Slesnick welcomes ’Hoos to Coral Gables
Posted January 2004
Cavalier football fans will encounter treacherous obstacles when the team travels to Coral Gables to play the University of Miami, one of its newest ACC foes. After a long, expensive trip, they will face the heckling of fans used to having their way on the gridiron. Luckily, Cavaliers have a friend in Coral Gables. His name is Don Slesnick (Foreign Affairs ’65) and his ability to be hospitable is greatly increased by the fact that he is the mayor.
When the baseball team visited, for example, Slesnick hosted a barbecue and gave the coach a key to the city. Slesnick’s law office also exudes Cavalier comfort. The walls are decked with pictures of the Rotunda, a map of the Grounds and a photograph of Slesnick’s old room on the Lawn.
Which is not to say that Slesnick is not devoted to his city or job. He has worked tirelessly for Coral Gables and started his own law practice there. He founded the State of Florida Historic Preservation Advisory Council, chaired the Florida Trust for Historic Preservation and served as president of the Dade Heritage Trust. Throughout, Slesnick has pushed to recognize and protect historic properties.
His training in law and public policy serves his mission to “leave a visual legacy for future generations,” but his greatest weapon is a passion for history that he traces to the University.
As an impressionable 19-year-old, Slesnick was swept up in U.Va. traditions. “Everyone at the University seemed to be imbued with a sense of its past,” he recalled. “When you looked at the expressionism of the columns or walked the Lawn knowing it had been constructed with such precise standards, you felt as if you were communing with past spirits and founders.”
These “spirits and founders” will surely test Slesnick when U.Va. takes the field in the city that calls him mayor. He insists he will pass with flying colors —the Cavalier colors he will wear that day.