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.

 

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

 

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.

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!

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

BY FRANK SHALA

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.

The McLoughlins: Everyone deserves a second chance

BY FRANK SHALA

Throughout 60-plus years of marriage, George and Viola “Vi” McLoughlin have led long, successful lives. What they are most proud of, though, are the opportunities to help provide college access for students, especially those that might not have had a chance otherwise.

George, 94, and Viola, 91, have been retired for nearly 30 years, but their impact is still felt throughout the Valencia community. The scholarship that is in their name is a special one.

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George and Viola with Geraldine.

The George and Viola McLoughlin Scholarship has been especially tailored to meet the needs of the non-traditional student, especially an individual who may not qualify for other, more restrictive programs. Such applicants include those with a checkered academic record, recovering substance abusers, homeless people, survivors of domestic or sexual abuse, mid-career workers looking to upgrade or retool, single parents, and those seeking re-entry to society after incarceration.

They seek to serve deserving individuals who don’t have a safety net and need just one more shot to succeed.

“It seems that for the majority of scholarships available, you have to be a part of a certain group, a certain degree path,” George says. “There aren’t many that help kids who need a second chance.”

Both George and Vi have strong roots in education. George taught at Valencia for 16 years, from 1969-1985. George started when the school was only in its third year of existence, and he jokes that the school was still in portable buildings. Viola was a Seminole County elementary school teacher, and eventually advanced to assistant principal at Red Bug Lake Elementary.

The pair began their scholarship in 1997 and together they have provided countless students that second chance to pursue something bigger than they imagined possible. Their philanthropy includes daughter, Priscilla, who helps choose their scholars. The support and willingness to help their students is something that emerges when you hear the McLoughlins share stories of lives they have touched.

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George and Vi with their daughter Priscilla, who has taken up the philanthropic mantle.

A Persian student brought them an authentic rug when he returned from vacation in his homeland after George helped him find a car to get to school. A Vietnamese couple walked to the McLoughlin home in Maitland with a full, home-cooked meal after George anonymously bought them a Christmas tree.

“I hope that anybody that goes into education goes in with a sense of mission,” George says with emphasis. “The students I taught were really a pleasure, especially the first wave of them.”

“We both started in life very serious about our religion,” Viola adds. “We can relate with students and families who never thought of going to college.”

George was the first in his family: He earned a bachelor’s degree in music from Boston University and a doctorate in education with a minor in music education from the University of Kentucky. When George was teaching at Asbury College, Viola decided to start college at age 40.

Viola had earned a secretarial degree and worked as an executive assistant. She would eventually earn her bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Asbury and her master’s degree in education from Rollins College.

“One thing that’s changed in the last 30 to 40 years is that kids didn’t necessarily grow up with the idea of going to college,” George explains. “But today the opportunities are there if kids will take them. “All the students have to do is try,” his bride quickly chimes in.

Both George and Vi know that sometimes individuals just need that little push, that nudge to get them going. They preach on the opportunities that exist and the people and resources available to help those who are willing to put forth the effort.

“The best advice is to say, ‘yes.’ Things will come along, certain opportunities, and you just have to say ‘yes,’” George adds. “Basically the only thing we ask is that our students are capable of doing their work, and that they be motivated.”

The couple is so proud of the work Valencia president Sandy Shugart has done to maintain Valencia’s focus on students, something George says sometimes lacks at the bigger colleges and universities. They believe the philanthropic foundation has been set for their mission to continue for years to come.

Vi jokes that she nearly forgot to share the most important factor to longevity: “When people ask us what have we done to live a long, healthy life, all I can think of is that we did live rather simply – out of necessity at times, but we don’t have expense taste. It’s the simplicity. It has its beauty.”

To learn more about the McLoughlin family, please visit this article, which appeared in the Valencia Foundation annual report.

Frank Shala is a Valencia College journalism student. 

