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Awards for Excellence in Public Service

The Honorable Alex Sink and G.C. Murray II, Esq., will be honored as the Citizen of the Year and the Young Floridian of the Year, respectively, on Friday, Oct. 16, beginning at 11 am in an online ceremony open to the public. Please follow this link to register.

Complete details of the 2020 recipients can be found at this link.

About the Awards

Former Governor and United States Senator Bob Graham and the Bob Graham Center for Public Service at the University of Florida have established the Bob Graham Center Florida Citizen of the Year and Brian Dassler Young Floridian Award to recognize individuals who have made substantial contributions to the state of Florida both professionally and civically.

Nominations for each award typically open early in the year. The winners are recognized annual at the Annual Graham Gathering.


1. Individuals nominated must be a Floridian, residing in the state for at least the last five years. An exception to the five-year rule can be made for a lifelong Young Floridian who simply left the state for graduate school and has returned to a career in Florida.

2. Individuals nominated for each award should exhibit a commitment to the common good and a dedication to making Florida a better place to live and work.

3. The Brian Dassler Young Floridian is defined as someone under the age of 40 and over the age of 18 by the nomination deadline (April 20, 2020). The Florida Citizen of the Year can be of any age.

4. Anyone holding public office, including full-time appointed office, or currently campaigning for office, will not be considered.

5. The Brian Dassler Young Floridian and Florida Citizen of the Year awards will not be presented posthumously.

Nomination Instructions

  1. Nominators should provide a letter (up to three pages) explaining why the nominee warrants selection. Nominations can come from any source, but should not be self-nominated.
  2. Candidates are judged based on the following:
    • A record of professional and public distinction.
    • Contributions to the state of Florida in a civic capacity outside or above the requirements of professional duty, i.e., someone who has been actively involved in their community and not simply served on numerous boards and donated monies.
    • Demonstrated commitment to a society that is free from bias and discrimination and celebrates diversity.
  3. Nomination letters should include the following:
    • Specification for which award you are nominating a candidate.
    • The age of the Young Floridian Award nominee.
    • The contact information for the nominee and the nominator.
  4. The nomination deadline is Monday, April 20, 2020 at noon (EDT).

Contact: Marianne Vernetson, Associate Director, at or (352) 273-1080.

Announcement and Award Recognition

  1. Winners will be recognized at the Bob Graham Center’s Awards for Excellence in Public Service on Friday, October 16, at 11 am.  The event is postponed from its original date on May 6, 2020. Please pre-register at this link:
  2. Winners will receive a framed award and their name will be permanently enshrined on a plaque at the Bob Graham Center for Public Service in Pugh Hall at the University of Florida.

List of Past Recipients