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LeRoy Collins Institute

College of Social Sciences and Public Policy

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About Us

Our Location - The Cawthon House

The Sarah Payne Cawthon House was the first house donated to the FSU College of Law in 1986 by Ann Booth and Sarah Shaw, the daughters of the late Rainey and Sarah Payne Cawthon. Built in 1834, the house was originally known as the Hobby-Harrison House until Mrs. Cawthon purchased it in the late 1960s. The house was then moved from its location on North Monroe Street in Tallahassee to Ocala Road and subsequently to its current location on the Village Green of the FSU College of Law in the late 1980s. Simplicity is one of the best features of the two story Greek Revival Style house. The interior is gracious and grand in scale with twelve foot ceilings and large well proportioned windows. Each floor consists of a wide hall and two 18’ x 18’ square rooms, each with a fireplace and two have the original mantel pieces intact. Original heart pine floors exist in the downstairs hall and the two upstairs rooms.

The LeRoy Collins Institute is a nonpartisan, statewide policy organization which studies and promotes creative solutions to key private and public issues facing the people of Florida and the nation. The Institute, located in Tallahassee at Florida State University, is affiliated with and works in collaboration with the State University System of Florida. Named in honor of former Florida Governor LeRoy Collins, the Institute is governed by a distinguished board of directors, chaired by Lester Abberger. The Institute’s Director is Carol S. Weissert, LeRoy Collins Eminent Scholar and Professor of Political Science at FSU. Other trustees include current and former elected officials, other policy makers, educators and private citizens from throughout the state. See our By-Laws here: LCI By-Laws

The Institute organized and heads the Partnership for Revising Florida’s Constitution, a collaboration of 19 associations and groups in Florida that publicizes and monitors the activities of the 2017-2018 Constitution Revision Commission. The Partnership published the 2017-2018 Citizens’ Guide to the Florida Constitution Revision Commission and maintains an active website which you can visit at

Recent work of the Institute includes research on state colleges, desegregation of K-12 schools, and local government pensions and health benefits. As a result of publishing and promoting this research, the Institute’s work has been reported on in almost every major daily paper in Florida. Executive leadership and research fellows at the Institute have also been asked to testify in front of legislative committees, speak to interested groups and continue to be quoted in related articles and editorials on the topics studied by the Institute. Reports are distributed statewide among legislators, lobbyists, and university officials as well as to the media and public at large.