Leadership Council

The College of Arts and Sciences Leadership Council, founded by former Dean Donald Foss in 1997, is a philanthropic board that promotes interest in, and provides support for, the college. Members volunteer their valuable time, energy and talents to develop knowledge of and spread their passion for the College of Arts and Sciences.

As part of a development-focused body, members of the Leadership Council share the following responsibilities:

  • To be individuals with a passion for the college.
  • To be engaged.
  • To introduce and cultivate potential members.
  • To include the college and Florida State University in their philanthropic giving.

To learn more about membership in the Leadership Council, contact Nancy Smilowitz, the college’s Assistant Dean for Advancement and Alumni Affairs, at (850) 294-1034 or nsmilowitz@fsu.edu.

Leadership Council Members

Carol Brennan

Carol Brennan currently resides in Piscataway, New Jersey. She is retired, dividing her time between her leisure pursuits and her dream retirement job at the Rutgers University Golf Course.

Prior to retirement, Carol had a 40-year career in the software business. Her career began in software engineering at Bell Laboratories and culminated with the creation of her own consulting firm specializing in effective software quality process implementation.

Carol earned her Bachelor of Science (1976) and Master of Science (1978) degrees in applied mathematics from Florida State University.

Chris Bosler

Chris Bosler is senior vice president and operating division head at LabCorp Diagnostics. He leads a 5,000-member team and has full profit and loss responsibility for a division generating more than $1 billion in annual revenue. Chris also serves on the board of directors of the LabCorp/University of Tennessee Laboratory Services Joint Venture LLC, a company delivering clinical laboratory services throughout eastern Tennessee.

He began his health-care career with Abbott Diagnostics, a division of Abbott Laboratories. He progressed with Abbott through a series of commercial roles in sales and marketing management, and later joined Roche Diagnostics as head, U.S. Marketing, Hospital Point of Care/Diabetes, and later assumed the role of head, U.S. Marketing, Centralized Diagnostics.

Chris became part of Stericycle, Inc. as vice president of marketing and business development. He next led a Stericyle new venture startup as the founding senior vice president and general manager. Chris led that business from zero revenue to more than $200 million in annual revenue over four years. He was later named senior vice president of the SQ business unit leading Stericycle’s U.S. business.

Chris earned a B.A., majoring in English and business, from Florida State University. He has completed post-graduate executive business education at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business, and the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

He also serves on the National Board of Directors of the FSU Alumni Association.

Stephen Brown

Stephen T. Brown was born in 1947 and has lived in Florida since 1950. In 1968, he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in risk management and insurance from Florida State University. While at Florida State, he founded and became the president, treasurer and vice president of Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity. He was also a member of the Student Honor Court and the Interfraternity Council. Among his graduating class, he was recognized as an outstanding senior and graduate.

In 1972, Stephen graduated from the University of Miami with a juris doctorate. While at the University of Miami he worked on the Law Review; was president of the Wig and Robe Honor Society; served as a senator and vice president of the Student Bar Association; was co-chair of the Freshman Moot Court; was on the Dean’s List; and was a Merit Scholar.

After teaching from 1968 to 1972 in the Dade County public school system, Stephen worked as a trial lawyer for 19 years with the law firm of Preddy, Kutner, Hardy, Rubinoff, Brown & Thompson. Thirteen of those years were spent as partner. Stephen later retired from his position as a U.S. magistrate judge in the Southern District of Florida after working there for 21 years.

Stephen is a past member of the Seminole Boosters Board of Directors and is currently, for the second time, a member of the National Board of Directors of the FSU Alumni Association.

Stephen lives in Tallahassee with his wife of 47 years, Yvonne. He enjoys golf, snow skiing and reading. Although now retired, he still enjoys teaching as an adjunct professor in the FSU College of Law.

John Crowe

John B. Crowe is the retired chairman of the board and CEO of Buckeye Technologies Inc., a manufacturer of specialty fibers used in a variety of end products with international operations and sales. He served in that role from July 2006 until the company’s merger with Georgia Pacific in August 2013. Previously, John served as the president and chief operating officer of Buckeye Technologies from April 2003 to July 2006.

He has more than 33 years of experience in the forest products industry and 28 years of military service, serving as an Air Force senior pilot and lieutenant colonel in Vietnam and afterward until 1997. John is married to Betty Williams Crowe, and they have two sons, a daughter-in-law and two granddaughters.

Currently, John serves on the board of directors of Myers Industries and the National Civil Rights Museum (2006-2017), and previously served on the board of the United Way of the Mid-South (2004-2013). He holds a Master of Arts and Science degree in mathematics from Florida State University and is a member of the Florida State University Sports Hall of Fame for football.

