Mr. Speaker, I am here today along with other Members of the Florida congressional delegation to pay tribute to an accomplished leader and a very special man, Dr. John Lombardi. Today is Dr. Lombardi’s last day as president of the University of Florida.


[Congressional Record: November 1, 1999 (House)] [Page H11178-H11181] From the Congressional Record Online via GPO Access [] [DOCID:cr01no99-85]


The SPEAKER pro tempore. Under a previous order of the House, the gentlewoman from Florida (Mrs. Thurman) is recognized for 5 minutes.

Mrs. THURMAN. Mr. Speaker, I am here today along with other Members of the Florida congressional delegation to pay tribute to an accomplished leader and a very special man, Dr. John Lombardi. Today is Dr. Lombardi's last day as president of the University of Florida.

I remember thinking to myself when Dr. Lombardi came on board in 1990 that we were very lucky to have him. He came to the University of Florida from Johns Hopkins University where he excelled as provost and vice president for academic affairs.

{time} 1845

Before that, he spent 20 years at Indiana University, where he held a variety of teaching and administrative positions, including Director of Latin American Studies, Dean of International Programs, and Dean of Arts and Sciences.

These positions at distinguished universities helped to shape Dr. Lombardi into the innovative dynamic leader he proved to be while at the top post of the University of Florida.

Just to highlight some of his accomplishments and to help explain why he will be missed so much, Dr. Lombardi led the University of Florida through a decade of great accomplishment. Following his vision, the University of Florida waged an amazing 5-year private fund-raising drive that brought in

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more than $570 million by the end of September and the campaign is well on its way towards reaching its revised goal of $750 million by the end of the year 2000.

Dr. Lombardi played an instrumental role in shaping the university into one of the country's best public research institutions. The university ranks 12th in the country in total research and development spending at public universities and under his leadership the research awards to the university increased from $161 million in 1990 to $296 million in 1999.

Clearly, the additional research dollars and the success of the private fund-raising campaign are due in large part to the tremendous job Dr. Lombardi has done in making the University of Florida one the country's leading public higher institutions of learning.

This year, U.S. News and World Report ranked the University of Florida 16th in the country in an overall rating of public universities and, according to the latest survey, Money magazine rated the university number 10 for schools offering the most value for the cost. Last year, Kiplinger's business magazine ranked the university fifth among State universities in the country for offering the most value for the tuition.

Those are all ratings to be proud of, and Dr. Lombardi can take credit for these successes and many more for his commitment to an overall mission he coined: ``It's performance that counts.''

I first had the pleasure of working with Dr. Lombardi while serving in the Florida State Senate. While under the leadership of the gentlewoman from Florida (Mrs. Meek), I had the privilege of working as the liaison between the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Education and leaders of higher education in the State. During this time, I had the opportunity to work with the board of regents and the chancellor and I soon got to know President Lombardi.

From the very start, he was a very impressive man. He came in with fresh ideas and had an uncanny ability to talk to people with great clarity and conviction. That enabled him to rise to the position of unofficial spokesman on behalf of higher education before the State Senate and House Committee on Appropriations and he earned my respect and admiration in the process.

He was the idea man. He was the one who was able to go in with such force that people realized that what they were doing was important. I am grateful I was able to continue my working relationship with Dr. Lombardi after leaving the State Senate following my election to Congress in 1992 as the representative of Florida's 5th District, including the University of Florida.

Since that time, I have watched him set many of his ideas into motion and make a difference. Among his many accomplishments, the university's enrollment, retention and graduation rates are way up. He has implemented very effective programs to help students graduate within 4 years. He has increased the number of combined degree programs so undergraduates can now earn a bachelor and master's degree in 5 or 6 years. He has led the effort to make computers accessible to all students, and even provided every student and faculty member with free e-mail and Internet accounts. The buildings on the campuses are new and improved because of him. The campus has new dorms, a new student recreational center, softball complex, dining room, chemistry building, physics building, vet school, cancer center and the Brain Institute.

