John V. Lombardi

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John V. Lombardi
9th President of the University of Florida
In office
Preceded byMarshall Criser
Succeeded byCharles E. Young
9th Chancellor of the University of Massachusetts Amherst
In office
Preceded byMarcellete G. Williams
Succeeded byRobert C. Holub
Personal details
Born (1942-08-19) August 19, 1942 (age 80)
Los Angeles, California
SpouseCathryn Lee Lombardi
EducationB.A., Pomona College, 1963
M.A., Columbia University, 1964
Ph.D., Columbia University, 1968
University executive

John Vincent Paul Maher Lombardi (born August 19, 1942) is an American professor and former university administrator. He is a native of California, and earned his bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees before becoming a professor of Latin American history. Lombardi has served as the president of the University of Florida, the chancellor of the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and the president of the Louisiana State University System.[1]

Early life and education[edit]

Lombardi was born into a family of educators in Los Angeles, California in 1942.[2] His father was the president of Los Angeles City College, a California community college,[2] and superintendent of the Los Angeles Community College District.[3] His mother worked as a college librarian.[3] He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from Pomona College in Claremont, California in 1963, and his Master of Arts and doctor of philosophy degrees from Columbia University in New York City in 1964 and 1968, respectively.[4] He also attended the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México in Mexico City, where he learned Spanish while living with a Mexican family,[3] as an undergraduate, and the University of California, Los Angeles for graduate school.[4] While he was a graduate student, Lombardi spent several years living and researching in Venezuela as a Fulbright Scholar.[5]

Lombardi married the former Cathryn L. Lee in 1964, whom he met while they were attending Pomona College.[6] They have two children: son John Lee Lombardi and daughter Mary Ann Lombardi.[7]

Early academic appointments[edit]

Lombardi taught in the history department at Indiana University, first at the Jeffersonville, Indiana branch campus and then at the main campus in Bloomington, Indiana, from 1967 through 1987.[8] At Indiana, he held various administrative posts, including director of Latin American studies, dean of international programs, and dean of arts and sciences.[8] He served as the provost and vice president for academic affairs at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland from 1987 through 1990.[9] As the provost of Johns Hopkins, Lombardi played a key role in fund-raising and in resolving a financial crisis in which the university was then embroiled.[9]

Lombardi is a specialist in Latin American history, and has a particular interest in Venezuela.[2] He has written numerous academic journal articles and several books on Venezuela and Latin American history and affairs, as well as on many university administration-related subjects.[4] He is a nationally recognized authority on American higher education, and has been the co-editor of the annual editions of The Top American Research Universities from 2000 to the present.[10] In addition to Latin American history classes, he has taught courses on intercollegiate sports, international business and university management.[4]

University of Florida[edit]

Lombardi served as the ninth president of the University of Florida located in Gainesville, Florida, from 1990 to 1999.[2] He was barely settled in his job at the beginning of the fall 1990 semester when Lombardi was confronted by one of the most serious crises in the university's history—the horrific murders of five students by serial killer Danny Rolling.[11] He is remembered as both comforter-in-chief and as a "student's president" during his term as president.[12] As part of his athletics reform agenda, Lombardi created the Committee on Intercollegiate Athletics, which ultimately removed responsibility for student-athlete academics from the control of the University Athletic Association (UAA) and placed it under the control of the committee.[13] Lombardi actively reinserted the office of the president in the UAA's chain of decision-making; the president retained final authority over all major decisions. He implemented further institutional controls intended to promote the welfare and academic achievement of student-athletes and continued compliance with the rules of the National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA).[11] Lombardi was also responsible for the selection of Jeremy Foley as the new athletic director in 1992,[14] now recognized as one of the most successful athletic directors in NCAA Division I sports.[15] His relationships with the Florida Board of Regents and the Florida Legislature were characterized by a series of ups and downs, confrontation followed by conciliation, usually involving conflicts over declining state financial support and conflicting state education funding priorities of the legislature.[16] Lombardi resigned as president in 1999, but continued to teach as a member of the history faculty until 2002.[4]

Lombardi's enthusiasm for classic cars led him and a friend to operate Farmer's Garage, a specialty shop for older model automobiles.[2] At the University of Florida, he is fondly remembered for driving about the Gainesville campus in an old red pickup truck.[17]

University of Massachusetts Amherst[edit]

Lombardi served as the chancellor of the University of Massachusetts Amherst from 2002 to 2007.

