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 & Young Floridian Award. These awards recognize individuals who have made substantial contributions to the state of Florida both professionally and civically.


1. To be eligible for either award, an individual must be a Floridian, residing in the state for at least the last five years.

2. The individual(s) selected for the awards should exhibit a commitment to the common good and a dedication to making Florida a better place to live and work.

3.  A "Young Floridian" is defined as someone under the age of 40 and over the age of 18 by the nomination deadline.  Please include the age of the YF nominee in your letter. The Citizen of the Year can be any age.

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

5. Citizen of the Year and Young Floridian awards will not be presented posthumously.

6. Nominees will not be considered unless contact information is provided.

An exception to the five-year rule can be made for a lifelong Young Floridian who simply left the state for law or professional school and has returned to a career in Florida.


1. Nominators should provide a brief statement explaining why the nominee warrants selection. 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. In other words, we are looking for someone who has actively been involved in their community and not simply served on a dozen boards or donated money.

Demonstrated commitment to a society that is free from bias and discrimination and celebrates diversity. Our winners should be representative of the state’s population.

2. Nominators should submit the name and contact information of their candidate via email to Dorothy Zimmerman, Nominees will not be considered unless contact information is provided along with the brief statement which outlines qualifications of the candidate based on the three items above. In addition, nominators may provide up to three pages of supporting documentation. For more information, call 352-846-1575.

3. Specify for which award you are nominating a candidate. If you are nominating for the Young Floridian Award, please specify the age of the nominee.

4. Nominations are welcomed from any source, although the candidate should not be self-nominated.

5. The nomination deadline is March 16, 2020. Earlier is better so that we can ask for clarification or additional information if needed; please provide us your contact information as well as the nominee’s.


Only one strong letter is needed. If we receive multiple nomination letters for the same candidate, only the most thorough will be sent to the committee, with a note that other letters were received. Also, while the BGC allows additional material to be added to the nomination, please be aware that the selection committee may not have time to go through volumes. A detailed nomination letter is ideal.

Announcement, Duties, and the Award:

1. Winners are recognized at the Bob Graham Center’s Annual Gathering.

2. As part of the selection, award winners will be invited to address those attending the Bob Graham Center's Annual Gathering and to speak to students and the public at the Bob Graham Center for Public Service at the University of Florida.

3. Winners will receive a framed award and his or her name will be permanently enshrined on a plaque at the Bob Graham Center for Public Service in Pugh Hall at the University of Florida.