He also oversaw the transformation of the university's teaching hospital, Shands, into a multihospital health care system that spans communities throughout north central Florida, including Jacksonville, whose representatives are the gentlewoman from Florida (Ms. Brown) and the gentlewoman from Florida (Mrs. Fowler). These are just some of his remarkable accomplishments during his tenure.

I've also come to understand and realize firsthand the love the students have for this man. Every year during the homecoming parade, thousands of students stand along the sidelines cheering as he passes. They adore him and he's earned their affection through his warmth, accessibility and understanding. He can walk through the campus and the students just know him, and I'm not sure I've seen that in many places over the years.

For this reason, I'm pleased to learn Dr. Lombardi will be staying on at the university to direct the Center for Florida Studies in the Humanities and Social Sciences and teaching courses in the history department. Throughout his tenure as president, Dr. Lombardi always made time to teach a course every semester on campus, ranging from the history of intercollegiate sports to Latin American history to international business.

He enjoys sharing his knowledge, and in this way, he will continue to influence students on campus and make a difference.

I was trying to explain to someone in my office the other day exactly why Dr. Lombardi is so popular. And I have to admit, it can be hard to boil down to a few words. But sometimes you just meet someone and you just like them. You work with them and over time you become friends. You see something in them that you think is very special and that draws you to them. Perhaps it's their warmth or the way they approach life. That's how it is with both Dr. Lombardi and his wonderful wife, Cathryn.

They are both very special people, and I am very appreciative of the work they have done for both the university and the community. I would like to thank them for helping the University of Florida achieve particularly ambitious goals through dedication, commitment and the general belief that indeed, ``It's Performance that Counts.''

Mr. Speaker, before I end with my tribute I would like to make mention that the gentleman from Florida (Mr. Scarborough) could not be here to pay tribute in person because of recent back surgery, but he will submit a tribute for the Record.


Mr. YOUNG of Florida. Mr. Speaker, I want to commend my colleague from Florida, Karen Thurman, for calling this special order today to honor Dr. John Lombardi, the outgoing President of the University of Florida.

Dr. Lombardi has served the University of Florida with distinction as president for the past 9 years. During this time, he has taken the university to new national levels of excellence, from the classroom, to the research laboratories, to the athletic fields.

The number of National Merit Scholars attending the university has more than doubled during his presidency. Private gifts to the university have increased by almost two-thirds and research and development funds from Federal, State, and private sources have more than doubled. And we all know of the university's prowess on the athletic fields under Dr. Lombardi's presidency. The Gators won national championships in football, men's golf, women's tennis, women's soccer, and numerous Southeastern Conference championships in a wide range of sports.

On a personal note, my colleagues should know how diligently Dr. Lombardi has worked with Congress on behalf of our great State of Florida and its university system. One dream of Dr. Lombardi, which I had the opportunity to assist with through my work on the Appropriations Committee, was the creation of the Brain Institute. Through his work and dedication on this project, the University of Florida now hosts an institute which will lead to critical new medical research and technological breakthroughs to help generations of people throughout our Nation and the world.

Mr. Speaker, Dr. Lombardi has served our State, the University of Florida, its faculty and students honorably and with a conviction these past nine years. He has been an outstanding ambassador for the university with the Florida congressional delegation and I want to say how much we appreciate his dedication and how much we will miss his hard work and his friendship. Thank you Dr. Lombardi for your service and I join with my colleagues from Florida in wishing you and your wife Cathryn all the best as you continue your work to improve the quality of education for our Nation's students.


Mr. SCARBOROUGH. Mr. Speaker, on November 1, 1999, the citizens of the State of Florida will be losing a man who has dedicated the last decade to making the University of Florida one of the greatest public universities in the country. This gentleman has distinguished himself as a community leader, a dedicated educator, and one of our Nation's finest collegiate administrators. The man I speak about today is Dr. John Lombardi, president of the University of Florida.

During Dr. Lombardi's 9\1/2\-year tenure as president, the University of Florida's enrollment increased to more than 43,000 students and its budget is now almost twice what it was when he arrived in 1990. UF was ranked the 16th-best public university in the United States by U.S. News & World Report earlier this year, buildings have popped up all over campus and an ambitious capital campaign is nearing completion. Since 1990, the number of degrees awarded annually from UF's graduate programs has increased from 1,613 in 1988 to 2,558 in 1998. Research expenditures have more than doubled since 1988, from $126 million to $271 million.

