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USF St. Pete Adds Expert on Spanish Florida

J. Michael Francis
University of North Florida
J. Michael Francis

The Florida Studies Program at USF St. Petersburg is adding one of the country's leading experts on the history of the Spanish colonial experience in Florida.

On August 1st, Dr. J. Michael Francis, chairman of the History Department at the University of North Florida, will take the newly created Hough Family Endowed Chair in Florida Studies.

According to a release from USF St. Petersburg, Dr. Francis was appointed by U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar as one of two historians on the St. Augustine 450th Commemoration Commission. He's also the curator of Imagining La Florida: Ponce de Leon and the Quest for the Fountain of Youth, a traveling exhibit that will open at Miami's Frost Museum next April. 

USF St. Petersburg Regional Chancellor Margaret Sullivan says Dr. Francis is arriving just in time to mark the 500th anniversary of Ponce de Leon's expedition to Florida.

“Dr. Francis represents the vanguard of scholars who are reinterpreting the meaning of 1513 and the complexities of issues resulting from that encounter,” Dr. Sullivan said.

Mark Schreiner is the assistant news director and intern coordinator for WUSF News.
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