Reflections from Jonni Kimberly ’79, Valencia Foundation board chair

BY JONNI KIMBERLY ’79

My relationship with Valencia started when I was still at Osceola High School. This was back in the ’70s, and dual enrollment was a relatively new thing. I took sociology and freshman comp. This was before the Osceola Campus, and my freshman comp was a night class that met in the school library. I remember that we would meet in the library, both high school and college students. Some had just graduated from high school and some were older, married with children. It was my first sense of the “community” that was at that time in our name.

Geraldine Gallagher and Jonni Kimberly

Geraldine Gallagher and Jonni Kimberly

The wonderful partnership between UCF and Valencia is apparent at Osceola, where students can attend UCF from our college campus. And through the DirectConnect to UCF program, AS or AA graduates from Valencia are guaranteed admission to UCF.

Valencia continues to expand our service area. In September 2012, the ribbon was cut at the site of our new Lake Nona campus, which trains students for careers in the life sciences. 2012 also brought about the fruition of the new James M. and Dayle L. Seneff Honors College. Funded by a $1 million donation, as part of the foundation’s major gifts campaign, the new honors college expands Valencia’s current honors program into a full-fledged honors college with four different tracks, each housed on a separate Valencia campus.

Through an independent research study, we learned that Valencia College boosts the economy of Orange and Osceola counties by $1.05 billion a year. And an economic study released by the Council of Presidents for the Florida College System (FCS) found that Florida’s public colleges pump an additional $26.6 billion per year into the state’s economy by producing graduates who are better prepared to become high-income earners.

As board chair, I have followed in the footsteps of the wonderful Linda Landman Gonzalez. I hope to continue what Linda has started, and what Dr. Shugart is so gifted at, telling the Valencia story.

Taste for Learning

Taste for Learning

In my time as a board member one thing I am so proud of is Taste for Learning. I first attended Taste in my inaugural year as a board member, when it was at Royal Pacific Resort. I remember as I was leaving, I said to fellow board member Alan Helman, “We need to have this at Shingle Creek.” I was impressed with the amount of money that Taste brought in to begin with, and the fact that it all goes for the purpose is amazing! I am so happy that Rosen joins with ABC Fine Wine and Spirits and continues to be a presenting sponsor and benefactor for the event.

The September 2012 event was a partnership with Orlando Health Foundation, and they were a joy to work with – bringing sponsors, food vendors, silent auction items and attendees to the event. I think this collaboration marks a unique trend in joint philanthropy and the power of education and its positive impact on the community. In the past two years, we’ve generated $460,000, including match. The total proceeds from Taste are about $2.6 million.

In this next year, I hope your relationship with Valencia continues to blossom. We are so pleased to count thousands in our community as friends

and donors. I hope you are as moved as I am by our students’ thank-you letters that appear in our blog, on Facebook, in the annual report – and that land in donor mailboxes. And this year, we even hosted a scholarship recipient photo shoot to bring you the faces behind the words.

Let me add my gratitude and truly thank you for your support.

 

Jonni Kimberly ’79

Valencia Foundation board chair,
Director, human resources
Rosen Hotels and Resorts

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: