Tallahassee, Fla. — Today, Governor Ron DeSantis announced the appointment of Rick Gonzalez, Michael Francis, Kathleen Kauffman, Judith Bense and Clifford Smith to the Florida Historical Commission.

Rick Gonzalez

Gonzalez, of Juno Beach, is an architect and President of REG Architects, Inc. He has served as Chairman of the Florida Board of Architecture and Interior Design and President of the Florida Trust for Historic Preservation. Gonzalez earned two bachelor’s degrees in architecture from the Catholic University of America.

Michael Francis

Francis, of St. Petersburg, is a Professor of History and holds the Hough Family Chair of Florida Studies in the University of South Florida’s College of Arts and Sciences. He serves on the University of Florida’s Historic St. Augustine Commission and has previously served on the Florida Historical Commission. Francis earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Alberta and a PhD in Spanish American History from the University of Cambridge.

Kathleen Kauffman

Kauffman, of Coral Gables, is a Historic Preservation Officer for the City of Gainesville. Previously, she was a principal at KSK Preservation, Historic Preservation Chief for Miami-Dade County, Historic Preservation Officer for the City of Miami and Executive Director of the Florida Trust for Historic Preservation. Kauffman earned her bachelor’s degree in historic preservation from Mary Washington College and her master’s degree in historic preservation from the University of Florida.

Judith Bense

Bense, of Pensacola, is an archaeologist and has been at the University of West Florida since 1980 where she founded the anthropology program and now serves as President Emeritus. She is a founding member of the Florida Historical Commission, having served six years as Chair. Bense is a member of the Florida Anthropological Society, Florida Archaeological Council, Society for Historical Archaeology and the Pensacola Downtown Rotary. She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in anthropology and archaeology from Florida State University and a doctorate of philosophy in anthropology and archaeology from Washington State University.

Clifford Smith

Smith, of Venice, is a historical archaeologist and Senior Planner for the City of Sarasota. He serves as Chairman of the Board for the Sarasota Municipal Employees Credit Union and as a member of the Coalition for Historic Preservation and the Historic Preservation Board for Sarasota County. Smith earned a master’s degree in cultural resource management from the University of South Florida and a PhD in historic archaeology from the University of Kentucky.



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