Jeb Bush named UF honorary alumnus

Published March 25, 2007

GAINESVILLE - Former Gov. Jeb Bush may have been denied a University of Florida honorary degree, but he has been given alumni status.

The University of Florida Alumni Association's board of directors passed the resolution Saturday naming the former governor an honorary alumnus.

The move comes after the school's Faculty Senate voted 38-28 Thursday to deny Bush an honorary degree.

The main difference between the awards is that the degree is given by the university and the alumni association decides who receives honorary alumni status, said Steve Orlando, a University of Florida spokesman.

"They might be in two different categories, but from the alumni perspective, we highly respect those that have been given or granted the status of honorary alumnus," said Leonard Spearman, president of the University of Florida Alumni Association.

Spearman said his group's decision had nothing to do with the Faculty Senate vote.

"What we did was in our own rights, not in our reaction to the Senate," he said.

The association said Bush, who left office in January, was selected because of his support for UF research. Spearman said the organization also considered Bush's efforts to provide funding for more faculty members and to create a statewide scholarship program.

The group also named philanthropists Hazel Hough and Roy Lambert honorary alumni during Saturday's meeting.

An e-mail sent to Bush for comment on Saturday was not immediately returned.