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Florida Supreme Court Justice Ricky Polston is Alumnus of the Year

Florida Supreme Court Justice Ricky Polston is Alumnus of the Year

Graceville native also wins AFC Lifetime Achievement Award

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Ricky Polston


Ricky Polston, Florida Supreme Court Justice, is Chipola College’s 2021 Alumnus of the Year. Polston also was the winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award in the Leroy Collins Distinguished Alumni Program sponsored by the Association of Florida Colleges.

“I will always be grateful for the opportunity to attend Chipola and for the excellent foundational education that I received there, Polston says.

“The professors took a personal interest in us and genuinely cared. On a personal level, I had great fun meeting new lifelong friends and continuing with others from Graceville. I could not have asked for a better experience in my first two years of college.”

A native of Graceville, Polston graduated from Chipola in 1975 with an A.A. degree. He went on to earn a B.S. summa cum laude, at Florida State University, where he was named FSU’s Most Outstanding Accounting Student and was inducted into the Beta Alpha Psi Honorary Accounting Society.

Upon graduation, he became a certified public accountant and practiced accounting with Deloitte Haskins & Sells in the Tampa office for seven years, concluding as an audit manager. He then returned to FSU for his law degree.

Although no longer practicing accounting, he remains a CPA and is a member of the Florida Institute of C.P.A.’s and American Institute of C.P.A.’s.

In 1986, Polston obtained a J.D. with high honors from Florida State College of Law. He was a member of the Florida State University Law Review and the Order of the Coif. After becoming a member of the Florida Bar, he worked in private law practice in Tallahassee for 14 years primarily in commercial litigation and was a certified circuit court mediator. He received a Martindale-Hubbell AV rating and was included in the Bar Register Preeminent Attorneys. He was a member of the Tallahassee Bar Association and Tallahassee Inn of Court (former Treasurer). He was admitted to practice before the United States District Court, Northern District of Florida; United States District Court, Middle District of Florida; United States District Court, Southern District of Florida; United States Tax Court; United States Court of Appeals, 11th Circuit; United States Court of Federal Claims; United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit and the United States Supreme Court.

Polston became a Judge at the Florida First District Court of Appeal in 2001 until becoming a Justice of the Florida Supreme Court in 2008. During this time, he served a two-year term as Chief Justice of the Florida Supreme Court in 2012-14, served as Administrative Justice for many terms, and has been on numerous Bar and court committees and as a liaison to them.

Since 2003, he has been an adjunct professor at the Florida State University College of Law, teaching various courses including Florida Constitutional Law, Insurance Law, and Florida Alternative Dispute Resolution.

Polston and his wife, Deborah Ehler Polston, have been married 44 years, have 10 children, including an adopted sibling group of six, and numerous grandchildren. He has been involved in his church, including being an elder, deacon, and teacher of various student and adult classes.


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