Join us for A Night of Celebration

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

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

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Know A Deserving Valencia Graduate?


“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!

Brad Pierce: relishing life and enjoying every second of the ride


When it comes to the corporate world, Brad Pierce will do just about anything to differentiate his enterprises from the competition.

When it comes to his charitable and Valencia Foundation work, that passion and work ethic are just as visible; however, his ambition to “stand out” changes immensely.

“I find that when nobody cares who gets the credit, a whole heck of a lot gets done,” Brad says.

brad-pierce-orlando-floridaThat philosophy is firmly embedded in Brad’s commitment to Valencia Foundation. He credits fellow board directors Larry Walker and Patrick Buffa for convincing him that – despite his busy schedule – being a part of the Valencia Foundation would benefit him and Valencia students.

“There was something about Patrick that made me feel that he was a guy I can trust,” Brad explains. “I’m very appreciative of Patrick to this day for giving me that nudge when I figured I couldn’t fit one more morsel of activity into my days … because honestly Valencia has been one of the most fulfilling, rewarding, amazing organizations to be involved in.”

Brad recognizes he is a small piece of a larger team, but he wants to ensure his contributions allow the foundation to thrive for years to come.

“It has been an honor to be a part of the everyday business and discussion. I feel like giving my input, thoughts and ideas always is valued by the other people there,” Brad says. “I relate a little better to the student population, as a lot of my employees are from Valencia and from UCF. I’m a different generation than many, and that provides a little bit different perspective.”

That is Brad’s diplomatic way of pointing out he is a bit younger than others in the room.

Having the perspective of youth also leaves him hungry to learn from those who have been serving the foundation for multiple years. Brad plans to expand his expertise in the intricacies of the foundation’s work, including donor recruitment and investment management, which require more time to master.

“If I don’t start learning how to do those things from the people who are right now leading the board, in five to 10 years – when I’ve moved up the chain, and a lot of our board has retired – that could be problem,” Brad explains.

His eagerness to help make and build a strong unit is evident. Brad realizes it takes a group of diverse people with different sets of talents to succeed in the long run.

“What I would like to be remembered for is looking back at our whole team and saying that whole group made a difference,” Brad adds.

Reviewing Brad’s resume, one might wonder when he has any time to sleep with all the ventures he manages. From E-Commerce, restaurant equipment and supplies, computer programming and web development to his avid aviation career, Brad diagnoses himself as ADD because he always has to be moving and jumping to the next adventure.

“I don’t want to ever sit on the sidelines, I want to be in the game,” Brad explains.

haiti-relief-flight-arrival-smallThe same can be said for his work with the different charities he supports. His work with Angel Flight Southeast, whose mission is to “arrange free flights so children and adults can have access to the far-from-home doctors that can save their lives,” grants him an opportunity to put his piloting skills to work helping people in life-or-death situations.

Brad’s aviation expertise benefited the Cirrus Owners and Pilots Association (COPA) in a relief mission to Haiti that donated $100,000 in medical provisions, as well as school supplies, clothing, musical instruments, toys and other items for residents. He is set to make another trip to the country later this year.

“I don’t have the desire to give to things as a passive donor. I want to be part of these amazing stories,” Brad says. He acknowledges the necessity of two types of donors: the ones who write checks quietly behind the scenes and the ones who deploy funds into action and outcomes.

After graduating from Winter Park High School, Brad attended Valencia College. That decision gave him the chance to continue working to develop his family’s local business, Restaurant Equipment World (REW), which has been around for nearly 40 years. By the time he completed Valencia, he had earned two pilot’s licenses and finished his aviation training.

“It worked out really well. To some degree I wasn’t ready to go off to another school,” he adds.

haiti-relief-flight-walking-self-pic-smallBrad enrolled at Florida State University’s School of Business, where he earned a marketing degree. He commuted from Tallahassee to Orlando on weekends to work at REW, where he was transitioning a local, smaller business into what is today a digital enterprise with more than 220 web sites and 330,000 products. The company was the first in the industry to embrace the online marketplace and currently receives millions of hits per month to its network of web sites. The company serves more than 100,000 customers in all 50 states and 110 countries,.

“When I came back here from college, Day One in the business, I already had a decade of experience, not only with REW, but developing what the business was going to become,” Brad explains.

He carefully balances his family life with wife, Lori, and their twin boys.

Whether today’s venture is business, charity, family or pleasure, Brad recognizes that success requires serious effort. But that doesn’t mean overlooking the opportunity that unexpectedly emerges: “When opportunity comes to you, don’t just disregard it. You never know which one of these can be life changing.”

Frank Shala is a Valencia College journalism student.

2014-2015 endowed chairs

Congratulations to the 35 tenured faculty members who have been awarded a 2014 – 2015 Valencia Foundation Endowed Chair for Learning Leadership.

The Endowed Chairs for Learning Leadership program recognizes and promotes academic excellence at the College through honoring outstanding members of Valencia’s teaching faculty. In contrast to endowed chair programs at four-year institutions that aim to attract preeminent researchers, our program recognizes and supports Valencia faculty by providing resources needed for the advancement of instruction.
cat1 Jean Marie Fuhrman: Freeda Foreman Chair in Collaborative and Creative Problem-Solving

Richard Gair: Abe and Tess Wise Endowed Chair in the Study of the Shoah

Yolanda Gonzalez: Howard L. Palmer Chair in Foreign Languages
Albert Groccia: Raymer F. Maguire Jr. Chair in Mathematics

Mayra Holzer: Patricia Havill Whalen Chair in Social Sciences

Brian Macon: Lockheed Martin Chair in Mathematics

Kevin Mulholland: University Club of Orlando Chair in Humanities

Robin Poole: Wayne Densch Chair in Geriatrics

Lana Powell: John and Florence MacLeod Chair in Business

Jeremy Russo: Bank of America Chair in Business Management

Dimas Sanchez: Bank of America Chair in Business
Richard Sansone: Sue Luzadder Chair in Communications

Brenda Schumpert: Lockheed Martin Chair in Science

Irina Struganova: Lester N. Mandell Chair in Natural and Physical Sciences

cat2 Category II Recipients:
Joan Alexander: University Club of Orlando Chair in Advanced Computer Technology

Irma Berner Bell: South Chair in Communications and Engineering Technology

Karen Cowden: William C. Demetree Jr. Foundation Chair in Education for Special Needs
Suzette Dohany: Walt Disney World Chair in Film Technology
Edie Gaythwaite: Harry J. and E. Mary Hobbs Teaching Chair in Nursing

Lisa Gray: Dr. P. Phillips Foundation Chair in Free Enterprise

Heith Hennel: SunGard Endowed Teaching Chair in Computer Science
Deymond Hoyte: Valencia Foundation Board Chair for Interdisciplinary Studies

James Inglis: Central Florida Hotel and, Lodging Association Chair in Hospitality Management

Chris Klinger: Tupperware Corporation Chair in Community Quality

Adrian Manley: Valencia Foundation Board Chair for Interdisciplinary Studies

James McDonald: Cliff and Daisy Whitehill Chair in Legal Studies
Sarah Melanson: Rhymer F. Maguire Jr. Endowed Chair in Communications

Bonnie Oliver: SunTrust Chair in Economic Development and, Business Education
Pierre Pilloud: Hunton Brady Architects Endowed Chair in Hospitality Management

Yasmeen Qadri: Dr. P. Phillips Foundation Chair in Education for the Physically Challenged
Craig J. Rapp: Central Florida Restaurant Association Chair in Restaurant and Food Service Management
Andrew Ray: Hubbard Construction Company Chair in Technical and Engineering Programs

Jolene Rhodes: Raymer F. Maguire Jr. Teaching Chair

Suzanne Salapa: Universal Orlando Chair in Arts and Entertainment

Pamela Sandy: Ira Vinson Henderson Chair in Nursing and, Allied Health

The Maguire family: steadfastly paying their “civic rent”

Raymer Maguire Jr.

Raymer Maguire III

The governor recently appointed Raymer Maguire III to a second tour of duty as Valencia College trustee.

Maguire, an eminent domain attorney with Maguire Lassman P.A., serves on the boards of the Central Care Mission and the Youth Ministry Institute. He graduated from the University of Florida with honors and earned his law degree from Florida State University College of Law.

Maguire previously served on the trustee board from 2006 to 2011. He has led the Valencia Foundation board for more than 15 years as director, campaign captain and board chair.

