Dean's Leadership Council

Dr. Edna L. Saffy Library Scholarship


The purpose of the Dr. Edna L. Saffy Library Scholarship, value $500, is to provide support for a student with an academic interest in women’s history.  Preference will be given to students with an interest in (ascending order of priority) American Women’s History, Florida Women’s History, Jacksonville Women’s History, and/or Dr. Edna Saffy’s contribution to Women’s History.


Dr. Edna L. Saffy was a professor, human rights activist and founder of NOW chapters in Jacksonville and Gainesville. She was active in city, county, state and national political causes.  As Gloria Steinem said of her, 'Edna always makes it happen.'"  Dr. Saffy was a member of the Duval County Democratic Executive Committee for 35 years. In 1975, Dr. Saffy was a key organizer of a march on the state capitol in Tallahassee in support of the Equal Rights Amendment, leading a group of women estimated at 3,000.  The amendment passed in the state House in both 1975 and 1977, but it failed by a few votes in the state Senate and never gained approval in enough state legislatures to become part of the Constitution.  Although the struggle for the ERA was unsuccessful, Dr. Saffy felt that it was a battle worth fighting, one that helped change hearts and minds and open up opportunities for women.

The Jacksonville native graduated from Lee High School before heading to the University of Florida where she earned her bachelor's degree and master's degree in rhetoric and public address. In 1968 she went to work as an English and speech instructor at what is now Florida State College at Jacksonville. She taught speech and oral communication at the college until she retired at the end of 2007 and was named professor emeritus. Dr. Saffy returned to Gainesville in 1972 to work on her doctorate and founded a NOW chapter there, two years after she and some friends had founded the Jacksonville chapter.

Dr. Saffy was recognized for her human rights efforts by being named "a woman of courage and vision" in 2001 by the Mayor's Commission on the Status of Women during Women's History Month. In 2005, Dr. Saffy was presented with the EVE Lifetime Achievement Award.  Her public service included mayoral appointments to the Duval County Hospital Authority, Jacksonville Human Rights Commission, advisory committee on LaVilla Cultural Heritage District and the Jacksonville Area Planning Board. She was active with numerous groups including Planned Parenthood, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Society, Hubbard House, Karpeles Manuscript Museum and the American Association of University Women.  Dr. Saffy also served as president of the Florida Women's Political Caucus and founder of the Jacksonville Women's Network.  Nationally Edna Saffy was active in Mideast peace groups and a member of the American Arab Institute, she was invited by President Clinton to witness the signing of the Mid-East Peace Accord in 1993.  She also was appointed by President Clinton to the Advisory Committee on the Arts of the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts in 1995-2001, and by President Gerald Ford in 1976 as a Florida delegate to the International Women's Conference. She was a Florida State delegate to Democratic National Conventions in 1976, 1980, 1984, 1992, 1996 and 2000.

After her death in 2010, Edna Saffy’s husband of 41 years, Grady E. Johnson Jr. established the fund for a scholarship in her name. The UNF Thomas G. Carpenter Library houses the archives of Dr. Saffy’s papers and memorabilia.


2022: Marisa Pechillo

Year: Graduate Student

Major Area of Study: History



Originally from a suburb of Baltimore, Maryland, I attended grade school and high school in the region, graduating in 2013. After graduation, in 2016, I moved to Jacksonville to be closer to family who lived in the area. Here I attended St. Johns River State College, earning my A.A. and transferring to University of North Florida the following year. When first coming to the university, I chose history as my major since it was the subject I had found the most joy in studying. As a child, I developed a passion for history at an early age, with my first historical fascination being Tudor era women. My parents fostered my love for history, often bringing me to visit museums and gifting me books on various historical topics that I devoured in my spare time. 

 UNF provided a new outlet for this passion to thrive. During my time here, the history department has allowed me the opportunity to explore various internships and potential career paths, including teaching, digital humanities, and archival work. This has guided and shaped my interests, bringing more focus to my research while helping me build stronger relationships with professors and students on campus. Since beginning my studies at UNF, I have graduated with a B.A. in History and moved on to the M.A. in History program where I primarily study women’s imprisonment, women's resistance, and the family structure under imperial governments. My interest in women’s history, and in women’s imprisonment, has been further bolstered through my internship work with the Dr. Christine Rasche Collection held in the Thomas G. Carpenter Library Special Collections. 

