WEDU Board of Directors Elects Officers

TAMPA, FL (February 28, 2013) — The Board of Directors of WEDU, West Central Florida’s primary PBS station, has elected new officers for 2013. Bronson Thayer will lead the WEDU Board of Directors as Chair with the aid of Cathy Unruh, Vice Chair; Don DeFosset, Secretary; and Booker Rice, Jr. as Treasurer.

A. Bronson Thayer (Hillsborough County)
Mr. Thayer, currently chairman of Bay Cities Bank, served for many years at Lykes Bros., Inc. as Vice President, CFO and Chairman of Executive Committee, First Florida Banks, and the Bank of Clearwater. He received his Bachelor’s Degree from Harvard, and a MBA in Banking and Finance from New York University. Mr. Thayer is a member of the Florida Chamber of Commerce, Florida Bankers Association, and Committee on Foreign Relations of Tampa Bay. He has served on local, statewide and national boards including the Tampa Museum of Art, the USF Foundation and Harvard Alumni Association. Currently, he is serving on the Board of Bok Tower Gardens in Lake Wales, Florida, and is a past Chairman. Former Chair, Dick Dobkin, will continue to serve on WEDU’s Board of Directors.

Cathy Unruh (Pinellas County)
Ms. Unruh grew up in Georgetown, Delaware and attended college in Pennsylvania and Delaware. She pursued a career in television to fulfill her desire to be out in the “real world.” Ms. Unruh began her broadcast career as a reporter/anchor at WBOC in Salisbury, Maryland, and then moved to WHTM in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, before coming to WTVT in Tampa in 1991. Ms. Unruh had planned to move on again but fell in love with Tampa Bay; she married in 1999, retired from television and made her permanent home in the area. Ms. Unruh is active in several community organizations, including serving as Vice Chair on the WEDU Board of Directors, the American Heart Association, the Spring Auxiliary, Business and Professional Women, and the Mayor’s Beautification Program, among others. Ms. Unruh can be seen on WEDU regularly on the interview program Up Close with Cathy Unruh. Ms. Unruh is also the author of Taming Me, Memoir of a Clever Island Cat.

Don DeFosset (Hillsborough County)
Don DeFosset served as Chairman, President and CEO of publicly traded (WLT) Walter Industries from November 2000 to his retirement in November 2005. Over his career, Mr. DeFosset has held significant leadership positions in major multi-national companies including Dura Automotive Systems, Inc., Navistar International Corporation, AlliedSignal, Mack Trucks Inc. and Rockwell International. Mr. DeFosset is a graduate of Purdue University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering in 1971. He received his MBA from Harvard Business School in 1974. He is active in civic and charitable affairs in Florida and the Tampa Bay area, having served as Chairman of the Board of the Florida Council for Economic Education and recently as Chairman of the Board of the Florida Governor’s Committee on Property Tax Reform. He also currently serves on the Board of Trustees for The Boys and Girls Clubs of Tampa Bay, The University of Tampa, The Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center, as well as the Board of Directors of the Florida Council of 100. He was Chairman for the 2005 American Heart Association’s “Heart Ball”. Mr. DeFosset and his wife, Jan, currently reside in Tampa.

Booker Rice, Jr. (Manatee County)
Mr. Booker Rice, Jr. established Rice and Associates in 2001 after serving as Executive Vice President for one of the national’s top five executive search firms, DHR International. With accolades such as Million Dollar Round Table and President Club Qualifier, Mr. Rice dramatically, yet consistently escalated in his career from management to vice president positions. Mr. Rice has become an expert authority in the areas of insurance, financial services and consumer products, with his firm now serving numerous Fortune 500 companies. Mr. Rice also serves on several professional and community-related boards. He and his wife Carolyn have two sons and two daughters and reside in Lakewood Ranch.

For years, these individuals have made significant contributions to the communities throughout WEDU’s 16 county viewing area through their business and philanthropic endeavors. WEDU is honored to be a recipient of their leadership, service, and support as they dedicate themselves to serving West Central Florida’s leading PBS station.


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