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 Stephen C. O'Connell
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Title: Stephen C. O'Connell Florida Supreme Court Reading Room
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00067312/00001
 Material Information
Title: Stephen C. O'Connell Florida Supreme Court Reading Room
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Creator: Frederic G. Levin College of Law
Affiliation: University of Florida -- Frederic G. Levin College of Law
Publisher: Frederic G. Levin College of Law, University of Florida
Publication Date: 2005
 Subjects
Spatial Coverage: North America -- United States of America -- Florida
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00067312
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.

Table of Contents
    Title Page
        Title
    Frontispiece
        Page 1
    Stephen C. O'Connell
        Page 2
    Back Cover
        Cover
Full Text















STEPHEN C. O'CONNELL
FLORIDA SUPREME COURT READING ROOM




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STEPHEN C. O'CONNELL


tephen Cornelius O'Connell was an
athlete, World War II veteran, attorney,
public servant, prominent Catholic
layman, justice and chief justice of the
Supreme Court of Florida, banker,
rancher and a man who knew the
names and faces of literally thousands
of Florida residents.
A native Floridian, O'Connell also
was the first University of Florida grad-
uate to serve as president (1967-73) of his alma mater.
Born in West Palm Beach on Jan. 22, 1916, O'Connell
entered UF as a freshman in 1934. He was elected president of the


Student Body, Florida Blue Key and Alpha
Tau Omega fraternity. He also was captain of
the boxing team. He went undefeated in
1938, winning the middleweight division
Southeastern Conference Championship.
O'Connell served in Australia during
World War II, was executive officer of a
bomber group in Okinawa, and ended his
military career as a major. After the war, he
returned to his Fort Lauderdale law practice
in 1946, eventually becoming chief counsel
for the Florida State Road Department.
In 1955 Gov. LeRoy Collins appointed


Critical Freshman Year Program, Council for Legal Educational
Opportunity grants, and Carnegie Foundation grants. Other
assistance programs were started for minority students in medi-
cine, arts and sciences. A measure of the university's progress in
this area during O'Connell's administration is provided by the
following numbers: In 1967, when he arrived on campus, there
were no black faculty members; when he retired in 1973 there
were 19. In 1967 there were 61 black students; in 1973 there
were 641.
O'Connell also is credited with saving University Auditorium,
which, in restored form, became the gem of the central campus.
In like manner he acted to save the collegiate gothic classroom


buildings of the


AS DURING HIS CAREER

ON THE BENCH,

HE PROVED A GOOD

LISTENER AS WELL

AS A FORCEFUL

DECISION-MAKER.


him to the Florida Supreme Court and he eventually became
chief justice. He spent just four months as the head of the court
before being named president of the University of Florida.
O'Connell's years in office coincided with the most passion-
ate and disruptive social movements of the 20th century. In the
wake of nationwide racial tension and anti-war movements, the
campus saw student protests, marches and, in the spring of
1971, forced occupation of the president's office. He proved -
just as he had on the bench to be a good listener as well as a
forceful decision-maker. In the end, no one was seriously
injured, no property was significantly damaged, and no harmful
interruption affected the university's course offerings. At the
commencement exercises of August 1973, O'Connell's last grad-
uating class twice rose in spontaneous tributes to his presidency.
Another notable legacy from O'Connell's seven years in
office was his promotion of a more open and welcoming envi-
ronment for minority students and faculty members. By spring
1971, O'Connell had established and approved three major pro-
grams for academic assistance to African-American students: the


On June 28,


original campus. Several buildings were con-
structed during his tenure: the Holland Law
Center, additions to the medical center, and
the Museum of Natural History.
To improve support for academic pro-
grams, O'Connell reorganized the Alumni
Association, for which he had served as pres-
ident in the year before he took the helm of
the university, and created an Office of
Development. This action has generated
millions of dollars in private gifts annually
to support university programs, facilities,
scholarships, fellowships, professorships and
other needs.
1973 he announced his retirement from the


university, and returned to Tallahassee, where he resumed the
practice of law as well as other business and ranching ventures.
He remained active in university and civic affairs. He was a
member of the Board of Directors of the University of Florida
Foundation and a continuing consultant to one of his life-long
interests, Florida Blue Key. During Fall 2000 Homecoming
activities, Florida Blue Key's annual banquet was a tribute to
O'Connell.
Among the numerous honors O'Connell received during his
career were honorary degrees from the University of Notre
Dame, Jacksonville University, Biscayne College, the Federal
University of Brazil at Rio de Janeiro, Florida State University
and the University of Florida.
He died on April 14, 2001, at the age of 85. O'Connell was
preceded in death by his first wife, Rita McTigue, and son
Martin. He is survived by his second wife Cynthia, and three
children: Rita Denise, Stephen C., Jr., and Ann Maureen; and
eight grandchildren.



















he Stephen C. O'Connell Florida Supreme Court Reading Room is made possible by the following
donors. Mrs. Cynthia O'Connell, widow of Stephen and a member of the UF Board of Trustees,
spearheaded efforts to raise the funds and worked closely with campaign co-chair Warren Cason of
Tampa (JD 50). The elegant reading room is one of the largest areas in the expanded law library and
serves as a primary place of study and as a faculty and alumni event facility.


Mr. & Mrs. Warren Cason
Mr. Martin L. Bowling, Jr.
The Hon. John F. Cosgrove
Mr. Gerald B. Curington
Mr. & Mrs. Irving Cypen
Mr. Hal P. Dekle
Mr. W Dexter Douglass
Mr. James E. Eaton, Jr.
Mr. Robert M. Ervin
The Hon. Stephen H. Grimes
Hill, Ward & Henderson, P.A.
Mr. & Mrs. J. Bruce Hoffmann
Mr. Ronald C. LaFace
Lt. Col. Bruce D. Landrum
The Hon. & Mrs. William F. Leonard
Mr. Chris M. Limberopoulos
Mr. Paul R. Linder
Mr. Jeffrey B. Marks
The Hon. J. Wayne Mixson
Mrs. Cynthia F. O'Connell
Mrs. Perry-Belle O'Connell
The Hon. Benjamin F. Overton
Mr. Stewart E. Parsons
Mr. & Mrs. S. Daniel Ponce
RES, Inc. c/o Thomas Barkdull
Stanley & Susan Rosenblatt
Family Fdtn.
Mr. & Mrs. Jerry D. Service
W Paul Shelley, Jr., Esq.
Mr. & Mrs. W Crit Smith
Mr. W Lawrence Smith
Mr. Thomas R. Tedcastle
Lt. Col. & Mrs. Grady Warren


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