In my opinion, Mr. Speaker, John Lombardi has gone above and beyond the call of duty

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throughout this distinguished career in the field of education. His personality and genuine concern for the well being and intellectual development of students has been the key to his success. John was never the type of university president who governed from an ivory tower on campus. John was a president who could be seen on any given school day, walking to his office through the campus, all the while interacting with students and teachers. On rainy days in Gainesville, Dr. Lombardi would drive his old, red pick-up truck to work. On fall Saturdays, John could be seen cheering on the Fightin' Gators to another gridiron victory with 85,000 other fans and students.

John's maverick attitude and dedication to public education has been a model in the lives of the thousands of students, parents, educators, and university employees that he has taught, supervised, and encouraged. His legacy will tell of a tireless man in black, horn- rimmed glasses, who always fought for what he thought was best for the University of Florida and accepted no compromises.

Even as John ends his tenure as president of the University of Florida, his dedication to education will remain a priority in his life. John will continue to remain on the faculty of UF as a history professor and as a co-director of the Center for Studies of Humanities and Social Sciences.

So today, when that old, red pickup truck pulls away from the president's house in Gainesville, FL for the last time, let us think about the gifts that Dr. John Lombardi has given the students of the University of Florida. Gifts like leadership, imagination, greatness, and pride.


Mr. STEARNS. Mr. Speaker, I appreciate this opportunity to join with my Florida colleagues in paying tribute to John Lombardi, who stepped down today as president of the University of Florida. Although Dr. Lombardi is leaving the administrative side of the university, he will return to teaching in the school's history department.

When I took office in 1989, I represented Gainesville and the University of Florida until 1992. Although no longer in my district, the university is an important resource for the people of Florida, and I have continued to be involved with the school. Over the years, I have had the privilege of working with John Lombardi and I am proud of what we have accomplished.

In 1990, Dr. Lombardi became the president of the University of Florida. Through his hard work and dedication, the University of Florida has heightened its educational reputation and enhanced its commitment to excellence. Under the guidance of Dr. Lombardi over this decade, academic standards have increased, student performance has risen, graduation rates have improved, and the modernization of equipment and facilities have flourished. The 1990's will long be seen as an era of developing a premier institute of higher learning at the University of Florida.

Although an outstanding administrator and educator, John has other attributes that I am pleased to point out. I recall one of my first meetings with him. A number of us were in Gainesville for a school dinner and waiting for President Lombardi to show up. I was looking down the road and saw and old, odd looking truck lumbering up the road. I though it was probably the landscaper coming in to complete some final touches before the event.

Instead, to my surprise, President Lombardi stepped out of his truck. This truck has become a Lombardi trademark around campus. Yes, this noted scholar does not require the pomp and trappings of his office. He is equally comfortable conversing with the erudite as with the common man, and this egalitarian quality marks all that he does.

As with the truck, John is also well known for the red suspenders he wears to the football games. In addition to the arrival of President Lombardi, 1990 marked a significant turn around in Gator football. Steve Spurrier was brought in as coach. In the previous 56 years, no Florida team has captured an official Southeastern Conference Championship--the Gators won three in the early 1990's. The arrival of John Lombardi enhanced more than the academic standing of the university, it initiated the rise of a sports powerhouse.

John is also a family man, and I always enjoy the time I spend with them. His wife Cathryn and I share an interest in science fiction, and I always appreciate the chance to compare notes and to exchange recommendations. This is a wonderful American family with two children, and I had the pleasure to have one of them work in my office part time.

In the first century B.C., the Roman poet Horace urged that man ``seek for truth in the groves of Academe.'' The brilliance of John Lombardi is exhibited through his efforts to seek the truth through learning. As president, he has taken many courageous stands--courageous because they have been controversial. However, the pursuit of enlightenment is not, and should not. always be easy. Avoiding controversy means accepting mediocrity--and that is not John Lombardi.

