It was Dr. Frances Bartlett Kinne Day on Thursday in Jacksonville, and the Jacksonville University chancellor emeritus spent the afternoon and evening being recognized for her decades of leadership.
Mayor Alvin Brown proclaimed the day in Kinne's honor at a late afternoon news conference at City Hall, followed by further recognition at an evening preview of the first episode of the Leadership Jacksonville Legacy Series, which features her.
"It was fun for me," Kinne told the 60 or so supporters who attended the preview at the Schultz Center for Teaching & Leadership about the production of the legacy episode.
For the episode, Kinne sat at her home for six to eight hours of interviewing and recording by Lindsey Films Inc., which is producing the series for Leadership Jacksonville. (Lindsey Films President Kent Lindsey and I interviewed Kinne for the episode. Lindsey films CEO Pepper Lindsey directed the daylong event.)
The interviews were edited into about a 30-minute presentation to be broadcast on WJCT-TV, although a longer version will be available at leadershipjax.org and other websites.
Kinne was the first woman to serve as a dean of a fine arts college in the United States, at JU; the first woman to serve as president of a Florida university when she took the post at JU; the first woman to join the Rotary Club of Jacksonville and the first to serve as its president, among other distinctions.
Kinne is an Iowa native and graduate of Drake University with degrees in music education and a doctorate from the University of Frankfurt in Germany.
Brown, a graduate of JU, thanked Kinne for supporting his education. He said he couldn't afford to continue attending JU but after meeting with Kinne, she made sure he could complete his education.
"She believed in me. She invested in me. The return on investment is that I'm the mayor of Jacksonville," Brown said at the evening presentation.
The proclamation outlines Kinne's more than 50 years of leadership at JU as well as her fundraising efforts in Jacksonville and beyond, including support at JU, Mayo Clinic Florida and at Drake University.
Leadership Jacksonville Executive Director Isabelle Owen Spence told the group the series is intended to focus on individuals who embody outstanding service, high integrity, selfless leadership, historical contributions to the community and diversity.
"We believe we are leaving a legacy with this project," she said.
The Leadership Jacksonville board will accept nominations. A committee reviews the candidates and submits names to the board.
Spence said each project depends on funding, however. She said each video production will cost about $30,000 and is not a fundraiser.
Jacksonville University funded Kinne's video.
Spence said two more Legacy Series presentations are in production. One features Jacksonville civil rights leader Alton Yates, who attended the preview Thursday night, and another is a tribute to the late Fred Schultz, an education advocate whose name is featured at the Schultz Center.
Another is planned to feature former Mayor Jake Godbold.
"These conversations give insight into their passions, challenges, inspirations and legacy," Leadership Jacksonville says of the series.
"Their words will serve to educate, inspire and motivate our future leaders."