Having worked with Raymer for the past 13 years, I have witnessed his gifts. He brings with him a candor, a clear sightedness, a questioning mind and an efficiency in accomplishing a goal, no matter how grand it is. In fact, when the foundation board was envisioning its first capital campaign a decade ago and received a feasibility study that suggested a $7 million to $12 million goal, Raymer challenged assumptions and challenged his fellow board members to think bigger. He said if we weren’t willing to shoot for $20 million, we might as well not bother.

His instincts were correct: The board and campaign raised $27.3 million, 10 percent of which came from board leaders.

Dean Maguire and her husband, Raymer III, with her First Place trophy.

Dean Maguire and her husband, Raymer III, with her First Place trophy.

Charitable giving and philanthropy are a family affair. Dean Maguire, an OCPS educator and Raymer’s bride, served as Valencia College’s VIP Star in the Femmes de Coeur “Lettuce Entertain You” fundraiser for nursing scholarships. Not surprisingly, Dean prevailed over dancers from UCF, Seminole State and Florida Hospital School of Nursing.

His father, Raymer Maguire Jr., helped found Valencia Community College and served on the board of trustees for 17 years. He also wrote the charter for Valencia Foundation in 1974, offering leadership and philanthropy for the rest of his lifetime. When I first arrived in Central Florida, Raymer Jr. escorted me about town to help me meet business and community leaders, and provided thoughtful insight and guidance.

The entire Maguire family has made substantial investments in student learning and academic excellence at Valencia through scholarships and faculty chairs.

Shortly after he passed away, the Association of Fundraising Professionals recognized Mr. Maguire as Philanthropist of the Year for Central Florida.

Raymer Maguire Jr.

Raymer Maguire Jr.

Scarcely can you venture throughout Central Florida without finding a street or building with the Maguire moniker.

Valencia’s West Campus Library is named in honor of Raymer Maguire Jr. He has long been known as the Father of Valencia Community College. Together with a band of determined community leaders, he demanded in the 1960s that higher education be available no matter your race, creed, means or family background. In that decade, the local private junior college would not admit students of color, Catholics or Jews.

Mr. Maguire, also an attorney, called his philanthropy and service “paying your civic rent,” and encouraged his colleagues, friends and neighbors to do their share. His generosity extended to many local organizations and prolifically to his alma mater, the University of Florida.

Today and for some two decades, his son Raymer III has been expanding the family legacy through his own generosity of time, talent, treasures and volunteerism on the Valencia Foundation and Valencia trustee boards.

Our genuine gratitude goes to the entire Maguire family for transforming the face of Central Florida forever.

As our mutual friend, Richard McCree Jr., once asked: “What would Central Florida look like if there had never been a Valencia?”


Orlando architect helps etch a community


If you visit most any Valencia College campuses, you will see the impact of Orlando-based architect C.T. Hsu – not only the design of the buildings, but also his impact on the administration, faculty and staff, and, most importantly, the students who fill those structures.

“I feel the only reason I am here today, for me to become who I am today, to be able to achieve the goals before even coming to Florida, to the United States, is education,” Hsu says.

photo (13)

Business opportunities brought Hsu, a native of Taiwan, to Orlando in the early 1980s, where he predicted the Sunbelt would be promising for the architectural field. Already the father of two children, he believed that Florida was the perfect choice for both family and business.

“When my wife and I came to Orlando, we didn’t know anybody,” Hsu says. He founded his firm, C.T. Hsu and Associates, in 1984.

His first design project with Valencia College was a renovation of the downtown center. The founder of a still-youthful firm, Hsu was thankful that Valencia gave him a chance to prove his talents. CT’s acumen consistently boosted his firm to the top of a state-mandated, open-bidding process that resulted in the design of buildings that include the University Center on West Campus and the Valencia College Criminal Justice Institute near East Campus. Continue reading

preparing for tomorow’s generations

When economic prospects look dismal it’s natural to focus on short-term, rather than long-term, goals. Our foundation board is committed to keeping both horizons in our line of sight so that we can serve today’s deserving student and prepare for tomorrow’s generations. 

We imagine a community in which family finances
never stand in the way of earning a college education.

As you plan for your family’s future, I invite you to use our new web site tools at, which may spark some creative thinking about how to maintain your legacy forever.

  • Make a bequest pledge that costs you nothing during your life.
  • Give a contribution that provides you lifetime income.
  • Preserve your estate for your heirs and provide years of income to Valencia.
  • Convert surplus life insurance coverage into an endowment.
  • Donate appreciated securities and realize larger tax savings than if you had used cash.

We welcome your feedback on our new online resources, designed to help you chart your charitable intentions, which can be found at If you would prefer, our foundation team would be delighted to meet with you to discuss your philanthropic objectives and to explore how you and your family can benefit.

P.S. If you have already made Valencia Foundation a planned giving priority please let us know so that you can become a founding member of our new Legacy Society. Feel free to contact Donna Marino, CFRE at (407) 582-3128 to learn more.

spotlight story: valencia board member takes a life-changing journey

Brad with planeSometimes the journey is not just about the destination. Valencia Foundation board member Brad Pierce found that out when he took a recent trip to Haiti. Describing some parts as “hell on earth,” he was nevertheless impacted by his journey.

Brad Pierce, Valencia alum, has been interested in flying from a young age. He saw a helicopter take off as a part of a tour near International Drive and was hooked. He worked for that tour company at the age of 16, doing sales and learning to fly. At 18 he decided to get his pilot’s license and he has been soaring the skies ever since.

Even early on, he used his talents for good, volunteering for Angel Flight. Angel Flight is a nonprofit organization of pilots, volunteers and friends that arranges free transportation to medical treatments. He still volunteers his time with Angel Flight and recently transported a baby to Miami for eye surgery.

It was this philanthropic sense of using his gifts and talent to make the world a better place that took him to Haiti. He came across a post from Dr. Richard McGlaughlin (Doc McG) on the Cirrus Owners and Pilots Association website. Doc McG and fellow pilot, Luke Lyson, were looking to raise some money, buy medical supplies, and enlist a group of volunteers to fly a relief mission to Haiti. His post ended with the profound sentiment: “We will make sure you get down and back safely. You may not come back quite the same.”

Soon 32 volunteers and 15 aircrafts took to the skies with $100,000 in medical supplies, plus school supplies, clothing, musical instruments and toys. The group convened at Ft. Lauderdale Executive Airport and then headed for Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

Arriving safely, the group boarded buses and traveled to the heart of Cité Soleil, one of the poorest and dangerous slums in the Western Hemisphere, and made the first stop at St. Mary’s Hospital. It was here that he was introduced to the St. Luke Foundation for Haiti, led by Father Rick Frechette, who lives by the mantra: “Do the next right thing and something good will come of it. Next day, do it again.”

The foundation ( is a Haitian run organization started by Father Frechette and an inspired group of young Haitian leaders. Programs focus on providing medical care, humanitarian aid and employment opportunities to the least served Haitian communities.

The group battled rainy weather and moved on to St. Damien Pediatric Hospital, a facility that also included an orphanage. “Upon driving through the front gates, I knew this was a very special place,” shares Brad. “A place where children could feel safe, secure and comfortable while getting much needed care.”

From there they headed to St. Luc Family Hospital, the site of the gastroenterology lab that Doc McG built. Brad was impressed. “Here we are in the middle of a third world country and there’s a fully functioning hospital complete with an intensive care unit and operating rooms. It’s incredible to think of all the effort that went in to building such capable facilities where they’re able to treat conditions that previously would have been death sentences.”

The trip ended on a very somber note, the group attended a funeral for several that had passed away the day before. It was an emotionally wrenching experience, but Brad was moved by the respect and honor given to the dead.

Throughout the trip, it seemed as though this father of two young boys was most moved by the children he witnessed and encountered. There was the boy in the slums, playing alone with rocks in the rain. The two small children who interacted with the group and the larger group of children who posed for pictures and followed behind the bus when they left, waving goodbye. And there was the young boy at the orphanage. Brad engaged him by playing an improvised game of catch with a shoe.

The story is emotional and would be depressing were it not for something else that Brad found on his trip – hope and kindness. “I was overwhelmed with emotion, saddened by the things I’d seen, yet inspired by the acts of kindness and good work that’s been done to change the country for the better.” And he was a part of that good work. In the end, he was able to smile, “knowing there was hope for the future of these resilient people.”

When he is not flying around the world doing good, Brad serves as president of Restaurant Equipment World, a leader in the restaurant equipment sales and installation business for over 35 years. The company is known on an international scale. In fact, it was Brad’s international work that gave rise to another company, Critical Supply World, a general procurement supply company that specializes in quick and reliable delivery to the “most troubled” regions of the world.