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New York Times Applauds Valencia’s Efforts to Cut Student Loan Default

While addressing the nation’s growing student loan debt — and the troubling default rate at some colleges — The New York Times editorial board recently applauded Valencia’s efforts to reduce the number of students who default on their loans.

 

Valencia students who received both Pell Grants and loans defaulted at a rate of 19 percent — compared with 26 percent across all of the colleges in the study and at only a slightly higher rate than their more affluent classmates. The same was true for students who took remedial course work versus those who did not. The overall default rate for the colleges in the study was 22 percent.

 

See below for the full article or visit online at: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/26/opinion/how-to-control-student-loan-defaults.html?_r=0

New federal rules that penalize colleges for excessive student loan defaults offer a powerful incentive for schools to educate students on the complexities of the federal student loan program, including the crucial fact that they can delay or make partial payments if they get into financial trouble. Keeping loan default rates low, a new study of nine community colleges shows, is not rocket science: Schools can do it.

Colleges with default rates of 30 percent or higher in any given year are now required to develop a plan for keeping more students on track to repay their loans. Beginning in September, institutions that reach or exceed the 30 percent for three consecutive years will lose eligibility for both the federal loan program and the Pell Grant program, subject to appeal. This places schools with runaway default rates at risk of having to shut down.

The new rules provide important protection for students for whom default can mean a shredded credit history that makes it difficult for them to buy cars or homes and even shuts them out of jobs. The rules also protect taxpayers, who are on the hook when a loan goes bad.

Some colleges argue that the regulations unfairly target and penalize schools that serve “high risk” populations like the poor and young people who need remedial help. A study of nine community colleges carried out by the Association of Community College Trustees and the Institute for College Access and Success, a nonprofit research group, rebuts that argument.

The study suggests instead that default levels for students of all descriptions depend importantly on the quality of the academic support and counseling they get from the schools. Valencia College in Florida is held up as an example of a school that does this well. Valencia students who received both Pell Grants and loans defaulted at a rate of 19 percent — compared with 26 percent across all of the colleges in the study and at only a slightly higher rate than their more affluent classmates. The same was true for students who took remedial course work versus those who did not. The overall default rate for the colleges in the study was 22 percent.

Valencia’s mandatory orientation process shows students from the beginning what it takes to succeed and what services are available to help them. The school also keeps in touch with delinquent borrowers, explaining important options like income-based repayment.

The most important predictor of default is whether a student completes the academic program. Across all campuses in this study, students who graduated defaulted at a rate of just 9 percent, as opposed to 27 percent for those who left college before receiving their degree. This means schools need to keep an eye on and intervene with struggling students before they get overwhelmed and drop out.

Identifying and reaching out to students with academic problems, counseling all students on their rights and obligations under the various loan programs — these are important tools for preventing defaults. But what is likely to persuade colleges to deploy these tools in the first place is the threat of losing federal aid if they do not.

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Faculty and staff giving at Valencia

why-i-give-banner-270x60The Faculty and Staff Giving Committee is excited to announce three students were awarded the Student Opportunity Scholarship for 2014/2015. This is only scholarship to be solely funded by faculty and staff contributions in support of the students they serve.  Christina Funk received the primary scholarship with Valencia students Michaela Decker and Gerald Jones also receiving modest scholarships.

Thanks to “Why I Give Where I Work”  new pledges, renewal gifts and annual donations, our Valencia faculty and staff are part of nearly $100,000 in annual contributions to the Valencia Foundation.

Valencia Employees are asked to consider donating in support of Valencia and the students we serve through payroll deduction or to make a one-time gift, you may use the secure online “Why I Give Where I Work” donation location at https://donate.valencia.org/faculty-staff-giving.

The Valencia Foundation would like to send special recognition to co-chairs Josh Murdock and Diana Ciesko for their leadership during the campaign and to the 2014 ambassadors (pictured below): Andrew Becker, Chris Borglum, Ken Carpenter, Wendi Dew, Isabel Hagan, Jonathan Hernandez, Erich Heintzelman, Pat Lee, Donna Marino, James May, Rob McCaffrey, Mia Pierre, April Raneri, and past chair Katie Shephard.

