Stetson University Trustees Approve Two New Members

the Stetson cupola atop Elizabeth Hall set against a brilliant blue sky
Laurie Kent

The Stetson University Board of Trustees approved the nominations of two new trustees, Laurel (Laurie) Kent and Lila Jaber. Kent is joining the full board after serving since 2015 as an ex-officio trustee while chair of the College of Arts and Sciences Advisory Board. Lila Jaber is with the firm Gunster, Yoakley and Stewart, and is known for her expertise in public affairs, energy, natural gas, water, telecommunications and broadband policies. She was previously chair of the Florida Public Service Commission under then-Governor Jeb Bush.

Lila Jaber

The board also awarded emeriti status to two long-serving trustees, Bonnie Brown Foreman and Jane Edmunds Novak. Foreman joined the board in 2007 while continuing to serve on the College of Law Board of Overseers and Novak joined the board in 1995 and is the daughter of J. Ollie Edmunds, Stetson University’s fourth president and former chancellor.

Two current board members, David Rinker and Charles (Chuck) Wolfe, were approved for additional terms.

Ex-Officio Trustees

The board also welcomed three new ex-officio members to the board, representing alumni and their colleges and schools.

  • Gerald (Jerry) Kruhm, a retired financial advisor, longtime Florida educator and member of School of Music Board of Advisors, will join the board as he assumes the chair of Board of Advisors, a position he previously held.
  • Tom Patton is president and CEO of Cellarius Strategies and former vice president of government relations for Phillips Electronics. He is assuming the chair of the College of Arts and Sciences Advisory Board.
  • Ranell Tinsley Mason, senior paralegal corporate compliance at Masonite, joins as president of the Alumni Board of Directors.

Science and Health Sciences Initiative

Executive Vice President and Provost Noel Painter and Tim Elgren, special advisor on strategic initiatives, provided an update on the planning for a new facility to advance science and health sciences at Stetson University. The initiative and facility were made possible by a generous donation of $18 million by longtime trustees Hyatt and Cici Brown. Painter and Elgren discussed planning for a timeline to advance facility design over the 2019-2020 academic year, and additional planning for the renovation and updating of the existing science facility, Sage Hall.

Elgren said the two facilities will be tied together physically and conceptually, and they will be close enough for walkways and connectivity between the two. 

portrait outside
Noel Painter, Ph.D.

“This is more than a construction project,” Painter added. “This is an initiative that can seed transformational change and lead to strategic partnerships that serve our students and the entire community.”

Strategic Map Roll Ahead

The Board also approved shortened, Roll Ahead Strategic Map Goals, based on the 2014-2019 Strategic Map, to guide the direction and focus of the university for the next two years.

portrait outside
Wendy B. Libby, Ph.D.

“It is an exciting point in time at Stetson University,” said President Wendy B. Libby, Ph.D. “We are beginning the search for our 10th president, adding new leadership to our schools and colleges and tackling complex issues [environment, law, health]. The map provides direction while new leadership coalesces around objectives and goals that move the university forward.”

$6 Million Major Projects Approval

The board approved resolutions by the Facilities Management Committee and Finance Committee to go forward with $6 million in renewal and replacement funding for projects of more than $100,000. These projects are part of the university’s Campus Improvements and Renewal and Replacement Matrix and include plumbing, roofing and other infrastructure projects.