To keep up with Brad and his travels, visit his personal blog, Brad in Motion (

donor spotlight: Universal Orlando and Diane O’Dell

Tourism drives Orlando’s economy, and partnerships with our community’s hospitality titans are a natural extension of Valencia’s role in Central Florida. Our relationships build scholarships, endowed chairs, internships and a cadre of well-trained employees to hire.


Universal Orlando Resort began their Valencia College giving in the ’80s, and their philanthropy has grown to include an endowed faculty chair and a $1-million-dollar scholarship endowment.

Universal Orlando Resort is a perfect example. Valencia’s nationally recognized film production technology program, with selective admission and limited enrollment, trains students for entry-level positions in six major cinema creation areas.Part of the hospitality and culinary division, Valencia’s bakery and pastry management program draws on Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando Resort chefs to instruct students and provide a broad view of career opportunities and the real-world skills required to succeed.

Universal is a business partner in the restaurant management program, and involved with the Hospitality and Tourism Institute. Universal employees serve on Valencia’s advisory councils for electronics engineering technology and restaurant management.

In 1996, Universal Orlando Resort committed $30,000 to support Valencia’s Hospitality and Tourism Institute and to enhance Valencia’s educational offerings in arts and entertainment.

The Universal Orlando Chair in Arts and Entertainment serves fine and performing arts, graphic arts and graphic design technology, theater and entertainment technology, and film production technology. It also supports educational outreach activities of the Hospitality and Tourism Institute, and expanded Universal’s work with the college in the development of a technical apprenticeship program.

In the ’90s, Universal Orlando Foundation established a $1 million dollar scholarship endowment through the leadership of Jan Stratton. The Universal Orlando Scholarship is awarded to graduating high school seniors from Dr. Phillips, Olympia, West Orange, Jones and Evans high schools. Universal Orlando scholars who are accepted to the UCF Rosen School of Hospitality are eligible for up to an additional two years of scholarship awards. In 2011-2012, $39,000 was awarded to students from the Universal Orlando Scholarship.

This year’s Universal Orlando Scholarship recipients share their gratitude:

Thank you so much for awarding me the Universal Orlando Foundation Scholarship. It is truly an honor to be chosen. Your organization’s generous scholarship award means so much to me and my family. I’ve heard a lot about how much college textbooks cost and this scholarship will go a long way toward keeping that burden off my mind. Were it not for these funds, I would not be able to go to school this semester.

— Martin Cherenfant

I promise I’ll make the most of this scholarship. Thank you again, Universal Orlando Foundation, because this scholarship will indeed change my future and help me succeed in life.

— Carlos Powery

While I attend Valencia College full time, I also have a part-time job at a real estate investment brokerage office as an administrative assistant. It is sometimes difficult to juggle between work and school, as working too much may cause my grades to suffer. But not working enough hours over the course of a semester might make my financial situation that much more difficult the next semester. That’s why I so greatly appreciate this scholarship, as it allows me to focus on what’s really important, and that is college.

— Angel Monroy


“If I were to give Valencia’s commencement speech, my advice would be: Be open to where life takes you. Proactively seek opportunities. Make a point to be happy, and enjoy the journey.” – Universal Orlando Foundation executive director, Diane O’Dell

Today the Universal Orlando Foundation is led by executive director Diane O’Dell, who has served on the Valencia Foundation board since 2008. Diane was responsible for committing Universal Orlando Resort’s A Taste for Learning support.

Diane is moved by a Mark Twain quote: “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones that you did.”

She lives this philosophy through her community service to the boards of Harbor House, City Year Orlando and the Orlando Health Foundation.

She believes in Valencia because education is so critical in the lives of youth. “For many, education is truly a life changing experience.”

Her favorite Valencia experience was awarding scholarships in support of foster children. “It was a wonderful experience to see the impact the scholarship program makes overall,” she explains.

Diane takes her foundation board responsibilities seriously, believing that she should be a champion for Valencia. Her plan in this upcoming year is to “continue to share the great news about Valencia being the No.1 community college in the nation.”

spotlight story – city of life

Our board members’ stories are so interestingly woven into Valencia’s tapestry. They interact with and impact Valencia in many different ways.

Pat Buffa is a long-time foundation board member and has two sons that graduated from the college, but his Valencia story goes deeper than that. A few years ago, we polled board members to see what their first acts of philanthropy and volunteering were. Pat recalled when he was 23 and offered service and charity to an orphanage in Saigon. The reason: “These kids deserved a better fate.” It is a sentiment that has stuck with him through the years and shapes his philanthropy even today.

It was a little over ten years ago, and the college had a new president, Dr. Sandy Shugart. Pat approached Dr. Shugart with an idea of putting together a grass-roots community-action group to assist the child welfare system with the preparation of foster care youth when they turn 18 and have to go out in the world and make it on their own. From that meeting, Valencia became an early partner for City of Life, a 501(c)3 organization focused on the needs of foster youth who “age out” of the system at 18. Says Pat, “Valencia, and in particular Dr. Ruth Prather were instrumental in getting us started and helped us build credibility in the community.”

Dr. Ruth Prather served as campus president at East and Winter Park campuses and she recalls, “In the early days of City of Life, I attended many of Pat’s meetings and had numerous conversations about how Valencia could support the college education of foster children. Education is so important for all young adults in this competitive work world, and most foster children were on their own after high school and had little knowledge of higher education. They needed direction and opportunity. Valencia was a perfect fit to support the education of these youth. We looked at models from other cities and looked at possible grant opportunities. The mission of Valencia and the needs of these young adults were a perfect match. Valencia has always cared greatly about the community we serve, and many of Valencia’s programs and services were already in place to provide support. I invited other Valencia employees to learn about City of Life and the relationships grew. It was important to connect these students and those in the community who work with foster children to learn about Valencia and for Valencia to learn about the needs of foster children.”

So what exactly happens when a youth in foster care turns 18? Bethanie Barber, Esq., Guardian ad Litem program litigation coordinator at the Legal Aid Society of Orange County Bar Association, provides us with some background: “Most youth who ‘age out’ of foster care are generally eligible for financial assistance, but the assistance is tied to their educational and career goals. Youth who ‘age out’ of foster care are eligible for exemption from paying tuition and fees at a Florida public state university, public Florida College System institution or public postsecondary career and technical program. This exemption remains valid until the young person reaches the age of 28. It allows youth to receive an undergraduate degree.”

Allan Chernoff, executive director at City of Life, explains that these young people face a roadblock when they “age out.” The best case scenario is if the young person is in school and has a job, but all too many of these children are turning 18 with no high school degree, no job, and no plans for higher education. This is a group without a support system, lacking not only the plan to get a college degree, but also needing guidance on even reaching out and exploring opportunities. These young people come out of the system with no birth certificate, nowhere to live. When faced with these daily struggles, getting an education can seem like an insurmountable task.

And so City of Life is hard at work today, leveraging community resources to make a difference in the lives of these young people. City of Life currently leads a community coalition of partners that includes case management organizations and many other organizations. In addition to Valencia, Westside Tech is an educational resource and offers tours to prospective students. The Department of Children and Families (DCF), the Guardian ad Litem program, Workforce Central Florida, all work together to provide these young people with a hand up and a good start. When 11 young people did not have the appropriate identification, City of Life partnered with IDignity and got seven of them the paperwork needed.

In support of City of Life, Valencia recently held a tour on West Campus to highlight the nursing program. Pat Buffa reports that “Valencia got special compliments not only for this visit but also for the positive attitude Valencia staff has demonstrated to the DCF folks who have interfaced with Valencia over the past number of years.”

Deb Spaulding, senior instructional assistant for Valencia's nursing program, leads the City of Life tour.

Deb Spaulding, senior instructional assistant for Valencia’s nursing program, leads the City of Life tour.

Foundation staff were present and encouraged the young people to apply for scholarships. Even if they receive a subsidy for tuition expenses, scholarships can help to pay for the cost of textbooks and supplies.

Foundation board members and Dr. Louise Pitts, retired Valencia dean of health sciences, were also at the tour. We share some of Dr. Pitts’ insights in the nursing article below. Deb Spaulding and Nicole Witek served as great ambassadors for the nursing program, and a very special thank you to Angie Riquelme who coordinated the effort!

And because of that tour, something amazing happened – a connection was made, an interest in higher education was sparked. One of the students followed up with the foundation to get more information on financial aid and scholarships. We hope to keep you posted on this young lady’s journey. And remember, when you donate to the foundation, you are helping make those connections, helping to ignite a spark that can truly make a difference in someone’s future.