2014 Faculty and Staff Giving Committee Members

Volunteer ambassadors of the faculty and staff giving committee encourage colleagues to consider committing support of Valencia College and the students they serve by making a contribution to the Valencia Foundation.

Scholars, music and scholarships…

On July 25, a collection of musically talented faculty, staff, and friends–-fondly called The Rogue Scholars–-have found a way to utilize what they have, talent and time, to raise funds for student scholarships at Valencia.

On July 25, a collection of musically talented faculty, staff, and friends–-fondly called The Rogue Scholars–-have found a way to utilize what they have, talent and time, to raise funds for student scholarships at Valencia.

Scholar, poet and educator Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, once said “Give what you have; to someone it may be better than you dare to think.”

On July 25, a collection of musically talented faculty, staff, and friends–-fondly called the Rogue Scholars–-have found a way to utilize what they have, talent and time, to raise funds for student scholarships at Valencia.

Please consider supporting these talented scholars and their musical efforts by attending the live rock ‘n roll sing along show.

When:  Friday July 25, 2014 at 7 pm

Where:  Valencia College Osceola Campus Building 1 Auditorium

Donation:  Give what you can. Perhaps a $5 contribution at the door of event?

What to expect:  Live rock ‘n roll sing along family friendly interactive show with the Rogue Scholars.  We will be playing your favorite songs through the decades.  There will be opportunities for you to bid and sing with the band!

Proceeds:  All proceeds benefit Valencia Foundation http://www.valencia.org through the Jane Dewey/Monty Bilyue Emergency Healthcare Services Scholarship.

This scholarship was established to honor the memories of two individuals who spent their professional lives helping others in critical healthcare situations. It will provide tuition assistance to Valencia students seeking Nursing or EMT/Paramedic degrees.

To our Rogue Scholar friends I say thank you for what you have – both your time and your talents are appreciated!

For more information, please check the Rogue Scholars on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/roguescholarsband

An investment in knowledge

There are other ways to support Valencia, create student scholarships, and enhance education in our community. By naming Valencia College Foundation as a beneficiary through a will or amending a will with a codicil, you can make a commitment in support of education with your deferred donation.

There are other ways to support Valencia, create student scholarships, and enhance education in our community. By naming Valencia College Foundation as a beneficiary through a will or amending a will with a codicil, you can make a commitment in support of education with your deferred donation.

Valencia provides an authentic, learning-centered environment with giving, talented teaching and service-oriented professionals who care for and lead students to discover their greatest potential.

For more than 45 years, Valencia has swung open the doors of learning in Central Florida. We envision a day when no individual in our community is shut out of college because of family finances.

With your support, I believe this community can make this happen.

“An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.”

-Benjamin Franklin

Philanthropy has built remarkable college institutions, cured deadly diseases and continues to fund research and facilities dedicated to our health and education.  This generosity also funds religious, environmental and social efforts globally and locally.

There are other ways to support Valencia, create student scholarships, and enhance education in our community.  By naming Valencia  College Foundation as a beneficiary through a will or amending a will with a codicil, you can make a commitment in support of education with your deferred donations.

 The truth is that while many are limited by the realities of a day-to-day budget, a little careful planning today makes it possible for almost anyone to do more in the future through a planned gift.

If you haven’t already, please consider supporting the Valencia Foundation with your learning legacy, your gift makes a real difference for the students we teach and serve every day.

If you would like more information on planned giving, sample bequest language or just have general scholarship questions please contact the Valencia Foundation at 407.582.3150 or e-mail foundation@valenciacollege.edu.

 

What has caused you to walk away from a nonprofit?

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As this info-graphic indicates, 53 percent of givers can become completely disillusioned because the nonprofit is not communicating well. The donor feels under-appreciated, unthanked, overlooked or treated poorly. So they vote with their feet. And who could blame them?

Has that ever been your experience?