Laurie Dozier

Laurie Dozier, a 1972 graduate of Florida State University’s College of Arts and Sciences, is president and CEO of Mad Dog Construction Inc., a Tallahassee-based construction management firm. Prior to the Great Recession, Mad Dog’s client list was exclusively private sector. Recognizing the significant value of Mad Dog’s brand, staff, facilities and culture, the company diversified into public sector work and now exceeds its pre-recession activities.

Laurie is currently engaged by Tallahassee Memorial Hospital as the Mustian Center Project Executive, a $260,000,000 surgical and ICU addition to TMH.

Allen Dukes

Allen Dukes was a vice president with the Harris Corporation and general manager of the company’s Information Systems Division prior to his retirement in 2006. Before that, he was the vice president of the Information Systems Business Area within Harris’ Information Systems Division. He joined Harris in 1969 as an engineer and held a series of management positions of increasing responsibility in engineering and program management, with responsibility for numerous major programs. Allen was named vice president of the Information Systems Business Area in 1991.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in engineering from Florida State University.

Jamie Forrest

Jamie R. Forrest graduated cum laude from Florida State University in 2004 with a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology and earned a Master of Science degree in human-computer interaction from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 2005. She was later appointed to the board of the nonprofit Dr. Jack Widrich Foundation Inc., and has served as the foundation’s secretary for more than 10 years.

In 2006, Jamie began working at the Florida Department of Health in the area of chronic disease prevention and currently serves as administrator for the Epidemiology and Evaluation Section. She was appointed to the department’s Internal Review Board in 2012 and was recently named chair of her committee.

Russ Franklin

Russ Franklin was born in Eastman, Georgia. He earned his Bachelor of Science degrees in mathematics and physics from Mercer University and a doctorate in English from Florida State University, where he was a Kingsbury Fellow in writing. Russ also was named a Wallace Stegner Fellow and Truman Capote Fellow in fiction writing at Stanford University. His most recent novel, “Comic Hotel,” was published in 2016.

He is married to Amy Franklin, and they have three children. Russ and Amy live in Tallahassee.

Jay Garner

Retired Army Lt. Gen. Jay Garner’s last active-duty assignment was on the U.S. Army Staff, where he served as Assistant Vice Chief of Staff of the Army.

A native of Arcadia, Florida, he graduated from Florida State University with a bachelor’s degree in history. He later earned a master’s degree in public administration from Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania. Jay’s military service began with the Florida Army National Guard. He continued his service as an enlisted Marine and in 1962 was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Army.

Jay served as commanding general of the Army’s Space and Strategic Defense Command, headquartered in Arlington, Virginia. He also served as Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff for Force Development in the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations and Plans, Washington, D.C.; Deputy Commanding General of V Corps, Frankfurt, Germany; Commanding General, Joint Task Force Bravo – Operation Provide Comfort, northern Iraq; and Deputy Commanding General of the U.S. Army Air Defense School. Jay commanded at brigade and battalion levels in VII Corps in Europe. He served two tours in Vietnam, in 1967-1968 and 1971-1972.

Jay and his wife, the former Connie Kreigh, have a daughter, Lori Gibson, and two granddaughters.

Blan Godfrey

A. Blanton “Blan” Godfrey is the Joseph D. Moore Distinguished University Professor in the College of Textiles at North Carolina State University, where he previously served as dean of the college. He was chairman and CEO of the Juran Institute before becoming dean.

After receiving his Bachelor of Science degree in physics from Virginia Tech, Blan served in the U.S. Army. Upon completion of his last assignment as captain on a special project team in Vietnam, he returned to college, receiving a master’s degree and Ph.D. in statistics from Florida State University. He next joined AT&T Bell Laboratories, where he became head of the Quality Theory and Technology Department. He also was an adjunct professor in the Industrial Engineering and Operations Research Department at Columbia University in New York, where he taught courses in advanced quality methods and management of quality at the graduate level for 19 years.

Blan has worked in more than 60 countries; published over 200 articles, books and book chapters; and received a number of awards in quality management and statistics. He is especially proud of two special awards, the “Grad Made Good” honor from Omega Delta Kappa at Florida State and the “Graduate of Distinction” designation from FSU’s College of Arts and Sciences in 1993.

