Florida College honored Rick and Benita Lanning with the Friend to Youth award following the evening lecture on Monday, Feb. 5, 2018. The Friend to Youth award is the most prestigious honor awarded at Florida College.

Rick began as a student at Florida College in 1971. He was the first child in his family to attend Florida College. His parents, Earl and Janet Lanning, provided the way for their other three children, eleven grandchildren and one great grandchild to become alumni of Florida College.

Rick contributed in many ways to campus life by participating in societies, Sowers Club and Florida College’s developing intercollegiate basketball team. He was awarded the honor of Mr. Florida College by his classmates in 1973 and graduated with his associate degree and Certificate of Achievement in biblical studies.

Benita was also actively involved in campus life and was awarded Miss Florida College in 1975. Rick and Benita met on campus and later married on June 17, 1977 in Louisville, Kentucky, marking the beginning of a lifetime of serving God and their fellow men together.

The couple spent the last 32 years building and strengthening the Lord’s church in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The first 18 years were spent working alongside Wilson and Becky Copeland. In 1990, Rick, Wilson and Keith Barclay fulfilled their dream of bringing a Florida College summer camp to “the northland.” For 26 years, the Florida College Northland Camp has served young people across the midwest and beyond. Many of those years saw Rick as director and Benita serving in either the craft area or the dining hall.

“Rick and Benita have a passion for camp, for kids and for Florida College,” President Payne said in his speech on Monday night. “Their Florida College experience was life-changing, and they want the same for other youths. Over 100 students have attended Florida College from the Minnesota camp!”

 Having been students themselves, Rick and Benita know the value of the Florida College experience and have given of themselves time and again to help their campers have that same experience.

 Florida College thanks Rick and Benita Lanning for their outstanding service to Florida College students and congratulates them on receiving the 2018 Friend to Youth award!