Florida State University’s 15th president in 2014 after a successful career as a lawyer, businessman and politician, will be inducted into the College of Business 2016 Hall of Fame on Thursday, March 31, 2016. John Thrasher, who earned a degree in business administration in 1965 and a juris doctorate in 1972, will be among four business leaders recognized for their professional accomplishments and community contributions at the 14th Annual Hall of Fame Dinner and Ceremony at the Augustus B. Turnbull III Florida State Conference Center.
Since 2003, the college has honored 39 alumni who embody the qualities that the College of Business strives to instill in its students: integrity, respect, innovation, excellence and leadership. They have excelled in their careers and made significant contributions to the college and their professions.
After working in private law practice in Daytona Beach and Tallahassee for several years, Thrasher moved to Jacksonville to serve as general counsel of the Florida Medical Association, a position he held for 20 years. He also served “of counsel” to the Jacksonville law firm of Smith, Hulsey & Busey from 1996 to 2008. He was a partner of Southern Strategy Group, a Tallahassee-based governmental relations firm, from 2001 to 2009.
Thrasher’s political career began in 1986 when he was elected to the Clay County School Board, where he served as vice chairman, then chairman. He then became a state representative in 1992, and he was re-elected without opposition in 1994, 1996 and 1998. Thrasher was unanimously elected as the speaker of the Florida House of Representatives in 1998, where he supported legislation such as the “A+ Education Plan” and the largest tax cut in Florida history.
He was elected to the Florida Senate in 2009 and subsequently re-elected. He served as chairman for the Republican Party of Florida in 2010. As a senator, Thrasher served as the chair of the Rules Committee and was involved in the Appropriations, Community Affairs, Ethics and Elections, Gaming, Judiciary, Regulated Industries and Joint Legislative Budget Commission committees. He also served on the Appropriations Subcommittee on Education as well as the Health and Human Services Committee. From 2001 to 2005, Thrasher was the first chair of Florida State University’s Board of Trustees. In 2002, he was a key supporter of legislation that brought funding to the development of FSU’s College of Medicine, and a building at that college is named in his honor.
The three other College of Business alumni who will be honored at the Hall of Fame event are:
Nan Hillis, retired bank executive, who graduated in 1976 with a degree in marketing and finance.
J. Robert “Bobby” Jones, retired partner at Bluff Point, who graduated in 1975 with a degree in accounting and finance.
William F. Stephenson, CEO and chairman of the executive board of De Lage Landen International B.V, who graduated in 1982 with a degree in management.