Each of us is here in the world to accomplish something. During his tenure as president, John Lombardi has stood in the gap to make a difference. He has set an example of excellence in pubic and private service which should be an example for all.

John, thank you for your friendship and for all that you have done for the University of Florida. We are sorry to see you leave office, but you have earned this return to the classroom where you will continue to help shape the minds of the future.


Mr. SHAW. Mr. Speaker, today is the final day that Mr. John Lombardi will serve in his capacity as president of the University of Florida. Throughout the last 10 years he has served as not only a president, but as a teacher, mentor, historian, innovator, and architect of educational improvement throughout the State of Florida. I am honored to include him among the great leaders of my State.

Though Mr. Lombardi's presidency has been characterized by conflict, it is through this conflict that he has exuded his abilities as an exceptional leader. Before Mr. Lombardi even began his term in 1990, he found himself in the midst of a a racial conflict on campus. Mr. Lombardi not only mitigated the crisis, but used it as a platform for promoting racial equality at the University of Florida. From that ordeal, he committed his administration to making UF more comfortable and accessible to minority students.

While Mr. Lombardi's term of service can be characterized by challenges, it can also be characterized by innovation. Under Mr. Lombardi's administration, the University of Florida has excelled in technology and education. He has instituted an Integrated Student Information System (or ISIS) that allows students to on-line information on their personal finance, housing, grades, and curriculum. He has also created the UF Bank--a paradigm for collegiate financial processing, as well as an Integrated Healthcare System, Genetics Institute, Brain Institute, and numerous combined degree programs.

When considering Mr. Lombardi's initiatives, one must also consider his university development at the University of Florida. President Lombardi has overseen and initiated the building of new dormitories, a student recreational center, Gator Dining, and buildings for chemistry, physics, veterinary medicine, and cancer research. His fundraising efforts have brought more than half a billion dollars to the university for further initiatives.

Mr. Lombardi's most impressive characteristic, however, may be his ability to lead. Mr. Lombardi is a charismatic leader, a visionary, responsible for the actions of himself and his administration and adept at the often harrowing necessities of his occupation. When the Legislature of the State of Florida set forth budgetary restrictions that many thought would hinder the universities, Mr. Lombardi effectively managed to save 41 of 44 new programs to the astonishment of his peers at universities throughout the State of Florida. He has often dealt directly with the State legislature to serve the needs of the University of Florida.

Mr. Lombardi has said that, ``to succeed we must perform, we must be efficient and we must produce first-rank quality in all that we do.'' His statement is certainly indicative of his tenure as president of the University of Florida. He has brought honor to his university, to his State, and to his country through his term of office.


Mr. BILIRAKIS. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize and honor John V. Lombardi, who has served with distinction as the president of the University of Florida for over 9 years. In that role, he has taken this distinguished institution to new heights of academic performance.

I had the pleasure of meeting John Lombardi shortly after his inauguration as president of the University of Florida. Since that time, I have come to know Dr. Lombardi well. I have seen firsthand the profound impact he has had at the university in the intervening years. Quite frankly, Dr. Lombardi has been unique among university presidents in his ability to relate to students, staff, faculty, and all those who support the University of Florida.

As a Member of Congress, I am well aware of the difficulty in maintaining close contact with one's constituents. It takes work; it takes prioritizing--but it is vital to accurate representation. Dr. Lombardi has set as his priority the ``pursuit of ever-higher quality'' in every area throughout the University of Florida.

To achieve this goal, he has made himself available to the students, to the faculty and to the staff, among others. He has been a leader of efforts to improve and diversify programs and to secure financial and community support.

I want to publicly commend Mr. Lombardi for his dedicated service to the University of Florida. Throughout his commitment, he has helped to provide direction and positive growth for a generation of Floridians.

[[Page H11181]]


Mr. BOYD. Mr. Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to retiring University of Florida president John Lombardi. Dr. Lombardi is departing his post today after a decade of service to our university, its students and the surrounding community. Dr. Lombardi's tenure was marked by his dedication to a mission of shaping the University of Florida into the world-class institution it has become today.