In my spare time, I enjoy spending time outdoors and being active whenever possible. I am also a big fan of exploring Jacksonville’s local art and food scenes, something I have found the city to be well known for since moving here more than half a decade ago. In the future, I hope to further my studies in history by attending a Doctoral program and pursuing extensive research in women’s history. Being selected for the Dr. Edna L. Saffy Library Scholarship has encouraged me to follow in the footsteps of the many women in our city’s history who have worked tirelessly to support women’s efforts and successes.




Cara portrait 2020: Carra Harrison 

Year: Junior

Major Area of Study: History



I was born and raised here in Jacksonville, Florida and attended Fletcher High School. Throughout grade school my favorite subjects were always English and especially History. Upon graduating High School, I attended FSCJ where I completed my A.A. My time at FSCJ helped me discover what I was most passionate about which was history. My love for history was instilled in me from an early age as my grandfather and father spent a lot of time teaching me about the past and reading about it themselves. When I transferred to UNF, my decision in a major was easy. A lot of people ask me “What are you going to do with that degree?” or the claim that history is useless major and isn’t practical. I believe, however, that it is a waste of time and money to spend four years studying something that you hate versus studying something that brings you joy and motivates you to learn more about the world and yourself.
I was accepted into the Hick Honors college along with my acceptance into UNF. My time here has allowed for a tremendous amount of personal growth and development in such as short amount of time. I spend most of my time studying and reading in the library. Outside of school, I enjoy being active through my yoga practice and have also participated in competitive equestrian sports from the age of five.
My true passion is in writing. I like to fill my time by working on my personal writing, which includes poetry and fiction. My dream is to be a professional writer. My study of history has given me a greater understanding of the world around me which has contributed significantly to my own work. My plan upon graduating from UNF is to take a gap year where I will continue to work and save money and also travel around the states. This gap year will also give me time to choose the best graduate program and school suited for me. My dream is to study internationally, so fingers crossed I am able to get into a school in the UK!


Kaci in front of the library2019:  Kaci DeLisle

Year: Junior

Major Area of Study: History

Minor Area of Study: Art History

Winning Essay:

My name is Kaci DeLisle and I am a student at UNF. Both of my older sisters graduated from UNF with English degrees, and at first, I thought I would too. I spent two years at a community college working towards my A.A. because, frankly, I barely had the money for that. My parents are gracious enough to let me live at home, but I have always known that paying for college was my responsibility. With tuition, books, car payments, and gas, money can be tight when trying to avoid student loans. Right now, and for much of my college experience, I juggle two jobs and four classes along with an attempt at a healthy social life. 
Going to the University of North Florida was the plan simply because it made the most financial sense. Now, in my third semester here at UNF, I am proud to call it home. As far as choosing a major goes I have to give credit to my community college, since it was there I heard my calling. 
My last semester at community college I took three classes that pushed me towards UNF; The History of Florida, Introduction to Art History, and Women’s Literature. My History of Florida course was taught by Dana Logan, an incredible professor who gave lectures I loved and assigned papers that I enjoyed writing. Introduction to Art History was supposed to be a throw away class with an easy A but the text book, the name of which escapes me, had art work I had never seen before and soon fell in love with. Women’s Lit was taught by a fiery professor who loved to hear differing opinions and encouraged everyone in the class to use their unique voice and experiences to analyze a text. So began my love for the Liberal Arts.  
I declared History and Art History as my majors as soon as I enrolled at the University of North Florida and haven’t second guessed it once. Originally my love for history left me floundering. If I went on to grad school what would be my specialization? What was my focus? The answer was before me all along. Combining my love for history and women’s literature I began to write every paper and do any project I could on historically significant women. Just this semester I decided that 20th century American History would be my specialization, with a focus in women, gender, and race studies. 
The specialization for Art History did not elude me. My focus in Art History hit me like a brick wall in my first 2000 level ARH course, thanks to Drowning Girl by Roy Lichtenstein. Learning about this piece was incredible to me, and to this day Lichtenstein remains a favorite artist of mine. Discovering that art, the ultimate form of self-expression, had unspoken rules about what was “high art” and what was “low art” sparked a fire in me. That spark has only grown as I learned that it is often women and minority art that is relegated as “low” arts. Ever since I have known that I wanted to study more about art that bridged the divides that shouldn’t exist in the first place. The fact that Lichtenstein’s pieces were often commentary on misogynistic overtones of the time, only increased my love for the works. I would like to focus on, most likely 20th century, art that bridged the divide of “high” and “low” arts and offered commentary on the issues that impact these artistic labels. 
Right now, the future is unclear. I know I will be going to graduate school when I graduate from UNF, but what program I will join is not yet decided. As far as pursuing a career goes I haven’t made any solid decisions yet. Professorship, authorship, and museum work all interest me and I don’t see any reason to limit myself to only one of these careers. I am hoping to soon do an internship to help me decide what I want to pursue first, but many internships are unpaid and at the moment I can’t sacrifice my second income. I am looking forward to my last year at UNF and am hopeful for what the future holds. 