For more information on City of Life, visit

faculty update on endowed chair projects

January 4, 2013: Valencia College Endowed Chair faculty share with donors and administrators an update on their 2012-2013 projects.

January 4, 2013: Valencia College Endowed Chair faculty share with donors and administrators an update on their 2012-2013 projects.

Valencia faculty, administrators, distinguished professors and scholars gathered on January 4, 2013 to provide mid-year project updates and an overview of endowed chair proposals.

The Endowed Chairs for Learning Leadership program has been established to recognize and promote academic excellence at Valencia College. The program honors outstanding members of the Valencia teaching faculty and provides resources needed for advancement of instruction at Valencia. In contrast to endowed chair programs at four-year institutions, which aim to attract preeminent researchers, this program recognizes and supports the Valencia faculty.

For more information on Valencia Foundation’s 2012-2013 Distinguished Professors and Distinguished Scholars please visit our past  blog titled “Endowed Chairs for learning leadership at Valencia.”

Valencia Foundation: Planned GivingIf you would like more information on endowed chairs for learning leadership, student scholarships, academic programs or creating a legacy planned gift please contact Donna Marino at 407.582.3128.

silent auction donor spotlight


With a gracious donation from the Central Florida Hotel and Lodging Association (CFHLA), this year’s silent auction is sure to be jam-packed with one of a kind hotel stays that’ll make you wish you saved up more vacation days at work. By donating 20+ hotel stays across Orlando and Central Florida, CFHLA has gone above and beyond in being a true community leader. The mission of CFHLA rings stronger than ever as they truly are advancing tourism and the community through hospitality.

From both the Valencia Foundation and Orlando Health Foundation, we thank you for your ongoing generosity.

For more information about CFHLA, check out their website at:

generous contribution to support student scholarships

It is with appreciation that Valencia Foundation sends a great big thank you to Wells Fargo and regional CEO Larisa Perry for a generous contribution of $50,000 to support student scholarships.

Half will immediately support first-generation students and the balance will seed an endowment fund for individuals seeking to retool or retrain.  On behalf of Valencia and the students we serve, thank you for your generosity!

reading by poet Paul Guest canceled

Sadly, our poet Paul Guest had to cancel – his caregiver has a family emergency and is unable to travel with him to Orlando this weekend, and Paul was unable to find a suitable replacement.  We are attempting to find a good date to reschedule this event in the spring.

We will let you know when the event has been rescheduled.

foundation board kickoff – Aug. 25, 2011

valencia is again top producer of associate degrees in nation

For the second year in a row, Valencia Community College ranks first in the nation in the number of associate degrees awarded by a community college. The ranking was published on Monday by Community College Week.

The report was compiled using preliminary data from the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics and focused on degrees conferred during the 2009-2010 academic year. In that year, Valencia awarded 6,303 associate degrees, including 2,650 earned by minority students.

“Valencia’s focus on improving student success, particularly in the critical first year of college, is paying off,” said Valencia president Sanford C. Shugart. “The rankings also underscore the role Valencia plays as the primary entry point to a college education in our region.”

Also noteworthy, the college ranks second in the number of degrees awarded to Hispanic students and third in the number awarded to African Americans.

Aside from overall associate degrees conferred, Valencia ranked high across a number of academic disciplines: first in the number of degrees awarded in general studies, 9th in registered nursing and 18th in engineering technology.

Valencia offers three types of degrees: the Associate in Arts (A.A.), Associate in Science (A.S.) and the Associate in Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree. The A.A. degree parallels the first two years of a four-year bachelor’s degree. In Florida, graduates with an A.A. degree are guaranteed acceptance as juniors into the state university system.

A long-standing partnership between Valencia and the University of Central Florida has contributed to Valencia’s transfer rate, considered to be among the highest in the country. DirectConnect to UCF guarantees Valencia grads acceptance and accelerated admission to the university. Since the program’s inception in 2006, approximately 45,000 students have indicated that they are DirectConnect to UCF students.

On July 1, Valencia will drop “community” from its name and become Valencia College. Starting in August, it will expand its offerings to include several bachelor’s degrees.

Source:  Carol Traynor

student life at valencia college

Clubs and Organizations

Clubs and Organizations

Valencia offers more than 60 groups, clubs and organizations, including clubs for movie, book, art and animal lovers, clubs for African-American, Latino, Caribbean and Muslim students, career interest groups, student government and Valencia Volunteers. We also offer intramural sports and campus fitness centers for aspiring athletes and those who just want to stay in shape.

Campus Activities
Campus Activities

From film festivals to music and dance concerts, plays, guest speakers and cultural events, there’s always something happening on Valencia’s campuses.

The biggest student event is Matador Day, a festival held each fall. A long-standing tradition, this fun-filled event features music, food, games and contests. (Little known fact: the matador is Valencia’s mascot.)

Student Life

Around Town

Year-round sunshine, local theme parks and nearby beaches have made Central Florida a vacation destination – and a great place to live. As a Valencia student, Disney, Universal, Islands of Adventure and SeaWorld will practically be in your backyard, along with more than 5,000 restaurants and shopping destinations like Mall at Millennia, Florida Mall and the outlet stores.

For a more local experience, there’s also downtown Orlando, which is home to unique arts venues and a thriving music scene. If sports are your thing, you can cheer on the UCF Knights at their new football stadium nearby the East Campus or catch a Magic game at the completed Amway Arena in downtown Orlando.


art exhibition pays tribute to gallerys namesake

The Anita S. Wooten Gallery at Valencia College’s East Campus will host a memorial exhibition titled, “Friends of Anita S. Wooten Exhibition,” beginning Friday, June 17, with a reception from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. The collection will be on exhibit through August 5.

The exhibition will feature the work of Victor Bokas, Eric Breitenbach, Rocky Bridges, Michael Galletta, Cicero Greathouse, Nancy Jay, Mitchell Long, Robert Rivers and Que Throm.

Valencia Professor and artist Anita Wooten was well-known throughout the Central Florida arts community before her death from cancer in 2001. Wooten’s soulful work reflected the hopes, anxieties and fears of her decade-long battle against the disease.

The exhibit and reception are free and open to the public.

Summer gallery hours are Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Friday from 8 a.m. to 12 noon.

The gallery is located in Building 3 on Valencia’s East Campus at 701 N. Econlockhatchee Trail in Orlando.

For information, call 407-582-2298 or 407-582-2268. For a schedule of upcoming exhibitions, visit

Source: Marketing and Strategic Communications, Valencia Community College; Valencia News;

valencia featured in community college times

Geraldine Gallagher, president and CEO of the Valencia Foundation, was interviewed for the March 3 article, “Finding New Funding Streams in Hard Times,” in Community College Times. Read the story here.

valencia’s got talent

The American Advertising Federation’s Orlando chapter recently recognized local advertising talent and excellence in advertising with its annual ADDY awards. Winners in the student competition, selected from more than 40 entries included eight Valencia students from the Graphics Technology program: Laura Murillo, Best of Show award; James Smith and Iliana Perez, Special Judges Award; Paula Latorre, silver and a Special Judges Award; and Brian Nutt, Jaclyn Steinberg, Stephanie Gault and Brandon Lohaus, silver medal.

facc – hall of fame

Victor Collazo is serving in his 16th year as the Student Development Coordinator and Student Government Advisor at Valencia Community College West Campus. As a community college graduate (Daytona Beach) he understands the importance of co-curricular activities on the lives of students. Victor contributes to the development and education of the students through his workshops at the local, district and state wide meetings. The students know him as a presenter who will never bore them and they always leave having learned something they can use in life. Some of his workshops are: “The Leadership Secrets of Santa Claus”, “The FISH! Philosophy”, “Eat that Frog” and “The Fred Factor”.

Victor is actively involved in leadership positions at the District and State level of the Florida Junior/Community College Student Government Association and the Florida Association of Community Colleges especially the Student Development Commission. He has also served his alma mater, University of Central Florida on several alumni boards. Victor is the recipient of many special honors and achievements such as:

  • Dr. Debra Hay Distinguished Service Award for the FACC Student Development Commission
  • A scholarship has been endowed in his name through the Valencia Community College Foundation.
  • Named an Honorary member of the Chi Epsilon Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa
  • Association for the Promotion of Campus Activities Outstanding Service Award

Victor truly exemplifies a Servant Leader and is providing extraordinary leadership for the Valencia Volunteers. He is one of the first on board whenever a crisis happens, be it local or worldwide such as Hurricane Katrina and the Haitian Earthquake. “Victor has a servant’s heart from which he contributes to others every day” according to Dr. Joyce Romano, Vice President for Student Affairs at Valencia.

