holiday hours

This holiday season is a special time of year, when we focus on friends and family; our gifts express generosity and love to those we care about.

This holiday season is a special time of year, when we focus on friends and family; our gifts express generosity and love to those we care about.

The college and foundation will be closed Dec. 31 – Jan.1. We will be back in the office on Thursday, Jan. 2.

It’s not too late to make a gift. You can make a credit card donation through our website at http://www.valencia.org. Or you can mail a check to Valencia Foundation, 190 S. Orange Avenue, Orlando, FL 32801. Checks dated on or before December 31, 2013 will be marked as a 2013 donation.

From the foundation to you, have a happy holiday season!

bachelor’s degree in logistics management from Florida Tech at Valencia’s Lake Nona campus, fall 2014

Florida Tech, Valencia College Partner to Offer B.S. in Logistics Management at Lake Nona Campus.

MELBOURNE, FLA.—A recently signed memorandum of agreement initiates the offering of a bachelor’s degree in logistics management from Florida Institute of Technology at Valencia College’s Lake Nona campus in Orlando, beginning in the fall semester of 2014.

“Partnering with Valencia College Lake Nona Campus is a great opportunity for Florida Tech to reach potential students and returning veterans interested in logistics management,” said Ted Richardson, senior associate dean of extended studies, Nathan M. Bisk College of Business, Florida Tech. “We currently offer a bachelor’s degree in logistics management at remote campuses near Eglin Air Force Base in the Panhandle and at our Hampton Roads, Va., site.”

The degree is a 2+2 program, designed for students who earn an associate’s degree at Valencia with a pre-major in logistics management.

Valencia College has agreed to provide classroom space to students who enroll in the program. The Florida Tech Extended Studies Orlando Site will be the main point of contact for this program.

The logistics management program requires 60 additional credits to complete, which includes courses such as corporate finance, marketing principles and business ethics.

The bachelor’s degree in logistics management is popular with veterans and current military, but Florida business leaders also look to the logistics field for future job growth.

“Valencia College Lake Nona Campus is proud to partner with Florida Tech on this degree in logistics management,” said Mike Bosley, executive dean of Valencia’s Lake Nona campus. “This program will create additional 2+2 options for our students and will help meet the growing needs of our returning veteran population.”

Prospective students may contact the Florida Tech Extended Studies Orlando site at (407) 629-7132. For more information about the program, visit http://www.fit.edu/programs/7880/bs-logistics-management.

spotlight story: valencia alum and board member brad pierce and angel flight of southeast mission to save lives

Brad Pierce, Valencia Alum and Valencia Foundation board member, and the Angel Flight Southeast, a charitable flying company, continue to use their passion of flying to provide urgent medical aid to those in need. Reflecting on a recent trip to Miami to bring a young girl in Orlando to two needed organs, Brad shares: “I pulled into the airport knowing it was game day, this flight would be among the most important I’ve ever flown in my life.  Every aspect of this mission needed to be performed flawlessly.  I did a quick (yet thorough) pre-flight of my Turbo Cirrus SR22 Aircraft and determined everything was in a safe condition for a flight.  Moments later my passengers arrived – a courageous young woman and her caring father. I typically do more coddling of new passengers before taking flights, explaining every aspect of the flight to ease their comfort level. Tonight was different however, we were racing time which was an expiring commodity so there was only time for the necessary safety briefing.  Before starting the engine however, the father turned to me and simply said “thank you” as he extended his hand. I looked at him and replied, “I’m happy to help – my job tonight is to get you to Miami quickly and safely – yours is to relax and enjoy the flight.”  With those quick sentiments exchanged, it was “go time”.

Quickly, Brad started the engine, checked in with air traffic control and was cleared for takeoff. In the pursuit of a potential resolution, the moods of the passengers changed. The passengers shifted from worry to positivity as they got closer and closer to their destination. With a smooth flight, gentle landing and an exchange of words of gratitude, the young girl was quickly rushed to the operating room where the doctors performed her transplant. In a dash to get his passengers to Miami safely, Brad took a breath, reflected and prepared for lift off from Miami to Orlando. Reminiscing on the moment, he shares: “I took a moment to catch my breath before my return flight to Orlando. I chatted with the fantastic mission coordination staff from Angel Flight Southeast who are the ones whom really made this all possible. I gave them a thorough briefing on the details of the mission performance including expressing my gratitude for all that they do each day. A short while later, I was lifting off once again, a bit lighter with no passengers, but with a heart filled with joy. The flight back to Orlando was smooth and allowed for reflection of all that transpired over the past few hours.  The special nature of this mission really began to sink in. Although I was no longer using the MedEVAC call-sign, air traffic control provided extra courtesy as a returning Angel Flight and allowed me to return home quickly which was appreciated.”

