Former Florida Governor and U.S. Special Envoy MacKay (’61) Honored for Contributions to Hemispheric Advancement
Former Florida governor and special presidential envoy Kenneth H. “Buddy” MacKay recently was honored for contributions made to advancement of Western Hemisphere development and human rights. MacKay’s legal and public service accomplishments at the state and national level were recognized at the second annual Legal & Policy Issues in the Americas Conference sponsored by the College of Law, Warrington College of Business and its Center for International Business Education and Research, and the Florida Journal of International Law. Last year’s honoree was Raul E. Valdes-Fauli, a prominent Cuban-American attorney based in Miami. “As special envoy to the Americas, Buddy MacKay coordinated and formulated hemispheric policy, working closely with the National Security Council, the National Economic Council and the U.S. State Department to promote integration, understanding of trade issues, and the strengthening of democracies, security and human rights within the Western Hemisphere,” said law school Interim Dean Jon Mills. “In addition, he is an exhaustive public servant, having served Florida as governor, lieutenant governor, U.S. representative and state senator and representative — working to build Florida into a true ‘Gateway to the Americas,’” Mills continued. “We are pleased and proud to honor this distinguished UF alumnus, a man of selfless dedication to public service.” MacKay was appointed by former President Bill Clinton as U.S. special envoy to the Americas in March 1999, only the second person to hold the post. During his tenure, he traveled to 27 countries in the Americas and 19 U.S. cities to promote hemispheric integration and to improve understanding of issues such as the Free Trade Area of the Americas and the North American Free Trade Agreement. While serving as lieutenant governor (1990 -1998), MacKay was instrumental in managing Florida’s role in the 1994’s Summit of the Americas. He was sworn in as governor upon the death of incumbent Lawton Chiles and served the remainder of Chiles’ term. MacKay also served three terms in the U.S. House of Representatives, where he was a member of the Foreign Relations Committee and Drug Oversight Subcommittee. He served in Florida’s Senate from 1974 to 1980, and the Florida House of Representatives from 1968 to 1974. After receiving his bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Florida in 1954, MacKay served as a pilot in the U.S. Air Force. Upon his discharge, he returned to UF to obtain a law degree, graduating in 1961. A third-generation native of Ocala, MacKay and his wife, Anne Selph MacKay, have four sons.