GAINESVILLE, Fla. – John Dasburg (MBA ’70), one of the University of Florida’s most accomplished businessmen, was awarded the first-ever honorary Doctor of Commerce by UF during its doctoral commencement on Friday.
Dasburg has fashioned a celebrated business career spanning almost 40 years. He is the Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Owner of ASTAR USA LLC, a leader in air freight and logistics services. Previously, he served as Chairman, President and CEO of Burger King Corp., where he led a turnaround of the nation’s second-largest burger chain.
Perhaps Dasburg’s greatest business achievement was rescuing Northwest Airlines from the verge of bankruptcy in the 1990s. He guided Northwest Airlines to one of the greatest turnarounds in U.S. aviation returning the company to profitability in 1994 for the first time in a decade. Dasburg was named Travel Agent magazine’s Man of the Year in 1994 for his efforts.
Prior to his appointment at Northwest, Dasburg served in numerous executive positions at Marriott Corporation. He was President of the Lodging Group, and Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President of its parent corporation. He began his professional career at the accounting firm KPMG where he was named a Partner in less than five years at the firm.
Dasburg, who also earned a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering (1966) and a Juris Doctorate (1973) from UF, and his wife, Mary Lou, (JD ’80) have been loyal and generous in giving back to their alma mater. Their gifts include an endowed chair in engineering, a professorship in corporate law and an endowed business chair. The Dasburgs are the only donors to UF that have endowed chairs in three separate units.
Additionally, the Dasburgs have established an endowment for scholarships for student athletes, and funds for the construction of a new president’s residence and Hough Hall, which houses the Hough Graduate School of Business.
Dasburg, a three-year veteran of the U.S. Navy with one year in Vietnam, has received numerous awards for his business success and civic activities. He was named a White House Fellow by President George H.W. Bush in 1991. In 2001, he was a recipient of the Horatio Alger Award for Distinguished Americans and the Commercial Air Transport Laureate Award. He serves on the Board of Directors of Florida Council of 100, Mercy Hospital and Mercy Foundation, and is a former member of the Board of Governors of the Florida State University System and the UF Board of Trustees.
The Dasburgs established The Mary Lou and John H. Dasburg Endowed Professorship in Cancer Genomics at the Mayo Clinic where Mr. Dasburg serves as an Emeritus Public Trustee. He was recognized with UF’s Distinguished Alumnus Award in 1998, and is a Life Member of the UF Alumni Association.