James “Jay” Galbraith, Vice President of State and Industry Affairs for Sea World Parks and Entertainment, discovered his passion for politics and respect for democratic engagement while earning his AA degree from Indian River Community College in 1988.

Jay’s involvement in the Campus Coalition Government as the Athletic representative caused him to change his chosen path from professional golf to politics. Once involved at the campus level, Jay quickly became involved at the District and State levels being elected the District V Coordinator and assuming his role on the Florida Junior Colleges Student Government Association (FJCSGA) State Executive Board. Jay proposed FJCSGA have a conference to deal with legislative issues. The proposal was put on the shelf for a number of years. Jay was ahead of his time in that his idea was eventually adopted by FJCCSGA (yes another C for Community was added) changing their conference format and now holds the November Presidents Assembly and Legislative Conference. Jay continues to give back to the Student Government division presenting workshops through the years. In April 2010, Jay was the keynote speaker for the “Rally in Tally”.

 After graduating from Indian River, Jay enrolled at Florida State University where he became involved in the Student Government Association and the College Republicans. While at FSU, he was involved in a number of political campaigns. After graduation from FSU, he spent time working for Congressman Michael Bilirakis of Clearwater.

 Professionally Jay has worked in government, education and for non-profit organizations. He lives in Orlando with his wife Carrie and their four children: Denny, Sara, Faith and Josiah. He continues to have the community colleges at heart serving on the Valencia Community College Foundation Board. He is actively involved in his community giving back thorough his church, the Foundation for Orange County Public Schools, Visit Florida Government Affairs Committee, and others.

Jay is a creative visionary with a heart to serve.

the search for a nonviolent future: author michael nagler to speak at valencia

How can we foster peace in our families and our world?

Michael M. Nagler, a professor emeritus at the University of California at Berkeley and internationally recognized scholar on the subject of nonviolence, will offer some suggestions during a free lecture at Valencia Community College’s East Campus on January 25 at 1 p.m.

In light of recent events in Arizona, where violence marred the lives of so many, the topic is a particularly timely one.

Prior to the lecture, the college will host a reception in the atrium of Bldg. 3, followed by a book signing. The East Campus is located at 701 N. Econlockhatchee Trail in Orlando.

Nagler’s book, “The Search for a Nonviolent Future,” which received a 2002 American Book Award, explores the history of nonviolence and attempts to offer alternatives to confronting violence—both for individuals and societies as a whole.

The event is being presented by the University Club of Orlando Endowed Chair, the East Campus Humanities Speakers Series, and the Peace and Justice Initiative.

To read more Valencia news, please go to

Source: Carol Traynor, Marketing & Strategic Communications

el osceola star features provost kathleen plinske


The bilingual newspaper El Osceola Star interviewed Osceola Campus Provost Kathleen Plinske in their current issue that introduces four new community leaders in education, health care and government.  Read the article, available both in Spanish and English, in this week’s  El Osceola Star.

a flurry of free concerts for the holidays

Valencia Community College’s East Campus performing arts students will close the year with an array of concerts between now and mid-December. The cost gives music lovers even more reason to rejoice—admission is absolutely free.

Dec. 2 – Winter Choral Concert at 7:30 p.m., Performing Arts Center

Valencia’s premier 50-member concert choir along with the Valencia String and Contemporary ensembles will perform a wealth of classic, contemporary and seasonal works. Showcased will be John Williams’ deeply moving score for “Schindler’s List,” performed by the choir with violin soloist David Bathen. Other featured works include music from “Wicked,” “Ain’t Misbehavin’,” “Peter Pan,” Handel, Brahms, Emerson and Dello Joio.

Dec. 5 – Ensembles Program at 2:30 p.m., St. Michael’s Church

Valencia’s choir will perform works by Handel, Brahms, Emerson and Dello Joio, as well as selected carols and madrigals. The Valencia String Ensemble will perform “Water Music” by Handel, Vivaldi’s “Autumn” score from “The Four Seasons” with violin soloist Sam Mugnolo, “Serenade in E Minor” by Elgar, and the theme from “Schindler’s List.” St. Michael’s Episcopal Church is located at 2499 N. Westmoreland Dr. in Orlando.

Dec. 9 – Fall Symphonic/Jazz Band Concert at 7:30 p.m., Performing Arts Center

Featuring performances by Valencia’s Wind Ensemble, Jazz Lab Band and Brass Ensemble in an eclectic concert of styles and sounds, including brass classics by Hassler, Gabrieli, Mozart and Joplin, modern pieces by Bartok and Gustafson, and traditional Christmas carols. Highlights include Eric Whitacre’s “Ghost Train,” a contemporary piece that depicts a supernatural machine that roars out of the night through forgotten towns and empty canyons, and two contrasting yet beautiful ballads by Path Metheny and Henry Mancini.  The Jazz Band will also perform two foot-tapping Buddy Rich classics “Dancing Men” and “Basically Blue,” Count Basie’s “Cute,” and the Sammy Nestico classic “Freckle Face.”

Dec. 10 – Fall Opera/Theatre Workshop at 7:30 p.m., Black Box Theater

Valencia vocal students showcase their lyrical range with a variety of selections from the worlds of musical theater and opera. A production of “Hansel and Gretel” makes up the first half of the show, followed by selections from “Young Frankenstein,” The Fantasticks,” “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum,” “bare: a Pop Opera,” “The Life,” “Tick, Tick…Boom!” and “Little Women.”

Valencia’s East Campus is located at 701 N. Econlockhatchee Trail in Orlando. For more information, contact us at 407-582-2340 or visit

local transportation pioneer offers college access to local children

The Mears Transportation Group pledged $1 million to Valencia Community College in memory of Paul Mears Sr. to support educational opportunities through the Orange County Take Stock in Children program.

Valencia will celebrate and rename its West Campus Student Services Building in honor of Mears on Nov. 16. Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer will be among the speakers at a dedication ceremony that morning.

“My father always believed that a good education and hard work were the great equalizers in our society,” says Paul Mears Jr. “In today’s world, that’s still true, but sometimes it helps if the pathway ahead is a little clearer. We are pleased to help clear that path for those students participating in this program.”

Paul Mears Jr. and his wife, Deb, Valencia Foundation board member, believe the Take Stock program reflects the values his father engendered by offering a mentoring relationship, a hand-up and a guaranteed college education based on academic and personal successes through junior high and high school.

Take Stock in Children’s local effort is administered by Valencia in collaboration with Orange County Public Schools. The statewide initiative helps underserved children succeed by providing early intervention, volunteer mentors, long-term support and college scholarships. High standards, parental involvement and community support are crucial.

As part of the program, each student receives an individual timeline and success plan that span from seventh grade through high school graduation. Students and parents sign a covenant to maintain solid grades and remain drug and crime free. Mentor meetings help children to focus on their schoolwork and their educational dreams.

Take Stock seeks to transform the futures of individual students – and our greater community –by providing low-income children with a 2+2 Florida Prepaid college scholarship and a mentor in the effort to help them stay in school, earn a high school diploma, graduate from college and enter the workforce.

Since 1995, Take Stock has impacted the lives of more than 17,600 Florida youngsters, providing 9,000 high school graduates with full college scholarships. This year, 20 local seventh-graders will be inducted into the Orange County program, bringing the total number to 86. The first class of Valencia participants will graduate from high school in 2013.

In addition to the gift, Mears employees have volunteered to meet with a student at his or her school once a week. Mentors work with one student for an entire school year and may opt to stay with the student through graduation. Every new volunteer receives orientation and support before being matched with a student.

Local unemployment rates signal challenging times, and economic uncertainties loom large. The increasing costs of tuition and books can conspire to make college unaffordable for individuals looking to build better lives for their families.

“The most important advantage an employer can have in today’s marketplace is the availability of an educated workforce,” Paul Mears Jr. explains. “That’s why I believe, and my father believed, that our business community in Central Florida has such high stake in the education of our young people.”

Valencia president, Dr. Sanford C. Shugart, points out that college enrollment increased by more than 11 percent this fall, significant growth not supported by state funding. Valencia sought resources to help close the affordability gap. Financial aid awards more than doubled in the past three years, growing from less than $40 million in 2006-07 to an estimated $109 million in 2009. Foundation disbursements have tripled within five years.

“This generous gift from Mears will provide meaningful support to financially-disadvantaged children who dream of attending college,” Shugart explains.