As a nonprofit organization, we are keepers of the public trust and stewards of invested resources. So in the next couple of months, Valencia donors may look for opportunities to tell us just how well we are doing in serving you, and how we can exceed your expectations. It may be by phone, by email or by snail mail.

Today, we invite your thoughts about what has ever prompted you to part ways with a charity. Feel fee to participate in this poll, comment below and/or send an email to ggallagher@valenciacollege.edu. You are welcome to share this poll with friends or colleagues if you’d like.

What has been your worst experience? What has been your best experience? Reply below the poll.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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?”

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Orlando architect helps etch a community

BY FRANK SHALA

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.

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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

Valencia employees give back

why-i-give-logoValencia’s faculty and staff giving campaign is underway and in full swing. Last week, the Foundation sent information regarding this year’s “Why I Give Where I Work” campaign with Valencia colleagues who expressed the reasons why they choose to give.

Scholarships change lives.

Our goal is that each student who comes through our doors will be able to fulfill his or her dream of earning a college degree. As the data shows, those who complete a college degree and work full time, earn an average of $17,500 more than those with a high school diploma only, according to a recent Pew Research Study.

Additionally, Valencia’s associate in science graduates boast 95 percent job placement, even in this economy, and starting salaries average $43,385.

So it’s no wonder that Patti Riva, operations manager, energy education, says that she gives because “investing in Valencia will bring a brighter future for all.”

Reasons Valencia College employees give where they work:

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Employees can be a part of this movement simply by completing the Payroll Deduction form — it’s that easy.

Sharing the Reasons

Valencia invites other employees to share why they choose to give by leaving a comment below.

If you have questions or would like more information on the campaign or how you can support the “Why I Give Where I Work” campaign, feel free to you may contact Valencia Foundation donors stewardship manager Donna Marino at dmarino@valenciacollege.edu or any of the faculty and staff giving ambassadors located at www.VALENCIA.org/FSG.

 

alumni magazine available online

vitae-cover-news-siteValencia alumni…read all about them! The most recent issue of our alumni magazine, Vitae, is available online. Read it here.

Valencia employees share “Why I Give Where I Work”

Valencia employees make a big difference in our student’s lives!

Many Valencia College employees support students inside and outside the classroom. It was Sir Winston Churchill that said, “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”

There are many reasons to contribute to Valencia Foundation, below are a few Valencia employees  who shared “Why I Give Where I Work.”

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Gustavo Morales, professor, geology, West Campus:

I give because I like to support all the fantastic work my colleagues do.

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James Thomas, professor, English, East Campus:

I give because I know exactly where my money goes: to help deserving students.

laurie-halftone-180w Laurie Youngman, manager, employee support:

I give because I believe in Valencia’s mission and want to show how strongly.

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Donna Sovern, administrative assistant in the math office on Osceola Campus:

I give because Valencia is a community of helpers, and I love helping our students.

Share your passion for learning and student success! Help our faculty and staff support those students who need it most. Please visit http://www.VALENCIA.org and click on Make a Donation.

You can join the team of almost 300 Valencia colleagues and give today. Simply complete the Payroll Deduction form to start your giving legacy.

If you have questions or would like more information on how you can support the “Why I Give Where I Work” campaign, contact Diana Ciesko, professor, psychology, or Josh Murdock, instructional designer — the Faculty and Staff Giving Committee Chairs, or Donna Marino, CFRE, manager, donor stewardship.

Want to share why you give to Valencia College? Let us know by leaving a comment below.