As a member of the Florida State Legislature, I had the opportunity to develop a personal relationship with Dr. Lombardi as he worked with the legislature to ensure the university obtained the resources it needed to serve Florida's students and develop its reputation as a quality research institution. I have always been impressed by his tireless efforts on behalf of the university to raise academic standards and student performance and expand opportunities for the entire university community.

Dr. Lombardi's commitment, however, extended beyond the boundaries of his campus, as the entire State of Florida has benefited from his years of service. The constituents of the Second Congressional District, in particular, have profited from Dr. Lombardi's support of the land grant university's concept of a ``People's'' university through its Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. Dr. Lombardi recognized the campus' critical role in developing research, teaching and extension programs to serve Florida's agricultural community.

Most impressive, however, has been Dr. Lombardi's devotion to the University of Florida's most important resource--its students. At a time when higher education institutions are bursting at the seams, Lombardi has always put the needs of his students first, and as a result, he has earned the affection of the entire student body.

On behalf of the Second Congressional District, I would like to thank Dr. Lombardi and send him best wishes for all his future endeavors. We will not forget the many ways he has made the University and the State of Florida a better place.


[Congressional Record: November 1, 1999 (House)] [Page H11181] From the Congressional Record Online via GPO Access [] [DOCID:cr01no99-87]




The SPEAKER pro tempore. Under a previous order of the House, the gentleman from Florida (Mr. Davis) is recognized for 5 minutes.

Mr. DAVIS of Florida. Mr. Speaker, I also rise to pay tribute to President John Lombardi on his last day as President of the University of Florida.

From the very first day that John Lombardi became President of the University of Florida, about 10 years ago, he demonstrated a vision and a passion that would be very difficult to duplicate. He arrived in a 1985 GMC red pickup truck, and it became quite clear immediately that this was a very special person who could relate just as effectively with the students as he did with the academics and the administrators.

He truly believed in the greatness of the university and he had a very unique style of communication that allowed him to spread his vision that, notwithstanding the tremendous reputation the University of Florida had, it was far ahead of its reputation.

John Lombardi's style of communication was unique; professional, honest, direct and at times blunt, but he said what many people wanted to hear and he took the university through a great deal of progress in a very short period of time. As the gentlewoman from Florida (Mrs. Thurman) has elaborated, research dollars increased by double the amount they were when he arrived; the academic credentials of the student body increased dramatically. One statistic I will quote, which is a little daunting for us, the entering freshman at the University of Florida now is a 3.90.

Dr. Lombardi also shepherded through the creation of three very nationally well-known centers, the UF Brain Institute, the Engineering Research Center for Particle Science, and the National High Magnetic Laboratory, which is under the auspices of the University of Florida, Florida State University and Los Alamos National Laboratory.

The 1990s has not been the easiest decade to manage a university. But John Lombardi's creativity and resourcefulness helped the University of Florida thrive in a time of shrinking budgets and bulging enrollments. He created a money management system that gave his deans and directors more control and flexibility of their own budgets. The deans thrived under this system, saving more than $6.7 million in 1996 and 1997, and $12 million the next year. They took those savings and put them directly into student services.

In addition to all these achievements, Dr. Lombardi taught us something very important. Something that helps us answer the question, how do we define success in any major State university, not just in Gainesville, Florida? We define success by the value we add to the students that enter the university and ultimately leave there. John Lombardi never lost sight of the fact that a university is only as great as each and every one of its students that attend there.

He made a point of doing something that not enough university presidents do today. He spent a great deal of time with the students. Whether it was cheering the many University of Florida sports' teams on to victory, or marching with the student band with his clarinet, Dr. Lombardi showed the students how much he cared about them and their University.

Now, Dr. Lombardi, starting tomorrow, is returning to his first love; teaching. He will be teaching history again, and his students will be very lucky to have him there. But this is our opportunity tonight to thank him for his courageous leadership and for his example in the years to come as the University of Florida prospers under his tremendous stewardship.


The SPEAKER pro tempore. Under a previous order of the House, the gentleman from Florida (Mr. Miller) is recognized for 5 minutes.

Mr. MILLER of Florida. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to Dr. John Lombardi, the outgoing President of my alma mater, the University of Florida.

