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Honors Leadership Speaker Series: David Lawrence Jr.

This is a past event.

Thursday, November 3, 2022 at 11:00am to 12:00pm

RDB - Rafael Diaz-Balart Law Building, RDB 1100
11200 SW 8th ST, Rafael Diaz-Balart Law Bldg, Miami, Florida 33199

This event is open to the public. You can register and find more information here

Join us for the second edition of the Honors Leadership Speaker Series by welcoming our special guest, David Lawrence Jr., Founder and Board Chair of The Children’s Movement of Florida.

This second edition of the Honors Leadership Speaker Series will be hosted by none other than our President Emeritus, Dr. Modesto A. Maidique.

President Emeritus Modesto A. Maidique and Mr. Lawrence will be engaging in a discussion of Leadership, its impact on our current world, and how leadership can affect the present and future of all generations to come.

David Lawrence Jr. retired in 1999 as the publisher of The Miami Herald to work in the area of early learning and school readiness. He chairs The Children’s Movement of Florida, aimed at making children the state’s top priority for investment. He has served on the Governor’s Children and Youth Cabinet and twice chaired the Florida Partnership for School Readiness. In 2002 and 2008, he led successful campaigns for The Children’s Trust, providing early intervention and prevention funding for children in Miami-Dade. In 2002-3, he chaired the Governor’s Blue Ribbon Panel on Child Protection, and in 2011 chaired a similar panel for the Department of Children and Families. In 2002, he was a key figure in passing a statewide constitutional amendment to provide pre-K for all 4-year-olds. He is the founding chair of the Early Learning Coalition of Miami-Dade and Monroe. The David Lawrence Jr. K-8 Public School opened in 2006. An endowed chair in early childhood studies is established in his name at the University of Florida. He is a trustee of Barry University and, for six years, served in a similar role at Florida A&M University. His memoir, “A Dedicated Life: Journalism, Justice and a Chance for Every Child,” was published in 2018.

Before coming to Miami in 1989, he was publisher and executive editor of the Detroit Free Press. Previously he was editor of The Charlotte Observer, and earlier in reporting and editing positions at four newspapers. (During his tenure as Miami Herald publisher, the paper won five Pulitzer Prizes.)

He is a graduate of the University of Florida and was named "Outstanding Journalism Graduate" and subsequently from the Advanced Management Program at the Harvard Business School. In 1988, he was honored with Knight-Ridder's top award, the John S. Knight Gold Medal. His 13 honorary doctorates include one from his alma mater, the University of Florida. His national honors include the Ida B. Wells Award "for exemplary leadership in providing minorities employment opportunities” and the National Association of Minority Media Executives award for "lifetime achievement in diversity." His writing awards include the First Amendment Award from the Scripps Howard Foundation and the Inter-American Press Association Commentary Award. He chaired the National Task Force on Minorities in the Newspaper Business, was the 1991-92 president of the American Society of Newspaper Editors, and the 1995-96 president of the Inter-American Press Association. He was inducted into the Florida Newspaper Hall of Fame in 2010.

He has served the Miami Art Museum (now PAMM), United Way, the New World School of the Arts, and the Foundation for Child Development in New York – each as chair -- and is a life member of the University of Florida Foundation. He serves on the boards of Casa Familia and Cristo Rey. He is a director emeritus of the Everglades Foundation. He was the local convening co-chair of the 1994 Summit of the Americas. And he co-founded a non-profit vocational-technical school in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

He and Roberta, a master’s graduate in social work from Barry, live in Coral Gables and have three daughters, two sons, and seven grandchildren. His honors include: “Family of the Year” from Family Counseling Services and “Father of the Year” by the South Florida Father’s Day Council. He has been honored as a Miami Today Living Legend as well as with the Governor’s Shine Award for Inspirational Teachers. His honors also include the LeRoy Collins Lifetime Achievement Award from Leadership Florida, the Bob Graham Center for Public Service “Citizen of the Year,” the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce Sand in My Shoes and M. Athalie Range Pioneer for Progress awards, the Florida Blue Sapphire Award, the Trish and Dan Bell Community Empowerment Award, the Children of Inmates “League of Superheroes,” the Children’s Champion Award from the Florida Association for the Education of Young Children, the Lifetime Achievement Award from FAMN, the Haitian-American organization. Nationally, he has been honored with the American Public Health Association Award of Excellence, the Lewis Hine Award for Children and Youth, the “Children’s Champion” award from the National Black Child Development Institute, the Fred Rogers Leadership Award from the Grantmakers for Children, Youth and Families, the Terri Lynne Lokoff Child Care Advocate Award, the Cuban American National Council Lifetime Achievement Award, The National Center for Victims of Crime for “extraordinary leadership and service on behalf of abused children,” the National Association for Bilingual Education for “building early literacy skills for all children,” and a Spirit of Fatherhood Hall of Fame inductee by the National Partnership for Community Leadership.

Event Type

Academics, Lectures & conferences


Students, Faculty & Staff, Alumni, General Public


Honors College
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