Monday, May 28, 2018
News Roundup

Eckerd professor, Navy Reserve Rear Adm. Dudley DeGroot dies at 85

ST. PETERSBURG — Students at Eckerd College knew Dudley DeGroot as the brick-shaped anthropology professor who pedaled a bicycle to his book-crammed office, where he worked on a hand-carved wooden stool he had picked up in Suriname.

Triton basketball players noted his near-prefect attendance at games, where he yelled pithy encouragements from the bleachers. Others had known him variously as a small-town mayor; or as a rear admiral in the Navy Reserve, recalled to active duty during two wars; or an adviser to the National Security Council under President Bill Clinton. Because the military continued to use Dr. DeGroot in intelligence work through the first Gulf War, much of what he did remains hidden.

Dr. DeGroot, an early influence on Florida Presbyterian College (now Eckerd) who helped shape the school's anthropology and sociology curriculum and created its management program, died Dec. 7 after an extended illness. He was 85.

"Dudley knew more about more subjects than anyone I have ever known in my life," Carolyn Johnston, an American studies professor at Eckerd, told friends and family who gathered Saturday at Westminster Suncoast. "He was not only a mayor, a football player, an anthropologist — he started the management department, the sociology department. He was a spy, he was James Bond. He was fluent in Arabic. We don't even know half of the things he was doing."

His work took him to underdeveloped countries; what he saw there worried him. In a 1969 guest column for the Times, he correctly warned that world population (then at 3 billion) would double by 2000, as food supplies dwindled. As preventive measures, Dr. DeGroot recommended sweeping birth control programs. "If this proposal sounds a bit too logical and sensible, it probably is," Dr. DeGroot wrote.

Dudley Edward DeGroot was born in Palo Alto, Calif., in 1927. He enlisted in the Navy at 17 and served on a destroyer in the Pacific during World War II. The association with the Navy and its Reserves lasted 42 years. After the war, he played football at West Virginia University and was chosen to the All East team in 1948. He earned a doctorate from Ohio State University and married Sally Stroup in the early 1950s. He was teaching at Rollins College in Winter Park when he decided to run for mayor of nearby Maitland, enlisting the help of a spunky homemaker named Paula Hawkins.

Hawkins, who would go on to the U.S. Senate, campaigned for Dr. DeGroot's then-controversial plan to replace septic tanks with a sewer system.

He joined what was then Florida Presbyterian College in 1964, where he taught a popular human sexuality course and the school's first management course, an outgrowth of his years moonlighting as a State Farm consultant.

In the mid 1970s, Dr. DeGroot assigned a class to identify and challenge a deeply held (or "emic") cultural belief. One group responded by creating a tribal society, culminating their project with the ritual slaughter of a chicken. "The next day, students called for Dudley's resignation," recalled former student Suzanne Dameron, now a Sarasota public relations consultant. "Our group was ostracized; nobody would talk to us for days."

Dr. DeGroot laughed off the furor his students had created, Dameron recalled. "He said, 'You were successful. You challenged their emic values.' "

He gave each student involved an A-plus.

Meanwhile, Dr. DeGroot kept a hand in the political world. For several years in the 1970s, he served as chairman of the Pinellas Association for Retarded Children. The military recalled him to active duty twice. He debriefed returning soldiers and prisoners of war during the Vietnam War. The government later sent him to an Arabic language immersion program.

"He spent a lot of time at MacDill (U.S. Central Command) during the Gulf (War) era," said Neil DeGroot, his son. "He has medals for we don't know what."

Dr. DeGroot's first marriage ended in divorce. In 1996 he married Jeanette Crane during a cruise stopover in Christchurch, New Zealand.

A few years ago, his family created a scholarship for student-athletes in Dr. DeGroot's name. Triton basketball players will remember him for the duration of the season with a commemorative "D" stitched onto their jerseys.

Comments
PolitiFact Florida: Did Adam Putnam oppose putting troops on the border using the National Guard?

PolitiFact Florida: Did Adam Putnam oppose putting troops on the border using the National Guard?

In Florida’s Republican primary for governor, U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis challenged Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam’s credibility on illegal immigration.DeSantis cast Putnam as not being conservative enough on immigration in a chat May 2 with radio ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Hillsborough’s film incentive has attracted $1.17 million in local spending, audits show

Hillsborough’s film incentive has attracted $1.17 million in local spending, audits show

TAMPA — When Steve Matzkin agreed to serve as executive producer on a movie project titled Not Alone, he set a condition: It had to be made in Tampa.For starters, the community is a fitting backdrop for the independent horror film about a family who ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Unflinching sentinel stood and walked to honor the fallen at Arlington’s tomb

Unflinching sentinel stood and walked to honor the fallen at Arlington’s tomb

Monday morning, thousands of people will make their way to Arlington National Cemetery for the Memorial Day wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Many more will watch on TV.The cube-shaped marble monument high on a grassy hill is...
Updated: 1 hour ago
The Daystarter: Alberto takes aim on Panhandle; how local Starbucks handle trespassing; Arlington National Cemetery’s Sentinels; Shania Twain here this week

The Daystarter: Alberto takes aim on Panhandle; how local Starbucks handle trespassing; Arlington National Cemetery’s Sentinels; Shania Twain here this week

Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what to know today.• As Subtropical Storm Alberto continues on its north-northwest track to the Panhandle, today’s forecast for Tampa Bay calls for scattered to numerous showers and thunderstorms, accordi...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Hooper: Putnam should do Publix a favor and give money back

Adam Putnam should give back the $670,000 Publix and its executives donated to his campaign. People far wiser than me about politics say I’m wrong (that’s not a first). They insist such a move would make Putnam appear weak, capitulating to the so-cal...
Published: 05/28/18
Meteorologists are calling Alberto a 'subtropical storm.' What the heck is that?

Meteorologists are calling Alberto a 'subtropical storm.' What the heck is that?

The governor declared a state of emergency. Local marquee events for Sunday were canceled. The threat of bad weather brought by a subtropical storm named Alberto loomed over Tampa Bay for much of the weekend. But, in the end, the area dealt with on...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Rays journal: Reliever Austin Pruitt pitches nearly six scoreless innings for second career save

Rays journal: Reliever Austin Pruitt pitches nearly six scoreless innings for second career save

ST. PETERSBURG — Rays RHP Austin Pruitt has started and worked out of the bullpen, in both short and long relief.But he did not expect to pick up his second career save Sunday by having to log 5⅔ innings, allowing only three hits whi...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Floodwaters surge in Maryland town

Floodwaters surge in Maryland town

Crews were engaged in multiple water rescues and buildings collapsed in historic Ellicott City on Sunday evening as floodwaters raged through its streets following torrential thunderstorms, Howard County, Maryland, officials said.Maryland Gov. Larry ...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Rick Stroud’s takeaways from Sunday’s Rays-Orioles game

Rick Stroud’s takeaways from Sunday’s Rays-Orioles game

So the team that just got back from a 10-day, 11-game road trip in three time zones is headed back out west for Memorial Day? The Rays travel to Oakland, Calif., Seattle and Washington, D.C. It's the first time they visited the West Coast on back-to-...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Rays bats come alive with six-run rally to beat Orioles 8-3

Rays bats come alive with six-run rally to beat Orioles 8-3

ST. PETERSBURG — If you think the Rays are holding their pitching staff together with baling wire, duct tape and an overbooked shuttle to Triple-A Durham, a bigger story might be how their bats keep producing runs no matter who is swinging them...
Updated: 11 hours ago