Bob Graham Cen⁠t⁠er ⁠t⁠o Honor 2016 C⁠i⁠⁠t⁠⁠i⁠zen of ⁠t⁠he Year, Presen⁠t⁠ Young Flor⁠i⁠d⁠i⁠an Award

By: The James Madison Institute / 2016



Orlando entrepreneur and humanitarian Harris Rosen has been named the 2016 Citizen of the Year by the University of Florida’s Bob Graham Center. Jacksonville native and Gov. Rick Scott appointee Chester Spellman receives the nod for the center’s 2016 Young Floridian award. In its fourth year, the citizenship awards recognize individuals who have made substantial contributions to the state of Florida both professionally and civically.

“Our goal with these awards is to emphasize that true success is not only measured by one’s educational and professional achievement, but also by the ways we contribute to the well-being of our society,” said David Colburn, Ph.D., Bob Graham Center director and provost and senior vice president emeritus of the University of Florida.

The awards will be presented at the Bob Graham Center Annual Gathering on May 19 at the InterContinental Tampa in Tampa, FL. Special guest Carl Hiaasen, journalist, columnist and novelist, will join the center at the gathering as a special addition in honor of the Graham Center’s 10 Year Anniversary celebration and Bob Graham’s 80th birthday. Longtime Tampa Bay news anchor Brendan McLaughlin will serve as the master of ceremonies for the event.

Chester Spellman, Young Floridian
Chester Spellman is the chief executive officer of Volunteer Florida, appointed in April 2012 by Gov. Rick Scott. At Volunteer Florida, Spellman oversees $31 million in funds supporting AmeriCorps and volunteer programs to meet critical needs in Florida’s communities.

Spellman also leads the statewide coordination of volunteers and donations in a disaster for the Florida Division of Emergency Management. Additionally, Spellman serves as the executive director of the Volunteer Florida Foundation, the nonprofit charity that supports Volunteer Florida initiatives. Spellman serves in a number of community leadership roles, including on the statewide leadership team for the James Madison Institute Leaders Fellowship and as the founder and dean of the Awesome Foundation in Tallahassee.

He is the chair-elect of Connect Florida, a program of Leadership Florida. He is on the board of directors of the Florida Gubernatorial Fellows Program and on the National Board of America’s Service Commissions. Spellman is a member of the American Enterprise Institute Leadership Network and serves as a mentor in Tallahassee with Take Stock in Children.