LAKELAND (February 15, 2019) – Florida Southern College announced today the next phase of its decades-long civics education program. At a Celebration of Our Freedoms luncheon that drew an audience including trustees, civic leaders, friends, and alumni, the College announced that recently retired Florida Supreme Court Justice R. Fred Lewis will join the faculty as the College’s first Eminent Professor of Law and Letters. In his new position, Justice Lewis will teach FSC students and direct community programs focusing on civics and government.
Lewis’s appointment will take the College’s renowned social sciences program to a new level. In 2016, Trustee Dr. Sarah D. McKay provided a wonderful opportunity for FSC to become a leader in the collegiate study of American History, Government, and Civics when she made a transformational gift to establish an endowed professorship to specialize in this field.
Dr. McKay is a leading champion for civics education in the great state of Florida, and this gift ensures that FSC will employ in perpetuity an expert professor to provide a stellar education in these areas for our students. McKay Professor Dr. R. Bruce Anderson has become a leader in promoting civics education beyond the collegiate level and is helping establish civics education initiatives to junior and senior high school students in our community.
While serving the Florida Supreme Court, Justice Lewis founded Justice Teaching, an organization that now has more than 4,700 volunteer lawyers and judges active in 3,000 Florida schools, teaching and enhancing civics and law-related education through active programs in all grades. This revered program will arrive on campus with Justice Lewis and become the Justice Teaching Center at Florida Southern College.
This innovative and highly respected Center will improve civic learning opportunities in Florida through effective law-focused partnerships, programs, and resources. Judges and attorneys will be partnered with schools in Florida through this experiential educational model. Key concepts include justice, the courts, and the Constitution. The new Justice Teaching Center at Florida Southern College website will also be a resource for judges, lawyers, and teachers to use in planning classroom activities, projects, and seminars.
Other public officials on the program included John Antoon II, U.S. District Judge of the Middle District of Florida, and The Honorable Adam H. Putnam.
At the conclusion of the event, FSC President Anne Kerr joined Justice Lewis in presenting Dr. Sarah D. McKay with the inaugural Outstanding Leader in Civics Award, recognizing extraordinary leadership in the realm of history, government, and civics education. The award is named in her honor and will be given annually.