Personnel note: Collins Center names Ann Henderson as new President

in Uncategorized by

Collins Center for Public Policy Chairman Parker Thomson proudly announces that, after a national search, Dr. Ann Henderson has been selected as the new President and CEO of the Collins Center for Public Policy, effective May 16.

“Dr. Henderson’s career includes a deep immersion in political, environmental and cultural topics that have been an integral part of Florida’s growth and development,” Thomson said. “We are very excited and pleased to have Dr. Henderson join the Collins Center team. She brings a wealth of experience in numerous areas that include both public policy and the successful management of several nonprofit organizations. We have every confidence that, under her capable leadership, the future of the Collins Center looks very bright.”

Dr. Henderson currently serves as the Director of the Bob Graham Center for Public Service at the University of Florida and previously served as President of the Rodel Charitable Foundation and as Executive Director of the Florida Humanities Council for 13 years. Dr. Henderson received her PhD in American Civilization from George Washington University, her master’s from the University of New Hampshire, and her BA from Vassar College, where she graduated cum laude. Fluent in Spanish, she was also a Fulbright-Hays Graduate Scholar and the first U.S. recipient of the Eisenhower Fellowship, traveling throughout the Caribbean. She is the recipient of numerous honors and awards.

“I’m tremendously excited to join the Collins Center and look forward to helping it continue its well-established legacy of providing the state of Florida and Floridians with sound, balanced policy analysis on pressing issues as well as on-the-ground programs that turn theory into action,” Dr. Henderson said. “Twenty-five years ago Governor Collins helped bring me to Florida and he mentored me and encouraged my love of Florida. Joining the leadership of the Collins Center is an opportunity for me to repay his generosity to me personally and for me to incorporate his vision, integrity and thoughtfulness to the critical issues in our state.”

Mr. Thomson praised the steadying influence of Merrett Stierheim, who agreed to take over as the Collins Center’s interim CEO until a permanent president could be found. “Merrett Stierheim, once again, stepped into a difficult situation and over the past eight months has done a superb job of maintaining the integrity of this important Institution. We were fortunate indeed to recruit Merrett in a time of transition.”

Mr. Stierheim, who served for several decades in a variety of significant public positions in Florida, echoed Mr. Thomson’s enthusiasm for Dr. Henderson. “It was very important for me to turn the reins over to a solid professional,” he said. “Her selection guarantees that the Collins Center’s long tradition of addressing the toughest issues facing Florida will continue in a smart, creative, and nonpartisan fashion. I’m looking forward to transition to Dr. Henderson.”

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.