Glover takes lemons and makes lemonade

Spinnaker

Nathaniel “Nat” Glover, vice president of Public Relations in the UNF President’s office, has overcome many challenges in his lifetime.

The struggle that built his character, the same struggle many minorities face in this changing world, was the topic of his most recent discussion in the UNF Library special collections room, he said.

Going on memories, experiences and wisdom, Glover shared personal stories of his life in Jacksonville and his position at UNF with about 60 people.

Glover is the former sheriff for Jacksonville and considers himself distinguished in the community for being honored as the first black sheriff in the state of Florida, he said.

“It’s not what you do or what happens to you, it’s how you react,” Glover said several times to listeners who wondered how he faced continuing opposition when applying to be a police officer in his young days.

The criticisms continued later when running for sheriff and even again when running for Jacksonville mayor in 2003 against John Peyton.

“You have to do a little bit better to be seen in the same opportunity,” Glover said about minorities who are trying to distinguish themselves and make a better life.

“That means you have to run faster, arrive earlier, work harder and stay later,” he said.

It was his work ethic that propelled him to his position as sheriff, despite an arrest record and negative feedback from the people around him, Glover said.

His big break came one day after he successfully negotiated a hostage situation with a hijacked Greyhound bus carrying 32 passengers.

But these days, his focus is on the Jacksonville Commitment, a partnership between the four local colleges and universities in the Jacksonville area that are offering scholarships to local students who show dedication to education and potential to excel in college but lack the financial opportunity to do so.

Growing up in ghettos off Beaver Street in Jacksonville, Glover said education really made a difference in his life.

“It’s a societal problem,” Glover said, who believes education is the way out. “[Education is] the only real leveling of the playing field.”

E-mail Jonathan Morales at [email protected]