Remembering President Emeritus Talbot “Sandy” D’Alemberte

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Sandy D’Alemberte

With the passing of President Emeritus Talbot “Sandy” D’Alemberte we would like to take a moment to reflect on his life and his contributions. He has had considerable impact on Florida State, serving the university since 1984 and teaching through this past spring, as well as the political and legal fields.

D’Alemberte was a Tallahassee native, his childhood home was located just across the street from the capitol building. His grandfather attended the Seminary West of the Suwannee River and his mother attended Florida State College for Women, both predecessor institutions to Florida State University. He earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of the South and his Juris Doctor from the University of Florida.

D’Alemberte was well known in the law community for his work helping underserved populations and for his commitment to human rights. He served in the Florida House of Representatives from 1966 to 1972 and as President for the American Bar Association from 1991 until 1992. His work in the legal field won him numerous awards from the Florida Bar Foundation Medal of Honor in 1987 to the Florida Academy of Criminal Defense Lawyers Annual Criminal Justice award in 1993 to an Emmy from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences for his work allowing in allowing electronic journalists access to court proceedings.

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D’Alemberte greets Seminole Ambassador President Glenn Hill, November 18, 1993

He served as the fourth dean of the Law School from 1984 to 1989 and President of the University from 1994 until 2003. He established a public pro bono requirement for FSU Law School students, a rarity at the time. He was instrumental in developing Florida State University’s College of Medicine which graduated its first class in 2001, and the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory was established during his tenure. He led a campus wide beautification project which resulted in the renovation of the College of Law’s Village Green and the Heritage Museum’s renovation. He was honored with his own commemorative window in the museum in 2017.

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D’Alemberte dedicated window. Located within the FSU Heritage Museum.

Visitation for family and friends will take place from 5 to 7 p.m. this evening in the D’Alemberte Rotunda at the FSU College of Law.

A memorial service will be held on Wednesday, June 5th at 2pm in Ruby Diamond Concert Hall. Both are open to the public. The Heritage Museum will remain open until 5pm on Wednesday to allow visitors to view D’Alemberte’s window.

Several unprocessed collections of D’Alemberte’s papers are housed in Heritage & University Archives and the Claude Pepper Library. Included are administrative files from his time as President of the University and his files from his time as Dean of the College of Law. For more information on our collections, please contact Heritage & University Archivist, Sandra Varry at svarry@fsu.edu.

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