if you haven’t already, there’s still time to apply for 2013-14 valencia foundation scholarships!


2013-14 Valencia Foundation Scholarship Applications are now available!

One application is needed per academic year. To apply for a fall 2013 scholarship, please visit: 

Some scholarships offered through the Valencia Foundation require a student to demonstrate need by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Valencia encourages all students to complete the FAFSA early each year by visiting http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/.

Don’t let another minute pass by, apply today!

state board of education oks new campus in poinciana

The State Board of Education on Tuesday approved Valencia College’s plans to create a new campus in Poinciana, paving the way for Valencia to begin the process of looking for a site for the new campus.

Although Valencia College officials have been eyeing a possible Poinciana campus since 2003, the discussion began to gain traction this year, said Dr. Sandy Shugart, Valencia College president. “We have been looking forward to bringing our presence to Poinciana for many years,” Shugart said.

When the campus will be completed depends on state funding, but college officials hope to get it added to the list of state-approved building projects. Plans call for securing a site by late spring of 2014.

College officials estimate that the first phase of construction of the Poinciana campus will consist of one 60,000-70,000 square foot building, which would serve about 2,500 students. Eventually, the campus would encompass 150,000 square feet of classrooms and offices and would serve about 4,000 students.

The new Poinciana campus will be Valencia’s sixth campus. The college currently operates four campuses in Orange County and one in Osceola County.

Poinciana is one of the fastest-growing communities in Central Florida. Census figures show that the area’s population grew from 13,600 residents to more than 53,000 from 2000 to 2010. Currently, students who live in the Poinciana area must commute about 45 minutes during rush hour to reach Valencia’s Kissimmee campus. The commute takes nearly two hours by bus.

“A campus in Poinciana would be a game-changer,” said Shugart. “We’d like to increase the college-going rate of students who graduate from high school in the Poinciana area; we’d like to get more adults to complete college degrees as well. We’d like to offer more career-training there; and we’d like to partner with the University of Central Florida and TECO (Technical Education Center Osceola) and others to make sure a full gamut of talent is available for companies that relocate and expand there.”

Source: Marketing and Strategic Communications, Valencia College; Valencia News; http://news.valenciacollege.edu


Michael DippyGlenda Lenihan and Michael Dippy of IDignity at
Association of Florida Colleges Gala

Michael Dippy graduated from high school with aspirations to major in architecture at the University of Florida (UF).  His application was not accepted.  Not one to give up, this led him to enroll at Valencia College.

Although Michael took numerous math and drawing classes at Valencia to prepare himself for a career in architecture, he attributes the encouragement he received from professors and several humanities classes he took for planting the seeds for his future. It was the study of the human condition that resonated with his inherent sense of empathy and compassion.

After Michael graduated from UF, he spent several years working for architecture firms. In his spare time, he would volunteer with social service organizations that served the local homeless population. Through the knowledge he gained about services available, he began to assist homeless people he met on the streets or at his church. Much of Michael’s assistance was directing individuals where they could go for food, shelter or healthcare. When a homeless man asked him where to get help to replace his photo-ID card so that he could accept a job he had been offered, Michael discovered a gap.  There was nowhere to refer the man for help.

Michael began work to create IDignity, an Orlando nonprofit organization dedicated to helping poor and homeless citizens obtain the identification they need to participate fully in society. The first IDignity event was held in May 2008 as a collaborative outreach program of five downtown Orlando churches with Michael in its leadership role.  The plan called for a monthly event that incorporated all multiple government agencies along with attorneys and numerous other volunteers to provide needed services in one visit.

IDignity has hosted monthly events at downtown’s Orlando Rescue Mission since that time.   Each day-long collaboration serves about 250 clients. Since it began, IDignity has provided life-changing identification to more than 10,000 clients in Orlando and thousands of additional clients though its three self-sustaining satellite sites in Deland, Merritt Island and Sanford. IDignity is also currently working with national consultants to expedite the launching of IDignity programs throughout Florida and other states that have requested assistance.

