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Administrative Policy Records of the University of Florida Office of the President (John V. Lombardi)

Identifier: Series P22

Scope and Content

This collection contains the administrative records of John V. Lombardi, ninth president of the University of Florida, from his inauguration in 1990 to his resignation in 1999.

Throughout his presidency, his efforts were centered toward improving the overall environment on campus for students and faculty. Concern about the implementation of affirmative action was a major complaint among the university students and staff. Throughout the Affirmative Action section of the collection, correspondence between Lombardi and various people within the university display the concerns of the time.

Known for his fundraising skills at Johns Hopkins, Lombardi raised millions of dollars that financially and physically improved the University of Florida. Buildings were built and renovated throughout campus, such as the Brain Institute and the Physics Building. Lombardi also implemented the University of Florida Bank, which allocated funds to each college more efficiently and kept track of the university budget. Budget information is found under Academic Affairs, and files related to capital campaigns are found under Development and Alumni Affairs.

The Athletic Association underwent significant changes during Lombardi's presidency. Jeremy Foley replaced Bill Arnsbarger as Athletic Director and former Gator quarterback Steve Spurrier returned as coach to lead the football team to several conference championships and one national title. In all, the 1990s were a period of incredible athletic achievement. Lombardi's early response to criticisms of the program is well documented, and there are many items that reflect the programs later successes.

The relationship between Lombardi and the Board of Regents (BOR) and the State University System (SUS) was one of ups and downs. Records from BOR meetings and conference calls between the government officials and Lombardi are documented. The role of the university as a whole in the SUS is also included. Other correspondence and information about the BOR shows the beginning of Lombardi's rocky relationship with the board. In 1995, Lombardi wrote a proposal related to financial aid that disappointed the BOR when it went straight to the governor. This Educredit proposal is included in the collection along with the BOR's criticisms. Another event documented in the collection is Lombardi's "Oreo" comment about Chancellor Adam Herbert. Various reactions to the comment are found in the Resignation folders.

Another event documented in the collection is the August 1990 murders of five Gainesville area college students. Condolences from Lombardi to the victims' families are documented. Other condolences from various universities are included. Letters and e-mails written by Lombardi to the students and staff about the tragedy are also documented.

Other items in the collection include pamphlets, directories, greeting cards, artists' renditions of various buildings built during his presidency, awards, and newspaper articles.


  • Creation: 1990-1999



Please note that this collection is undergoing reprocessing, and some box numbers may have changed. Please consult the archivist for further assistance.

University Archives collections are available for research. Portions of the collections may be restricted due to the requirements of applicable state and federal laws, including but not limited to FERPA and HIPAA, and in accordance with best practices as defined by the Society of American Archivists.

Biographical/Historical Note

John Vince Lombardi was born in Los Angeles in 1942. He received his Bachelor of Arts at Pomona College in 1963. By 1968, he earned his Master's and doctorate degrees in Latin American History from Columbia University. From 1967 to 1987 Lombardi taught in the Department of History at Indiana University and taught in Venezuela for a year. He became the Dean of International Programs at Indiana University in 1977 and Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences in 1985. He became the Provost and the President for Academic Affairs at Johns Hopkins University in 1987. In 1990, Lombardi became the ninth president of the University of Florida where he would spend almost nine years. Throughout his administrative career, Lombardi remained a history professor.

Lombardi obtained the reputation as a students' president. From walking to his office almost every day from the president's house, to answering almost every e-mail, he made himself accessible to all faculty, staff, and students.

Lombardi's presidency was marked by a number of significant events and accomplishments. At the beginning of his administration, he comforted the community after five college students in the Gainesville area were murdered in August 1990. Lombardi fought attacks on affirmative action and successfully implemented Equal Opportunity objectives. Lombardi moved aggressively to clean up a trouble-plagued athletic program. He hired a new athletic director, Jeremy Foley, and together they improved the school's image, expanded the women's programs, hired new coaches such as Steve Spurrier and Billy Donovan, and helped usher in a decade of athletic success including a National Championship in football in 1996.

Outside the university, Lombardi was often embroiled in conflicts with the Board of Regents (BOR) and its Chancellor. In 1995, he locked horns with the BOR after turning in possible legislation to the state legislature before handing it to the BOR for revision and confirmation. In 1998, Lombardi's problems with the BOR continued after a derogatory remark about the Chancellor became public. Lombardi resigned as president in 1999.

Lombardi became Chancellor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst after leaving UF. He is also the author of many articles and books. He is married to Cathryn Lombardi. They have two children, John Lee Lombardi and Mary Ann Lombardi.


156.41 Linear feet (118 boxes)

Language of Materials



Administrative records of John V. Lombardi, ninth president of the University of Florida.

Physical Location

University of Florida Smathers Library Building

A Guide to the Administrative Policy Records of the University of Florida Office of the President (John V. Lombardi)
Finding aid created by Katie Adams and Carl Van Ness
July 2007 (Updated July 2019)
Description rules
Finding Aid Prepared Using Dacs
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is written in English.

Revision Statements

  • January 2019: Marked files in box 116 restricted.
  • July 2019: Awards subseries added.

Repository Details

Part of the Special and Area Studies Collections, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida Repository

George A. Smathers Libraries
PO Box 117005
Gainesville Florida 32611-7005 United States of America