FSU College of Business Family Saddened by the Passing of Former Dean Ray Solomon

January 22, 2019

The Florida State University College of Business is mourning the passing of E. Ray Solomon, the college’s longest serving dean, who died Jan. 21 in Tallahassee at age 89.

“We are heartbroken at the loss of Dean Solomon,” said Michael Hartline, the college’s current dean. “He was a remarkable person and leader who was admired and loved by students and colleagues alike and who left an indelible mark on all of us who knew him. He had a significant impact on the college, the university and the Tallahassee community, and we are truly grateful to him.”

Pamela L. Perrewé, the Robert O. Lawton Distinguished Professor and Haywood and Betty Taylor Eminent Scholar of Business Administration who joined the college in 1984, said, “Ray demonstrated great character as dean and he led with a quiet confidence. He did not try to stand out — he preferred to blend in with the rest of the faculty. I will always appreciate his kindness, warmth and leadership. As a young professor, I learned much about leadership from him.”

Solomon’s career at Florida State spanned 35 years, beginning in 1962 when he joined the faculty as a professor of risk management and insurance. He became dean in 1974, serving during a period of great change and growth for the college. During his tenure as dean, the School of Business became the College of Business, enrollment of undergraduates increased significantly, and the college expanded and diversified by adding many new majors. Solomon was instrumental in the development of the Real Estate program, which now ranks No. 11 nationally. The graduate programs grew and flourished during this period. In addition, he played a major role in guiding the philosophy of “individual attention” that has been key to the college’s success. Stepping down from his position as dean in 1991, he become the college’s first Midyette Eminent Scholar in Risk Management and Insurance before his retirement in 1997.

Solomon earned a number of honors during his time at Florida State, including induction into the inaugural College of Business Charles A. Rovetta Faculty Hall of Fame in 2017. He also received the Vires Torch Award from the FSU Faculty Senate and the Ross Oglesby Award for outstanding contributions to students. In 2012, Solomon received the Florida State University Circle of Gold Award, which recognizes worthy individuals who, through their service and achievements personify the university's tradition of excellence.

Solomon’s community service recognitions include Outstanding Trustee by the Tallahassee Memorial Hospital Foundation and the Philanthropist of the Year Award by the Big Bend Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals. In addition, the Southern Scholarship Foundation established the annual E. Ray Solomon Community Service Award.

Born in Carrabelle, Florida, Solomon graduated from the College of Business in 1951 with a bachelor’s degree in marketing. He served in the U.S. Army for two years and worked in the insurance industry for six years before returning to his alma mater to earn a master’s degree in risk management and insurance. He went on to earn his doctorate, also in risk management and insurance, at the University of Wisconsin. 

The family requests that those wishing to honor his memory donate to The E. Ray Solomon Presidential Scholarship at FSU Foundation (F01012). The mailing address is:  Gift Services, FSU Foundation, 325 W. College Avenue, Tallahassee, FL  32301-1403. Please put the name of the scholarship fund in the memo line of the check. Or a donation can be made to the E. Ray Solomon Endowment at the Southern Scholarship Foundation. The address is: Southern Scholarship Foundation, 322 Stadium Drive, Tallahassee, FL  32304. Please include “E. Ray Solomon Endowment” on the memo line of the check.

- By Barbara Ash