"Mother of Medical Schools" Receives Great Floridian Award [SLIDE SHOW]

By: Lanetra Bennett
June 13, 2013

The woman known as the "Mother of FSU Medical School" was honored Thursday.

While cameras were in her face, Dr. Charlotte Maguire didn't have much to say about being awarded the "Great Floridian" award.

She says, "It's a real honor to be here."

But, there's plenty to be said about the 95-year-old.

Maguire helped establish the medical schools at the University of Florida and Florida State University.

She earned her medical degree in 1944 from the University of Arkansas, where she was the only female in her class. Then in 1952, she went back home to Orlando and became--as local newspapers called her--the first "girl doctor."

"My father was little bit upset about that. He said, 'she's a woman.'" Dr. Maguire says.

Florida Governor Rick Scott presented Maguire with the "Great Floridian" award at FSU's Medical School Thursday morning.

Dr. Maguire says, "I feel humble. It's such a wonderful thing to know that people appreciate it; and they do."

In 2005, the library at FSU's Medical School was named after Dr. Charlotte Maguire.

It was the first academic medical library started as digital.
Library director Barbara Shearer says, "Every medical student, every physician who works with us in the State of Florida has access to the library from anywhere, anytime on this tiny little device. So, Charlotte comes out again as a trail-blazer."

74 people since 1981 have been given the honor of "Great Floridian" , representing former governors, military heroes, Florida Supreme Court Justices and others.

Below is more information on Dr. Charlotte Maguire provided by FSU:

Benefactor to Medical Education

Dr. Maguire has augmented her lifelong dedication to the practice of medicine, the care of the underserved and the enhancement of medical education with her generous financial support for FSU's Program in Medical Sciences (PIMS), and more recently for the College of Medicine.

In 1999, Maguire donated $1 million to FSU's then Program in Medical Sciences, and later the College of Medicine, to create the Charlotte Edwards Maguire Endowed Scholarship Fund. The next year she was an outspoken advocate for the creation of the College of Medicine, and she has since donated additional funds to support a variety of programs within the College of Medicine.

On February 14, 2002, Dr. Charlotte Edwards Maguire was awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree in a ceremony in the College of Medicine administration building.

Maguire's honorary degree was the 107th conferred by the university

Scholarship Recipients

Two students in the Class of 2008 were able to make FSU their choice for medical school thanks to the latest gift from Charlotte Maguire, M.D. They were highly qualified academically and they also had interests consistent with the college’s mission, including a desire to stay in Florida, as well as a commitment to working with medically underserved patients. But with other medical schools trying to lure them by offering them full-tuition scholarships, it didn’t look good for FSU, which as a new medical school didn’t have the big scholarship endowments of its more established rivals.

When she learned of the situation, Maguire, who already had created an endowed scholarship fund with a $1 million gift to the College of Medicine, came forward with a separate gift for two full-tuition scholarships. Her gift put FSU’s offer on a par with those the students had received elsewhere.

Maguire is matter-of-fact about the motivation behind her generosity. “I think the urgent need was what did it, nothing else,” she said. “We had the two students that were the quality type, and there didn’t seem to be any money around.”

Press Release: Governor's Office

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Governor Rick Scott today presented a “Great Floridian” award to Dr. Charlotte E. Maguire at the Florida State University College of Medicine. Dr. Charlotte Maguire was one of the first female doctors to open a pediatric practice in Orlando in 1952, which she ran for 22 years. During the 1970s, Dr. Maguire was one of the highest ranking women in the federal government under the Nixon Administration as the Assistant Secretary of Health and Scientific Affairs in the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare. She later returned back to Florida and helped create the Florida Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services, now operating as the Department of Health and the Department of Children and Families.

Governor Rick Scott said, “I am honored to present Dr. Charlotte Maguire with the Great Floridian Award. Dr. Maguire has dedicated her life to expanding the medical profession and education in Florida, while also caring for those most in need. She has been a public servant to families across the state and nation who need it most and serves as a role model for our students. Dr. Maguire is truly a Great Floridian.”

Dr. Maguire said, “It is indeed an honor and privilege to join the Great Floridians Class of 2013. Improving medical care and accessibility, along with building medical education in the state of Florida continues to be just the right thing to do.”

Dr. Maguire retired from practicing medicine at the age of 70, and has since developed the Charlotte Maguire Endowment Scholarship Fund for medical students at Florida State University. She has also funded and supported the creation of the FSU College of Medicine. In 2005, a ceremony was held naming the “The Charlotte Edwards Maguire Medical Library” in her honor.

Eric J Barron, President of Florida State University said, "Dr. Charlotte Maguire has spent a lifetime as one of the most influential physicians in Florida. A visionary pioneer in medical education as well as an extraordinary teacher, mentor and practitioner, she is a treasured friend to Florida State University. Not only was she instrumental in the creation of our College of Medicine, she continues to guide and support our medical students with passion, and they benefit immeasurably. I can think of no one who more richly deserves this honor."

The “Great Floridian” designation is given in recognition of the outstanding achievements of men and women who have made significant contributions to the progress and welfare of Florida.

Only 74 individuals since 1981 have been given this distinct honor, and those honorees represent former governors, civil rights activists, military heroes, Florida Supreme Court Justices and others.

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