IFAS News

University of Florida

UF honors Marjorie Reitz Turnbull with Distinguished Service Award

Topic(s): Agriculture, CALS, Graduation, IFAS

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Marjorie Reitz Turnbull was presented with the Stephen C. O’Connell Distinguished Service Award by the University of Florida at the 10 a.m. fall graduation ceremony on Dec. 17. The award is one of the highest honors bestowed upon UF alumni, recognizing exceptional public service to the state of Florida or the nation at large.

Turnbull was nominated for the award by the UF College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS) and UF College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS). Turnbull earned her undergraduate degree in political science from CLAS, and continues to honor her father J. Wayne Reitz’s legacy at UF. She has endowed a fund for the J. Wayne Reitz Medal of Excellence Award given to an outstanding senior in CALS to honor her father’s service as provost of agriculture (1949-1955) and fifth president of UF (1955-1967). Her late husband Augustus B. Turnbull III was a former provost of Florida State University.

“Ms. Reitz Turnbull has continuously served the University of Florida by maintaining a relationship with students and alumni, and returning to Gainesville to support the University’s various projects such as the renovation and expansion of the J. Wayne Reitz Union,” said retired UF Vice President for Student Affairs David Kratzer in his letter of support for Turnbull’s nomination.

Turnbull has dedicated more than 40 years of service to the state of Florida in elected, appointed and volunteer positions. She served as a Leon County commissioner (1988-1994) and representative of Leon County in the Florida House (1994-2000). While in the Florida House, Turnbull became a leader in championing funding for education, serving on the Education Appropriations, K-12 Education, Select Committee on Educational Facilities and other key education committees.

“[Marjorie Turnbull] has the dedication, integrity, ethical foundation and passion for service that makes her a respected leader in whatever endeavors she chooses to pursue,” said William D. Gunter Jr., chairman of the board of Rogers, Gunter, Vaughn Insurance, Inc., in his letter of support for Turnbull’s nomination. “She achieved noteworthy success in advancing increased state funding for graduate research institutions such as UF.” Gunter is also a past recipient of the Stephen C. O’Connell Distinguished Service Award.

After her time in politics, Turnbull went on to spend more than a decade as the vice president for Institutional Development of the Tallahassee Community College Foundation. She has also served as a member of the Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University Board of Trustees, among many other boards of arts, health and education organizations.

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By: Dana Edwards, 352-392-1963, dana.edwards@ufl.edu

Sources: David Kratzer, kratzerd@ufl.edu

William D. Gunter Jr., 850-386-1111 ext. 0232, wgunter@rgvi.com

Elaine Turner, 352-392-1963, returner@ufl.edu (Can also be contacted to reach David Kratzer.)

The College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS) administers the degree programs of the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS). The mission of the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences is to deliver unsurpassed educational programs that prepare students to address the world’s critical challenges related to agriculture, food systems, human wellbeing, natural resources and sustainable communities. Visit the CALS website at cals.ufl.edu, and follow CALS on social media platforms at @ufcals.

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