“Why I Give Where I Work” is a part of the faculty and staff giving campaign that was designed by a team of Valencia employees and honors the commitment of faculty and staff to student success while seeking to provide additional resources for faculty, staff and students who work together to realize educational goals. This campaign is focused on sharing the good work of the Valencia Foundation and encouraging faculty and staff participation based on individual interest and willingness to contribute. A faculty or staff member should not, at any time, feel pressured or compelled to give to the foundation.

taste recap

1M3A0037How do you take 100 and turn it in to 249,000? Take a look at what the 100 signifies and you will find the answer. That 100 represents the 25 sponsors that signed on as Taste for Learning benefactors and the 16 master chef and beverage donors who provided gourmet tastings and treats the night of the event. It includes the vintners and spirit producers that were on-site to pour their finest libations and the volunteers who gave tirelessly of their afternoon and evening. It was the more than 750 people who gathered in the Gatlin Ballroom on May 17 for Taste for Learning to make a difference in the lives of others. 100 percent of all funds raised at Taste will go directly to scholarships at Valencia and medical education at Orlando Health. Here’s how it looks:

Orlando Health Foundation proceeds: $83,000
Valencia Foundation proceeds: $83,000
Valencia amount eligible for match: $83,000

These numbers may still change slightly as they are finalized but we feel confident in saying that Taste 2014 will have an impact of $249,000 on education in Central Florida. Thank you once again to our sponsors below and to all who helped build that 100 percent to almost a quarter million dollars for local students.

You can find more event photos on our Facebook page – A Taste for Learning.
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Sommelier sponsors: ABC Fine Wine and Spirits, Rosen Hotels and Resorts, Rosen Shingle Creek

First Press sponsors: Freeman Co., McCree General Contractors and Architects Inc., SunTrust Robinson Humphrey, Walt Disney World Resort

Vintner sponsors: Jess and Betsey Bailes, CliftonLarsonAllen LLP, Coca-Cola, Jack Holloway Foundation, Martinez Manglardi PA, Orlando Health, Orlando Magic, Signature Systems of Florida, Valencia College

Cabernet sponsors: BIOTRONIK Inc., Charles Perry Partners Inc., Clancy and Theys Construction Co., Emergency Physicians of Central Florida LLP, HuntonBrady Architects, Orlando Health Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery, PSAV Presentation Services, SeaWorld Parks and Resorts Orlando, Universal Orlando Resort, Wolverine Anesthesia Consultants

a closer look: 2+2+2 architecture program model

Student project
guest author: John P. Ehrig, FAIA, LEED AP, vice president, CASE project manager, HHCP/Architects Inc.

As a New Jersey transplant to the Sunshine State, I began my career in architecture at the University of Florida, graduating with a bachelor of architecture degree. I have been involved with American Institute of Architects for over four decades, first as a student and later serving in various positions throughout the Institute. In 1993, I became the youngest Florida architect to be elected to the AIA College of Fellows. After I moved to Orlando in 2000, I served as president of AIA Orlando in 2001 and that’s where the story about the 2+2+2 architecture program begins.

As background to AIA Orlando’s relationship with Valencia, in 2002, one of our members, CT Hsu, FAIA who was also a member of the Valencia Foundation board of directors, approached the chapter with the idea of joining forces in fundraising efforts to benefit both the chapter and Valencia Foundation’s scholarship program. As discussions unfolded, Valencia’s Geraldine Gallagher made a presentation to the AIA Orlando board of directors about joining forces and as they say, “The rest is history.” Over the past 12 years, AIA Orlando has been a part of generating over $240,000 for the foundation creating a strong connection between the chapter and the college.

Central Florida architects had been talking about having an architecture school in Orlando for decades and the last big push was way back in the 1970s. At that time, creating a new school or program required legislative approval as well as approval of the Florida Board of Regents.

In the fall of 2007, the AIA Orlando chapter, created an Educational Task Force (ETF) to spearhead this effort. During this time frame we discovered that Dr. Shugart was an “architect at heart.” I heard him say once “had he not gotten into education he would’ve wanted to be an architect.” CT Hsu and Alan Helman, FAIA, told Sandy about the work of the ETF in trying to get a professional degree program here in Orlando and he said he would try to assemble the right people to discuss the possibilities.

