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David Colburn

Office: 227 Keene-Flint

Office phone: (352) 846-3570
Mailing address: Department of History,
University of Florida, P.O. Box 117320,
Gainesville, FL 32611-7320

Dr. David R. Colburn served as Provost of the University of Florida from October 5, 2000 until January 1, 2005. He began serving as Interim Provost in November 1999. Formerly Vice Provost for Academic Affairs, Dr. Colburn has been a member of the University of Florida faculty since 1972.

A native of Rhode Island, Dr. Colburn received his A.B. and an M.A. from Providence College before entering the U.S. Army in 1966. Dr. Colburn served one year in Vietnam before returning to the States and attending the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he received his Ph.D. in 1971. After teaching at UNC and East Carolina University, Dr. Colburn came to the University of Florida.

Dr. Colburn’s teaching and research have focused on politics, race, and ethnicity in 20th Century America. He was twice named teacher-of-the-year and has published nine books and more than twenty-five articles and chapters in books. His most recent books include Florida’s Megatrends: Critical Issues in Florida (2002) with Lance deHaven-Smith, African-American Mayors: Race, Politics, and the American City (2001) with Jeffrey S. Adler, Government in the Sunshine State: Florida Since Statehood (1999) with Lance deHaven-Smith, and The African American Heritage of Florida (1994) with Jane Landers, which won the Rembert W. Patrick Book Prize as the best book in Florida History and a special commendation from the Association of State and Local History in 1996.

Dr. Colburn served two terms as chairperson of the Department of History at the University of Florida from 1981 to 1989. He also served as Associate Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences from 1989 to 1995 and was responsible for faculty affairs, the development of the CLAS Undergraduate Research Symposium, and the University Center for Excellence in Teaching. As Vice Provost, he was responsible for enrollment management, tenure and promotion, the undergraduate curriculum, and the combined degree program. Dr. Colburn has been a regular contributor to the Orlando Sentinel newspaper, having written over 100 essays on state and national politics. He also served as one of the authors of the Rosewood Report in 1993, which was part of the inquiry of the State of Florida into the destruction of the town of Rosewood in 1923. He served as a Fellow in the United States Senate from 1993 to 1997.

Dr. Colburn currently directs the Reubin O’D. Askew Institute on Politics and Society at the University of Florida. The Institute provides public program to civic leaders and citizens of Florida on critical issues confronting the state. Former Governor Reubin Askew and Dr. Colburn have collaborated in this effort since 1994. The annual meeting of the Askew Institute takes place at the University of Florida and involves 175 citizens of the state. The topics for the meetings have ranged from “Building Community at the State and Local Level,” ” Florida and the Global Economy,” and “The Graying of Florida.” The Askew Institute recently expanded its programs to local communities in the state. In 1999, the Askew Institute received a Distinguished Community Service Award from the Board of Regents for its service to the State of Florida.

Dr. Colburn is chair of the Board of the Florida Humanities Council; he is also a Road Scholar for the Council. His book, From Yellow Dog Democrats to Red State Republicans: Florida and its Politics since 1940, has just been released by University Press of Florida. He is senior adviser to the Chancellor of the State University System and a Distinguished Lecturere for the Organization of American Historians.