Ken Hey

Kenneth “Ken” Hey, a managing partner and writer at Inferential Focus Inc., holds a bachelor’s degree in English (1966) and a master’s degree in Renaissance humanities from Florida State University, as well as a doctorate in American studies (1973) from Emory University. He received a Fulbright Lectureship to the University of Rome for 1976-1977. He also participated in a National Endowment for the Humanities grant (1980, Berkeley, California).

In 1985, Ken received a Silver Award at the Houston International Film Festival for his feature-length documentary, “Southern Voices, American Dreams,” an overview of the American South in the 1970s. In 1985, after 14 years as a professor at Brooklyn College (CUNY), where he served as chair of the Film Department, he became a partner at Inferential Focus.

Once a film critic for USA Today Magazine, Ken’s ongoing achievements in diverse fields contribute a unique dimension to research and published reports at Inferential Focus. His writing has appeared in the popular, professional and scholarly press. Ken is co-author of the book “The Caterpillar Doesn’t Know” (1998,) which is a look at U.S. social change in the 1990s.

Ken currently serves on the board of trustees of the Atlanta Ballet and the board of councilors of the Carter Center in Atlanta. He is also a judge for the Suzi Bass theater awards in Atlanta.

Mart Hill

Mart Pierson Hill graduated from the Florida State College for Women with a bachelor’s degree in English. While there, she was president of the College Government Association and chair of the Student War Defense Committee. She was a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Kappa Phi, Alpha Delta Pi, Esteron and Mortar Board. In addition, she was elected May Queen. She currently lives in Tallahassee.

She has been awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters, two Torch Awards, a Circle of Gold Award and a Distinguished Emeritus Award from Florida State. She is the former president of the Tallahassee Junior League, former president of the Tallahassee Museum of History and Natural Science, a member of the Florida Arts Council, and is one of the first members of the Francis Eppes Society.

Mart is the widow of the late Louis Hill Sr. and has two children: Louis Jr., a graduate of Davidson College and Emory University Medical School; and Almena Pettit, a graduate of Sweet Briar College and Boston University, where she earned a master’s degree in business administration.

Bill Maxwell Jr.

Robert W. “Bill” Maxwell Jr. is chairman of the board of Suemaur Exploration & Production LLC, a private, independent oil and gas company headquartered in Corpus Christi, Texas. He began his career as a petroleum geologist with Chevron in Lafayette, Louisiana, in 1971. In 1973 he moved to Corpus Christi, where he was employed as an area exploration geologist with Texas Oil & Gas Corp. He joined Harkins & Company in 1975 and subsequently became Vice President of Exploration in 1981; he remained with the company until its sale to Suemaur in 1990.

Bill attended Florida State University from 1964 to 1971, receiving a bachelor’s degree in geology in 1969 and a master’s degree in geology in 1973. He was awarded the “Graduate of Distinction” honor by the College of Arts and Sciences at Florida State in 2010. In 2014, he was recognized as a Laureate and inducted into the Coastal Bend of Texas Hall of Fame. He is married to Mary Elizabeth Beck Maxwell, who is also a graduate of FSU, having received a bachelor’s degree in English and a master’s degree in special education in 1971. Bill and Marybeth maintain residences in Corpus Christi and Angel Fire, New Mexico.

Pat Ramsey

A native of Chattanooga, Tennessee, and a graduate of the University of Tennessee, Pat Ramsey began her life as a Seminole in 1991 when she became the first Director of Development for the Florida State University College of Arts and Sciences. During the 10 years in that position, she assisted Dean Donald Foss in the creation of the College of Arts and Sciences’ Leadership Council in 1997.

Leaving FSU in 2001 for other opportunities, Pat returned  to Florida State as Vice President for Principal Gifts in 2007. Now retired, Pat’s philanthropy include the College of Arts and Sciences, the CARE and Unconquered Scholars programs, and The Women for FSU.

Doug Ransom

Doug Ransom is the managing member and principal consultant with Ransom Solutions, LLC, focusing on strategic, analytical solution design and development for various industries. His prior roles include service at the director and vice president levels in risk management and collections strategy, credit scoring, analytics, optimization and reporting at Axcess Financial, FICO, Fifth Third Bank, GE Capital (now Synchrony Financial), Fleet/Bank of America, Household Credit (now HSBC), Equifax and Citicorp Diners Club.

Prior to working in financial services, Doug was a reliability engineering analyst working on Peacekeeper and Trident missile guidance system components at Honeywell Aerospace and Defense in Clearwater, Fla. He earned his M.S. in statistics from Florida State University in 1984 and received his B.S. in mathematical sciences with concentrations in operations research and statistics from Clemson University.