Above the actual contribution of being able to lend support to this cause, person in need and mission, Brad walked away with a bigger life-changing lesson: keeping hope. “As I reflect back on this flight, I can’t help but to think of the profound effect it had on my life.  I thought I was simply giving these passengers help in a time of need – the reality is they were giving me a lesson in life that no amount of money can buy.  They inspired me to look beyond the little problems in everyday life and to realize the things that are truly important.  Success is about having a good attitude, believing in yourself and being appreciative for what you have in life.  Keep up the hope no matter how dire the situation and good things will come to you.  This life lesson was the best Christmas gift I could have ever received,” he shares.

Encouraged by Brad and Angel Flight Southeast, we are inspired by you. Thank you for sharing!

To read more about this wonderful story, visit Brad’s blog at http://www.bradim.com/2013/12/15/flying-an-angel-flight-to-help-save-a-life/

 

apply today for the kissimmee utility authority (kua) scholarship!

The Kissimmee Utility Authority (KUA) Scholarship: 

Founded in 1901, KUA (www.kua.com) is Florida’s sixth largest community-owned utility providing electric and telecommunication services to 170,000 residents in five Central Florida counties.

In the past year, KUA has financially supported more than 250 community projects and activities. Notable projects included the “Flee to be Free” child abduction awareness program, voter registration drives, student scholarships, holiday gift drives and free swimming lessons for families unable to afford them.

KUA’s mission statement: To provide reliable and economical services to our customers while partnering with the community and the environment.

The KUA scholarship is available for the 2013-14 academic year to students who: 

  • Complete the 2013-14 Valencia Foundation Scholarship Application
  • Graduate high school with a 2.0 GPA or higher
  • Maintain a 2.5 GPA during their time at Valencia
  • Attend Valencia’s Osceola Campus
  • Is the son or daughter of a KUA employee for more than one year

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

Additional scholarship details as well as other scholarship opportunities can be found at: http://valenciacollege.edu/finaid/Scholarship_bulletin.cfm

spirit of the season

In this season of giving and thanks, what better time to share a heartfelt student scholarship thank you. Valencia student, Christopher, shares what it means to receive the Raymer and Dean Maguire Scholarship.

Saying thank you time and time again couldn’t nearly express my gratitude. I am writing this due to your generosity in extending a helping hand to someone in need, me.

Ever since high school ended and my college life began, it has been a constant struggle staying in school. Whether it was a family ordeal or lack of resources, I was not sure if I could continue attending classes. Recently moving out on my own and taking on more adult responsibilities put a lot more than just financial stress on me. The emotional stress was very taxing and I was not sure I could make it to the following semesters, but then you came along – an answer to my prayers. Just knowing that someone cared enough to help someone like me in such a big way is still awe-inspiring.

I could go on about my life story and my personal trials and errors, and how you helped me out in a time of need, but I won’t. You have given me a future to focus on, a new drive and hope that I will pursue until I succeed. There is no need to dwell on the past because I have been given an opportunity and I will not be taking it lightly. I can’t express my sincere gratitude through words alone and I hope and I pray that I will make you proud in achieving my goals. Thank you again so much for this wonderful blessing you have bestowed on me and I look forward to sharing my achievements with you in the near future.

For everyone that supports Valencia Foundation, thank you. You truly make a difference in the lives of our students. Best wishes for a wonderful new year!

winter blessings

This holiday season is a special time of year, one when we focus on friends and family; our gifts express generosity and love to those we care about.

This winter I’m reflecting back on the blessings received in 2013.  There have been many in my life including travels, new family members, additional professional accomplishments, budding friendships and visits to and from long time friends.

One of the most profound blessings is the work I do for the Valencia  and the students that are served because of our mission.

Valencia students are more determined than ever to improve their opportunities in life, and perhaps change the future of their family for generations.  This is where your generosity makes a huge difference.

I have witnessed how our student’s lives are impacted by the kindness of our donors. Without foundation scholarships, many would not be able to attend college. Your support continues to make a tremendous difference in the lives of these students.

This holiday season is a special time of year, one when we focus on friends and family; our gifts express generosity and love to those we care about.

