Fenwick Donald McCormick, known to friends and students alike as “Mr. Mac,” was born in Williston in 1936. At Williston High School he was an officer of his FFA chapter and captain of both the football and basketball teams. He graduated in 1954 and entered the University of Florida to study agricultural education, where he was an officer in the Collegiate FFA and was elected as a Justice on the University’s Honor Court. Don earned his bachelor’s degree in 1958 and immediately accepted the agriculture teaching position at his alma mater, Williston High School.
After one year of teaching, Don joined the Army and served in an MP Battalion in Germany. When he left the service in 1961, he accepted the agriculture teaching position at Santa Fe High School, taking the place of Richard Kelly. The FFA chapter there became known as the “Chapter of Champions,” with 45 state winning teams, nine national winners, ten state officers, and ten consecutive State and National Gold Emblem awards.
After ten outstanding years at Santa Fe, Don became headmaster of Rolling Green Academy for a year before being appointed Area 2 Supervisor for Vocational Agriculture by the State Department of Education. In this new phase of his career he organized all area FFA contests, increased participation at area shows, and implemented a program to prepare middle school students for careers in agriscience. Again Mr. Mac’s performance was superlative, and in 1978 he was appointed Regional Director by the Vocational Division. He continued to organize state events and promote FFA statewide until he decided to return to his home area to become Director of Vocational, Technical and Adult Education for Marion County in 1987. Don’s tireless work ethic and pursuit of excellence enabled him to expand agriculture at all high schools in the area, and he established a state model for career paths and agricultural academies.
Mr. Mac finally decided to retire in 2003, but he still continues to judge FFA contests, serve as master of ceremonies for agricultural banquets, and participate as a member of the Seasoned Owls organization. His long career of service to Florida agriculture and its youth has earned him many accolades over the years. He holds Honorary State and American Farmer Degrees, won the Bronze Award for Teacher of Teachers from the National Vocational Agriculture Teachers Association, and was Star Teacher of Alachua County and the State of Florida. Don served as state president of the Florida Vocational Agriculture Teachers Association, as well as the Southern Region Vocational Agriculture Supervisors Association and the Florida Council of Local Administrators. He has been a consultant and member of various advisory boards, and in 2008 he was inducted into the Grand Guard for the University of Florida’s College of Agriculture.
Don McCormick was inducted into the Florida FFA Hall of Fame October 5, 2010.