Help Us Identify Distinguished Graduate 2016!

The Valencia Alumni Association needs your help!

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The application process for the Mary Smedley Collier  Distinguished Graduate 2016 Award is in full swing.  Along with the distinction that comes with being selected, the Distinguished Graduate 2016 will serve as the keynote speaker at both the morning and afternoon Commencement ceremonies this year and will receive $2,000. We know from experience that many of our eligible students are too humble to see themselves in this role.

This is where you come in.

Don’t let your candidate slip by.  If you know an eligible applicant, please encourage them to apply today.  The deadline for accepting applications is February 19, 2016.

ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS: -Must have a minimum overall 3.5 GPA.

-Must be nominated by a member of the Valencia faculty or staff.  (The nomination letter is required as a part of the online application packet the student submits.)

-Must graduate during the academic year in which the scholarship is awarded. This includes Summer ’15, Fall ’15 and Spring ’16 terms.

-Must be available to attend both commencement ceremonies on May 8th and give their commencement speech at both.

APPLY HERE: https://valencia.scholarships.ngwebsolutions.com/ScholarX_ApplyForScholarship.aspx?applicationformid=4650&AYID=444

Please contact the Alumni Relations office for more information at alumni@valenciacollege.edu or 407-582-3217.

 

TEDxOrlandoSalon, register now!

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Don’t miss our first TEDxOrlandoSalon at 
Valencia’s Winter Park Campus!
Thursday, December 10th

 6:30-9pm

What talks will be on the program? This months TEDxOrlandoSalon attendees will vote to view two talks from the following curated selection:

  • Jennifer Doudna: We can now edit our DNA, let’s do it wisely
  • Melissa Fleming: A boat carrying 500 refugees sunk at sea: the story of two survivors
  • Genevieve von Petzinger: Why are these 32 symbols found in caves all over Europe?
  • Josh Luber: The secret sneaker market and why it matters
  • Carl Safina: What are animals thinking and feeling?
*Please note that Salon events do not feature live speakers; the focus is on participation in conversation and discussion.

Join us for A Night of Celebration

You are invited to the Valencia Alumni Association’s
 “A Night of Celebration” event.

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Please join us as we celebrate this year’s
Distinguished Alumni Award recipients.

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1 week to the big day- let’s make some noise!

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What: #DollarsforScholars is Valencia College Foundation’s end of year campaign.

Why: #DollarsforScholars will make the difference for many students to get the education they’ve always wanted.

When: Starting with #GivingTuesday, a national day of giving, on December 1 through the end of the year.

How: Donate any amount. Take an unselfie.  Spread the word.

 

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Alumni Update from Cece Burns, ’13

Chacoryia “Cece” Burns, Valencia’s 2013 Mary Smedley Collier’s Distinguished Graduate is currently a Broadcast Journalism major at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU). Those of us that have read Cece’s triumphant story and may have also had the privilege of meeting such a kind spirit know that she has manage to persevere through all odds. She has proven that if you put your mind to it you can accomplish any goal.

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Cece shares “Recently, I’ve become the weather anchor for FAMU TV News-20 which broadcast live to over 8,000 Comcast viewers in the north Florida and south Georgia area. I am a Gospel Radio Personality for WANM 90.5 FM “The Flava Station” which airs on Sunday’s from 8am-11am. As I continue with my journey as a reporter, I plan to continue to work with FAMU TV News 20 as the lead desk anchor as well as intern for a local news station and print journalism company until my graduation on April 30, 2016. After that I plan to either move to Orlando or stay in Tallahassee and pursue a Masters in Fine Arts in Production as well as become a Multi-Media Journalist (MMJ) for a local news station or become a local Gospel Radio Personality.”

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“My advice to the students is to continue to strive for your dream. Never let anyone deter you from being what you want to be in life. And also always volunteer and get internships in your profession. Be persistent and always be kind to others because you never know who you will meet and who will take you to the next level.”

Cece is a positive role model and is constantly giving back to the community, whether it be volunteering for children’s church or serving on the Transfer Student Association. Her story encourages us all.

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Cece is doing big things and is truly an amazing Valencia Alum….Way to represent!

Check out Cece’s story here

 

Join Us!

 

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Come Join Us!

Valencia Alumni, Students, Employees and Friends

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Valencia College Veterans will be meeting up near the Wall Street area

(corner of Orange Ave and Central Blvd) for the opening ceremony at 10:30 a.m.

Spectator Parking Information
Library Garage | Central Garage

Street Closure Information

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DON’T BE CAUGHT OFF GUARD!

Daylight Savings Time ENDS Sunday, November 1st.
Don’t forget to turn your clocks back one hour Saturday night.

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It’s not too late!

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Alumni Spotlight

2015 Veterans of Influence: Daila “Dee” Espeut-Jones

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Valencia alum Daila “Dee” Espeut-Jones ’09, program manager, ZelTech Training Solutions LLC, is one of Orlando Business Journal’s 2015 Veterans of Influence who was recognized at a this years awards luncheon.

Here, she tells a bit about how serving in the military
made her into the woman she is today.

Check out this amazing video of Daila “Dee” Espeut-Jones!  

Know A Deserving Valencia Graduate?

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“A Night of Celebration” is Valencia College’s annual signature event hosted by the Valencia Alumni Association. It provides an opportunity to celebrate noteworthy achievements of selected Valencia alumni. Ten Distinguished Alumni awards will be conferred this year to those individuals who meet the following criteria. Submit your nomination today! Nominees will then be notified and asked to complete a more detailed application to be considered for the award.

Nomination Criteria:

Graduate of Valencia College (formerly Valencia Community College).

Demonstrated significant accomplishments in their field.

Must be able to attend the awards presentation on Friday, December 18th between 7-9 pm in Orlando, Florida at Valencia’s West Campus Special Events Center.

Only online nominations will be accepted.

Nomination deadline – 11:59 pm on November 8, 2015. No exceptions.

Check out last year’s amazing award recipients.

Photos from last year’s event!

Start FIT at Lake Nona

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Florida Tech is now offering a Bachelor’s degree in Logistics Management for students with an AA or AS! Classes accommodate working professionals by meeting once a week from 5:30-8:30pm at Valencia’s Lake Nona Campus. For more information, visit FIT.edu/LakeNona or contact Lauren Remenick at lremenick@fit.edu.

Valencia Alumni Volunteer Spotlight

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Become a mentor and give back!

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Amazing Discounts for You!

Two Free Discount Programs for Valencia Alumni & Friends
Courtesy of the Valencia Alumni Association

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Both discount programs are available to Valencia alumni, retirees and students.
And the best part……they’re absolutely FREE!


Join the Valencia Alumni Rewards Member Perks Program!

Valencia Alumni Rewards provides members with exclusive perks and over $4,500 in savings on everything from pizza and the zoo, to movie tickets, oil changes, hotels, and car rentals!

Popular Features Include:

  • Nearby Offers: Use our show & save mobile coupons to quickly access savings on the go.
  • eTickets On Demand: Save up to 40% with no hidden fees.
  • Show times: Find movies, watch trailers, and save up to 40% at a theater near you.
  • Monthly Giveaways: Win cash, movie tickets, electronics and more with our monthly contests.

And, with over 289,000 available discounts across 10,000 cities in the United States and Canada, you’ll never be far from savings!

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Enjoy some great deals through Working Advantage!

Popular Features Include:

  • Amusement park tickets
  • Family events
  • Merchant gift certificates
  • Online shopping and service discounts with select partners

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1) REGISTER & LOGIN
2) Click “Login” or “Register” at top of page
3) Click “Employees Click Here”(this includes alumni and friends)
4) Enter Valencia’s Member ID #278897230 to create your FREE account.

Working Advantage Customer Service:
customerservice@workingadvantage.com or call (800) 565- 3712

Support the September 11th Walk/Run for Heroes

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Online Registration or Mail In Registration

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Featured Alumnus — Melvin Scott ’11

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By Joy S. Jones

“I am a legacy at Valencia. There’s been a Melvin Scott in a custodial supervisor position for the past 40 years,” said Melvin Scott, Jr. His father and namesake, Melvin Scott, Sr., held a custodial supervisor position prior to him.

Before assuming the role in 2011, Melvin had worked a stint at Valencia years ago but left after custodial management offers in corporate settings proved to be more lucrative. All along, he wanted to complete his college degree, but the demands of work and responsibilities of life got in the way. Finally in 2003, the lack of career fulfillment he was experiencing ran its course, and he left the job, not working for three full years. It was in that space of time that he hatched a plan to return to Valencia.

“I knew I could get my education funded, plus I’m a veteran, so I returned to Valencia and completed my B.S.B.A. (Bachelor of Science in business administration) in 2011,” he said.

Melvin gives credit to John Letterman, managing director, plant operations for supporting his growth and career opportunities.

“Melvin Scott is a supervisor who cares about his people. He takes the time to ensure that all personnel are up to date on the many changes that occur within their field of expertise. Plus, he is the type of supervisor who mentors. He makes it part of his commitment to visit and check with his personnel no matter which shift they work. He’s a supervisor that helps light the path in one’s career!”- Derrick Hilton, security field supervisor

“Once I got my degree, I told John what I was hoping to do career wise, and he said, we have something for you right here.”

