David Lawrence, Jr.
David Lawrence, Jr., retired in 1999 as publisher of the Miami Herald to work in the area of early childhood development and readiness. He chairs the Children’s Movement of Florida, aimed at making children the state’s top priority for investment and decision-making. He has served on the Governor’s Children and Youth Cabinet and twice chaired the Florida Partnership for School Readiness. In 2002 and 2008, he led successful campaigns for the Children’s Trust, a dedicated source of early intervention and prevention funding for children in Miami-Dade. He is the “founding chair.” In 2002, he was a key figure in passing a statewide constitutional amendment to provide pre-K for all 4 year olds. The David Lawrence Jr. K-8 Public School opened in 2006. An endowed chair in early childhood studies is established in his name at the University of Florida. In 2015, he was appointed by the Governor to the Board of Trustees of Florida A&M University. Before coming to Miami in 1989, he was publisher and executive editor of the Detroit Free Press. Previously, he was editor of the Charlotte Observer, and earlier in reporting and editing positions at four newspapers. (During his tenure as Miami Herald publisher, the paper won five Pulitzer Prizes.) Mr. Lawrence is a graduate of the University of Florida and named “Outstanding Journalism Graduate” and subsequently from the Advanced Management program at the Harvard Business School. In 1988, he was honored with Knight-Ridder’s top award, the John S. Knight Gold Medal. His 13 honorary doctorates include one from his alma mater, the University of Florida. His national honors include the Ida B. Wells Award “for exemplary leadership in providing minorities employment opportunities” and the National Association of Minority Media Executives award for “lifetime achievement in diversity.” He was the 1991-92 president of the American Society of Newspaper Editors and the 1995-96 president of the Inter American Press Association. He was inducted into the Florida Newspaper Hall of Fame in 2010. He has served the Miami Art Museum, United Way, the New World School of the Arts, and the Foundation for Child Development in New York – each as chair – and is a life member of the University of Florida Foundation. He serves on the national boards of the Everglades Foundation and Americans for Immigrant Justice. He was the local convening co-chair of the 1994 Summit of the Americas, and he co-founded a non-profit vocational-technical school in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. He and Roberta, a master’s graduate in social work from Barry, live in Coral Gables and have three daughters, two sons, and five grandchildren. His honors include: “Family of the Year” from Family Counseling Services and “Father of the Year” by the South Florida Father’s Day Council. He has been honored as a Miami Today Living Legend, as well as with the Governor’s Shine Award for Inspirational Teachers. His awards include the Bob Graham Center for Public Service “Citizen of the Year,” the American Public Health Association Award of Excellence, the Lewis Hine Award for Children and Youth, the “Children’s Champion” award from the National Black Child Development Institute, the Fred Rogers Leadership Award from the Grantmakers for Children, the National Association for Bilingual Education for “building early literacy skills for all children.”