The partnership and philanthropy offered by organizations like Mears Transportation Group has helped ensure that Valencia is able to meet urgent needs for scholarships.

“We are so fortunate to have Valencia Community College in our backyard and the talented and dedicated staff of teachers and administrators leading the way,” Paul Mears Jr. adds. “But most of all, we are proud of the students who work hard every day, many in the face of adversity, who know and are committed that the pathway to a brighter future is education.”

For information on the recognition ceremony, contact Elisha Gonzalez-Bonnewitz, director of Take Stock in Children for Orange County, at or (407) 582-3336. To learn more about Mears Transportation Group, please visit

The West Campus is located at 1800 S. Kirkman Rd. in Orlando.

Source: Marketing and Strategic Communications, Valencia Community College; Valencia News;


Congratulations to our Valencia Foundation President and CEO, Geraldine Gallagher for receiving the Women’s Achievement Award in Education at the 39th annual Women’s Executive Council luncheon.
Additional kudos to Ilene Wilkins, President UCP of Central Florida for her dedication and volunteer service she received Central Florida Woman of the Year.

With thanks to all of the 2010 honorees for your support within of our community: 

– Hillary Bressler, .Com Marketing, Inc., Founder and CEO

– Christi Ashby, Editor, Owner of Orange Appeal Magazine

– Elinor Steele Zegelbone, VP Global Comm and PR, Tupperware Brands

– Leigh Ann Horton, Advantage Integration Technology

– Eva Krzewinski, Pearls for Women

– Geraldine Thompson, Representative District 39

– Geraldine Gallagher, President and CEO, Valencia Foundation

– Laura Lee Shields, Bodiford Law Group

WEC’s first annual Women’s Achievement Week was held in 1972 honoring women in the categories of Arts & Science, Business, Community Service, Education, Government, Communications and Downtown Woman of the Year.  The program was expanded in 1987 to include awarding of scholarships to deserving students enrolled in our local colleges.

The 2010 Women’s Executive Council scholarship recipients included Valencia students Deborah Bukowski and Francoise Kogan with additional community scholarships to Randi Alberry, Traci Campana, Jaquelyne Fulco, Alice Pham Le, Tracey Oliver, Marie Sabbagh, Lynn Slivinski and Haydee Torres.  We wish you all great success as you pursue your academic goals!

congrats to Valencia culinary and pastry students

Congratulations to all of our Valencia Culinary and Pastry Students who participated in the ACF State Competition this year at the Restaurant and Lodging Show (September 12-14). Valencia was well represented and we are proud of everyone! Thank you to all of the Chef’s that helped coach our students and let them shine!

Individual Student Pastry Category: Jessica Laconis, 1st place, gold medal; Rosanda P. Williams, 2nd place, silver medal; Alexia Votaw, 3rd place, bronze medal, Caitlin Shelby, certificate; Claudia (last name unknown), certificate.

Junior Team Competition: 3rd place, silver medal – Jill Holland (Captain), appetizer; Michael Smith, salad; David Santiago, entrée; Rosanda P. Williams, dessert; Amanda McGlothlin, alternate.

Professional Category-Signature Beef Competition: Jill Holland, 6th place, silver medal; Amanda McGlothlin, certificate.

Again, Congratulations to all that participated!

Source: The Bulletin, Tuesday October 4, 2010

a message to Valencia from NASA

Christian Pinto Rey wanted to send Valencia a little message on the space shuttle Atlantis. Christian, a former Valencia engineering student started an internship with NASA – and wanted to leave his mark regarding the two schools that have taken him to incredible heights!

Christian has moved on to Embry-Riddle and is currently studying Aeronautical Engineering. We wish you the best of luck, Christian. Keep reaching for the stars!

congratulations to Valencia Foundation’s board chair, Linda Landman-Gonzalez


Linda Landman-Gonzalez, vice president of community relations and government affairs for the Orlando Magic, was named the 2010 Osceola Hispanic Business Council’s Amigo Award winner at the 12th annual Gala Osceola on Saturday August 21, 2010. Landman-Gonzalez is the only two-time winner of the Amigo Award and accepted the recognition on behalf of the Orlando Magic.

The Osceola Hispanic Business Council’s Amigo Award is presented annually in recognition of those who have excelled at celebrating the diversity of Hispanic culture through music, dance and community involvement.

“We want our entire fan base to know we value them,” said Landman-Gonzalez.  “We want to continue our education on how to effectively reach every Magic fan and it’s important to understand our consumer’s needs and make everyone feel a part of our team.”

In her role with the Magic, Landman-Gonzalez oversees community relations, government affairs, multicultural insights and the Orlando Magic Youth Foundation. Under Landman-Gonzalez’s leadership, the Orlando Magic has become champions in the community, celebrating Hispanic heritage and culture. The Magic host an annual Hispanic Business After Hours to honor the contributions of Hispanic leaders across Central Florida. Prior to coming to the Magic, Landman-Gonzalez spent nine years as director of diversity, community and government relations for Darden Restaurants, Orlando’s only Fortune 500 corporation. 

The Orlando Magic is committed to the Hispanic community and has instituted a variety of initiatives to reach our multicultural fan base throughout Central Florida.  In July 2008, under the leadership of team President Alex Martins, the Orlando Magic created a multicultural insights department whose mission is to create an inclusive environment in which our community partners, fans and employees feel welcome, valued and appreciated.

About the Hispanic Business Council:

The Hispanic Business Council is an organization under the umbrella of the Kissimmee/Osceola County Chamber of Commerce. The mission is to provide leadership, education, networking and marketing opportunities for Hispanic businesses located in the Central Florida Area.

About The Orlando Magic

Orlando’s NBA franchise since 1989, the Magic’s mission is to be world champions on and off the court, delivering legendary moments every step of the way. On the court, Orlando has won five division championships (1995, 1996, 2008, 2009, 2010), had six 50-plus win seasons, and won the Eastern Conference title in 1995 and 2009. Off the court, on an annual basis, the Orlando Magic gives more than $2 million to the local community by way of sponsorships of events, donated tickets, autographed merchandise, scholarships and grants. Orlando Magic community relations programs impact an estimated 75,000 kids each year, while a Magic staff-wide initiative provides more than 6,000 volunteer hours annually. In addition, over the last 21 years nearly $16 million has been distributed to local non-profit community organizations via the Orlando Magic Youth Fund (OMYF-MFF), a McCormick Foundation Fund since 1994, which serves at-risk youth. Ticket highlights for next season in the new Amway Center include: 2,500 seats priced $15 or less, 7,000 seats priced $25 or less, and for the first time ever a $5 per game ticket while supplies last. For ticket information log on to or call 407-89-MAGIC. 

Source: Orlando Magic Communications Contact: Noah Sharfman – 407-916-2630,

rogue scholars benefit concert

The Rogue Scholars is having a Rock N Roll Sing Along benefit concert for a Valencia Foundation scholarship (see scholarship details below). 

PLEASE COME OUT AND SUPPORT CHARITY AS WELL AS ENJOY A GREAT SHOW!!  Also, please invite your friends, family, and even people who are not your friends.  Just tell random people on the street.

 WHEN:  Friday July 23 at 7:00 pm

WHERE:  Valencia Community College Osceola Campus Building 2 Auditorium

 DONATIONS:  Tickets will be a $5 donation minimum each person at the door and there will be snacks and water for donations.  (Sponsored by Phi Theta Kappa)

 WHAT TO EXPECTED:  A Rock N Roll live music sing along benefit concert for charity.  The music is by the Rogue Scholars (Facebook:  Rogue Scholars Band).  It will be Rock N Roll through the decades including Elvis, Beatles, Aerosmith, Matchbox 20, and much more. 

 ANY QUESTIONS:  E-mail:  Al Groccia at

DETAILS on the Scholarship:

The Dewey-Bilyue Scholarship
This Valencia Foundation scholarship is named in memory of Jane Dewey and Monty Bilyue. They both spent their professional lives in emergency healthcare services as a nurse and paramedic, respectively. Jane Dewey was a graduate of Valencia’s nursing program. When fully endowed, the Dewey-Bilyue scholarship will provide tuition assistance to students pursuing a degree or certification in nursing, EMT, or paramedic programs.

student thank you

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the committee for accepting my application and reviewing my information. I am truly honored to
be chosen for the Ella B. Sadler scholarship.

I must say that being older does have its perks and for me that is the appreciation of education. I am 100% dedicated and motivated in making this process a success. As previously stated I think with the foundation’s guidance and education that Valencia provides, I will be able to continue to motivate and dedicate myself to accomplishing the goals I have set.