John’s support left an indelible mark on Melvin in terms of his management style, and he tries to pay it forward. Melvin encourages his team members, whom he refers to as “ambassadors,” to avail themselves of the numerous professional development benefits that Valencia provides.

“I am an example for my staff. We frequently have how-high-can-you-go conversations,” he said. “Plus, many of them are using the benefits to educate their children and families. I sign quite a few papers (tuition waivers) for my team’s kids who are attending school here.”

Still he shared that peoples’ perceptions of custodial work are often unenthusiastic at best.

“It’s often a thankless job; however, this has been a very fulfilling position for me. People just think of cleaning rooms and floors when they think of janitorial work,” he said before citing the numerous contributions made by his ambassadors with pride:

“We received the Energy Heroes Award for practices that saved West Campus a whopping $71,000. When it comes to the sustainability program, we do things to minimize our footprint through the use of Earth-friendly products and water minimization.” Melvin pointed out that through better technology, the department no longer uses water to strip floors, for example. With 850,000 square feet of floor space under management, it’s easy to see how those sound practices easily add up to ‘good’ all around.

“We also partner with Patti Riva and the Energy Education Program and have done demonstrations for the Association of Florida Colleges Association, showing how we are reducing our footprint. We are way ahead of the curve in terms of how we do our jobs.”

Noting that the custodial department is the largest department in plant operations, Melvin said, “We have 46 people — 92 sets of eyes — so we also see a lot before other people do. We also partner with security. Our team is a group of ambassadors, and that’s what we try to instill.”

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He also credits upgrades in technology for enabling much greater departmental efficiencies.

“We do online training for custodians now and use state-of-the-art equipment. We also do event and classroom setups. There’s a lot of behind-the-scenes work that involves collaborating with departments collegewide,” he said.

Perhaps one of the greatest examples of that collaboration is the logistics setup of President Barack Obama’s visit.

“I was on the detail when President Obama came and worked a lot with the Secret Service and security. That was a great experience.”

Melvin is happy to now be serving on a committee that is looking to replace the maintenance computer management system and will supersede Master Link. The more robust system that they are eyeing will put work orders at each employee’s fingertips.

“I love technology. It’s all about efficiency as a plant operations department, and increasing the quality of the environment for the students to do their best is what it’s all about. We’ve been involved with a lot of positive change that all contributes to students having the best experience possible!”

A U.S. Air Force veteran, Melvin completed an Associate in Arts degree in business administration at Valencia and is still recuperating from the bad knees he got, so often on them praying to complete his Bachelor of Science in business administration from Columbia College in human resources management.

It’s Class Notes Time!

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 We are currently accepting Valencia Alumni Class Notes for the upcoming edition of Vitae magazineGet yours in no later than Friday, August 21st.
Submit your Class Note here!

valencia grad doing big things!

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Carmidaris Rivera-Vega ’13 graduated from Valencia College with an Associates in Arts in General Studies. She was accepted at the University of Central Florida in summer 2013 as a business major.

On May 9th, Carmidaris graduated from the University of Central Florida with a Bachelors of Arts in Business Administration (B.A.B.A.) a Minor in Health Services Administration and a 4.0 GPA. Carmidaris earned Cum Laude distinction and was the only B.A.B.A. student graduating with honors!

While studying at Valencia College, Carmidaris was a member of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society and while at UCF she was a member of the Golden Key International Honour Society.

In March 2013, Carmidaris joined the Valencia College family working as an Accounting Tutor and Front Desk Assistant at the Osceola Campus. Currently, she holds a full-time position as an Accounting Clerk at the Valencia College Foundation.

“What you learn becomes a part of who you are! For this reason, I thank God, my family, Valencia College and the University of Central Florida for being a part of the platform that supports who I am today. In my opinion, there is a single path to success and we build our own. Keep building yours by looking up and following the sky. And yes! That’s right! Our path is endless because there is nothing more rewarding than to keep achieving an entire life.” – Carmidaris Rivera-Vega

Valencia Graduates Working to Pay it Forward!

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Meet this year’s Mary Smedley Collier Distinguished GraduateRebecca Nash! Rebecca and her fellow graduates invite Valencia faculty and staff to help them meet their challenge to raise $5,000 or more before Commencement on May 9th. Their Legacy Class Gift will support future students through scholarships.

Please consider joining their legacy with your support!

Donations can be made:

By credit card: Visit http://valenciacollege.edu/alumni/classgift/ . Completely fill out the form, decide a gift amount that is right for you, and click submit.

Or by cash or check:  Drop off your cash or check donation in any amount at the Alumni Relations office (407-582-3426) in the District Office or mail to: Valencia Alumni Relations, 1768 Park Center Drive, Orlando, FL 32835, or mail intercampus to DO-41.

TAKE THE CHALLENGE. LEAVE A LEGACY. LEAVE YOUR LEGACY!

Free Discount Program Membership!

The Valencia Alumni Association has teamed up with Abenity to offer our alumni and friends a free membership to the Valencia Alumni Rewards and Discounts Program.

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Spring break is almost here. Find great savings through OrlandoVacation.com and save up to 35% on your vacation rentals through your Abenity Discount Program!
http://discounts.abenity.com/perks/vendor/orlandovacation

Log in or create your courtesy account here: https://valenciaalumrewards.abenity.com/perks/support/login

TEDxOrlando 2015

September LIVE Ted Talk

We’re very pleased to announce that TEDxOrlando will return Saturday September 12 to the beautiful, historic Garden Theatre in Winter Garden.

At TEDxOrlando, an exceptional group of thinkers and doers from across Central Florida come together to experience an exciting, interdisciplinary program of short talks given in the celebrated TED format.

Tickets will go on sale to you beginning June 1 — because you are among our most valued supporters. Tickets will be announced to the general public on June 12.

We’re especially excited about this year’s event and hope very much that you’ll join us.

In the meantime, we welcome you to let friends and family know about TEDxOrlando, share your “idea worth spreading,” check out our volunteer opportunities, or participate in a TEDxOrlandoSalon event.

Need money for college?

 

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oh what a night!

Thank you for joining us at the Valencia Alumni Association’s first inaugural
“A Night of Celebration” event to network and celebrate our

Distinguished Alumni Award 2014 recipients:

(pictured L to R): R. McGill, K. Adams, W. Colwell, J. Kimberly, K. Walker, F. Beltrán
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Check out the photos from this year’s amazing event!

congratulations valencia alumnus mikhail elliott ’10!

Congratulations Valencia alumnus Mikhail Elliott ’10! As the Valencia College 2010 recipient of the prestigious Jack Cook Kent Foundation Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship, Mikhail went on to graduate from the University of Tampa and now …has earned a master of science degree in development economics and policy from the University of Manchester in the U.K. Mikhail currently resides in London and is seeking employment there in economic policy/consultancy or economic research. Mikhail is also a proud member of Valencia’s Association of Honors Alumni, a.k.a. AHA! You can join him by indicating your interest when you complete your new or updated online membership form: http://valenciacollege.edu/alumni/membership_form.cfm.

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a night of celebration!

You are invited to the Valencia Alumni Association’s
inaugural “A Night of Celebration” event.

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Please join us as we celebrate this first year’s
Distinguished Alumni Award recipients.

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get your scholarship now!

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2014 -15 Valencia Alumni Association General Scholarship Application is NOW OPEN! We have many scholarships for students to choose from. You don’t want to miss out!

Log in or create your account to get started:
https://valencia.scholarships.ngwebsolutions.com/CMXAdmin/Cmx_Content.aspx?cpId=466

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Dr. Homer Samuels Dental Hygiene Scholarship 2014 Scholar,
Linsey Amir (center) at this years 2014 Alumni Achievers Reception 

 

kudos to desiree quinto! desiree graduated from valencia in 2011 and from ucf in 2012. and on she goes!

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By: Adam Rhodes, Central Florida Future

Imagine finally getting that job offer that has seemed so far away for so long. Now imagine getting it on national television.

For Desiree Quinto, a 2012 UCF graduate, that was her reality on Oct. 13, when, after two long years of job hunting, she was offered a job as a discovery specialist for her dream company, Birchbox, on Good Morning America during a segment about college graduates struggling to find work.

“I love the transparency there and the culture of the office,” Quinto said of the company. “CEOs are walking around, sitting side-by-side with their employees and getting to know [them]. There’s so much inspiration and room for growth. Ever since I walked in, I knew it was where I wanted to work.”

While Quinto was sure of her desire to work for Birchbox, she had no idea about the outcome of that Good Morning America segment.

“I had no idea,” Quinto said. “Even [that] morning I had no idea that was happening. I got in there at 5 a.m. and couldn’t be near TVs or have my phone.”

Even before she graduated UCF with an interdisciplinary studies degree, Quinto said she had been applying to places in New York City in hopes of moving there after graduation.

During her time at Valencia College, and then UCF, Quinto immersed herself in volunteer and non-profit work.

