T. K. Wetherell Source: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T._K._Wetherell

T. K. Wetherell
T. K. Wetherell.jpg
13th President of the Florida State University
In office
January 6, 2003 – January 31, 2010
Preceded bySandy D'Alemberte
Succeeded byEric J. Barron
86th Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives
In office
November 20, 1990 – November 17, 1992
Preceded byTom Gustafson
Succeeded byBolley Johnson
Member of the Florida House of Representatives
from the 29th district
In office
November 2, 1982 – November 3, 1992
Preceded byTom C. Brown
Succeeded byCharlie Roberts
Member of the Florida House of Representatives
from the 31st district
In office
November 4, 1980 – November 2, 1982
Preceded byJ. Hyatt Brown
Succeeded byWinston Gardner Jr.
Personal details
Thomas Kent Wetherell

(1945-12-22)December 22, 1945
Daytona Beach, Florida, U.S.
DiedDecember 16, 2018(2018-12-16) (aged 72)
Tallahassee, Florida, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Peggy Wetherell (divorced)
[citation needed]
Virginia Bass
Children3, including Kent
EducationFlorida State University (BA, MEd, EdD)

Thomas Kent Wetherell (December 22, 1945 – December 16, 2018) was an American politician and educator. He served as member of the Florida House of Representatives from 1980 to 1992, and was president of Florida State University from 2003 through 2009.[1][2][3]

Early life[edit]

Born in Daytona Beach, Florida, to a well known Pioneer family of the Daytona Beach area. His father Thomas James Wetherell, was born in Holly Hill on Feb. 16, 1912. and his mother Mildred Juanita Kent Wetherell. His paternal great grandparents Thomas Wetherell ( 1845- 1921) and Margaret Wetherell who traveled to this country by schooner from Durham, England. arrived in the Daytona Beach area, in 1876 from Philadelphia on a boat that was heading for Miami. It stopped here instead when it ran into a tropical storm. The family had traveled to this country by schooner from Durham, England. It was his grandfather Thomas Wetherell (1867–1945) who was involved in many of the firsts in the area including helping build the Ponce de Leon Lighthouse. Wetherell attended Port Orange Elementary School and Mainland High School. He attended Florida State University (FSU) on a football scholarship and played from 1963 to 1967. While at FSU, Wetherell joined the Phi Delta Theta fraternity. He earned two academic degrees in social studies and education, in 1967 and 1968. In 1974, he received a doctorate in education administration from FSU.[4]

Political career[edit]

Wetherell, a Democrat, was a member of the Florida House of Representatives from 1980 to 1992, and Speaker of the House in 1991 and 1992.[5] He served as chair of the house's Appropriations and Education committees.[6]

Educational career[edit]

Wetherell served as president of Tallahassee Community College (TCC) from 1995 to 2001; before that, he was president of the Independent Colleges and Universities of Florida.[6] During his time as president of TCC, the school saw increased enrollment and a campus expansion. Wetherell also worked at Daytona Beach Community College and Florida Technological University.[6] After he resigned from his post at TCC, Wetherell was a lobbyist for the Southern Strategy Group.[6] The FSU Board of Trustees appointed Wetherell to be president on December 18, 2002.[7] His salary was ranked among the top ten for public university presidents in the United States.[8] Later, Lee Hinkle, joined Wetherell's administration as a Vice President for University Relations.[6] In late 2006, he added his voice to efforts by Bernie Machen, president of the University of Florida to bring a play-off to Division I-A college football.[9]

Personal life[edit]

After a divorce from his first wife, with whom he had a son,[10] Wetherell married Virginia Bass Wetherell, a former Florida state government official and state legislator; he gained two stepdaughters from this marriage. Until early 2018, he maintained the 983-acre Oak Hill Plantation in Jefferson County, Florida near Tallahassee.[11] He was a fan of hunting birds including turkey, dove and quail on the estate. At one point he had pledged the lodge and grounds to Florida State University upon his death but since 2012 or 2013 he changed his will to leave it to his family.[11]

Wetherell had been suffering from prostate cancer since 2002.[11] Wetherell died from complications of cancer on December 16, 2018, six days before his 73rd birthday.[6]


  1. ^ "FL State House 29 Race - Nov 02, 1982". Our Campaigns. Retrieved October 16, 2019.
  2. ^ "FL State House 29 Race - Nov 06, 1990". Our Campaigns. Retrieved October 16, 2019.
  3. ^ "FL State House 031 Race - Nov 04, 1980". Our Campaigns. Retrieved October 16, 2019.
  4. ^ Farrington, Brendan (December 16, 2018). "Ex-Florida State University President Wetherell dies at 72". Miami Herald. Retrieved December 22, 2018.
  5. ^ Dobson, Byron (December 18, 2018). "Funeral service for FSU President Emeritus T.K. Wetherell to be held Friday at Ruby Diamond". Tallahassee Democrat. Retrieved December 18, 2018.
  6. ^ a b c d e f Dobson, Bryan (December 16, 2018). "T.K. Wetherell, credited with transforming Florida State and TCC, dies at age 72". Tallahassee Democrat. Retrieved December 16, 2018.
  7. ^ Ensley, Gerald (December 17, 2018) [June 18, 2009]. "2009 profile: Wetherell steps down as Florida State University president, career highlights". Tallahassee Democrat. Retrieved December 19, 2018.
  8. ^ Freeman, Marc (November 13, 2007). "3 state-university presidents rank among 10 highest paid in u.s." Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved December 22, 2018.
  9. ^ Wetzel, Dan (December 5, 2006). "A true champion". Yahoo!. Retrieved December 5, 2006.
  10. ^ Blackburn, Doug (December 17, 2018) [Feb. 2, 2014]. "From the archives: The lion in winter, T.K. Wetherell". Tallahassee Democrat. Retrieved December 22, 2018.
  11. ^ a b c Saunders, Jessica (February 23, 2018). "1,000-acre plantation next to Ted Turner's in Florida hits market for $10.7M". Atlanta Business Chronicle. Retrieved December 18, 2018.

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