It’s a great pleasure and privilege to be a part of the Valencia Community College family.

Darryl P., Nursing
2009/10 Foundation Scholarship Recipient

donor spotlight: Jess Bailes

Special thanks to Jess Bails for his continued philanthropy to Valencia and our community as a whole!

When Jess Bailes speaks, people listen – and emulate his philanthropy. A Valencia alumnus and active board member of the foundation since 1996, his family’s contributions to Valencia include endowments of more than $350,000 cash and $400,000 in in-kind donations to Valencia Foundation.

Jess is executive vice president of ABC Fine Wine and Spirits and through his lead, ABC provides support for Valencia’s annual golf tournaments, fundraisers, The President’s Circle receptions, donor recognition galas and A Taste for Learning.

Currently, Jess serves as secretary for Valencia Foundation’s board of directors. Jess was a charter donor for The President’s Circle and he has served as treasurer and executive committee member for the foundation’s board of directors. In 2004, he was named board member of the year. And for service to Valencia and Valencia Foundation, ABC Fine Wine and Spirits was named “2005 Outstanding Philanthropic Corporation” by the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP).

At the helm of A Taste for Learning since the inception in 2005, Bailes and his team at ABC continue to make the event an unprecedented success. His idea of sponsorship is definitely a welcome extravagance – bringing together vintners and hundreds of bottles of wine, as well as donating silent auction items. Through his charge, ABC also supplies signage, promotional advertising and on-hand event support – all are given generously and in true commitment to the mission of the foundation.

Jess also leverages his corporate credibility and relationships to ensure that one hundred percent of every dollar given for tickets, auction items and sponsorships goes directly to scholarships. Through his leadership, more than $1.65 million has been generated for scholarships at all Taste events. More importantly, these events have brought the foundation new publicity, new partnerships, an expanded donor base and the opportunity for a college education for students in need.

Jess Bailes and the ABC staff are humble and matter-of-fact about their commitment to service and philanthropy. His servant leadership has earned him the respect of Valencia and our community.

Source:  Valencia Foundation Biennial Report Online

board scholarship committee

The Valencia Foundation continues to award scholarships to deserving and hard-working students currently attending Valencia. With the continued support of our generous donors, Valencia Foundation was able to provide $3.4 million to Valencia Community College in 2008-09 through scholarships, teaching chairs and academic program assistance.

This Thursday, May 27 at 10:00 a.m. our scholarship chair, Kay Walters,  and Valencia Foundation board will meet for our annual scholarship committee meeting. The brief get-together will allow the board to become more involved in the scholarship and awarding process.

Our hope is to award $25,000 to deserving students.

student thank you

I am overjoyed and appreciative of your assistance in helping me achieve my educational goals. Due to your contributions to my education, I feel bound to represent the ideals and morals that you stand for to the best of my ability. Please know that each and every day that I awake, I walk this earth knowing that I am a product and representative of all those who have helped, invested, and supported me throughout my life.

 Tyree R., engineering
2009/10 Foundation Scholarship Recipient

donor spotlight: C.T. Hsu

C.T. Hsu and Valencia President Sandy Shugart
C.T. Hsu and Valencia President Sandy Shugart

Foundation Director Emeritus C.T. Hsu, president of C.T. Hsu + Associates, P.A., is a true philanthropist.

In 1994, he established the Hsu Family Endowed Scholarship at Valencia to support minority students pursuing higher education. In 2006, C.T. and his wife, Jean, contributed $150,000 to establish the Hsu Family East Campus Development Fund to support teaching and learning, which resulted in a $600,000 endowment. His family’s giving commitment also includes hundreds of thousands of dollars earmarked to scholarships, faculty endowed chairs and program support. 

He also helped bring the pre-architecture program to Valencia, which allows students to start the program at affordable tuition while remaining close to home. The program now matriculates directly to the University of Florida, and C.T. is committed to developing transfer scholarships. 

C.T. has been instrumental in attracting new donors and major contributors to The President’s Circle. In 2002, he secured the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Orlando Chapter as an annual donor to Valencia Foundation with more than $100,000 in contributions. Always one of the first to sponsor foundation events, C.T. also encourages his company and community organizations to sponsor Valencia Foundation events as well. 

His willingness to leverage both his professional and personal relationships in support of Valencia student scholarships has been instrumental in the continued success of Valencia Foundation and its fundraising efforts. 

Professionally, C.T.’s creative design genius is visible throughout Valencia’s campus locations, from the East Campus Criminal Justice Institute and Osceola’s flagship building to the soon-to-emerge UCF/Valencia joint-use facility on the West Campus. Personally, his leadership and enthusiasm are priceless assets to Valencia Community College and Valencia Foundation.

donor spotlight: Sue and Steve Foreman

Sue got involved with Valencia in 1976, as part of a Junior Woman’s Club group working in partnership with Valencia Community College to create the Parent Resource Center, a parent education and family support center.

Through this twentyfive year endeavor, and working with other Valencia Community College community outreach programs, Sue and Steve’s commitment to Valencia grew. Sue has provided service to the college and foundation as a board member since the late 80s. Their call to service is to make college degrees possible for promising, eager students with financial need.

Sue and Steve, and the Foreman family, have been significant donors to the foundation, creating in 1994 an endowed faculty chair in honor of Steve’s mother, which today is worth almost $100,000; providing significant support to Valencia students during hurricane relief efforts; and supporting various specific scholarship funds. Their support to the scholarship capital campaign also exceeds $100,000.

Philanthropy is a Foreman family affair – Sue and Steve and their children, Karen and Doug and their spouses, are all actively involved in supporting Valencia. Most recently, the family created an additional scholarship in memory and honor of Sue’s mom, Esther Bagg Hubbard, recognizing her legacy as a businesswoman, friend, athlete, and sports fan who thrived in the most challenging of circumstances. This scholarship supports women who demonstrate grit and moxie and who just need a belief in their opportunity to open the door to a lifetime of success.

Steve and Sue believe in providing a bridge for individuals who need education as a pathway to their economic self-sufficiency and personal fulfillment. Currently, Sue is working to engage significant philanthropists in Winter Park to create an endowment to benefit qualified Winter Park graduates. Their continued and innovative commitment to Valencia is a stellar example of individuals who have made a remarkable difference in the life of this college.

Reprinted from: Valencia Foundation Biennial Report

2010 donor gala photos

Photos from our annual donor gala! This year’s event was held on Saturday, Feb. 6 at the Special Events Center on Valencia’s West Campus. On behalf of those we serve, thank you so much to all of our donors. Your continued support and partnership is so very appreciated!

a second chance at life

2007 Board Member of the Year, Kay WaltersSecond Chance fund celebrated with students and friends to generate awareness and support to single mothers pursuing a Valencia nursing degree. Last month, foundation board member Kay Walters shared the mission of Second Chance fund and how her scholarship has enabled single moms to accomplish their goals and pursue their dreams.

According to the 2007 American Community Survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, more than 1.2 million families in Florida are headed by a single parent. From this same source, some 428,000 single women are in the labor force and have children younger than 18.

Holly Kohler, a 2009 Second Chance recipient, sends her heartfelt thanks for being invited to the event: “I had such a wonderful time, and I am sincerely grateful for the experience.” Students are invited each year to share their motivating and uplifting testimonials regarding their Valencia experience.

Melissa Lowry-Vice is a three-year scholarship recipient of Second Chance. During the gathering she was kind enough to share her inspiring story about being a single mother and finding her passion in nursing. “Without your support, I have no doubt that there would be fewer women who would be able to support themselves and their children while attending college. When I graduated high school I chose to seek my EMT in order to better serve my fire department. Just before my daughter’s second birthday, my husband left me and our children. Shortly after that, my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer.  She eventually succumbed to her illness. But before she did, she had several home nurses caring for her.  Their care and assistance showed me yet again that nursing had a profound effect on the lives that they touched. I’ll be graduating in May, and I’m certain that it would have been much harder for me to be here if not for your generosity and Ms. Walter’s desire to help single mothers get a second chance at life.”

With the continued guidance of Kay Walters, Second Chance has assisted more than 45 single moms enrolled in Valencia’s nursing program through scholarships and mentor relationships. The fund has made a dramatic impact on individual student lives – and those of their families – whose prospects are changed for generations to come. Students often tell us that now their children see them as role models.