Dr. Lombardi leaves his distinguished position today after a proud decade of immeasurable service. During this period, he was instrumental in promoting the University of Florida's reputation as one of the premier public universities in the United States. However, even as he prepares to leave this position, his commitment to education remains unabated. Dr. Lombardi plans to return to the classroom as a professor in the University's history department. Such dedication is typical of Dr. Lombardi, as evidenced by his record of accomplishments and achievements as the President of the University of Florida.

Complete enumeration of Dr. Lombardi's accomplishments would take days, so I will focus on a few accomplishments that I believe best portray Dr. Lombardi's tenure.

Foremost among the accomplishments during the Lombardi years is the creation of the University of Florida Brain Institute. This institute focuses on brain and spinal cord research and treatment, and is recognized internationally for its faculty, clinicians, students, and staff. Dr. Lombardi oversaw the creation of this institute, and construction of a six-story, $60 million building to house this comprehensive center devoted entirely to neuroscience.

Under Dr. Lombardi, the University has also increased the availability of combined degree programs for undergraduates who want to earn both a Bachelors and a Masters degree in five or six years. These programs have proven to be very popular with students seeking to take advantage of the university's curricular depth during a five or six year experience.

Also underway, as a direct result of Dr. Lombardi's vision and leadership, is the Graduate Growth Initiative. This initiative to increase the graduate student population to approximately 25% of the entire student body has resulted in growing numbers of graduate students, and proven to be an important asset in support of the University's research agenda.

Dr. Lombardi will be missed as President of the University of Florida. I wish him the best of luck in his return to the classroom, and commend him for his dedicated service to the University of Florida.


[Congressional Record: November 1, 1999 (House)] [Page H11182-H11183] From the Congressional Record Online via GPO Access [] [DOCID:cr01no99-91]



The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. Kuykendall). Under a previous order of the House, the gentlewoman from Florida (Mrs. Fowler) is recognized for 5 minutes.

Mrs. FOWLER. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to offer my best wishes and appreciation to an outstanding educator, administrator, and author, Dr. John Lombardi, who has been the president of the University of Florida for more than 9 years now, and in that time he has become much beloved by the student body, faculty, and alumni. This is a man who truly made a difference during his years as president.

It would take too long to list all of his many accomplishments, so I would like to highlight just a few.

As an educator, Dr. Lombardi focused on and achieved higher academic standards, student performance, and graduation rates. As an administrator, he took care of critical details, such as offering better access to computers and augmenting opportunities by increasing the number of combined degree programs available to undergraduates. He was intricately involved in the opening of the Brain Institute, a premier center dedicated to brain and spinal cord research and treatment.

He also excelled in the vitally important role as a fund-raiser, with gifts to the University increasing exponentially during his tenure, including a recently arranged multimillion dollar contribution to the law school.

In addition, Dr. Lombardi was responsible for Florida's acceptance into the Association of American Universities, the prestigious higher education organization comprised of the top 62 public and private institutions in the United States.

More important, though, was Dr. Lombardi the person, a person of great popularity and high regard. Let me just give my colleagues two examples.

Dr. Lombardi was so well-loved by the students that I know that recently the student body voted to ask the

[[Page H11183]]

Board of Regents to allow Dr. Lombardi to sign each of their diplomas.

The second anecdote is even more true to his spirit, because at every homecoming Dr. Lombardi marched with the alumni band playing his trademark clarinet and wearing his Gator suspenders.

Today, Dr. Lombardi is leaving his post after a decade of dedicated service. We are fortunate, though, that he will not be going very far and that he plans to return to teaching in the University's history department. On this occasion, I wish Dr. Lombardi and Cathryne all the best and offer great thanks for all his hard work and efforts on behalf of the University of Florida.


[Congressional Record: November 1, 1999 (House)] [Page H11182] From the Congressional Record Online via GPO Access [] [DOCID:cr01no99-90]



The SPEAKER pro tempore. Under a previous order of the House, the gentlewoman from Florida (Ms. Brown) is recognized for 5 minutes.

