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Extraordinary Floridians

Extraordinary Floridians

Florida House Distinguished Author & Artist Awards


Dr. Jack E. Davis

A distinguished professor of history and the Rothman Family Chair in the Humanities specializing in environmental history and sustainability studies, Jack is the author or editor of ten books, including the Pulitzer Prize-winning “The Gulf: The Making of an American Sea”. The NYT Book Review called The Gulf a “beautiful homage to a neglected sea”. His latest book, “The Bald Eagle: The Improbable Journey of America’s Bird,” was a NYT Book Review Editor’s Choice and a LA Times top-five nonfiction book for 2022.  Jack has won numerous awards and honors for his teaching and writing. He is currently working on a book with the working title, “The American Coast: History and Prophecy at Land’s End.”


Mac Stone

Mac Stone grew up exploring the springs, swamps, and hammocks of North Central Florida where he developed a passion for photography and conservation at a young age. His work focuses on swamps and wetlands in an attempt to change public opinion towards these often misunderstood and maligned ecosystems. After spending five years living and working in the Everglades watershed, he released a book about the heralded River of Grass – “Everglades: America’s Wetland.” Mac is a contributing photographer for National Geographic Magazine, a National Geographic Society Explorer, and a senior fellow with the International League of Conservation Photographers.

Previous Award Winners


Dean Mitchell, Artist

Dave Barry, Author


Charles Martin


Dr. James Denham, Author

Brad Meltzer, Author


C. Ford Riley, Artist

Randy Wayne White, Author


Jackie Brice, Artist

Arva Moore Parks, Author


Guy Harvey, Artist

Harvey Oyer III, Author


Gary R. Mormino, Ph.D., Author

E. ‘Beanie’ Backus, Artist *Deceased


Niki and Clyde Butcher, Artists

Marjory Stoneman Douglas, Author *Deceased


Christopher M. Still, Artist

Carlton W. Ward, Jr., Author


Jackson Walker, Artist


Bob Beatty, Author

The Highwaymen, Artists


Florida Icon

2015 – Pete Clemons, Okeechobee


At the Spring, 2016 Board of Trustees meeting Okeechobee native Pete Clemons was recognized as a Florida Icon.  At 16 Pete became a professional rodeo athlete, putting himself through college with his winnings.  He is a 10-time Florida rodeo champion and won the Silver Spurs Rodeo All Around Champion award eight times.  The mascot for Osceola High School’s Cowboys was based on a drawing of Pete as he went to compete in the National Jaycees Rodeo Championship in Colorado Springs.  He won the best all-around title.  At the age of 37 he retired from the rodeo to raise cattle on his Okeechobee ranch and run the Okeechobee Livestock Market.  In 2008 he was inducted into the Florida Agricultural Hall of Fame.  As one of the best known and beloved cowboys in our state, Florida House honors Pete with its first Florida Icon Award.


The 1845 Society


The 1845 Society honors and celebrates those who have shown extraordinary effort on behalf of Florida House.  This is the highest award Florida House bestows and it is not given on a regular basis.  The honoree is given the Louise Lykes Ferguson Medal, named after one of our founding Trustees and shown here with Founder Rhea Chiles.


Society Members:

2016      Grace and Bill Nelson

2013      Emilie and Clay Shaw

2011      Gus Stavros

2009     Eileen and Loyd Kelly

2008     Snead Davis

2007     Elizabeth Lindsay

2006     Sarah McKay

2004     Adele and Bob Graham

2003     Rhea Chiles


The Rhea Chiles Vision Award


The Rhea Chiles Vision Award is given to a Floridian who has given extraordinary service to Florida House, its mission, vitality and stability; to someone whose involvement moved the organization toward expansion, soundness or increased stature.  Nominations are only accepted from Florida House trustees.


Vision Award Recipients:

Grace Nelson

Dominic Calabro

Joyce Stevens

Ralph Marrinson

Pat and John Mica

Patrick Geraghty

Mike Hightower

Emilie and Clay Shaw

Patsy Woodroffe

Sandy Thomas

Deanna Kirchman


The Chairman’s Award

Given by the Chairman of the Board of Trustees for exceptional service.

2014     The Risi Family

2024     Emily Puffer Strickland



The Florida House Education Award

Recognizing outstanding achievement in education, a core value in the Florida House mission.

2014     Sarah McKay


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