If you are considering extending your generosity and want to make a difference in the lives of others this year, please consider a donation in support of Valencia College and the students we serve.

If you wish to make a donation please visit us online at www.VALENCIA.org and click on >>Give Now for our secure website.  You may also send your contribution to Valencia Foundation 190 S. Orange Avenue, Orlando, FL 32801. Checks dated on or before December 31, 2013 will be marked as a 2013 donation.

I trust that you will give as generously as you can to provide the opportunity for a life-changing learning experience for a Valencia students.

And I wish many blessings to you and your family in the New Year.

Happy holidays!

ingredients in chef’s stellar career

Chef SimonHard Work, Dedication Are Ingredients in Chef’s Stellar Career – Linda Shrieves Beaty

Today, Russ Simon is a  a globe-trotting chef, a man who dashes from London to Los Angeles, from Singapore to Las Vegas, opening new restaurants for celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck.

But 13 years ago, Simon was a business management major at the University of Central Florida student, enjoying fraternity life, when he realized that his future career path wasn’t going to make him happy.

So Simon, who’d grown up in Davie, Fla, as the eldest of four kids, signed up for culinary classes at Valencia.  He already felt at home in kitchens, having served as the chief cook when his parents weren’t at home.

At Valencia, Simon spent his first semester cooking in the small cafeteria kitchen on East Campus, and was in the first class of students to move into the new culinary facilities on West Campus that fall.  Simon, along with chefs Ken and Pierre and the students in the class, unpacked the new pots and pans and stocked the new kitchen. To this day, Simon loves a new kitchen, with shiny new equipment.

“I think that’s why I love opening new restaurants – I think it dates back to that,” says Simon, laughing.

At the same time that he began taking culinary classes, Simon also started working at Wolfgang Puck Express in Downtown Disney. The small, fast-casual restaurant, which made pizzas and roast chicken and quick meals, proved to be the perfect proving ground for a hard-worker willing to learn.

“While I was working in the Express, I was basically going through all the basic (culinary) classes, learning sauces, pastry, garde manger,” Simon says.  “Then at nighttime, I’d go to this restaurant and work in a very high-volume environment — and I could see where the skills I was learning during the day would pay off.”

It was also the start of a very happy and lengthy relationship between a budding chef and his employer.  Soon, Simon was promoted to work as a cook in the Wolfgang Puck Café at Downtown Disney – a sit-down restaurant where he would learn more about sauces and soups and a wider variety of kitchen skills.  It was time, he says with a laugh, to start doing “big-boy cooking.”

Before long, he was helping to open new Wolfgang Puck Express and Bistro locations around the country.  So in 2004, when he met Puck in person – and the famous chef asked where Simon would like to work — the recent Valencia grad had a ready answer: Spago Beverly Hills.

“If I was going to go anywhere, that’s where I wanted to go – to Los Angeles to give it a shot,” he says.  During Simon’s tenure there, the executive chef won a James Beard award and the Beverly Hills Spago earned a two-star Michelin rating.

Since then, Simon has been jet-setting around the globe, opening a Spago in Colorado, a new steakhouse, CUT, in Las Vegas, then to Singapore to open a CUT there, followed by a stint in London, where he opened a new CUT in a boutique hotel. And there have been more forays in Los Angeles, where he helped open a new Puck restaurant in the renovated Hotel Bel Air.

Over the years, he has worked with famous chefs, including Daniel Boulud, Santi Santamaria, Mario Batali and Thomas Keller.

“I was very fortunate,” says Simon, who’s 35. “A lot of times, I happened to be in the right place at the right time. My hard work had something to do with it, I worked hard, but so did a lot of other guys.” In fact, he says, he and a band of other cooks who started with him as line cooks at Spago in Beverly Hills are now executive chefs and chefs de cuisine throughout the fast-growing company.

Now he’s back in Las Vegas, now at the helm of Postrio, a 15-year-old Italian themed restaurant that the Puck group operates in the Venetian hotel. And now Simon is reaching out to Chef Ken Bourgoin and Chef Pierre Pilloud, to see if there are any young, hard-working chefs on the rise, who would like to work in Las Vegas.

“We’re looking for new talent,” says Simon, ” and I thought I’d call Chef Pierre and see what kind of talent is there.”

For for students seeking career guidance, Simon dispenses some simple advice: “At the end of the day, hard work does truly pay off. If you take the time not to just study and learn, but spend time in the kitchen to perfect our craft, it will pay off.”