Ms. BROWN of Florida. Mr. Speaker, I rise tonight to pay tribute to one of the most progressive leaders in the history of Florida, Dr. John Lombardi. He has been a cherished friend to me for over the past 10 years, but he has also been a great friend to the University of Florida and the rest of the State. He is a passionate supporter of public education and he is also a refreshing thinker.

I have been able to count on Dr. Lombardi for so many years as a valuable friend and resource person. Though Dr. Lombardi is leaving his position as President of the University of Florida, he will still be a part of the University's community. We will continue to count on him as a resource.

As a graduate of the University of Florida, I am proud of all the work he has done to make the University of Florida one of the finest public universities in the country, and the best football team. His hard work has helped us reach new levels of academic achievement and we are all proud of his commitment.

I know that the State of Florida is grateful to Dr. Lombardi for being so dedicated in his advocacy for equal rights and a quality education for all of our students. We will miss his leadership, but we will count on his continued support and guidance.


Mrs. MEEK of Florida. Mr. Speaker, will the gentlewoman yield?

Ms. BROWN of Florida. I yield to the gentlewoman from Florida.

(Mrs. MEEK of Florida asked and was given permission to revise and extend her remarks.)

Mrs. MEEK of Florida. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentlewoman for yielding to me.

{time} 1900

Mr. Speaker, Dr. John Lombardi represented and carried through a renaissance in Florida's public education. He chartered a new course for a university which many times before him was in a sleepy existence.

Dr. Lombardi came along; he was a university president who had vision and he had foresight. He was a scholar, respected. He was an academic, yet he was very well-centered in the community, as well as the students. He pulled this university up in research and development. He shaped and defined a new direction for the university.

I had quite a few meetings with President Lombardi. I respected him, as I was a member of the Florida Senate Committee on High Education. I must say to the graduates and the students of the University of Florida, John Lombardi will be missed; and to that entire university system, he brought them into the 21st century kicking and screaming. We are hoping that they will be able to replace him. But I say, no, it is hard to replace a man with the genius and heart of a John Lombardi.


[Congressional Record: November 1, 1999 (House)] [Page H11184] From the Congressional Record Online via GPO Access [] [DOCID:cr01no99-95]



The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. Kuykendall). Under a previous order of the House, the gentleman from Florida (Mr. Mica) is recognized for 5 minutes.

Mr. MICA. Mr. Speaker, first I want to pay just a few moments of tribute to one of the most distinguished gentlemen I know in the State of Florida, a gentleman I have known for the past decade, who has headed the University of Florida, Mr. John Lombardi. John Lombardi is retiring as the President of the University of Florida. I have had an opportunity since I first attended the University of Florida, it will be some 40 years ago, in 1960, as a freshman on that campus, to see the University of Florida, which gave me an incredible opportunity in life, an educational advantage. I have seen many Presidents, J. Wayne Reitz, Phil O'Connell, Bob Marston, Marshall Criser, the interim President Bryan and others who have done a superb job in leading our first and foremost university in Florida, the University of Florida in Gainesville. But I have never seen an individual who has done a more incredible job in bringing together success in academics, success in programs, success in contributions to the university, both financial contributions and incredible standing. There just is no one who has done a more incredible job than John Lombardi. As he departs this week after a decade of service to our university, to our State, I salute him along with other members of the Florida delegation for what he has done for my alma mater, in raising the academic standards and improving student performance and increasing graduation rates, and for increasing the number of degreed programs and again the academic standing that he brought to the University of Florida through his efforts.

Just a word of praise, also, for his gracious, hardworking wife Carolyn who also with John Lombardi provided her leadership as really our first lady and spokesperson for the university and tremendous hostess for the university. Another tireless, devoted individual who gave so much to the University of Florida. We truly will miss them, but we are truly grateful for their tremendous contributions, Mr. Speaker.

The final tribute is not given by me but given by the graduates to John Lombardi of this fall's term. Even though there is an interim president coming, a very distinguished gentleman coming, they have signed a petition, the graduating seniors, to request that John Lombardi sign their diplomas, a final salute, not only from alumni and distinguished alumni from throughout the country and the State but even from those graduating this year. So, John Lombardi, we salute you, and you have done a tremendous job.