At Valencia, she became a member of the Model United Nations. Then at UCF, she made the dean’s list a handful of times and became a member of the Nonprofit Management Student Association and the Association of Fundraising Professionals. Through those organizations, Quinto was able to become a certified nonprofit professional.

It’s that nonprofit experience that Quinto said made her competitive in the job market.

Even with that competitive edge, Quinto said, she still had trouble landing a job, despite getting relatively far with several interviews. Since graduation in December 2012, Quinto had been in South Florida working at a Mexican restaurant, Baja Cafe Dos.

But that’s all about to change as she makes her journey to her dream city.

As a Birchbox discovery specialist, Quinto will work directly with customers either over the phone or online through social media and email.

“She really showed us that she cared about the customer experience and what it really means to work with a customer and give them a great experience,” said Melissa Enbar, director of recruiting and talent development for Birchbox. “She showed us she was curious and asked a lot of questions. She was interested about the job in the company.”

Aside from Quinto’s curiosity and people skills, Enbar also said she stood out thanks to the research she did about the company.

“She was really knowledgeable about Birchbox,” Enbar said. “She did her research on what we do and how we do it.”

This coming weekend, Quinto is able to finally live her dream of living in New York City as she moves to Queens to start her position as a discovery specialist at her dream company.

orlando history vote!

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The Orange County Regional History Center is holding a contest, asking the public to vote on “100 Historic Icons of Orlando” for an upcoming exhibit.

Please consider voting for the founding of Valencia College in 1967 – and please cast a vote for the founding father of Valencia, Raymer F. Maguire, Jr. (West Campus students may recognize his name; the campus library is named for him.)

What you may not know is this: Maguire fought Orlando’s good-old-boy network, which wanted a segregated junior college. Instead, he led the fight to create a public college open to everyone.

Voting ends this week, so please go online at the link and cast your vote for the founding of Valencia and for Raymer Maguire Jr. To vote, you can go to either one of the following places:

History Center Website: http://www.historiciconsoforlando.com/

History Center Facebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Historic-Icons-of-Orlando/293074144177867?sk=app_140144849426314

calling for alumni class notes for Vitae magazine!

Social Media Post

Check out the current edition of the Vitae magazine.

calling for alumni class notes for Vitae magazine!

Social Media PostCheck out the current edition of the Vitae magazine.

lace up for student scholarships!

Social Media Post Aug 14

Online Registration or Mail In Registration

american association of community colleges outstanding alumnus award 2015

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If you know of a Valencia graduate who meets ALL of these criteria, please submit their information to Barbara Shell, Director of Community and Alumni Relations by Friday, August 15th.

 ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA

1. Attended Valencia for at least 30 semester hours or 45 quarter hours.

2. Has notable achievements in career field.

3. Has specific philanthropic or public service activity that supports the community and/or college.

4. Has achieved recognition at a national level.

5. Provides inspirational impact.

valencia alum louis gray ’98 making a difference

From “the Projects” to Gray’s Project: A Profile of Louis Gray
By Bonnie Beth Silvestri, JD, Director of Strategic Communications

Louis Gray is the Office of Community Engagement and Partnerships “go-to” person in USF Registrar’s Office, helping OCEP fulfill its mission to support the service-learning curriculum on campus. Gray, the Registrar’s Office’s Academic Services Administrator, has been working behind the scenes, under the leadership of his supervisor Tony Embry and USF Registrar Angela Debose, coding each service-learning class offered on campus in Banner, the university’s administrative information system.

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Once the courses are coded, students are able to easily find service-learning offerings in OASIS; and OCEP can calculate the number of service-learning course sections and students enrolled. During the last academic school year, there were 188 sections of service-learning courses coded in the system, and over 4,000 students enrolled in these courses, which is a significant increase thanks to outreach efforts by OCEP and the Registrar’s Office.

And, it is no surprise that OCEP can count on Gray to help with these efforts, because he “gets it,” and he lives it. A natural connector, Gray said, “I’m the type to bring the community together.”

To that end, Gray started a Tampa-based nonprofit called G.R.A.Y.S. Project Inc. (Granting At-Risk Adolescents and Youth Sustainability), to provide the kind of support system for young people that he wished he had growing up in the Lake Mann Housing Project in Orlando.
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Through his eponymous nonprofit, Gray devotes evenings and weekends to tutoring young people of all ages with their schoolwork and to helping high school students with their college entrance exam preparation. Gray’s Project also partners with Second Chance Center for Boys & G3 Life Applications to provide tutoring, life coaching, and ACT Test prep to the local high school students.

Soon, he plans to expand the reach of Gray’s Project to Orlando to strengthen his partnership with Orlando’s Parramore Kidz Zone, one of eleven sites to receive a Promise Neighborhood Grant through the National League of Cities, in conjunction with the White House’s black male achievement initiative. Parramore Kidz Zone is a model program in an historically black neighborhood that has been making a difference. Additionally, the local Housing Authority has requested that he return to his roots in Lake Mann to tutor and mentor the youngest residents at its onsite Kids Café.

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(USF student volunteers with Gray’s Project)

He mused, “the projects…think about that word,” while remembering his childhood in Lake Mann.  His first eighteen years living in government-subsidized housing, often referred to as “the projects,” was challenging. There was a police presence there, but he called it a “mirage.” He said, it was more about “getting to know you to arrest you,” than to protect and serve the residents.

Gray’s work is completely self-funded, but he also relies on the help of others to keep his programs going. “When you give, give, give, people go above and beyond.”

Gray has enlisted a corps of volunteers, including twelve USF students and ten working professionals, to tutor and mentor young people.

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(Gray’s parents)

He credits his parents with giving him the support and structure that kept him on the forward trajectory that eventually led him to earning his MBA and working in academia. He said, “Family is key. Studies show family support and structure in the house [determine whether] you succeed or fail in life.”

He said that his father, who worked as a sharecropper as a child and drove a truck throughout his adult life, was home every night with his ten children. Gray’s dad told his son stories of working hard in the fields, only to get “scraps” from the owners of the farm. This made him wary of the predatory lending schemes often marketed to minority communities and informed his decision to raise his family in government-subsidized housing.

Gray is the youngest and his family refers to him as “baby boy.” He said, “We had to be in the house by the time the street lights came on or we would get in trouble.” He said that his father was both stern and playful with the large and loving family.

His mother, who worked as a housekeeper, and his father valued family dinners, getting eight hours of sleep, and a nutritious breakfast every morning before school. He said that wasn’t the case for many of his contemporaries who were often allowed to stay out late and/or would go to school hungry, which made it difficult for them to concentrate in school.

As part of his school district’s efforts to integrate the local school system, Gray attended middle school eight miles away and high school ten miles away from his home. He said, “I really think it was successful. It broke down a lot of barriers, [e.g.,] how you relate to different races as you get older.”

He was an enterprising young person, starting a small candy store and a cookie and juice stand marketed to other children. He believes he had an “internal drive to overcome his situation.”

Even with his family’s support, however, he realizes that in many ways the deck was stacked against him. He said that his lens was always “that’s just the way it is.”

After graduating from high school, he said he “stumbled across a job at Valencia Community College delivering mail from campus to campus.” He got free tuition, so he started taking one or two classes at a time over a fourteen-year period and obtained an Associate of Arts degree. Then, he completed his Bachelor of Arts at Columbia College, Orlando branch, and went on to earn an MBA from the Keller Graduate School of Management, while working in different administrative roles at Valencia Community College. In 2012, shortly before finishing his MBA, he began working at USF.

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Gray said he has seen “so many struggles in our country and how people just gave up and settled.” Gray’s Project, he said, is designed “to uplift, give promise and hope to all individuals.”

“I look like them,” he said; and he tells them, “I’m from where you are.” He hopes to inspire young people, “not to say, look at me, I’ve got so much, but [to show] what you can be if you stay focused.”

Gray takes time away from his own family to work with local children, which can be difficult. But as soon as he reaches them, and connects with them, it makes it worthwhile. When they ask, “Mr. Louis, are you coming back next Saturday?” he knows he is making a difference in their lives.

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In addition to his work mentoring and tutoring, Gray educates young people about the “school-to-prison pipeline.” When children are expelled, the rate of those going to prison increases tremendously. He said that he wants young people to be aware that they need to be very careful; because discipline can be meted out in a biased way impacting minority communities.

Gray is also very active on campus, including serving as the Vice Chair of the Student and Presidential Advisory Committee on Black Affairs (COBA), which advises the President on matters affecting Black faculty, staff, and students of the University.

In the fall, Gray plans to begin a Post Master’s Leadership in Higher Education graduate certificate with a goal of working toward a PhD.

He will also begin teaching Academic Foundations; and he plans to add a service-learning component into the course. Students will be able to volunteer with Gray’s Project or with the Moffitt Center.

He will incorporate his strong will to persevere into the course. “That will be a story that I can share with incoming students.”

To learn more about how you can get involved, go to Gray’s Project.  For more about the Parramore Kidz Zone, click here.  For more on the school-to-prison pipeline, click here for “Demanding Zero Tolerance for Florida’s School- to-Prison Pipeline.”

 

after-hours wine and cheese reception

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tedxorlandosalon at valencia!

tedAnnouncing TEDxOrlandoSalon’s next meeting on Wednesday, August 6, 2014.
Hope you can come!

