Vol 9. Issue 21 / July 13, 2009

Chris T. Sullivan and Leanna Landsmann to Lead Scripps Florida Council

Businessman and philanthropist Chris T. Sullivan, chairman of OSI Restaurant Partners, Inc., which includes the Outback Steakhouse chain, and editor, publisher, and educator Leanna Landsmann have been named co-chairs of the newly formed Scripps Florida Council.

As co-chairs, they will help to recruit and lead a group of prominent individuals from various sectors who will assist the biomedical research facility in Jupiter seek support from others throughout the state and nation.

"Scripps Florida's research contribution to the betterment of human health can be limitless," Sullivan said on accepting the volunteer position. "But great science takes substantial support. I want to make sure Scripps Florida has the wherewithal to make the discoveries that lead to the new drugs and treatments to fight life-threatening diseases like cancer, stroke, Alzheimer's, diabetes, and addiction."

"We can make a difference in the lives of so many people, worldwide, by supporting the groundbreaking research that takes place within the laboratories of Scripps Florida," said Landsmann on joining the council leadership. "Cures and treatments for diseases must be built on a foundation of biomedical research. That's what Scripps Florida does, perhaps better than any other institution, and all of us must support it."

Scripps Florida is a division of The Scripps Research Institute, a not-for-profit organization headquartered in California. It specializes in basic biomedical research, developing and using advanced technologies to accelerate drug development. Its 350,000-foot, state-of-the-art research facilities are located adjacent to the Jupiter campus of Florida Atlantic University.

"When Chris and Leanna agreed to lead the council, I was delighted," said Scripps Research President Richard A. Lerner. "Scripps Florida, and the council, will benefit greatly from their experience and leadership. Scientific research is expensive and federal funds so restrictive that we must tap the philanthropic heart of Florida and the nation. Chris and Leanna will open doors, make our strong case to donors, and lend their great enthusiasm and energy to our efforts."

Sullivan is no stranger to Scripps Florida. He was appointed by former Governor Jeb Bush in 2004 to the board of the Scripps Florida Funding Corporation, the entity created by Florida to oversee the disbursement of a one-time investment of $310 million in state funds to The Scripps Research Institute for the establishment of Scripps Florida. He later served as chair of the Funding Corp. board.

Sullivan will be joined by newly named volunteer co-chair, Jupiter resident Leanna Landsmann, a nationally recognized education writer and editor with broad publishing experience.

"Life-improving scientific breakthroughs that children will one day read about in history books are coming from the labs at Scripps Florida. Funding the work of Scripps Research scientists' offers a great opportunity to those who want their philanthropic efforts to leave a lasting contribution," said Landsmann. "Scripps Florida is fast becoming a key driver of our region's economy and a catalyst for high standards in science education. Area residents can be very proud that Scripps Florida has arrived in the neighborhood."

About the Scripps Florida Council

The Scripps Florida Council has been formed to attract volunteer leaders who will bring valuable networks of friends and a broad range of expertise to help Scripps Florida to accelerate and enhance its results. By serving as ambassadors and advocates for Scripps Florida in their various business and social communities, council members can extend the reach of staff and Trustees. Central to the mission of the council is to introduce Scripps Florida to people interested in advancing biomedical research, and to get them involved in supporting the scientific efforts under way on both campuses.

A key role of the council will be to develop specific initiatives designed to promote Scripps Florida in the philanthropic community. Other roles include hosting small events for donors and prospects and participating in an annual flagship event promoting Scripps Florida. The council will also advise the administration and Trustees concerning the impact of program and policy initiatives upon operations of the Florida site. Those interested in knowing more about the council's activities may contact Will Melton, vice president for Philanthropy, Scripps Florida, (562)-228-2018 or wmelton@scripps.edu.

About Chris T. Sullivan

Chris T. Sullivan was born in Lake City, Florida. Sullivan was raised in Detroit, Silver Spring, Maryland, and Butte, Montana. In 1972, he graduated from the University of Kentucky Gatton College of Business and Economics. Prior to graduation, he entered the management-training program for Steak and Ale Restaurants, which was founded by his mentor Norman Brinker. After less than a year at Steak and Ale, he became a general manager in 1972. He was named president of Brinker's Bennigan's chain in 1980. When Brinker took over Chili's restaurants in 1983, Sullivan was a joint venture partner and franchisee. Sullivan and his partners opened 17 restaurants in three years and sold their interest in 1987 to Brinker International. In 1988, Sullivan and his partners opened the first Outback Steakhouse. The company has grown to over $4 billion in revenues with more than 1,200 restaurants in the United States and abroad. Sullivan became the chairman and CEO when they took the company public in 1991. In 2007, Sullivan was an integral part of a $3.2 billion buyout of the public company to take it private again. OSI Restaurants Partners, LLC. contributes millions of dollars annually to its communities through the corporation and the thousands of volunteers from the restaurants.

He directs much of his philanthropic giving through the Chris T. Sullivan Foundation. Sullivan serves numerous organizations in various positions including Florida Council of 100 Executive Committee, the Florida Chamber of Commerce; Board of Directors for the Florida Council on Economic Education, Lowry Park Zoological Endowment Foundation; Chairman's Board of Big Brothers Big Sisters of America; the Advisory Board for the Salvation Army; and Vice Chairman for Scripps Florida Funding Board; and the Employment Policies Institute.

Sullivan has two grown children, Alex and Ashley. An avid golfer, he and his wife Sandi, live in Tampa, Florida.

About Leanna Landsmann

Leanna Landsmann was raised in the Finger Lakes region of New York State and has lived in New York City, Paris, and West Africa. She graduated St. Lawrence University in 1968 and began her career as a teacher.

She joined Instructor Magazine in 1970. She was editor and publisher of Instructor, director of Harcourt Brace Children's Books; and vice president, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich from 1976 to 1988. In 1988, she founded her own firm to help corporations and associations advance research-based goals in education. Her clients included TIME Magazine, Scholastic, Inc., AT&T, American Express, American Heart Association, AutoDesk, the U.S. Department of Education, Toyota, The Edison Project, New American Schools Development Corporation, American Institute of Architects, and the White House Historical Association.

Landsmann helped to launch TIME Magazine For Kids and was its president from 1997 to 2004. In 1999, she was inducted into the EdPress Hall of Fame. She was awarded TIME's Henry Luce Leadership Award in 2000.

Landsmann launched New York City's "Principal for a Day" program in 1994 and was volunteer director for two years. She has served on the boards of Girls Club of America, U.S. Fund for UNICEF, The Teacher's Network, and PENCIL (Public Education Needs Civic Involvement in Learning).

She is co-chairman of Great Schools, a national organization that helps parents guide their children's education. She is vice-chair of The Canandaigua Lake Watershed Alliance. She is an advisor to an anonymous family foundation that awards full four-year scholarships to high-achieving needy New York City students each year.

Landsmann recently completed a two-year research project that resulted in the donation of her parents' archives to Cornell University's Rare Manuscripts Collection. The collection included her father's World War II diaries and many Army-censored photos he took during the Africa Campaign.

Landsmann is a gardener and a sailor. She resides in Jupiter, Florida, with her husband, M. J. "Chip" Block.


Send comments to: mikaono[at]scripps.edu












"Scripps Florida's research contribution to the betterment of human health can be limitless."

—Chris Sullivan












"We can make a difference in the lives of so many people, worldwide, by supporting the groundbreaking research that takes place within the laboratories of Scripps Florida."

—Leanna Landsmann