We could not be more grateful to Kay and her daughters, as well as community volunteer Dean Maguire and the many donors who contribute to this worthy initiative.

student thanks foundation board

I would first like to thank each and every one of you for allowing me to be a recipient of the Valencia Foundation as well as organizations such as The University Club of Orlando that so generously took the time to invest in my future. It is an absolute honor to be here and briefly share my experiences at Valencia Community College. I’m sure I can speak for all the other recipients when I say, your generosity has made a positive impact in all our lives and that is something I do not take lightly. With the substantial donation I have received you all have said that you believe in “me and my abilities to be a productive member of society”. 

 As a military veteran returning to the unknown of civilian life, I was quite apprehensive and a little nervous about returning to school because I realized that school would be a tremendous investment in terms of my time, energy and finances.  I did my research and found that Valencia has by far one of the best programs in regards to the career path I wanted to pursue. With the financial assistance I have received, it has made my educational pursuit a bit easier and therefore enjoyable.

 I do feel very confident that once I have completed my program, I will be able to utilize the skills and knowledge that I have acquired to be successful. As I look forward to completing my program next summer and beginning a career in sound production, I do plan to continue my course studies at Valencia pre-majoring in journalism and from there transferring to UCF.

 This experience thus far has been nothing short of invigorating and liberating. My only regret is that I waited so long to continue my education.

 Since, you all have chosen to invest in me as well as numerous others, I cannot be more proud and honored to be a part of this wonderful organization.

 Again, I thank you.

Daphne C.
University Club of Orlando Recipient

she’s betting on valencia

Geraldine Gallagher, CFRE, sits down with Helen Von Dolteren-Fournier. Helen Von Dolteren-Fournier, JD, CFP, President of AEGIS Law Firm PL, is the chair of Valencia Foundation’s board of directors.


Q: What influences in your life have encouraged you to be philanthropic and community-minded?

According to my mother, Helen Calafut-Von Dolteren, it doesn’t take much to be a nice person – a kind word, holding a door open for someone or sharing a bowl of homemade soup. Combine kindness with God’s word, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” and you naturally wind up with philanthropy in my world.


Q: Tell us about your law firm.

AEGIS Law Firm PL focuses on personalized estate planning. The company was founded upon the principle that it is our mission to help our clients fully understand complicated issues through education and personal attention.


Q: There are many charities and causes you could support, and you do. But you clearly have prioritized your time, talents and resources. Why is Valencia one of your priorities?

Public education and the arts are my dual missions, and Valencia allows me to support both. I care about this college because anyone can begin anew at Valencia, whether it’s to sharpen their work skills or tool for a new career. I have heard the college described as the Ellis Island of higher education, and it is true. Valencia’s students come in all shapes, sizes and ages, and from diverse income levels, families and backgrounds. The college’s programs provide opportunities in just about any field you could imagine. How much easier could it be to support an institution that does so much for everyone in every corner of our community?


Q: Why do you think that philanthropy matters?

As a society and as individuals, I believe we have a moral obligation to give and to give back, to protect and keep safe those who need a hand up, and to provide everyone with the opportunity to learn and succeed. This is our American dream. I also believe that giving when no one is looking and telling not a soul is a cornerstone of philanthropy and service.


Q: What are your priority initiatives for your term as foundation board chair?

I would like to build upon the previous good works of the foundation board chairs who walked before me and ensure that the college and all of Central Florida come to know, appreciate, love and support Valencia Foundation. Each of us as board members, donors, students, alumni, retirees, faculty and staff can make it our mission to tell Valencia’s stories in the community. We have to raise the profile of the college and our foundation so that when donors are planning their philanthropy, they understand the vital role the college plays in this community. For our donors, not one penny of your donation is spent on anything other than your intended use, be it scholarships, teaching chairs or programs.


Q: What do you hope your life legacy will be?

When I die, I want people to realize that they have the power to change the world – it’s just going to take awhile and through a lot of small actions. Whether it’s through a hot meal, scholarship or educational workshop, it can be done. We can leave the world a better place than we found it. Mother Teresa once said, “Do no great things. Do small things with great love.”She's betting on Valencia!


Q: What is your fondest hope for Valencia?I would like to win the PowerBall for $200 million so we can build all the campuses and facilities and fund an enormous educational endowment to assist students and the college. But it is my fondest hope that I see the day when any deserving student in our community is able to attend college, and money doesn’t stand in the way. That will take an endowment many times the size of our current one, which is the largest among 1,200 community colleges, as recorded by the National Association of College and University Business Officers. Our student need has never been greater, and I’d like to work with my fellow board members, alumni and community partners to ensure we have the resources to keep the doors open for community college students in financial need.


(Reprinted from In the Mix, Volunteer Spotlight, Spring 2009 VITAE Magazine)

She’s betting on Valencia!

who is counting?

I like to count things. Our CFO, Michelle, and my college professor friend, Brian, would tell you I am neither a financier nor a mathematician. But still I like to count.

So when I saw the list of Orlando’s 50 most powerful people, I had to dissect it. We have a whole untold story.

Among the 50 I found at least 20 percent with a clear tie to Valencia, as donors and/or alumni.

Valencia tends to fly under the radar, quietly going about our business of offering learning opportunity to tens of thousands each year. This has been true for more than 40 years.

But I’d say that the presence of our friends on the “Most Powerful” list demonstrates Valencia’s value to our community. Perhaps more important than that are the lives that are transformed because of education and opportunity. That definitely counts!

courageous conversations to support our learners

I read an article this weekend in the New York Times about how the economy is impacting the ability of students to afford tuition and of foundations and colleges to offer scholarships.

The article, “Scholarships for College Dwindle as Providers Pull Back Their Support,” paints a dismal picture of a perfect storm: At the same time families are struggling financially, institutions are cutting back on private student aid.

There’s a logic to a conservative approach by the leaders in higher education and nonprofits, to ensure their sustainability and long-term fiscal health.

Yet, if our mission is to serve students, how do we back down when the need has never been more urgent?

Valencia Foundation’s board asked itself that same question in many discussions over the past six months. They weren’t always easy conversations and the questions were challenging: Are we who we say we are if we take the easy way out? How do we ensure we meet our fiduciary responsibility for the financial future of the foundation? What if things get worse?

My observation is that the questions were a necessary part of the board’s due diligence but, as I watched, the outcome seemed to be a forgone conclusion. Their intention was to meet our mission and assist our students, whatever it takes.

That doesn’t mean there weren’t some “yikes” moments along the way.

The next question was how, and that was a little simpler: We will raise the necessary unrestricted, new dollars to maintain our support from last year — and maybe even increase it a bit. That allows the endowment to recover at the same time that students are served.

The next steps will be less simple, securing those dollars. Over the past five years, the foundation tripled its disbursement of scholarship dollars, so the price tag is not modest and donors are tightening their philanthropic belts. (This reality inspired most of the yikes moments. :-))

It was a courageous commitment — official early this month — that runs counter to the strategy many nonprofits are taking, which is to await the economic upturn so they can return to normalcy. I can’t help wondering: At what price comes safety?

We have a volunteer board of 60 local leaders who “get it.” They are in this for the students and never forget they are our first priority.

Together with our loyal donors, we’ll make it happen. I have no doubt.

board members enjoying taste 3

Our foundation board members took a minute from the festivities to pose for the camera. Don’t miss the opportunity to join us for Taste 4, benefiting 2+2 scholarships for Valencia students planning to transfer to UCF. Join us Oct. 17 at Rosen Shingle Creek.

campaign raises $27 million

Valencia Foundation recently celebrated the successful culmination of its first-ever campaign to support Valencia Community College (Valencia). With a mid-2004 kick-off, the campaign drew more than $27 million in community support, exceeding its $20 million goal.

This year, the college will serve about 60,000 students, many of whom will need financial assistance to learn, train and retool, particularly in this challenging economic environment.

“Our students need us now more than ever, and we are grateful to our friends and partners in Central Florida for their consistent and increasing support even as they face a tough economy that impacts their own families and businesses,” says Helen Von Dolteren-Fournier, Esq., who serves as the foundation board chairwoman and principal in AEGIS Law Advisers in Winter Park.

Since 2001, the foundation”s endowment has tripled, growing from $17.2 million in 2001 to $52.6 million in 2008. Continue reading

mike bosley places first in nursing scholarship dance-off

I’m proud to announce that at the 2009 charity dance-off, choreographed by Femmes de Coeur friends and donors, Valencia was triumphant! Among the four nursing schools competing, our hoofer, Dr. Michael Bosley, assistant provost of our new Lake Nona campus and husband of speech professor and foundation board member, Dr. Amy, WON hands down (or is that feet down)! My sincere gratitude to FDC and Mike! You rock!