When: Wednesday, August 6, 2014
Where: Valencia College Osceola Campus, Bldg 4, Rm 105
1800 Denn John Lane
Kissimmee, FL 34744
Register: http://www.tedxorlando.com/salon/
Email us: info@tedxorlando.com
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New! Book exchange! Bring a book, take a new one home. (Please remember to take unclaimed books home with you.)

Two TED Talk videos will be shown, each followed by a discussion break; the event program is determined by vote.

What we have planned for our next meeting:

  • Sarah Jones: What does the future hold? 11 characters offer quirky answers
  • Wendy Chung: Autism — what we know (and what we don’t know yet)
  • Mellody Hobson: Color blind or color brave?
  • Amy Webb: How I hacked online dating
  • Stanley McChrystal: The military case for sharing knowledge

TEDxOrlandoSalon
TEDxOrlandoSalon meets every other month at Valencia College locations. A typical meeting draws approximately 50 smart, interesting, engaged people. Some will be regulars and some will be newcomers. Some choose to eat during the event, others choose not to. Two TEDTalk videos are shown, each followed by a discussion break. The event program is determined by vote, and discussions are open-ended.

TEDxOrlando
TEDxOrlando is a one-day conference featuring live speakers. Please stay tuned for details.

Code of Conduct
TEDxOrlando and TEDxOrlandoSalon are about the exchange of meaningful ideas and deep discussion, not selling. Opportunities do sometimes result from contacts made at our meetings and we encourage that. However, we ask that you refrain from using TEDxOrlando or TEDxOrlandoSalon primarily as a platform for promoting yourself, your personal political or religious views, your business, or your organization.

TEDx
TEDxOrlando and TEDxOrlandoSalon operate under license from TEDx, a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share ideas worth spreading. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks videos and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x=independently organized event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized. http://tedxorlando.us1.list-manage.com/track/click?u=4065cf3354e5dbe3aa57ab169&id=771295dc95&e=dda8202fc9

TED
TED is an annual event where some of the world’s leading thinkers and doers are invited to share what they are most passionate about. “TED” stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design — three broad subject areas that are, collectively, shaping our future. And in fact, the event is broader still, showcasing ideas that matter in any discipline. Attendees have called it “the ultimate brain spa” and “a four-day journey into the future.” The diverse audience — CEOs, scientists, creatives, philanthropists — is almost as extraordinary as the speakers, who have included Bill Clinton, Bill Gates, Jane Goodall, Frank Gehry, Paul Simon, Sir Richard Branson, Philippe Starck and Bono. http://tedxorlando.us1.list-manage.com/track/click?u=4065cf3354e5dbe3aa57ab169&id=30542d058c&e=dda8202fc9

ted 1

making a difference

Pic 2 i really like this one

(L to R; Melissa Pedone, Barbara Shell and Katherine Pedone at
the Valencia College 9th Annual 5K Run, Walk & Roll)

BY JOY S. JONES

Barbara Shell teams with valued community partners and a host of volunteers in her role as the director of community and alumni relations. It’s a position where the sky’s the limit. After all, her goal of providing lifelong personal educational and professional growth for alumni and students of Valencia College can take many forms when dealing with a group as far reaching and diverse.

Just this week, two Valencia alums, Dick Batchelor, business and political consultant, and State Senator Andy Gardiner were listed in “Orlando Magazine’s” 2014 “50 Most Powerful List.” And new alumnus Angel Sanchez, Valencia’s 2014 “Distinguished Graduate,” is speaking at Blackboard World’s 2014 conference today.

It’s a huge responsibility and a welcome career for anyone who relishes no two days at work being the same, which is how she describes what she does.

“A true advocate of Valencia and our wonderful alumni, I’ve worked closely with Barbara the last few years and am always impressed with how well she works with so many different types of people and personalities,” says Michelle Matis, foundation vice president and chief operating officer. “She is very patient and compassionate and truly believes in developing authentic relationships with everyone she meets.”

Any wonder that Barbara’s work in alumni and community relations keeps her extremely busy with numerous meetings and events. “Many of these happen after hours and on weekends and she tirelessly keeps up with managing all of them and always with a smile on her face,” Michelle continued.

“The challenge is to find opportunities that will appeal to everyone — all different ages and interests, but fun. And any success that I might have is thanks to the many community volunteers with whom I work,” Barbara says. Those volunteers include current students and alumni.

One such opportunity is the TEDxOrlando partnership, with TEDxOrlandoSalons.

“TEDxOrlando has been very successful for over four years and held the organization’s TEDxOrlandoSalons monthly at a restaurant in College Park that closed down in December 2013,” says Barbara. “Many of our alumni, retirees, employees and students were involved and loved the TEDxOrlandoSalon experience, including me, and I was able to develop a partnership to bring the Salons to Valencia campuses. Now instead of offering them at only one location, it expands the opportunity for others to more conveniently participate,” she says.

One important factor that drives the success of her office is the database of alumni, now 25,000 members strong, including the 600-member Retiree Connection group. All receive “Vitae” magazine, a part of the glue that keeps alumni connected to the College and each other. They’re an industrious bunch, spread throughout the country and abroad. Barbara struggles to keep up with what’s new with them and their current contact information, to keep the relationships alive, which is something she invites faculty and staff to help her do.

“Whenever anyone is in touch with alums, if you just prompt them to be sure that the alumni office has their current contact information, it will help us a great deal,” she says.

Barbara readily confesses that the work itself isn’t difficult, given Valencia’s outstanding reputation in the community, and nationwide, as a result of the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence. What’s more, she frequently encounters those who contribute in some way who say they simply want to “pay it forward.”

“Seems that everybody knows somebody who knows somebody who has been impacted by Valencia in a positive way. Most everyone wants to be part of a good investment, which Valencia is,” Barbara says.

In turn, they make investments in the gifts of their time, talent and treasure.

“When a person provides an internship opportunity that will help a student succeed later in life, volunteers with our office or programs, or contributes to student scholarships, they’re making important and valuable investments,” she says. “And our impact as an institution is felt, not just in Central Florida, but in the world community. It’s just very exciting to be a part of it all.”

Among the most prized aspects of her job is coordination of the annual Alumni Achievers Reception held each June where Alumni Association scholarship awards are celebrated.
14396511362_28a686a1a1_o“What’s always fascinating to me is how surprised the recipients are to see themselves as ‘special’,” Barbara says. “With their families looking on, many with children and many more, first generation college students, it is just tremendous to see their level of gratitude that someone believes in them and their abilities. Their example of working to get an education and placing an importance on the value of an education goes a long way for everyone.”

While she shares that it’s a challenge to keep up with it all, she finds it all very rewarding.

“We have the entire spectrum of people who can tell you a compelling story about how Valencia was a significant factor in helping them achieve their educational goals — and the stories just keep growing.”

Barbara has been employed at Valencia since 2004. She earned a bachelor’s degree in education at the University of North Carolina – Wilmington and a master’s degree in community health from Plymouth State University.

association of honors alumni transfer scholarship

Capture

Student volunteers from the Honors Program will be working hard selling roses at Valencia’s Commencement this Saturday to raise funds to support the Association of  Honors Alumni Transfer Scholarship.  Donations to support their work and the scholarship can be made online .

 

valencia graduate doing it big!

grad picHeather Marinello ’11,Valencia College Honors graduate–
“To fulfill my dreams of becoming a doctor, I started off by taking heavy science classes at Valencia and without them I would never have had the foundation necessary for me to get to where I am today.”

Heather graduated on December 16th, 2013 from the University of Central Florida with a degree in Bio-medical Science, Health Science, and a minor in Medical Sociology. She participated in two outreach trips to Haiti in 2012 and 2013, and became the treasurer for the club International Medical Outreach. Heather was then awarded the Presidential Volunteer Service Award and also worked in the Florida Hospital Waterman emergency department in Tavares for a year. “Throughout my last year, I found a great balance of medical sciences and patient interaction in Clinical Audiology.”  Heather has now been accepted into Nova Southeastern University’s Doctor of Audiology program for fall of 2014. Once she has completed this program, Heather hopes to publish using her medical illustration skills and education.  She also hopes to own her own practice.

Go Heather! Doing BIG things and making all of Valencia proud.

valencia graduate- michael maguire

 

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By Joy S. Jones

For Michael Maguire, operations manager, video productions, Valencia represents access to opportunity, which he experienced first as a degree-seeking student majoring in theater in 1992.

“Prior to Valencia, my future prospects were dim and the idea of getting into and affording college seemed impossible,” said Michael, a first-generation college student. “No one in my family had ever gone to college, few had even graduated high school, and because of a series of hardships, they were often caught in a vicious cycle of low-paying jobs, living check-to-check, and under constant threat of homelessness.”

Graduating from Valencia in 1995 enabled him to break this cycle. “It transformed my life in countless ways, both personally and professionally. It opened doors of opportunity and life experiences that I would have never had access to without it,” he said, enabling him to build a solid foundation of knowledge and skills that would help him, and future students, to be successful.

Over time, he would come to see the College through many lenses.

