An Independent Florida Alligator sports writer, a World War II veteran and a public relations agency entrepreneur.
These are only a few of Stuart Newman’s roles throughout his life.
Newman, just weeks away from his 97th birthday in April, died Sunday after a month-long struggle with his health. Newman spent three weeks in the hospital after going into respiratory and cardiac arrest about a month ago.
Newman was inducted into the UF College of Journalism and Communications Hall of Fame in 1994, said Randy Bennett, the executive dean of the college. This accolade honors distinguished alumni from the college. He was also one of the oldest College of Journalism and Communications alumni.
“I have never seen another person in my life with more tenacity,” said his son, Andy Newman. “He didn’t feel pain.”
Newman was a lifelong Gator, Andy Newman said. He attended UF and graduated in 1946 with a degree in journalism.
However, Newman’s college education was put on pause when he decided to enlist in WWII in May 1942 while he was still in Gainesville. He was 20 years old at the time.
Newman was a part of the Army Air Corps before it became known as the U.S. Air Force. He went on to become a public affairs officer, which allowed him to segue into the field of public relations, said Andy Newman.
Newman launched his own public relations agency, Stuart Newman Associates, now known as NewmanPR, in 1946, said Andy Newman.
Seeing an opportunity in South Florida for tourism, he embraced the fact that there were not many other public relations practitioners at the time, Andy Newman said. Newman would later work side by side with his son.
“My father gave me his blessing, and allowed me to take over what he started,” Andy Newman said.
Outside of his work, Newman enjoyed sport fishing off the Florida Keys, Andy said. So much so, in his living will he asked that his ashes be scattered off Islamorada in the Florida Keys.
“He was a great friend and an avid supporter of the college,” said Diane McFarlin, Dean of the College of Journalism and Communications. “He has a wonderful career history as one of the earliest practitioners of public relations in the state.”
Newman went to football games yearly and visited UF frequently, McFarlin said. Three years ago, a conference room in Weimer Hall was named in his honor because of the support he has given the college over the years.
Newman created three funds at UF, McFarlin said. A scholarship fund that gives two public relations students $1,000 to $2,000 annually and two others to support faculty in the public relations department.
“When we know someone cares this much about the college and cares enough to invest in what we’re doing and the future of our students, it’s indescribable how meaningful that is,” McFarlin said. “He wanted to support us in any way he could.”
The scholarship for faculty allowed faculty members to expand their programs and undertake ventures that required additional investment, McFarlin said.
“He was always a gracious man, and so interested in what we were doing at the college,” McFarlin said. “He wanted to support us in any way he could.”
Newman continued to run his business until his death. At age 96, he was still unstoppable, McFarlin said.
“He simply continued to do what he enjoyed doing,” McFarlin said. “He did not let age or physical issues that emerge at that age slow him down at all.”
Contact Mikayla Carroll at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @mikaylacarro11.