Louisiana State University System[edit]

As president of the LSU System, Lombardi served as the chief executive officer of the five campuses, eleven institutions and ten hospitals within the system.[18] He presided over the groundbreaking of the University Medical Center in New Orleans. He also held an appointment as a history professor at Louisiana State University.[18] He was terminated from the position on Friday, April 27, 2012.[19]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Billy Gomila, "Lombardi Approved As President of LSU System at July Board of Supervisors Meeting Archived 2011-06-04 at the Wayback Machine," LSU News (July 13, 2007). Retrieved August 29, 2009.
  2. ^ a b c d e University of Florida, Past Presidents, John Lombardi (1990–1999) Archived 2012-10-28 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved October 24, 2012.
  3. ^ a b c Pleasants, Gator Tales, p. 133.
  4. ^ a b c d e John V. Lombardi Personal Website, John V. Lombardi Curriculum Vitae. Retrieved August 29, 2009.
  5. ^ Pleasants, Gator Tales, p. 138.
  6. ^ John V. Lombardi Personal Website, Cathryn L. Lombardi Curriculum Vitae. Retrieved August 29, 2009.
  7. ^ John V. Lombardi Personal Website, Cathryn L. Lombardi Curriculum Vitae and John V. Lombardi Curriculum Vitae. Retrieved August 29, 2009.
  8. ^ a b Pleasants, Gator History, pp. 138-139.
  9. ^ a b Pleasants, Gator History, p. 140.
  10. ^ Elizabeth D. Capaldi, John V. Lombardi, Craig W. Abbey & Diane D. Craig, The Top American Research Universities Archived 2010-06-01 at the Wayback Machine, The Center for Measuring University Performance, Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona (2009).
  11. ^ a b Ray Washington, "Lombardi proves to be a true leader," Gainesville Sun, pp. 1A & 7A (March 5, 1995). Retrieved August 30, 2009.
  12. ^ Julian M. Pleasants, Gator Tales: An Oral History of the University of Florida, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, pp. 133-134 (2006).
  13. ^ Bob Andorfer, "Emphasis evolves for athletes at UF," Gainesville Sun, p. 8A (January 12, 2003). Retrieved August 30, 2009.
  14. ^ Pleasants, Gator History, p. 145.
  15. ^ National Football Foundation, NFF Announces 2007 Major Awards Recipients. Retrieved August 30, 2009. In 2007, the National Football Foundation presented Foley with its annual John L. Toner Award, recognizing him as "a director of athletics who has demonstrated superior administrative abilities and shown outstanding dedication to college athletics and particularly college football." Street & Smith also named Foley its SportsBusiness Journal National Athletic Director of the Year in 2006.
  16. ^ Pleasants, Gator Tales, pp. 150-155.
  17. ^ Pleasants, Gator Tales, p. 134. Lombardi was known to answer hand-written messages left under the pickup's windshield wipers by students.
  18. ^ a b Louisiana State University System, System Office, President Archived 2009-08-19 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved August 29, 2009.
  19. ^ "LSU Board Fires System President Lombardi," Shreveport Times (April 27, 2012).


  • Capaldi, Elizabeth D., John V. Lombardi, Craig W. Abbey & Diane D. Craig, The Top American Research Universities, The Center for Measuring University Performance, Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona (2009).
  • Pleasants, Julian M., Gator Tales: An Oral History of the University of Florida, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida (2006). ISBN 0-8130-3054-4.
  • Van Ness, Carl, & Kevin McCarthy, Honoring the Past, Shaping the Future: The University of Florida, 1853–2003, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida (2003).
  • Berardo, M. Felix, "John Lombardi". In The Italian Americans of the Twentieth Century, ed. G. Carpetto and D.M. Evanac. Loggia Press, Tampa, Florida, p. 210-11 (1999).

External links[edit]