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Roland J. Liebert

Roland J. Liebert was a visionary with great ability to bring diverse groups together, which is a key quality when building a coalition.  Roland took the organization from its conception to fruition with great passion and hard work.  He strongly believed in substance abuse prevention and community involvement.  His many contributions in local and state substance abuse advocacy are just part of Roland's legacy.  He was an educator, associate editor, writer, consultant, facilitator, and manager in community building, organizational and program development, and evaluation research.

Roland James Liebert was born on December 16, 1942 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  He attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he received a Bachelor's degree in American History and Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy degrees in Sociology.

While teaching at Florida State University and Florida Atlantic University in the early 1970's, Dr. Liebert conducted evaluation research on goal setting and decision making at all levels within American higher education and on long-term trends in decision-making priorities among municipal governments in the United States.  In the late 1970's, he was Program Director for Sociology at the National Science Foundation.

Returning to the Midwest, he taught statistics and community building for 19 years at the University of Illinois-Urbana.  Additionally, he conducted action oriented community research, facilitated community development and program assessment in the depressed neighborhoods of East St. Louis.  Moreover, Dr. Liebert carried out thirteen large sample social surveys of community concerns and needs, and directed a student internship program.

As a community volunteer in central Illinois, Dr. Liebert also designed and administered programs for community reintegration of recovering addicts and alcoholics.  He witnessed many transformations of previously destitute persons into outstanding citizens and community leaders.

Dr. Liebert wrote Disintegration and Political Action:  The Changing Functions of City Governments in America, Power, Paradigms and Community Research (Roland J. Liebert and Allen W. Imershein, eds.), and Voices of Sociology. He also wrote chapters in three other books, 19 monographs and reports, over 25 papers, 6 articles, and 5 book reviews.

Retiring early from the University of Illinois and moving to Sarasota in August of 1999, Roland J. Liebert promptly got involved with the Coalition and became its first Executive Director.  His dedication to comprehensive Countywide initiatives involving collaborative community education and advocacy for more effective prevention services and reclamation of lives went beyond SCoSA.  Roland was a member of the Florida Alcohol and Drug Abuse Association, Florida Youth Initiative Advisory Council of the Florida Department of Children and Families, Public Safety Coordinating Council of Sarasota County, and the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America.  He also served in the Circuit 12 Juvenile Justice Board, Juvenile Justice Council of Sarasota County, Florida Statewide Juvenile Justice Coalition, and Community Alliance of Sarasota.

Roland James Liebert's sudden demise on August 3, 2003, left us in shock and deeply saddened.  His loss not only affected his wife, two sons, and other family members, but all the people whose lives touched.  We will remember this great man and the work he was involved in.  SCoSA is committed to continue Roland's dedication to substance abuse advocacy and improvement of Sarasota County's quality of life.

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