Michael’s work has not gone unnoticed. In 2011, the Orlando Sentinel recognized his leadership strengths and designated him the 2010 Central Floridian of the Year.  He also was designated a “Local Hero” by Bank of America and awarded the 2012 Community Service Award from the RAFMAN Club (Retired Air Force, Marine, Army and Navy).  In November 2012, Idignity received national recognition by winning the Manhattan Institute’s 2012 Richard Cornuelle Award for Social Entrepreneurship.  He was a recent finalist in the Association of Florida Colleges Leroy Collins Distinguished Alumni Awards 2013.

Michael sums up his journey from Valencia to IDignity this way:  “Even though I am no longer working in architecture, I am still using those problem solving skills, only now focusing on societal problems. Much like my nurturing experience at Valencia College, I am now meeting individuals where they are in life and offering the guidance and support necessary for them to reach their full potential.”

Learn more on a short video, “Identity Crisis” at http://www.idignity.org/video-gallery.

mears family named among top donors by national community college fundraising group

Mears PictureThe Council for Resource Development (CRD), a national association of community college fundraising professionals, has selected Paul Jr. and Deb Mears to receive its 2013 Benefactors of the Year award. The annual award recognizes the outstanding contributions and service of donors who have made a difference to a community college. Mr. and Mrs. Mears were honored in Washington, D.C., as the top philanthropists for an urban, public college.

Paul Jr. and Deb Mears received the award in recognition of their long history of philanthropic support to Valencia College. The family has been involved with Valencia Foundation, the college’s fundraising arm, for more than a decade and their contributions include an endowed scholarship to benefit students in Valencia’s hospitality management program. Deb has served on the foundation’s board of directors since 2008.

In 2010, the Mears family pledged $1 million to create the Paul Mears Sr. Take Stock in Children Fund. Established in memory of Paul Mears Sr., the fund supports educational opportunities through the Orange County Take Stock in Children program, an initiative that helps promising at-risk children succeed through mentoring and a guaranteed college scholarship. In recognition of the gift, the college renamed its West Campus Student Services Building the Paul Mears Sr. Student Services Building.

“We are most grateful for the partnership and support of Paul and Deb Mears and especially for the lives their investment is changing,” said Valencia President Sanford C. Shugart. “This honor recognizes not only their commitment to Take Stock and the college, but also to their numerous other charitable endeavors.”

Paul Mears Sr. founded Mears Transportation Group in 1939 with three taxicabs. Today it is one of Central Florida’s most recognized premier guest services and destination management companies. The company also provides charitable support to the Red Cross and is a founding contributor to the Give Kids the World Village. Deb Mears has served on the committee for the local Festival of Trees and Mears Transportation Group has sponsored the event, presented by the Council of 101 to benefit the Orlando Museum of Art. In partnership with their sister company Hello Florida!, Mears has served as a corporate sponsor for the March of Dimes “March for Babies” charity walkathon.

Source: Carol Traynor, Marketing and Strategic Communications, Valencia College; Valencia News; http://news.valenciacollege.edu

two valencia administrators nominated for don quijote awards

Don Quijote AwardsTwo Valencia College administrators have been named finalists for the annual Don Quijote Awards, which are presented by the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metro Orlando and the Hispanic Business Initiative Fund of Florida Inc.

Each year, the Don Quijote Awards recognize business excellence and outstanding professionalism in Central Florida’s Hispanic community.

Elisha Gonzalez, executive director of Take Stock in Children of Orange County, was nominated as Professional of the Year. “To be recognized by both the Hispanic Business Initiative Fund and the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce is an enormous honor,” said Gonzalez. “Growing up in Mexico City in a large family, I learned at a young age that everything is possible if you work together and for the greater good. I am committed to Valencia College and our community. I believe that economic development, education opportunities and top-caliber arts and culture offerings should be available to all citizens. I am proud to serve in Central Florida on various boards where collaboration and participation is the norm. I am humbled and proud to be a Don Quijote finalist and to be in the company of such accomplished Hispanic business and professional community leaders.”

