Ralph Turlington (BSBA ’42) | June 2021

Ralph Turlington

State Representative. Florida’s Speaker of the House. World War II and Korean War Veteran. Commissioner of Education. Professor of Business. Namesake of UF’s largest classroom building and the State Department of Education headquarters.

Ralph Turlington (BSBA 1942) donned many titles during his lifetime, which spanned 100 years and ended at his home in Durham, NC, in May. During his career, he fought to integrate schools; led a citizens campaign that created the Florida Lottery; and pushed to create a fair apportionment of the state legislature. He also played a role in creating UF’s medical school and center.

He still holds the title of being elected to constitutional office in Florida more times than any other person in the history of the Sunshine State. He received the Distinguished Alumnus award from UF and from its (K-12) P.K. Yonge Developmental Research School, where he was a member of its first class.

His personal collection, the “Ralph D. Turlington Papers,” live on at UF’s Special and Area Studies Collections library on the second floor of Library East. From supporting Gen. George Patton’s Third Army during the Battle of the Bulge to voting on more bills than any other legislator in state history, Turlington’s strength, strategic thinking, passion and staunch moral compass influenced much of our society today. A few more of his accomplishments: establishing the current state employee pension system, Florida’s Government in the Sunshine law, Florida’s Consumer Protection Agency, legislation that lowered Florida’s voting age to 18, and enacting Florida’s first corporate income tax.