UWF President honored with FSU alumni award
University of West Florida President Judy Bense has been recognized by Florida State University as a “Grad Made Good,” the highest award given to alumni by the Circle of Omicron Delta Kappa and the FSU Alumni Association. She was recently presented with the award during the annual FSU Alumni Breakfast.
Each year, the FSU Circle of Omicron Delta Kappa and Alumni Association honors three alumni who have made a significant difference through outstanding success in their chosen fields. Since the program’s creation in 1974, 111 FSU graduates have been recognized as Grads Made Good, including Pensacola native Reubin O’D. Askew, former Florida Governor, who was among the first class of recipients.
“I am honored to join this distinguished company of past honorees,” Bense said. “It is humbling to be recognized by FSU, the place that provided my foundation for success.”
Bense was nominated for the award by Gordon Sprague, member of the UWF Foundation Inc. Board of Directors and chairman of the FSU Alumni Association’s National Board of Directors; Pensacola Mayor Ashton Hayward; and Brett Berg, assistant athletic director for development at UWF and FSU alumnus.
In his letter of recommendation, Sprague remarked on Bense’s success as a renowned archaeologist, as well as her impact on the City of Pensacola and Florida through the creation of the Florida Public Archaeology Network in 2006.
“Her engaging personality, tireless energy and hard-choice decisions have earned her the respect of the community,” he said in the letter. “Dr. Bense’s impact in the area has influenced not only higher education, but has also positively affected the economics in Northwest Florida as well.”
Hayward cited Bense’s bold leadership as UWF president and dedication to increasing enrollment and diversity, as well as enhancing student life and building new partnerships.
“Dr. Bense is without a doubt one of the most influential leaders in Pensacola and Northwest Florida, and an incredible resource and asset to our community,” he said.
Bense received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in anthropology/archaeology from FSU in 1967 and 1969, respectively. She founded the UWF anthropology/archaeology program in 1980 and became the anthropology department chair in 2001. She also founded the Archaeology Institute in 1980 and served as its director for 20 years. After serving at UWF for 30 years, Bense became the 5th President on July 1, 2008.