Doug has been active in numerous Seminole Clubs for nearly 30 years in Atlanta, Denver, Philadelphia, and now in Cincinnati. He is the founder and first president of the Seminole Club of the Rockies (1993-1994) and was president of the Atlanta Seminole Club (1999-2000). The SCOR club received Best New Seminole Club Award in 1994, and Doug received the Osceola Award in 1999. He is active with philanthropic organizations, including CancerFree KIDS and various initiatives for suicide awareness and prevention. He serves on the board of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Ohio Region and is a certified QPR (Question Persuade Refer) trainer. Doug is also a youth group and mission trip leader and mentor at his church in Loveland, Ohio, where he lives with his wife, Wendy.

Frank Reneke

Frank Reneke graduated from the Florida State University College of Arts and Science in 1981 with a bachelor’s degree in biology. He was a walk-on swimmer in 1976 and today is a Seminole Alumni Member, Seminole Booster and FSU Varsity Club member. After graduation, Frank moved to California, where he earned a master’s degree in marine biology from San Diego State University before going on to a career in computers. He worked in the field of computer graphics in the 1980s.

In 1995, Frank returned to Florida and joined Oracle Corporations Consulting Organization and, today, continues to help Oracle clients maximize the value of their Oracle investments. For the last 25 years, he has specialized in on-premises and cloud-based Oracle systems. Frank has also provided leadership in support of global transformation projects spanning project assessment and post-go-live phases of large multi-year Oracle deployments for Fortune 500 companies and beyond. He has conducted Oracle engagements including strategy, people, process, organization, technology and delivery, and has been the first to deliver systems in the industry numerous times around the world, winning multiple awards along the way.

Today Frank is based in central Florida and continues to be active in the worldwide transformation of computer software for the next generation of computer scientists.

Jennifer Rupert

Jennifer Rupert is Senior Vice President – Wealth Management with Merrill Lynch in Tallahassee. She holds the Chartered Financial Analyst designation and is a Certified Financial Planner certificant, a designation awarded by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. Jennifer received a bachelor’s degree in biological science from Florida State University and a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of New Orleans.

Jennifer is a graduate of Leadership Tallahassee Class IX, and her current activities include membership in the Tallahassee Sunrise Rotary Club and Economic Club of Florida, as well as serving on the Big Bend Hospice Foundation Board. She is married to Frank Rupert, a graduate of Florida State with a master’s degree in geology; he is employed as a professional geologist with the Florida Geological Survey. Jennifer and Frank enjoy travel, photography, gardening and other outdoor activities.

Rick Sheridan

Dr. Richard “Rick” Sheridan was born in Shirley, Massachusetts, in 1954. After moving from New York to Florida, he earned his Bachelor of Science degree in biological science from Florida State University in 1976 and a degree in medicine from the University of Florida in 1979. Rick was a member of Phi Eta Sigma (1973) and Phi Beta Kappa (1976). He completed his internship and residency at the LeBonheur Children’s Hospital at the University of Tennessee in Memphis (1980-1982), specializing in pediatrics. From 1982 to 1984, he was a fellow in neonatal and perinatal Medicine at E.H. Crump Women’s Hospital and Perinatal Center, University of Tennessee in Memphis.

Rick is board-certified with the National Board of Medical Examiners and with the American Academy of Pediatrics, where he is a fellow. He is also a member of the Hillsborough County Pediatric Society, the Florida Society of Neonatologists, the Irish American Pediatric Society and the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration. Rick has four hospital appointments, in Tampa, Plant City, New Port Richey and Clearwater, Florida. He has five children: Richard, Ben, Stephen, Molly and Kathleen; and two grandchildren. He lives in Tampa.

Janet Stoner

Janet Stoner graduated from Florida State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in physical education in 1970 and a Master of Science degree in mathematics in 1972.

She joined Texaco Inc. in 1974 as an engineer’s assistant in New Orleans. Janet progressed through engineering and management ranks with both domestic and international responsibilities. In 1997, she assumed the role of vice president of Texaco, with responsibility for worldwide human-resources policies and programs.

Since retiring to Tallahassee in 2001, Janet has reconnected with Florida State through the College of Arts and Sciences’ Leadership Council, the FSU Foundation Board, Heritage Protocol, The Women for FSU initiative and women’s athletics. She has also served on the board of Refuge House, a Tallahassee organization dedicated to the prevention of, and education about, domestic and sexual violence.

Carlos Suarez

Dr. Carlos Suarez was born in San José, Costa Rica, in 1941. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in biological science from Florida State University in 1964 and his medical degree from the University of Miami in 1968.

