Three influential Floridians have joined the University of Florida Bob Graham Center for Public Service Council of Advisors.

Joan Forrest, Pam Iorio and Chester Spellman have accepted invitations to serve three-year terms on the council, which harnesses the expertise of various public and private sector leaders from across the state. The council provides strategic and programmatic direction to the Bob Graham Center, enabling it to better serve the UF campus and the state of Florida.

“The willingness of these three outstanding individuals to serve as advisors for the Bob Graham Center for Public Service says a lot about the work of the center and its students,” said David Colburn, Ph.D., center director and University of Florida Provost Emeritus. “They will provide invaluable advice as the center looks to the future.”

Forrest is a graduate of the University of Florida and serves as the president of St. Petersburg’s Dawson Academy, a postgraduate educational and clinical research facility dedicated to the advancement of dentistry. She is a recipient of the university’s Outstanding Female Leader Award and is a member of its Hall of Fame.

Iorio, a graduate of American University and the University of South Florida, is currently the president and chief executive officer of Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, the country’s largest youth mentoring program. She served as the Mayor of Tampa from 2003 to 2011, Hillsborough County’s Supervisor of Elections from 1993 to 2003 and a Hillsborough County Commissioner from 1985 to 1992.

Spellman serves as the chief executive officer of Volunteer Florida, the Governor’s lead agency for volunteerism and service. Volunteer Florida administers more than $32 million in funds to deliver high-impact national service and volunteer programs in Florida. He is also the executive director of the Volunteer Florida Foundation, a nonprofit charity that serves as a direct support organization to Volunteer Florida. Spellman received the center’s Young Floridian Award in 2016. In addition to his work at Volunteer Florida, Spellman serves as the current chair for Connect Florida, a program of Leadership Florida and as the national chair of the American Association of State Service Commissions. 


The Bob Graham Center was established in 2006 with the goal of creating a community of students, scholars, and citizens who share a commitment to revitalizing the civic culture of Florida and the nation. Former Governor and U.S. Senator Bob Graham founded the Center as a place where students acquire the skills and knowledge to become informed and engaged citizens, with the expressed purpose of strengthening the nation’s democratic institutions.