Movers & Shakers


UNF President Delaney to retire in 2018

University of North Florida President John A. Delaney will retire in May 2018 at the conclusion of his current contract.

Delaney is the longest-serving president in UNF history.

“Over the past 14 years, I’ve had the honor of working with a truly remarkable team of people committed to providing the highest quality education to our students and to making our region stronger,” Delaney said. “Every time a student crosses the stage at commencement and I hand them their diploma, I recognize the life-changing impact UNF has made on them and the lives they will touch. The personal pride I have for each and every one of these students runs deep.”

UNF board members credited Delaney with raising the regional and national profile of the university while overseeing the biggest campus expansion in its history. During his tenure, the academic quality of UNF’s students and academic programs also increased, they said.

“John’s leadership has propelled UNF beyond all expectations,” said Joy Korman, chair of the UNF Board of Trustees. “His accomplishments are far and wide, ranging from academic enhancements to community outreach. He always puts students first.”

Jax Chamber names Johnston ‘Small Business Leader of the Year’

Sarah Marie Johnston, owner and marketing director of Moxie Kitchen + Cocktails, was recently named the 2017 overall Jax Chamber Small Business Leader of the Year.

In 1999, Johnston and her husband, Tom Gray, moved from Napa Valley to Jacksonville, where they opened Bistro Aix in San Marco. They operated Bistro Aix until 2012 when they left to focus on opening Moxie Kitchen + Cocktails. Moxie opened in November 2013, showcasing locally-grown and artisan ingredients.

“Northeast Florida is a great place to do business and Sarah Marie has achieved great success here in Jacksonville,” JAX Chamber President and CEO Daniel Davis said. “The JAX Chamber is proud to honor an outstanding business leader who is dedicated to the local community.”

Liang, Baker to co-chair WGA

Paula Liang and Martha Baker will co-chair the 2017 Women’s Collective Giving Grantmakers Network National Leadership Forum, to be held March 12-14 at the One Ocean Resort in Atlantic Beach.

To be hosted by The Community Foundation for Northeast Florida’s Women’s Giving Alliance (WGA), the conference will follow the theme “Women Together Making Waves,” celebrating women-powered giving. Featured speakers will include Bezos Family Foundation President Jackie Bezos and Ms. Foundation for Women CEO Teresa Younger.

“We are thrilled that women from across the U.S. will join us in Northeast Florida to connect, learn and share,” said Liang, immediate past president, WGA. “We are excited to kick off our 15th anniversary year by welcoming friends old and new from across the country to our beautiful corner of the world, and to introduce them to some of what is unique both about WGA and about Northeast Florida.”

DiGenti named FWA executive vice president

Vic DiGenti was recently elected executive vice president of the Florida Writers Association, one of the largest membership organizations for writers in the country.

DiGenti, who had formerly been an FWA Board member for 10 years before stepping down to concentrate on his writing, remained active in the organization as the Northeast Florida regional director and leader of the Ponte Vedra Writers group. He had previously been appointed as faculty chair for the 2017 Florida Writers Conference in October. He is also an active board member of the Friends of the Ponte Vedra Library.

After writing three award-winning “Windrusher” novels, DiGenti penned the Quint Mitchell mystery series using the pen name Parker Francis. Lately, he has worked as a ghost writer and biographer, having recently penned biographies for two World War II veterans.