From 2007 through 2008, he taught two courses — electronic imaging and digital video and sound — as an adjunct professor for the graphics technology program. “Fostering student learning and witnessing their growth over the semester was incredibly rewarding and gave me unique insight into the many challenges instructors face.”

Now, those classroom insights come in handy as he uses his skills as a video producer to help students develop a richer understanding of their subjects via instructional videos.

The student becomes the master.

Michael managed a full-scale, five-year renovation of the West Campus video production studio when the mission of the department shifted from broadcast to educational video production, resulting in a user-friendly, state-of-the-art studio with robust teaching tools.

valencia-productions-collage-grove-568x256

“This facility is positioned to handle instructional video needs better than ever before and provides a host of options for instructors to make their videos more dynamic and engaging for students,” he said.

A collaborative effort, the studio represents the culmination and refinement of rich conversations with faculty and input and support from numerous areas of the College including OIT, plant operations, learning support services and others.

Michael values the joyful experiences he shares daily working alongside colleagues who radiate a strong sense of purpose and who give freely of themselves, because they know their work here is meaningful and has the ability to positively impact a student’s life. He shares that it’s the strong sense of community, shared passion for learning and the culture of inquiry and collaboration that keeps him motivated; and it’s something he brings to each project he undertakes.

He’s carried this sense of community with him ever since professors Celine Kavalec-Miller, now faculty director of the Teaching/Learning Academy (TLA), and Elizabeth Eschbach, professor of humanities, sparked a flame in him for learning that continues to blaze white hot. After graduating from Valencia, Michael would go on to earn a Bachelor’s of Science in communications from Florida State University, and a Master’s in Business Administration from Rollins College.

“There just is no substitute for that gratifying feeling of creating an ‘aha’ moment in a student’s life. Creating videos that help students develop a richer understanding is very rewarding, and in some ways, is the most significant work I have ever done.”

 

alumni events!

Blue Martini Flyer

We are starting the year off right and it’s all happening TONIGHT, you don’t want to miss this! The FIRST Alumni after-hours mixer of 2014, so come on out Valencia Alumni and Friends.

Solar Flyer II

Don’t forget to get your DISCOUNTED tickets while they’re HOT and going fast for the Valencia College Alumni and Friends with the Orlando Solar Bears Night.

valencia graduate mehdi khoumassi

Mehdi-Khoumassi-fc-grove

 

Mehdi Khoumassi, information technology manager of Campus Technology Services at West Campus, was challenged by his father, who was on the verge of retirement at the time, to complete his bachelor’s degree so that he could retire without worrying about his son. Mehdi not only completed his bachelor’s degree, but around that same time he became a U.S. citizen and his son was born.

In early 2000, he enrolled at Valencia as an international student from Morocco — he is fluent in French and Arabic, but at the time did not speak much English. While completing his associate degree at Valencia, he worked as a student assistant in the Audio Visual Department.

“Since coming to Valencia I have had the pleasure of meeting and working with a variety of people. In fact, beginning my full-time tenure at Valencia was considerably easy because I had met so many of the faculty and staff of the West Campus in my roles of student and student assistant.”

In 2004, he became a permanent resident of the United States and was hired as a classroom technology support specialist at West Campus, a role that he thrived in for seven years.

“Mehdi has a ‘can-do’ type of attitude that perfectly balances out his technical abilities,”  says Carmine La Pietra, director of Campus Technology Services on West Campus, and Mehdi’s manager.

In 2011, Mehdi was promoted to IT manager of Campus Technology Services for the West Campus. As manager, he oversees the daily operations for the campus technology office that provides technology support for all classrooms and special events for the West Campus.

“I met Mehdi Khoumassi when he arrived at Valencia as an international student in 2000. I have followed his academic and professional progress since that time. Mehdi is an exceptional young man who is genuinely happy, caring and compassionate. To say that I am proud of Mehdi is an understatement, I believe he is a living example of Valencia’s “start right” philosophy,” shares Bliss Thompson, senior coordinator of international student services on West Campus.

Mehdi shares that he has “always been fortunate to work for and with good people.” He mentions mentors and friends, Karen Blondeau, Carmine LaPietra and John Watson as people who have helped him to achieve success at Valencia, but also notes that the culture here has promoted a collaborative environment and great teamwork among his whole department and beyond.

“All the part- and full-time staff of the department — these, and others I may not even be aware of — have always helped me to realize the potential in me and have continued to support all of my personal, academic and professional goals.”

Mehdi explains that he has the opportunity to see community, partnership and collaboration in action regularly while supporting technology components for community events sponsored by Valencia. “While the word community is no longer in the name of the College, the spirit of community lives [on],” he notes.

Mehdi has an associate degree from Valencia and a bachelor’s degree in management information systems from the University of Central Florida. He feels he has enjoyed great success, but says his most significant accomplishments are “as a husband and father.”

 By Laura Knight

idignity

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.

valencia homecoming 2013

ImageValencia board of trustees chairperson, Maria Grulich, and daughters at
Valencia Orlando Magic Night.

Homecoming 2013 wrapped up with the Magic’s opening night game on Friday night!  Valencia alumni and friends were busy during October with Osceola notable alumni and paralegal networking receptions, a Retiree Connection luncheon and the 35th Dental Hygiene Program Anniversary reunion.

Check out the photos for each event in the Alumni Association website photo gallery or Facebook page.

 

going fast!

Good news!  There is still time to get your tickets,  but they won’t last.

Print

Come be a part of the action in the Amway Center on OPENING NIGHT!
Valencia Homecoming Orlando Magic vs. New Orleans Pelicans
tickets by 
Monday, October 21st!

Check out full details on the event flyer by following the link below:

 http://valenciacollege.edu/alumni/documents/ValenciaCollege11113.pdf

orlando magic vs new orleans pelicans game discount tickets!

orl vs no

Don’t forget to purchase your discounted
Valencia Homecoming Orlando Magic vs. New Orleans Pelicans
tickets by 
Monday, October 21st!

Check out full details on the event flyer by following the link below:

 http://valenciacollege.edu/alumni/documents/ValenciaCollege11113.pdf

5k honoring 9/11 heroes

DRAFT PIC

 

 

Dear Friends,

Want to make a difference in our community? Sign up for the Valencia College Family Walk/Run for Heroes Osceola Campus 5K run and 2.5K run. All proceeds go toward the Rotary Club of Lake Nona’s Sept. 11 Memorial Fund to support Valencia scholarships for emergency responders at the Osceola Campus.

The Rotary club of Lake Nona’s September 11th Memorial Project — A flag for each of the 2,977 people that were lost on that fateful day — will be installed at the Osceola Campus for the second year.

Date: Saturday, September 7
Time: Race Start is 6:30PM
Distances:  5K and 2.5K fun run

Come and enjoy:

  • Lots of awards and fun
  • Refreshments
  • Kids Fun Run and crafts for kids under 10
  • Commemorative t-shirt and race bag
  • Flag display honoring 9/11 heroes

Go here for more information and to register.

See you there!

Your Osceola 5K Planning Committee

ALL Sponsors

help make a difference!

Drawing

 

Has Valencia College had a positive impact on your life or on a loved one? A college degree, a new career, a better job, renewed self confidence?

If so, please consider making a modest donation to support deserving students who are the first in their families to attend college. Every dollar matters, goes 100 percent to scholarships and will be doubled by a challenge grant.

More than 100,000 students have graduated from Valencia, and more than 60,000 will enter our classrooms next week. Our professors and staff are committed to student success, which has resulted in extraordinary completion rates, jobs after graduation, and starting salaries.

These achievements earned Valencia the first-ever Aspen Institute Prize for community college academic excellence.

We are grateful for your consideration.

www.valencia.org/FirstOne

letter from the governor to valencia graduates

College Graduate

aha is hosting another exciting luau for alumni!

luau 3

Tomorrow night The Association of Honors Alumni (AHA) will host their 4th Annual Luau. This wonderful networking event will not only be fun, but will include tropical food and beverages, music, games and much more! Casual or tropical dress recommended!

This year’s event will be held on Valencia College West Campus, Special Events Center Bldg. 8, from 7-9 pm.
Suggested Donation $10.00.

ALL donations will support the Honors Alumni Transfer Scholarship; Marleina Ubel was this year’s 2013 recipient. Donations can be made online at https://donate.valencia.org/honors

valencia alumni news

Miriam

 

Miriam Ivelisse Martinez ’03 earned an AA degree in General Studies from Valencia College. She graduated from UCF in May with her Master’s degree and will be working with Homeland Security (ICE).

Go Miriam!

valencia alumni news

 

IMG00172-20110705-1807

Nursing alum Richard Gerber ’74 is currently serving as a consultant to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  He would love to hear from fellow classmates from the class of 1974!  Richard celebrated the birth of his first born grandson, Hudson and he and his wife, Valerie, celebrated an amazing 37 years of marriage. Now if that wasn’t enough good news, he and his son have started a courier business called AllPoints Courier Express, specializing in medical courier deliveries. Check out their website: www.allpointscourierexpress.com

Wow! Congratulations Richard

new vitae magazine is out!