Dr. Kathleen Plinske, president of Valencia’s Osceola Campus, was nominated for being a champion for the Hispanic community. At Valencia’s Osceola Campus, 42 percent of the students are Hispanic and Dr. Plinske has worked with the Osceola County schools and Osceola Education Foundation to increase the college-going rate for students in Osceola County.

“I can think of no greater honor than to be recognized as a finalist for the Don Quijote Hispanic Community Champion Award,” said Dr. Plinske afterward. “While not Latina by birth, through my studies of Spanish, travels to Latin America, and work in Central Florida, I truly feel embraced by and part of the Hispanic community.

“As a first-generation college student, I was blessed to receive a scholarship to study Spanish, including the opportunity to study in Mexico. The opportunity to learn Spanish and explore the rich cultural heritage of Latin America was truly a gift, and I can think of no better way to give back than to help our Spanish-speaking families learn about the importance of higher education and help the dream of going to college become a reality for our students.”

The awards will be presented on Dec. 7 at Disney’s Epcot Pavilion.

Source: Marketing and Strategic Communications, Valencia College; Valencia News; http://news.valenciacollege.edu

the johnson foundation scholarship for biomedical sciences is available now! apply today!

The Johnson Foundation Scholarship is intended to provide scholarship funding to Valencia-Osceola DirectConnect students enrolled in (or already completed) entry level Biology and Chemistry courses and intend to continue on to earn their Bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Sciences at the University of Central Florida as a Johnson Scholar.  

The 2+2 component of the Johnson Scholarship starts with 1-5 semesters, each semester increasing the scholarship value at Valencia College from $500 in the Spring of 2014 to $1500 in the fifth term. As a 2+2 scholarship, students qualify to receive Johnson Foundation scholarship funding at the University of Central Florida with the condition that the meet all of the original scholarship requirements. 

Qualifying candidates must be first year Valencia College students with less than 15 college credit hours completed, demonstrate Financial need (verified via FAFSA), be enrolled in BSC1010C, CHM1025C or CHM1045C at Osceola Campus and intend to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Sciences at the University of Central Florida after successful completion of an Associate’s Degree from Valencia College.

Potential for renewal available to students who maintain a 2.75 GPA, follow precise educational plan for Biomedical Sciences at the University of Central Florida, meet with an Academic Advisor/Faculty/Johnson Scholars Osceola each term, participate in Undergraduate Research and attend University of Central Florida Johnson Scholars events once a year.

In order to apply, please complete the 2013-14 Valencia Foundation Scholarship Application

For more information this scholarship and more, visit: Valencia College – Scholarship Bulletin Board today! 

violin instructor’s fermata: legacy through music

Pennsylvanian music lover Doris Paisley took a chance on young Neal Phillips when she agreed to teach the preschooler violin. Neal became her youngest student ever.

Doris Paisley’s life was dedicated to performance violin. She joined the Johnstown Symphony Orchestra at the age of 15, where she played a total of 40 years and achieved first violin. Doris was a graduate of State Teachers College at Indiana, now Indiana University of Pennsylvania, with a B.S. in education. Her passions were education and music.

When Doris Paisley passed away in 2011, Valencia faculty member Neal Phillips found a way to honor his childhood violin teacher: by providing scholarship funds for musically inclined students to attend college.

Last week, two Valencia College students each received a $1,000 Instrumental Music Scholarships in memory of Ms. Doris Paisley. Both students have a passion for music; the scholarship funds will provide students the resources to explore their love of music while at Valencia and still afford core classes.

Pictured here are students Melody Cook and Jim Reyelt. They are joined by Neal Phillips (wearing a violin tie in honor of Doris Paisley) and Troy Gifford, program director and music professor at Valencia College.

Pictured here are students Melody Cook and Jim Reyelt. They are joined by Neil Phillips (wearing a violin tie in honor of Doris Paisley) and Troy Gifford, program director and music professor at Valencia College.

Pictured here are the first students to receive the Doris Paisley scholarship: Melody Cook and Jim Reyelt. They are joined by Ms. Paisley’s former student and Valencia professor Neal Phillips (wearing a violin tie in honor of Doris Paisley). Pictured also is Troy Gifford, program director and music professor at Valencia College.