nieces and nephews, and mostly Uncle Sam. [It is] a huge estate, probably in
excess of $100 million, and I think that broke Dr. Reitz's heart.
P: Yes. Because he wanted $10 million for scholarships, he said.
L: He had a lot invested there. But I have never met someone who seemed to age as
gracefully and with as much curiosity and good spirit and interest in new things as
he did. He was a real pleasure to be around and, as I said earlier, totally dedicated
to the University of Florida. A tremendous ambassador for us long after he left the
P: Who else did you work closely with over the years, Bob?
L: Well, of course, we talked about Dr. Marston, and Marshall Criser, and Bob Bryan,
and now John Lombardi for the last four years.
P: How about Bob Bryan? He is a complex, interesting guy.
L: Yes. Again, a person who is a terrific guy to work for and work with. He always let
you know where he stood, which is one of his great attributes, but, at the same time,
he had a tremendous sense of humor and immediately put people at ease. He did
very well in external relations, and when he was succeeding Marshall, people were
not quite sure who this man was. Bob had not cultivated relationships external to
the University. That is not to say he did not have relationships; he had a lot of them,
but he did not cultivate a sort of external persona.
P: His friendships were within the University.
L: His friendships and relationships and his role were all viewed as being an internal
person, and yet he was very, very effective. I can remember well a meeting that
Bob and I had with Ben Hill Griffin, Jr., in which Bob Bryan convinced Mr. Griffin that
Floyd Hall should be named Griffin-Floyd Hall and totally renovated through Mr.
Griffin's gift. Bob Bryan persuasively pointed out how it was very appropriate for
Floyd Hall, which once housed the Department of Agriculture, and where Mr. Griffin
had taken all of his courses, should now appropriately and fittingly belong to Liberal
Arts and Sciences and house statistics and philosophy. That took a real mark of
salesmanship and persuasion to have Mr. Griffin come to that conclusion, at that
He [Bryan] is a nice man, and, as I say, a great person to work with. And [he is]
someone who has also retained an office in the Foundation, and, by virtue of that,
has been a very big help to us, not exactly in the way that Wayne Reitz has been,
but perhaps with Dr. Reitz's passing, Dr. Bryan will be less self-conscious about
assuming that role as sort of our historical reference point.
P: Do you see Marston now?
L: I have seen Marston some in the last year. I had stayed in touch with him, but we
have not spent a great deal of time together. I have talked with him, particularly
about this opportunity at Johns Hopkins. He is man who had a very good national
perspective and was, of course, as director of NIH [National Institutes of Health],
very familiar with Hopkins. He has a lot of relationships there and so, as a result,
has a good perspective about the place and that environment.
P: Bob, as a vice president for development, were you charged at all with lobbying for
the University? Did you have to go to Tallahassee and pat legislators on the back?
L: No. I went to Tallahassee a few times as it related to specific bills or activities
relating to my area, that is, particularly focusing on the matching gifts program, and
legislation involving the Foundations.
P: But you did not have to go hunting and fishing with Dempsey [J.] Barron [state
L: I did not do that. Actually, I made it a point not to fall over into the lobbying area.
Now, the Foundation board did help in that regard and I was often a conduit, if you
will, to provide information and to try to mobilize activities on behalf of our board
We also developed a contact program in our Alumni Association, but again I was
always of a mind that those programs should be staffed and managed by the
professional lobbyists employed by the University. I was not interested in enlarging
our turf in the Foundation and in the Alumni Association to take on those
responsibilities. That was not our charge.
P: Did you have any responsibility for the lobbying activities in Washington?
L: Other than paying for those things through the Foundation, not directly. But I will
say I did have a relationship with our Washington lobbyists and provided them some
P: This is Mr. Gibbons now?
L: Now it is Clift Gibbons of the Advocacy Group. [Before it was] Dr. [John Robert]
Kirkland who has a Ph.D. in history.
P: From the University of Florida.
L: Yes. And his partner George Patton. I knew them. We were involved in staging
alumni receptions and activities in Washington that quite often would cross overwith
identifying and working with lobbyists.
P: Were you responsible for dropping J.R. and moving to Gibbons?
L: No. That was actually a decision made by a committee at the Board of Regents
level. I had a good relationship with J.R. and J.R. was, as you mentioned, an
alumnus and a donor. So from a parochial standpoint, I was sorry to see that
happen, but there were other issues, obviously, involved in that decision.
P: Yes, I liked him.
L: But I did get to Washington regularly. We have a lot of alumni there and some of
those alumni are quite active in lobbying for the University of Florida nationally. We
tried to get J.R. Kirkland and the Gibbons firm involved in some federal tax issues
and other things, but that really was not why they were hired. Those kinds of issues
are more appropriate for our national organizations to deal with and not individual
P: Bob, one of the most contentious people, I guess, was [Alvin V.] Al Alsobrook [vice
president, University and Government Relations].
P: Did you and Al get along allright? I know a lot of people did not. Of course, I just
knew Al as a social friend, so I have never had any problem with him.
L: Yes. First of all, I worked with Al in his role as our chief lobbyist and his external
activities, particularly under Marshall Criser, and I think I got along with him fine. We
had a few confrontations, but nothing serious. He supervised the editing of the
P: I know people were not happy with that.
L: I was not unhappy with that at the time. I recognize that Al had a contentious type
P: Ask Bob Bryan.
L: Yes. And others. But for myself, I was not disagreeable about Al Alsobrook.
P: I am sorry to end this interview on Al Alsobrook. Can we not find something a bit
L: Well, I think you and I have had a good friendship.
P: We have had a good friendship that will not end because I come to Baltimore to visit
relatives, to do some research, and to eat crabs.
L: And I hope you will also include visiting the Lindgrens as one of the items on your
agenda. I found Eutaw Street; obviously it is a prominent street; what was the
P: [Number] 214. There is a bench there now that you sit on while you are waiting for
the bus to come along. As you are going toward the ballpark, it is on the left hand
L: Yes. I will sit on the bench and remember Sam Proctor.