DSC_0761

Graduate Susannah Jo Snavely ’11 is featured in the Class Notes section on page 29. Susannah is majoring in Human Resources Management at the University of Central Florida, preparing to graduate with a B.S. in August 2013. After graduation, she hopes to continue in Human Resources full-time at Regal Marine Industries, her employer of almost three years.

An avid world-traveler, she recently expanded her trip portfolio to include a week in Ireland and two visits to Washington, D.C. with her brother, Valencia alum John Snavely. She also discovered a passion for politics, and devoted her free time last fall to promote Gov. Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign with the Republican Party of Florida.

Check this and more out! 

please take a moment of silence for former valencia student and veteran

christian

PV 2 Christian Anthony Clausen V

Clausen, V, PV 2, Christian Anthony “” 24, of Orlando, Florida, passed away Thursday, June 6th, 2013 in Fort Sill, Oklahoma. He is survived by his wife Samantha; parents, Chris and Terry; sisters, Kayla and Annie; grandparents, Chris and Julia Clausen, Dorothy Lee and the late Arthur Lee, and numerous family members and friends. He is a graduate of University High School then attended Valencia Community College. He went on to serve in the US Army where he received numerous awards including three Army Achievement Medals, the Global War Terrorism Award, Korean Defense Service Award, and the Overseas Service Ribbon. His hobbies included hunting, fishing and skateboarding, baseball, cross country, music, cooking, boating and wakeboarding. He was raised in a traditional Cajun household; he loved all things in the Louisiana culture, including the New Orleans Saints and especially the LSU Tigers. He was an amazing young man and will be greatly missed by many. In lieu of flowers, the family asks for donations to be made in his name to the Wounded Warrior Project, PO Box 758517, Topeka, KS 66675. The family will receive friends on Saturday, June 15th from 9-11 AM with a service to be held at 11 AM at Osceola Memory Gardens Funeral Home, St. Cloud, interment to follow at Mount Peace Cemetery, Saint Cloud, with full Military Honors. Arrangements under the direction of Osceola Memory Gardens Funeral Home, 2000 13th Street, St. Cloud, FL 34769; (407)-957-2511. www.OsceolaMemGds.com.

Published in the Orlando Sentinel on June 13, 2013

celebrating student achievement!

LOVELYNE

Meet Lovelyne Toussaint, one of this year’s recipients of the Alumni Association Student Scholarship.  Lovelyne is one of the many students that were recognized at the 2013 Alumni Achievers Reception hosted by the Valencia Alumni Association.  Please enjoy this excerpt from this wonderful student’s thank you letter to the association:

“Thank you so much for investing in my education.  It means the world to me that you have chosen to help me succeed. I am a first generation Haitian American student and my education means everything to me. My parents did not have the chance to attend college but still managed to create a comfortable life for me and my three little sisters; I want to make them proud. My educational goals include graduating from Valencia College and attending the University of Central Florida. There I plan on majoring in Technical English Communication for my undergraduate and graduate degrees. My career goals include writing technically for a prestigious company, publishing books, doing research, and later teaching English at a College or University.

I believe that one of the greatest things in life any human being can accomplish is learning to love and help others. I wouldn’t be where I am today without the help of some very special individuals. One day I dream of being able to give back and help others achieve their dreams, just like you are helping me with this donation. My father often says that a leader does not create followers, they create leaders; that’s the type leader that I want to be. I believe that my career path in writing and communications will graciously allow me to help and connect with others. Words cannot express how much this means to me, thank you so much for your donation and God Bless.”

alumni association celebrates students!

Sandra Murphy

Meet Sandra Murphy, this year’s recipient of the Dr. Homer Samuels Dental Hygiene Scholarship.  Sandra is one of the many students that will be recognized at the 2013 Alumni Achievers Reception hosted by the Valencia Alumni Association.  Please enjoy this excerpt from this wonderful student’s thank you letter.

“I want to take a moment to thank you for this generous gift. This scholarship will help me continue my education and better my life. My goal is to become a registered dental hygienist and this gift is going to help accomplish that goal. I was very surprised to see the email notifying me that I had been awarded this scholarship, as I have applied to many and not received any responses.

I will be the first from my mother’s side of the family to graduate from college and as you can imagine this makes my mother very proud. Nothing will make me happier than to show her that I can do it, that I can be someone and in the meantime help people have not only better oral hygiene but also have better lives. Thank you again for this wonderful gift!”

alumni association scholarship celebration

The Valencia College Alumni Association hosts its annual Alumni Achievers Reception each year to celebrate the Valencia students who are recipients of its scholarships for the academic year.  Thirty-six awardees and their guests will join Valencia alumni, students, community partners, and friends at this year’s reception on June 5th on the West Campus.   Volunteer excellence awards will also be presented to Valencia student partner groups and alumni who make it possible for the alumni association to fulfill its mission of providing opportunities for lifelong personal, educational and professional growth for alumni and students of Valencia College.

This year’s host will be Monica May who is a member Valencia’s Black Advisory Committee.  Ms. May is the host of the Tom Joyner Morning Show, as well as news/community affairs director at STAR 94.5.

achivers social mediaDr. Falecia Williams, West Campus President, Dr. Kathleen Plinske, Osceola Campus President  and students at the
Alumni Achievers Reception 2012

bill castellano civic leadership award recipient honored

bill castel

José Abastida and Osceola Campus President, Dr. Kathleen Plinske.  On stage with José: City of Orlando Commissioner Mr. Tony Ortiz; Consulate General of México in Orlando, Mr. Efrén Nicolás Leyva Acevedo; Executive Director of Casa de México, Mrs. Blanquita Trabold; and Valencia Trustee and President of the Board of Casa de México, Mr. Guillermo Hansen.

José Abastida, Osceola SGA president during the 2012-2013 academic year and recipient of the Bill Castellano Civic Leadership Award 2013 by the alumni association was recognized by the Casa de México.  He received el Reconocimiento Tenochtitlán at a Cinco de Mayo celebration at Orlando City Hall last week.  This award is presented to a student of Mexican or Latin American descent who has displayed outstanding leadership and character.  We agree with Dr. Plinske:  “We are so proud that José received this honor. ¡Felicitaciones José!”

alumni and friends reunion/reception!

dental ready

Saturday, May 18th, 2-5 pm! Register online or call 407-582-3426!

dhr

join the valencia alumni association!

keep calm

 

Joining the Valencia Alumni Association has never been so easy.

Why join?  To put it simply, the Valencia Alumni Association helps Valencia’s graduates stay in touch with one another, students and with the college. Getting involved is the perfect way to know what’s going on with Valencia, other alumni and the community.

Check out some of the amazing leadership, networking and volunteer opportunities currently on our always changing menu:

  • Discounted Valencia Theater tickets
    Theater – Valencia Character Company
  • Create and participate in alumni-sponsored events
    Alumni Calendar and News
  • Contribute to Valencia’s future through leadership and participation in various programs and committees
  • Receive a copy of Vitae, Valencia’s bi-annual magazine

I WANT TO BE A MEMBER!

let everybody know what you’ve been up to!

It’s not too late for Valencia graduates to be featured in “Class Notes” of the upcoming edition of Valencia’s Vitae magazine.  You can submit your own CLASS NOTE online.  It’s simple!   There is an option for including photos as well.  News can include personal and professional highlights that have recently happened to you.

The deadline to submit for this edition is Thursday, May 2nd.

All editions of Vitae magazine can be viewed on the Alumni Association’s website.

 

 

mayor richard t. crotty-valencia-ucf 2+2 scholarship

Matheiu

Mayor Richard Crotty (L), Mathieu Hill (C), and Dr. Sandy Shugart (R) pictured at the Alumni Achievers Reception in June, 2011. Mathieu Hill entered Valencia as a high school recipient of the Mayor Richard T. Crotty-Valencia-UCF 2+2 Scholarship from the Osceola County School for the Arts in 2011. He is graduating from Valencia this year and has once again been selected as a recipient for this scholarship as he goes on to attend UCF.

Eight recipients for the Mayor Richard T. Crotty-Valencia-UCF 2+2 Scholarship have been selected after interviews by a joint committee consisting of members from both the Valencia and UCF alumni associations.  This scholarship is awarded annually to graduating Valencia College students entering the University of Central Florida this fall along with graduating high school students from Orange and Osceola Counties entering Valencia College this fall who will attend UCF upon graduation.

Recipients of this $4,000 scholarship for this year are:

Graduating Valencia students entering UCF:

  • Mathieu Hill
  • Javier Grisales
  • Andrew Wulf

High school students entering Valencia College:

  • Michael Cerverizzo, West Orange High School
  • Christopher De Miranda, Olympia High School
  • Kaveena Jaikaran, Colonial High School
  • Daniel Romero, Osceola High School
  • Stacy Tran, Evans High School

valencia 5k photos are up!

2013 Alumni 5k312

Coming together and running together for a cause.   Over 225 athletes and  volunteers gathered to do just that on Saturday, March 30th on Valencia’s West Campus for  Valencia’s 8th Annual 5K Run, Walk & Roll sponsored by the Valencia Alumni Association.  Funds raised through this event will go to support Valencia students through criminal justice, firefighter, nursing and EMS scholarships.

not too late

today

Here is a quick reminder that the 8th Annual Valencia 5K Walk, Run & Roll is this Saturday, March 30th at 6 pm. Funds raised will provide scholarships for Valencia students who want to have careers in nursing, law enforcement, fire-fighting and as EMTs.

