Kent Stermon, a Jacksonville-area businessman and member of the state university system’s Board of Governors, was found dead in an apparent suicide Thursday night, law enforcement officials confirmed on Friday.
Stermon was found “deceased, alone in a locked vehicle” in the parking lot of a post office in Atlantic Beach by a post-office employee, an Atlantic Beach Police Department report said.
“There is no suspected foul play. The investigation is being worked as a suicide,” a news release from the police department said.
According to the report, Stermon had been sought as a missing person by the sheriff’s office shortly before he was found deceased. Stermon apparently took his own life amid an ongoing probe by the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office.
“Mr. Stermon was the subject of an active investigation by the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, which began a few weeks prior to his death. This investigation remains ongoing at this time and will continue until its completion,” Sheriff T.K. Waters said in a statement Friday.
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Stermon was president and chief operating officer of Total Military Management, a logistics company that enables “Department of Defense qualified transportation service providers to better serve the military marketplace,” according to its website.
A politically connected figure in Northeast Florida, Stermon — who was named “citizen of the year” by the sheriff’s office in 2016 — was part of the host committee for the 2020 Republican National Convention in Jacksonville, which ultimately was called off.
Stermon also was a donor to Gov. Ron DeSantis and served on his transition team in 2018. Stermon contributed a combined $53,250 to DeSantis and his political committee Friends of Ron DeSantis between 2018 and 2022, including a $25,000 contribution to DeSantis’ committee on Nov. 30, 2021.
DeSantis appointed Stermon to the Board of Governors in March 2019. Stermon served as chairman of the board’s Audit and Compliance Committee.
In a statement issued Friday, the board said its members were “deeply saddened” to learn of his death. “For the last three years, Kent has served on this board with distinction. He has been a champion of higher education and student success in Florida and a long-time supporter of the University of North Florida in many ways throughout the years. The Board of Governors sends its heartfelt condolences to Kent’s family during this difficult time,” the statement said.
Stermon also served on the Florida Highway Patrol Advisory Council. He received various other accolades for his business savvy, including being named “the Ultimate CEO” by the Jacksonville Business Journal in 2011, which is highlighted on the Board of Governors website.