News Releases

UWF Historic Trust partners with DeFuniak Landmarks, promotes historic preservation and enhances community programming

The University of West Florida Historic Trust has announced a partnership with F. Diane Pickett, local emerging author and the president and founder of DeFuniak Landmarks, a nonprofit foundation established to preserve and protect the architectural integrity of homes within the historic districts of DeFuniak Springs. This partnership will further the mission of the UWF Historic Trust to collect, preserve, interpret and share the history of Northwest Florida.

“I am passionate about DeFuniak Springs and the cultural significance of our beloved community,” Pickett said. “With rapid development, I don’t want to see the architectural integrity of our historic buildings fall to the wayside and our unique identity lost to time. I hope this partnership can provide education and resources that make our city leadership take notice and make historic preservation a priority in this community. By partnering with the UWF Historic Trust, I hope to see the legacy of DeFuniak shared with many generations to come.” 

Pickett made significant contributions to the UWF Foundation and UWF Historic Trust to establish two endowments that will support the UWF Historic Trust and their ongoing programming and education of history in Northwest Florida. 

“We are honored to be part of the DeFuniak Landmarks organization and work with Diane to create a culture of architectural preservation, historic education and community connections in DeFuniak Springs,” said Howard Reddy, vice president for University Advancement. “We believe this new partnership with DeFuniak Landmarks will help expand the footprint of the University and also improve the statewide and national prominence of DeFuniak Springs as we bring our resources to this wonderful community. We look forward to working with Diane and to all that will be achieved.”

The first endowment will fund the preservation and maintenance of historic homes in DeFuniak Springs. The second endowment, the F. Diane Pickett Historic Landmarks Endowment Fund or Pickett Fund, will be used to educate the public through presentations and programs to provide an understanding of the historic and cultural significance of homes and public buildings in DeFuniak Springs in the early 1900s.

Through engaging educational programs, hands-on workshops, and community partnerships, DeFuniak Landmarks will empower individuals of all ages to become stewards of their local history. The UWF Historic Trust will offer interactive walking tours and in-depth lectures by renowned historians. The community will be able to participate in workshops about traditional building techniques, restoration methods and historic preservation best practices. This endowment will also be used for archaeological studies, research and grants and loans. 

“By preserving the architectural heritage of DeFuniak Springs, we safeguard not only the physical structures themselves, but also the memories, traditions and values that they embody,” said Rob Overton, executive director of the UWF Historic Trust. “We create a stronger sense of place, foster community pride and lay the foundation for a more sustainable future.”

For more information about the UWF Historic Trust, visit