Watch for:

  • Lots of awards categories and awards 
  • Refreshments
  • Free Kids Fun Run and crafts — like Easter basket creations — for kids under 10
  • Commemorative t-shirt and race bag

Go here for more information and to register.  Onsite registration will be available as well.

Can’t make it but still would like to participate? Valencia 5K donations can be made online at https://donate.valencia.org/alumni.

 

fb linked pin

valencia alumni association has new pinterest

Pinterest

 

The Alumni Associations’ Pinterest website has officially launched! Check out photos and stay up-to-date on upcoming events, like our 8th Annual 5K.

Don’t forget to follow us!

 

almost time to run, walk & roll!

5k post

The Valencia Alumni Association continues to build its team as it gears up for its 8thAnnual Valencia 5K Run, Rock & Roll scholarship fundraiser on Valencia’s West Campus on Saturday, March 30th.

This year’s 5K funds will once again support criminal justice, firefighter and EMS student scholarships at Valencia in honor of former Alumni Association board member, Justin Harvey.

Over 300 Valencia supporters came out last year where they ran, walked and rolled their way to raising more than $7,000 in student scholarship funds.  The race brought together Valencia alumni and employees; students, including those from Valencia’s Criminal Justice Institute, Paralegal, Respiratory Care and Bridges programs; as well as community participants, many of them from local law enforcement agencies. An energetic team of students and instructors from Boone High School’s criminal justice program also participated in the race for the first time.

Discover the many ways you, your organization or someone you know can invest in Valencia students’ pursuit of higher education as part of the Valencia 5K team.  There will also be some wonderful activities for children like a Kids Fun Run and Crafts for kids under 10; one of the activities will be creating little Easter baskets.

For more information about 5K sponsorship and other opportunities, contact the Alumni Relations office at alumni@valenciacollege.edu or call 407-340-3426.

SAVE THE DATE! See you on Saturday, March 30th!

Register Online or Mail-In registration 

networking reception photos are up!

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Over 150 Valencia students, alumni and business community members enjoyed getting together at the Professional Networking Reception on Valencia’s West Campus on Friday night, February 22nd.  The Heart of Florida United Way’s Emerging Leaders group partnered with Valencia’s Alumni Association, Career Services and Internship and Workforce Development offices to bring together these diverse groups for a night of networking fun.  A common question was:  “When is the next one?”   Stay tuned!

come together, run together!

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Benefiting student scholarships for Criminal Justice, Nursing, EMS and Firefighting.

get connected!

Looking to make connections that can help your career or to help someone else make those connections?  Join Valencia alumni, students and professionals from various businesses for a Professional Networking Reception on Friday, February 22nd, 6-8 pm, on the Valencia West Campus at 1800 South Kirkman Road in the Special Events Center, Bldg. 8.

Light refreshments will be provided. Business attire and business cards recommended.

RSVP by Thursday, February 21st to 407-582-3417 or alumni@valenciacollege.edu.

 Sponsored by Valencia’s Alumni Association, Career Center, Internship and Workforce Service; and the Emerging Leaders of the Heart of Florida United Way

distinguished graduate award and scholarships go live!

Valencia Alumni Association scholarship applications for Valencia students are now available online!  Students can choose from a variety of scholarship areas, including:  general studies, nursing, respiratory care, criminal justice, dental hygiene and more.

The application for the prestigious Mary Smedley Collier Distinguished Graduate 2012-13 Award is also available.  This award requires a nomination from a Valencia faculty or staff member.  Valencia’s Distinguished Graduate serves as the keynote speaker at the college’s Commencement Ceremony in May.  The recipient will be awarded $1,500 at the Alumni Achievers Reception in June, 2013.  Up to four finalists will also be recognized at that time and will receive an award of $100 each.

Panel interviews will be conducted for finalists for both Distinguished Graduate and for the Mayor Richard T. Crotty – Valencia – UCF Alumni Associations 2+2 Scholarship.  The Crotty 2+2 Scholarship is valued at $4,000.

Encourage your candidates to apply.

ImageValencia Alumni Association President Michael J. G. McLaughlin presents Shardeh K. Berry with Mary Smedley Collier 2012-13  Distinguished Graduate plaque during Commencement ceremony in May, 2012.

 

gearing up for the 18th annual valencia celebration

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Future Valencia alumnus and president of the East Campus Student Government Association, Mike Acevedo (center) and colleagues Vicky Alvarez (left) and Laura Thomas (right) are pulling together the 18th Annual Valencia Celebration.  Check it out on Facebook.  The Valencia Alumni Association is a potential sponsor of the event and always supportive of Mike and team!

valencia alumnus interns for rollins’ 2013 winter with the writers series!

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Valencia Alumni Association member Melvin Thompson ’12 (R) is pictured with Dr. Jamie Washington at the Rollins College Martin Luther King Vigil. Melvin is currently a student at Rollins majoring in Psychology with a minor in Writing. He is thrilled to have been recently selected as one of the interns for Rollins’ 2013 Winter with the Writers series.

Want to get involved?  Join the Valencia Alumni Association for networking and other opportunities.  Membership is free!

valencia college alumni association officially carved in brick!

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The Valencia College Alumni Association and many others have taken advantage of the chance to be included as a part of the walkway in front of the new Building 4 at the Osceola Campus.  Engraved bricks purchased in the names of individuals, families, businesses, clubs, in memory of loved ones, and even as gifts have contributed over $11,000 in scholarship support for Osceola Campus students. Please consider adding your own engraved brick to this walkway while also supporting Valencia students.

 Purchase your memory brick! Check out Valencia Colleges The Grove publication to see   Building 4.

rafman club supports valencia college students

Image(Pictured:  Arthur Jarvis ’85 (L) and Davidson Saint Fort ’96 (R))

“Men striving together to make a better community for all concerned” — this is the motto of the RAFMAN Club.

The Retired Air Force, Marine, Army and Navy (RAFMAN) Club established an endowed RAFMAN Club scholarship through the Valencia Foundation to support Valencia College students in 1996.

The club and its scholarship committee, chaired by Valencia alumnus Arthur Jarvis ’85, have raised funds through an annual banquet to make it possible to award the scholarship annually since that time.  Currently, the RAFMAN Club Foundation awards an all tuition paid scholarship for one year to two deserving students in need of financial assistance.

Davidson Saint Fort ‘96 was the recipient of the first RAFMAN Club scholarship.  Since earning his AS degree in computer science at Valencia College, he went on to earn a BS degree in computer engineering and computer information systems at Florida A&M University, and is currently employed as a senior engineer at the Cerner Corporation.  He also serves as a volunteer on the RAFMAN scholarship committee to “pay it forward”.  In his words:  “I want to thank God and the RAFMAN Club for investing in me.  When there appeared to be no solution to my financial situation to attend college, you believed in me.”

This year’s RAFMAN Scholarship Banquet will take place on Saturday, March 16th in Faith Hall of the First Baptist Church of Orlando, 3000 John Young Parkway.  Registration and a silent auction/raffle will begin at 6:00 pm followed by the banquet and program at 7:00 pm.  Dr. Barbara Jenkins, Orange County Superintendent of Schools, will be this year’s keynote speaker.

For information about sponsorship opportunities, silent auction donations and individual tickets, please contact Arthur Jarvis at 407-492-1266 or afleet7@bellsouth.net.

what an honor!

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The Valencia College Chapter of Lambda Epsilon Chi National Honor Society in Paralegal/Legal Assistant Studies recently inducted graduating students Gino Ibanez and Kimberly Marisa Moy. The honorees were announced during the Paralegal Graduate Celebration in December.  Ms. Moy is pictured with Instructor Wendy Toscano (L) and Dean Carin Gordon (R).

valencia nurses rock!

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This team of Valencia Nursing Student Association (VNSA) leaders was among many nursing students and faculty at the Valencia Nursing Luncheon on December 12th. The luncheon, proudly supported by the Valencia Alumni Association, was held in celebration of our nursing students who would be graduating the next night at their Nursing Pinning Ceremony – transitioning from Valencia nursing students to nursing alumni at long last!

All Valencia graduates are invited to join the Valencia Alumni Association. Membership is free and offers opportunities to network and support our students. http://valenciacollege.edu/alumni/membership_form.cfm

two valencia college alums tie the knot!

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High school sweethearts and Valencia alumni Andrew Harmic ’08 (computer science) and Dana Wagner ’09 (graphic design) were married on October 13, 2012.  After Valencia, Andrew attended UCF where he received his BS in Computer Science. He is currently working as a Systems Engineer for Coleman Aerospace in Orlando. Dana is currently working as a freelance graphic designer.

If you are also a Valencia graduate with exciting news, please share at http://valenciacollege.edu/alumni/class_notes.cfm

valencia alumni association leader attends foundation board retreat

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Ashley Bravo ’12 was invited to represent the Valencia Alumni Association’s Leadership team as a participant in the Valencia Foundation board retreat last week in Daytona Beach. She is currently a student at UCF studying business and marketing.

