By: Dale King Contributing Writer
The Public Ethics Academy within the School of Public Administration in the College for Design and Social Inquiry at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton just received a $475,000 endowment from the LeRoy Collins Legacy Group, Inc. to name the campus-based academy in honor of former Florida Governor LeRoy Collins.
“It was my grandfather’s steadfast conviction with respect for others and a moral courage guided by the truth and by his conscience that helped him define his leadership,” said LeRoy Collins III, a Collins Center board member. “FAU is a worthy partner and I am excited to see all that the LeRoy Collins Pubic Ethics Academy will accomplish.”
Thomas LeRoy Collins (March 10, 1909 – March 12, 1991) was an attorney and politician, the 33rd governor of Florida. He served a special term in 1955, and was elected to a four-year term in 1956, serving through 1961.
He was previously elected to several terms in the Florida House of Representatives and State Senate.
Collins was the first governor of a southern state to promote the moral necessity of ending segregation. Counseling “progress under law,” he took a moderate course during the civil rights movement and is remembered as a voice for civil rights.
In addition to naming the Public Ethics Academy, a portion of the endowment will be used to fund two student scholarships each year.
The academy, first organized by FAU in 2009, was re-launched in 2017, and Peter Cruise, Ph.D., was named its executive director. The university-based nature of the academy, housed at FAU’s Boca Raton campus, allows for the rapid incorporation and dissemination of the latest scholarly research on ethics issues by noted faculty for the academy’s training programs.
“The academy’s research and training programs will promote and inform the principles Gov. Collins stood for and believed in,” said Wesley Hawkins, Ph.D., dean of the College for Design and Social Inquiry. “This generous endowment will impact students for years to come and expand the academy’s programs and services throughout the university.”
The academy’s objectives are to increase understanding of local government and how it functions, promote high ethical standards in public service, provide an informational base for more informed policymaking and develop the capacity of local officials to govern effectively.
“As one example of FAU President John Kelly’s vision of significant community engagement, the wonderful public service legacy of Gov. LeRoy Collins will continue at FAU through the Public Ethics Academy that now bears his name,” Cruise said.