a tribute to a dear friend

Over the holidays, Central Florida lost a dear friend, Frances Millican — the first First Lady of UCF. She was a devoted advocate of education and a tireless emblem for the university. When I arrived in Central Florida nine years ago, she took me under her wing, thanks to our mutual friendship with Helen Von Dolteren-Fournier.

Frances was the consummate fundraiser and offered me great insight. I was new to the community and also to fundraising, and I will always treasure her wise counsel. She never saw Valencia as a competitor but rather a collaborator, which also explains the amazing relationship between our institutions.

What I have heard over and over in the past few weeks about Frances is a true sentiment for me too: She made me feel like her most special buddy.

I believe she made everyone in her path feel uniquely close to her because she truly cared. She found the common ground and never forgot a name or a moment. She would never cease to amaze me with her personal gifts for hospitality and philanthropy. She embraced the causes she believed in and that belief and dedication was felt at every meeting with her.

The last time I saw her in November, she reminded me, with her very Southern gentility, that we had not been out for a private get-together recently — and that, clearly, we must remedy that! I looked forward to that future date, as I did to all the private chats and occasions we shared over the years.

It is said that behind every great man is a great woman. Certainly this was true of Frances and her devoted husband, Charlie. As his health began to fail, she stepped in to represent him even more so than before. She passed away because of a fall – she was helping Charlie, who had fallen as well. Loyal and loving, her immediate call was to a friend to request assistance for her husband.

 Charlie is the first one to tell you how instrumental Frances was during the founding of UCF, his tenure and their support ever since. If ever there were help mates, true partners together, Frances and Charlie fit the bill.

Valencia recognized her contributions to the advancement of learning in our community in April 2007. It was a meaningful, touching event that celebrated a two-plus-two scholarship named for Frances that connects students who graduate from Valencia and move on to attend UCF. About 80 percent of our AA grads do wind up at UCF, making our partnership the strongest two-plus-two relationship in the nation.

What cracked me up is that Frances always referred to us as neighbors and friends when she introduced me to other people. I was honored to be included in her circle of friends and yes, we did share a ZIP Code…but my corner of College Park and the neighborhood in which she and Charlie lived are a far cry from each other! But that was how she was. Frances saw commonalities in those she met, and I believe she did think of me as a neighbor and a friend. I suspect that was also a treasure she shared with every person she met: She appreciated you for who you were, and when Frances was talking to you (or about you) you felt like the most special person in the room and her closest pal.

Frances was exquisitely beautiful on the outside. The photos at her memorial showed this to be true. More importantly, though, she was even more gorgeous on the inside. Frances was one of those rare individuals who would remind you of shared memories — and remember names and details. When she was talking to you, you were the only person in the room – she never looked over your shoulder to see if someone more important was coming along.

What may not be widely known is that Frances was also a hoot! She enjoyed her friends, she was comfortable in her own skin and she appreciated the company of those both dear to her and new people, like me. She could be poised and perfect in a ceremonial role and just the best fun when she let her hair down. Although I knew her best through her public duties, I cherish those personal moments that brought amusement and laughter.

There just isn’t enough any of us, certainly not me, can say that would do Frances justice. Her husband and her friends did an amazing job at the memorial service and her sense of spirit and life was felt by all. But to truly know how lovely she was, you had to spend time with her. I treasure the time I had with her, although it was cut much too short. For those that knew Frances, I join with you in mourning the passing of our friend and colleague. And I am heartened by the fact that even those that didn’t know her will still feel her legacy. Her work on behalf of UCF, the important inroads she made in our partnership and the scholarship in her honor will continue to touch lives for years to come.

poet steven dunn open reading

Acclaimed poet Stephen Dunn will visit Valencia Community College Winter Park Campus

This Thursday, January 28, acclaimed poet Stephen Dunn will visit Valencia Community College Winter Park Campus to give a reading from his latest book “What Goes On: Selected and New Poems.”  

The free and open reading will take place at Valencia’s Winter Park Campus, located at 850 W. Morse Boulevard, in room 225 from 1:00 – 2:00 p.m., followed by a book signing and sale until 2:45 p.m.

The Poetry Foundation describes Dunn’s work as being “concerned with the anxieties, fears, joys, and problems of how to co-exist in the world with all those who are part of our daily lives.”

He has authored 16 different books including “Different Hours,” which won the 2001 Pulitzer Prize for poetry. In addition to his own books, Dunn’s work has appeared in The Atlantic, The Nation, The New Republic, The New Yorker, The Georgia Review, and the American Poetry Review.