Ashley encourages fellow Valencia alumni to get involved in the association:  “Valencia gave me the opportunity as a student to be a leader and make lifelong friends which now I consider family. Now that I have graduated, the Valencia Alumni Association allows me to continue that relationship and to give back to Valencia for all that it gave to me.”

bon voyage and thank you, ty johnson!

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Shout out your thanks and well wishes!

A familiar face to alumni and students of Valencia College,Ty Johnson, dean of students on the West Campus, will retire after more than 30 years of service to Valencia College.

sweating it out to support valencia student scholarships

The Valencia Alumni Association continues to build its team as it gears up for its 8th Annual Valencia 5K Run, Rock & Roll scholarship fundraiser on Valencia’s West Campus on Saturday, March 30th.

This year’s 5K funds will once again support criminal justice, firefighter and EMS student scholarships at Valencia in honor of former Alumni Association board member, Justin Harvey.

Over 300 Valencia supporters came out last year where they ran, walked and rolled their way to raising more than $7,000 in student scholarship funds.  The race brought together Valencia alumni and employees; students, including those from Valencia’s Criminal Justice Institute, Paralegal, Respiratory Care and Bridges programs; as well as community participants, many of them from local law enforcement agencies. An energetic team of students and instructors from Boone High School’s criminal justice program also participated in the race for the first time.

Discover the many ways you, your organization or someone you know can invest in Valencia students’ pursuit of higher education as part of the Valencia 5K team.  For more information about 5K sponsorship and other opportunities, contact the Alumni Relations office at alumni@valenciacollege.edu or call 407-340-3426.

SAVE THE DATE! See you on Saturday, March 30th!

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valencia college alumni association scholarships are going electronic

The first of several electronic Valencia College Alumni Association scholarships for students, the Bill Castellano Civic Leadership Scholarship, was launched just last week and 13 students have already begun their online applications. The deadline to submit applications is midnight on Monday, December 3rd.

The Bill Castellano Civic Leadership Scholarship is awarded each year to a student who exhibits leadership skills and an overwhelming desire to become a future civic leader in memory of Bill Castellano. Professor Castellano’s ability to encourage students to share their true talents for the common good of their community is his legacy. He was a guiding force for students and the Valencia College family for over 40 years. In remembrance of his outstanding contributions to our community, this scholarship allows those who will never have the opportunity to meet him the ability to carry on his passion and love of government and true civic leadership.

As one of the first students to attend Valencia College, Bill always took an active interest in government and his community. From serving in the Student Government Association and as a founder of the Valencia Alumni Association after graduating, to retiring as one of the most admired and respected government professors, he always challenged the next generation he met to rise and meet the challenges of the man who inspired him to be a true civic leader.

Tax deductible donations to the Bill Castellano Scholarship can be made online at Castellano Scholarship Donation. Please select the scholarship from the drop-down box in the “Designation” field.

Veteran Gabriel Nickle (pictured below) from the West Campus was the 2010 recipient. Amy Walker from Valencia’s East Campus was the 2011 recipient.

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Left to right: Dr. Ruth Prather, former Provost of East and Winter Park campuses; Gabriel Nickle, Bill Castellano Civic Leadership Scholarshi​p 2010 recipient; Michael J. G. McLaughlin​, Valencia Alumni Association President; Barbara Shell, Community/​Alumni Relations

2012 valencia homecoming update

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To kick off Valencia College’s 2012 Homecoming, Team Valencia joined other members of the Central Florida community to raise funds to help make a difference in the lives of families living with Spina Bifida.  The Spina Bifida Association of Central Florida’s 2nd Annual Walk-N-Roll Fundraiser event took place on Saturday, October 27th at Blue Jacket Park in the Baldwin Park area of Orlando.

Valencia College was a supporting sponsor for the event.

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Valencia Homecoming 2012 wrapping up. Still time to get your $20 discounted UCF Homecoming game tickets for this Sunday’s game.For Tickets visit: http://valenciacollege.edu/alumni/documents/ValenciaHomecoming.pdf

valencia college homecoming 2012 kicks off

ImageSpina Bifida Walk-N-Roll – This year’s Valencia Homecoming begins with the Spina Bifida Walk-N-Roll on Saturday, October 27th at 10:00 a.m. at Blue Jacket Park in Orlando.  Join the Valencia Team, or one of the many others, or start your own!  Valencia College is a sponsor of this event this year.

Urinetown: The Musical will continue playing in nightly 7:30 p.m. performances, October 26, 27 and 28th, at the East Campus Performing Arts Center with discounts for Valencia alumni and students.  The 2:00 p.m. matinee on Sunday, October 28th will be the final performance.  In this Tony Award-winning musical, the 1% (headed by a rich and greedy corporate CEO) force the 99% (the poor) to pay to pee! And if they don’t pay, there are dire consequences in this silly, smart and relevant musical.  Music and lyrics by Mark Hollmann; Book and lyrics by Greg Koti.

Lake Nona Campus Reception and ToursDrop in to network and to learn more about Valencia’s newest campus on Monday, October 29. The networking reception will begin at 6:00 p.m.   Valencia students will conduct campus tours 6:30 – 7:00 p.m.  Valencia’s fifth campus—and the first built in 15 years—features 18 smart classrooms, 6 science labs, a library, campus store, small café and student services offices. The Lake Nona Campus offers classes toward an Associate in Arts (A.A.) degree for transfer to a baccalaureate program, and will train students for careers in the life sciences. See Video: Valencia’s Lake Nona Campus Opens in Medical City

Tomatoland – Join us at Rollins College in the Bush Executive Center of Crummer Hall on Tuesday, October 30th, 7:00 – 9:30 p.m. for a presentation by author Barry Estabrook, an investigative food journalist who writes for The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Atlantic. He will discuss his recent book Tomatoland, which details the human and environmental costs of Florida’s tomato industry as well as local and national efforts to grow a tastier and more sustainable tomato.

Family Fun at Trick or Treat on Matador Street– Bring the kids out to enjoy free games, prizes, entertainment and food on Wednesday, October 31st between 5:00 – 8:00 p.m. in room 105 of the Health Sciences Building at Valencia’s West Campus.

More Family Fun at the Enzian Theatre’s Free Popcom Flicks in the ParkShow up with a blanket and snacks to enjoy the featured family-friendly Chicken Run on Thursday, November 1st at 8:00 p.m. at 251 Park Avenue South (Central Park) in Winter Park.

Latin Night 2012This year’s exciting Latin Night will take place on Friday, November 2nd and is hosted by the Latin American Student Organization at the Osceola Campus.  Come prepared to enjoy a live DJ, Latin music, food & dancing between 7:00 – 11:00 p.m.The cost is $5 and free for Valencia students with ID.

Valencia- Orlando Magic Night – Enjoy the season’s Opening Game with the Orlando MAGIC vs. the Denver NUGGETS on Friday, November 2nd at 7:00 p.m. in the Amway Arena.   Discounted Valencia tickets sold out.  Our next Valencia Orlando Magic Night will be during Spring Break in March, 2013.

Valencia Homecoming 2012 Wraps Up with UCF Homecoming GameUCF Knights vs. Southern Methodist University Mustangs, Saturday, November 3rd, 7:00 p.m. at Bright House Networks Stadium.   Discounted $20 tickets for Valencia alumni, employees and students are available through UCF’s Athletics.

Please visit the Valencia Alumni Association’s website or call 407-582-3426 for more information about Valencia Homecoming 2012.

valencia alumni association moves forward

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The Valencia Alumni Association Leadership Board guides the planning and activities of the association. Members represent the diversity of Valencia College and build enthusiasm for college and association programs, provide opportunities for involvement, and recruit new members and volunteers. Association president Michael J.G. McLaughlin ‘03 and leadership board members recently elected committee chairs to coordinate a broad array of activities/programs for the upcoming year:  Zia Ansari ’10, Membership; Julie Bennett ’00, Learning and Growing; and Marcy Porter ’05,  Fundraising.  Contact the Alumni Relations Office for more information and to get involved.

valencia college retirees celebrate!

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Members of the Valencia Retiree Connection gathered for their annual luncheon on October 9th at Valencia’s West Campus.  Valencia alumnus from the class of ’81 and retiree of the college, Betty Palmer, echoed what others were saying at the luncheon:  “It’s wonderful to be able to get together to catch up with each other and to celebrate Valencia!”   The group is led by Valencia retiree Joan Tiller with the purpose of encouraging Valencia College retirees to maintain a connection with each other and with the college by providing opportunities for recreational, social, educational and volunteer events/projects of interest to members.  Upcoming events, photos and information about how to get involved are at: http://valenciacollege.edu/retireeconnection/RetireeEvents.cfm

orlando magic vs denver nuggets game discount tickets

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Don’t forget to purchase your discounted Valencia Homecoming Orlando Magic vs. Denver Nuggets tickets by this Friday!

Check out full details on the event flyer by following the link below:

http://valenciacollege.edu/alumni/documents/ValenciaCollege112.pdf