Raymer F. Maguire Jr.
“Father of Valencia Community College”
Raymer F. Maguire Jr. was a man devoted to his family, to his community and to his profession. A member of the pioneering Maguire family of Ocoee, Fla., Maguire Jr. was the son and namesake of Raymer F. Maguire (JD 15), a man influential in his own right as a former UF student body president, a member of the first Honor Graduate Class of the University of Florida College of Law, and a member of the Florida Board of Control who received the President’s Medal for Service and was later in life honored as an outstanding UF alumnus.
Following his graduation from Storm King Preparatory School in Cornwall, N.Y., Maguire Jr. returned to Florida to attend his father’s alma mater, the University of Florida, where he was inducted into the UF Hall of Fame and graduated with his bachelor’s in 1943. By then, World War II was well underway and Maguire joined the U.S. Army, serving as an artillery officer in the European theater.
Armistice was signed in 1945 and Maguire was discharged from the Army the following year with the rank of captain. He returned to UF to pursue a degree in law, graduating with his LL.B. in 1948. During his last year of law school Maguire was elected president of Florida Blue Key.
As a young attorney, Maguire joined the Orlando firm his father founded; Maguire, Voorhis and Wells. It was a setting with which Maguire was intimately familiar — as a kid he’d been put to work at the firm as errand boy, driver, and in various odd jobs. Maguire initially practiced insurance defense litigation, later moving to corporate litigation and becoming one of the state’s foremost experts in agricultural law. He settled down to family life after marrying Sara Corry in 1951 and became a partner in the firm in 1955. The firm merged with Holland & Knight in 1998.
Maguire was a man of strength, intellect and energy, and he was well known for his determination and backbone. A close friend, Sara Van Arsdel, once commented that in addition to being one of the smartest men she knew, Maguire “liked a good fight, but was very fair.” That sense of fair play motivated a life-long interest and involvement in his community, which he called “paying my civic rent.”
That service ethic engendered his strong support of higher education in the state and he had deep roots at the University of Florida — Maguire Village, a graduate housing complex, is named in Maguire’s father’s honor; Maguire’s aunt, Lillian Maguire, had been a teacher at UF’s P.K. Yonge Laboratory School in the 1930s; and Maguire’s stepmother, Dr. Charlotte E. Maguire, was a member of the clinical staff of UF’s department of pediatrics between 1980 and 1987. Maguire served as a founding member of UF’s President’s Council, and as a trustee of the UF Foundation for several decades. He was recognized as a UF Distinguished Alumnus in 1975. With his support, the Raymer F. Maguire Final Four Moot Court Competition, now known as the Raymer F. Maguire Appellate Advocacy Competition, was established at UF Law in 1986.
His interest in higher education was not limited to UF, and he is known as “the father of Valencia Community College.” A driving force in the institution’s establishment, Maguire served as the founding chair of Valencia’s Board of Trustees, helped establish Valencia’s foundation and personally endowed several chairs and funds. His role in Valencia’s creation is recognized on Valencia’s west campus with the Raymer F. Maguire Jr. Learning Resource Center. He also was the recipient of an honorary doctorate degree in public service the institution bestowed in recognition of his service.
Maguire was a devoted philanthropist and community leader in Central Florida. He was the president of the Orange County Historical Society, served on many corporate boards, including SunTrust Bank and the American Fire & Casualty Company, and in leadership roles for many community institutions, including the Orange County Citizens Committee for School Boards, Orlando Area Chamber of Commerce, Executive Committee of the Florida Heart Association and as director of Junior Achievement. His dedication to his community was recognized with the 2003 Philanthropist of the Year in Central Florida award by the Association for Fundraising Professionals. A member and elder of the First Presbyterian Church of Orlando, Maguire also served as a member and former president of the Kiwanis Club.
Maguire passed away in 2003. Though his voice is stilled, his legacy echoes on in the heart of his community.