Dunn has worked as an advertising copywriter, an editor and a professor of creative writing. Since 1974, he has taught at Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, where he is Distinguished Professor of Creative Writing. 

Visions & Voices was launched in 2002. This Distinguished Artist Series is the brainchild of Dr. Sanford C. Shugart who wanted to find a way to invite world-class poets, songwriters and artists from across the country and around the world to Valencia to share their work with students, faculty, staff, and the community. 

Artists not only give a public performance, but also interact with students in an intimate master class. Visions & Voices has established a reputation as one of the best ways to see nationally known artists in Central Florida.

Source: Valencia Marketing & Media Relations

recyclemania is here!!!

The college shared the following information with faculty and staff this morning and so I thought I’d pass the information along to you!!!

We are pleased to announce that the college has entered the national recycling challenge, RecycleMania.  The goal is to increase recycling awareness in higher education institutions throughout the United States. Over 550 colleges and universities will participate in the event to be held January 17, 2010 thru March 27, 2010. 

 Students, faculty and staff are encouraged to participate by placing the following recyclables in the designated bins on each campus:

  • #1 and #2 Plastic Containers
  • Aluminum Cans
  • Paper Products
  • Newspapers
  • Computer Paper
  • Books (paperback only)
  • Magazines
  • Cardboard (flattened and placed beside recycle container)

Recyclables can also be brought from home. Simply separate the materials in plastic bags and place the recyclables by any recycling container on your campus or by putting them in the large recycle dumpsters located in the following areas:

East Campus  – Behind Building 5, by loading dock.
West Campus – Behind Mod. 2, by the loading dock.
Osceola Campus – Behind the Security portable next to the Waste Management dumpsters

For more information concerning the RecycleMania campaign, go to http://www.recyclemaniacs.org.

While the college continues to do all they can in the “green” movement, we hope you’ll start your very own version of recyclemania. Even just one person can make a dramatic impact.

graduation application deadline

Yes, the graduation application deadline is approaching! Please help us spread the word to students so they don’t miss this important date.

The graduation application deadline is this Friday, January 29,2010, 11:59:59, for students interested in graduating in May 2010. All students apply on line through their ATLAS account.  

Your donations tell a student someone believes in their dream. It represents a life transformed and can change the course of a family for generations. Click on the cap above or visit http://www.VALENCIA.org for more information or to make a donation.

haiti earthquake relief

The Harris Rosen Foundation, Inc., a non-profit 501(c)3 organization, has joined forces with Senator Bill Nelson’s office and various local Haitian community leaders to provide direct assistance to the victims of the earthquake in Haiti. In the past, the Harris Rosen Foundation has collected and personally delivered food, water filters, school supplies and medical supplies to the citizens of Haiti. Now it’s time to send emergency relief to the people in need.

Here is the Web site for more information and details on how you can help:


Our hearts go out to those in Haiti and to those with friends and loved ones there. Please see our Jan. 15 post for many other ways to get involved and offer assistance during this time of great need.


Visit the Anita S. Wooten Gallery at Valencia East Campus

The Anita S. Wooten Gallery at Valencia Community College East Campus is exhibiting the work of UCF professor Laine Wyatt from January 22, 2010 to March 12, 2010. 

The  opening reception is tonight, Friday January 22, 2010 from 6:30 p.m. until 8:30 p.m.  It is a free event with refreshments and an artist lecture at 7:30 p.m. 

The exhibition Obsession/Compulsion consists of photographs and installations referencing women’s relationship with clothing. Hope to see you all here.

valencia night with the magic

Valencia friends, alumni, staff, family and students are invited to take part in Valencia Night with the Orlando Magic!
Don’t miss your chance to see the 2009 Eastern Conference Champion Orlando Magic on Sunday, March 28th @ 6:00 pm.  Watch All-Stars like Dwight Howard, Jameer Nelson and Rashard Lewis take on the Denver Nuggets!
Join us as Orlando Magic battle the Toronto Raptors on Wed, Dec. 16 @t 7:00 pm

Valencia Night with the Orlando Magic!

  • Orlando Magic vs. Denver Nuggets 
  • Weekend game ticket $25
  • + $2 for pre-game reception
  • Call to reserve your Valencia seat @ (407) 916-2531 or download a registration form here

We’d love for you to join the Valencia Alumni Association and Valencia Chapter of FACC for the optional pre-game reception to meet and mingle with friends.  A cash beverage bar will be provided.  Hurry, reception space is limited to the first 60 people!

See you at Valencia Night with the Orlando Magic! 

This special offer is brought to you by the
Valencia Alumni Association
and Valencia FACC Chapter.