CONTACT: Zoe Sharron
Rumberger Legacy Lives On Through UF Environmental Law Fellowship
Orlando — E. Thom Rumberger, noted attorney, judge, political patriarch, Everglades champion and public policy guardian, will continue to influence Florida’s future through a fellowship being established in his honor at the University of Florida. Rumberger passed away in 2011.
In honor of his extraordinary work during the last 20 years of his life on the Save the Everglades campaign and for the Everglades Foundation, the University of Florida set up the E. Thom Rumberger Everglades Foundation Fellowship Program through the Center for Governmental Responsibility. The Fellowship will support law school graduate fellows who will work with the Center researching environmental law and public policy in partnership with the Everglades Foundation.
A reception to raise funds for the Fellowship will be held at 6 p.m. tomorrow, February 12, at the Orlando offices of Rumberger, Kirk & Caldwell, located at 300 South Orange Avenue, Suite 1400. The objective of the event is to reach the endowment goal of $300,000.
Among those helping host next week’s fundraising reception will be U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, CFO Jeff Atwater, Former Governors Charlie Crist and Buddy MacKay, Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, Orange County Mayor Rich Crotty, Former Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum and Former CFO Alex Sink.
Rumberger interrupted his college education to volunteer in the U.S. Marines, serving in Korea. He came home to complete both undergraduate and law school degrees at the University of Florida, where he graduated with honors.
First appointed by Governor Claude Kirk as Florida’s youngest circuit court judge, Rumberger went on to become Kirk’s special advisor before running unsuccessfully for Florida attorney general. Although Rumberger would reduce his political involvement to build his law firm, Rumberger, Kirk and Caldwell, he remained active in the Republican Party, hosting President George H. Bush at his home on numerous occasions.
A respected republican, Rumberger was recognized for his willingness to work across partisan divides to get things accomplished. He became the “go-to” man for political hopefuls in the state of Florida, both Republicans and Democrats. Prior to his death, Rumberger was recognized on the floor of the United States Senate by friend and long-time Senator Bill Nelson for his remarkable contributions to Florida.
When Rumberger lost his dear friend, George M. Barley, in a tragic airplane crash, he stepped over to help George’s wife, Mary, carry out Barley’s dream of restoring the Everglades. Rumberger served as Chairman of the Everglades Trust and General Counsel to the Everglades Foundation. His legal brilliance and political effectiveness has resulted in great gains for the River of Grass. He has been recognized with the highest accolades by Everglades advocates.
Donations to the E. Thom Rumberger Everglades Foundation Fellowship Program will support important environmental goals, not just for the state of Florida but also for the federally protected Everglades and other areas of environmental significance.