2018:  Danielle Brantley

Year: Graduate Student

Major Area of Study: History

Winning Essay:

I have always been a bit hesitant about myself and my future. For the first time ever, UNF has provided me so many opportunities to shine and feel confident in my choices. I received my BA from the University of Central Florida where this confidence-gaining journey began. Still very unsure, I settled on a degree in Interdisciplinary Studies. This degree allowed me to dip my toes in many of my interests. I learned during my humanities courses how much I enjoyed history. Following my graduation in 2012, I lived in Tallahassee for a few years living with one of my lovely three sisters. There, I pursued a job in the special needs’ community, another passion of mine. Within this field, I had the opportunity to assist a local museum with an accessibility program. It was there I gained the desire to work in the public history field. And the itch to get my master’s degree was eventually strong enough to encourage me to take the chance and make a change. In 2016, I was accepted and began my master’s degree in history at UNF. I have been going part-time and will graduate in the Spring of 2019. During my studies, I have prioritized internships, including one within the National Park Service and another within the Forest Service. Following graduation, my dream is to manage a historic site. In such a job, I will take pride in preserving the site and sharing all its history with the public. The Dr. Edna L. Saffy Library Scholarship validated my intelligence, passion, and work ethic.”


2017:  Shannon Morgan

Year: Junior

Major Area of Study: Political Science

Winning Essay:

October 8, 2014, one day before my birthday, was the day that I learned I was accepted into The University of North Florida. It was the best birthday present I could've asked for and I will never forget it. I can remember the excitement my twin sister and I shared knowing that in only a few months we would begin our college careers together as Ospreys.

Here I am two years later, as a junior political science major and sociology minor at a wonderful university in the amazing city of Jacksonville. When I arrived at UNF I was lost and unsure of what I wanted to major in. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life, all I knew was that I wanted my future career to be one that makes a positive impact on the world. The thing about choosing a major based on that is that they can all make positive impacts on the world one way or another, you have to choose something you are very passionate about. Something that I have always been passionate learning about is politics and the history of women's rights. Their patience, courage, and bravery and fight for freedom and equality throughout history is truly amazing. I am able to vote, get an education, and work because of the perseverance and dedication of many strong women. I am inspired by women who fought for and are still fighting for basic civil rights an equality for all; Susan B. Anthony, Rosa Parks, Sojourner Truth, Malala Yousafzai, Nancy Pelosi, Hillary Clinton and now Edna L. Saffy, to name a few women who dedicated their lives as leaders and as a voice for women everywhere.

It is because of these women I decided to become a political science major. I want to create a better world for women just as these women have, and my time here at UNF is strengthening my ability to do so. I am specifically interested in political aspects of women's history because women are often very under-represented in politics. Although the number of women representatives has increased in recent years, there are still many more women needed in government - because policy making is how change is created. I want to be a voice for women who may feel they do not have a voice in politics. Personally I have always had an interest in politics, ever since I was elected class president in fourth grade. I have always believed my voice matters. I want all young girls and women to feel this way because the truth is, their voices do matter.

When I think about what I could do in the future as a political science major, I imagine endless possibilities. I know that my education at the university of north Florida will lead me to my goals as I have already had many opportunities to explore my interests in politics. This past summer I participated in campaigning events for Hillary Clinton and a voter registration drive, I am also proud to be a part of UNF's new Feminist Club. I have always felt the need to participate in my community as a public servant and to inspire others to get involved in politics, especially young women. Young girls should know from an early age how important their participation is in leadership. After I graduate I plan to start my own organization encouraging young voters to become involved in any aspect of politics and law possible, because I believe we need more female voices. My career goal is to have a legacy as amazing as Dr. Edna L. Saffy's - a strong woman who dedicated much of her life to fighting for others, especially women.