After medical school, Carlos served in the U.S. Army Medical Corps from 1970 to 1973. From 1973 to 1975, he was a resident in surgery for the University of Miami at affiliated hospitals in Miami, where he continued to spend the majority of his career. After his residency, he served on the faculty in the Department of Surgery at the University of Miami.

Since 1981, Carlos has operated a private practice in general, vascular and laparoscopic surgery and is currently affiliated with five hospitals in the greater Miami area. He was the chief of surgery at Doctors’ Hospital in Coral Gables, Florida. He is a clinical associate professor of surgery in the Departments of Surgery and Family Medicine at the University of Miami’s Miller School of Medicine. He also serves on the Credentials Committee for Baptist Hospital in Miami. In addition, Carlos completed a six-year term as the state chair for the Commission on Cancer, American College of Surgeons this year. He also served on the field staff of the Accreditation Council of Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) in 2015.

Carlos is presently the resident principal investigator and Coordinator of Clinical Studies for Elion & Volhard Pharmaceutical Research in Miami.

He lives in Coral Gables with his wife, Marcia Van Vliet Suarez. He has five children: Deanna, Catherine, Christina, Jennifer and Michael.

Mike Sweeney

Dr. Mike Sweeney is a vascular surgeon who left clinical practice in 2003 and subsequently founded and ran a medical-device group purchasing company in Jacksonville, Florida, for a number of years. After Mike and his wife, Jan, moved to North Florida in 2004, he joined the faculty of the FSU College of Medicine in 2009. He currently serves as an associate professor in the Department of Clinical Sciences, having joined as a full-time faculty member in 2014. He was later appointed Education Director for Surgery in 2016.

Mike and Jan have been in Jacksonville for more than 10 years, and have had the pleasure of remodeling an old home there. They enjoy travel, golf, entertaining, and maintaining their connection with FSU. He is a life member of the Alumni Association and also currently serves on the National Board of Directors of that organization. Mike is also a member of the President’s Club and Seminole Boosters, and is a season ticket holder for football, basketball and baseball. In addition, he is the founding president of the FSU Medical Alumni and was named a Graduate of Distinction by the College of Arts and Sciences in 2011. Mike and Jan now have a residence in Tallahassee that they use to spend as much time near family and FSU as possible.

Jan Sweeney

Jan met her future husband, Mike Sweeney, at Florida State University in 1971 as she arrived in Tallahassee from the Orlando area and he came from Fort Lauderdale. Jan graduated in 1975 with a degree in history, and she and Mike married just two weeks after graduation. Since Mike had also completed the Program in Medical Sciences (PIMS) and graduated that spring, they were off to Gainesville for three painful years as Mike completed medical school. In 1978, Jan moved her family to New Orleans for the next five years as Mike went through training as a surgeon and Jan began her lifelong commitment to raising their four children. Jan has been a long-term member of the College of Arts and Sciences’ Leadership Council and is a member of the President’s Club, Seminole Boosters, and a Life Member of the FSU Alumni Association.

In 1983, the Sweeneys returned to Gainesville for Mike to complete an additional year of training as a vascular surgeon, and they finally left Gainesville for good in 1984. That year, they moved to Fort Myers as Mike entered practice and Jan settled her family in the community for the next 20 years. The family grew to two sons and two daughters, all of whom are now adults and on their own. Oldest son Michael received a Master of Accountancy degree from Florida State, and second son Nathan attended FSU as well. He now is a member of the U.S. Navy and is currently stationed in Illinois. Daughter Maureen also attended FSU, and youngest daughter Erin has degrees from the university in psychology and nursing.

Ed Tunstall

Ed Tunstall grew up in Panama City, Florida, and attended Florida State University, obtaining a Bachelor of Science degree in physics and math in 1964 and a Master of Science degree in engineering science in 1967. He later obtained a Ph.D. in engineering sciences from the University of California, San Diego.

Ed worked for the U.S. Navy in research and development, with his last position as director of Navy Laboratories in Washington, DC.

He worked in a private enterprise from 1991 to 2002, spending the last seven years of this time at Eli Lilly, a pharmaceutical company, as director of information technology. He then formed a consulting company in information technology.

Finally retiring in 2006, Ed now resides in Fleming Island, Florida, with his wife.

Herman Walker

Herman Walker is the owner of Toton Micro Software Consultants in Houston, a computer software and services company. After graduating from the College of Arts and Sciences at Florida State University with a major in applied mathematics in 1969, he was recruited by Control Data Corp. Herman has worked on mainframe and personal computers throughout his career and is still heavily involved with computers, software, hardware and services.