Around that time Valencia had worked out an “articulation agreement” with the University of Florida – School of Architecture where students would graduate with an associate of arts in architecture and would go right into upper division as juniors without skipping a beat. This was important to me because when I transferred to UF, I transferred in as a junior but I had to start over in all my design coursework. Ultimately it took me six years to get a five-year degree because of that “transfer gap,” something I did not want to see happen to students today.

The articulation agreement was working and students that were graduating from Valencia were heading off to Gainesville and elsewhere. Everything was going along fine except the openings in the upper division for transfer students were dwindling year after year. Competition was exceptionally tough because of the program’s notoriety. So, the task force believed it was time for a creative solution. We knew the university wanted to increase their focus on urban design in their undergrad and graduate programs. The ETF also knew that UCF had indicated an interest in creating an architectural program in the past.

So as things were starting to evolve the ETF developed a list of things that we wanted in a program and generated a formal White Paper. This paper included what the profession would do to help move this effort forward; like providing adjunct professors, employing students as interns in local offices and securing additional funding to support the program.

We called Dr. Shugart and said, “Here’s what we’d like to do.” And he said, “I’ll set up a meeting in a couple weeks to see where this may go.” Then one day I got a phone call inviting me to a meeting consisting of people from UCF, UF and Valencia. On meeting day, Dr. Shugart made some opening remarks and immediately looked at me and said, “Okay John, you asked for this meeting, what do you want to discuss?” This was the opportunity and audience I needed to present the white paper and openly discuss the need for an architectural program in Orlando.
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The current scenario was a student would go to Valencia and get a two-year degree then they’d apply to UF or other colleges. They were accepted at major universities across the country and once they received their degree, they would very seldom return to Orlando. So our goal was very selfish – keep the talent here in Orlando. We wanted the ability for students to get an education here, complete their internship here and stay here to design their professional life in Orlando where they started.

We knew that there was a really good working relationship between Valencia and UCF in several programs involving the DirectConnect to UCF program, so that was our roadmap. And if something could be worked out with UF to obtain a two-year graduate program that was all we needed for the professional degree. UCF became the critical link to what would be a unique architectural program with three separate institutions, hence the 2+2+2.

There are always up and downs in anything new but, the bottom line for the most part is we have the consistently strong Valencia portion with the first two years, we now have the third class of graduates from UCF, and this year we graduated our first class of UF students. Sixteen walked the stage in Gainesville on May 3 and of the 16 graduates, nine went through the 2+2+2 right here in Orlando.

Read the Valencia News article on the first 2+2+2 architecture grads

I know Sandy is a Christian leader and I appreciate his direction and passion in this entire effort. There are some things that we humans try to manage and manipulate to get what we want but, there are so many things that have occurred that I know are not “coincidences”. Too many things “fell into place” at just the right time for us mortals to take the credit for it. For instance the funding for the studio space in Building 9, the building of the UCF Joint Use Facility, UF’s support of the Orlando program, and the talented students that had the faith in signing up for a program with no previous track record, just to name a few.

The Orlando architectural program is now a proven, new educational model.

This year you have the special opportunity to support the 2+2+2 program through AIA Orlando’s 25th annual golf tournament June 20, 2014 at the Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes. Non-members can play for $175 and sponsorships start at $250. Here is a link to more information.

valencia, orlando health foundations to host ‘taste for learning’ fundraiser

untitledWhile the economy is on the mend, recovery has been difficult for nonprofits. The landscape has changed and those that survived, and thrived, have had to find unique ways to partner and bring support to those who need it most and during an extended period of time.

It is in this spirit of partnership that Valencia College Foundation and Orlando Health Foundation join together to host Taste for Learning on Saturday, May 17, at Rosen Shingle Creek. Taste for Learning is an evening of food, wine and spirits paired with an auction to benefit scholarships and medical education.

Making this event unique, 100 percent of all sponsorships, tickets and auction receipts directly benefit student allied health scholarships and medical education. Every Valencia health scholarship is doubled, expanding the reach of each gift into our community.

Tickets for Taste for Learning are $125 per person and may be purchased online at www.ATasteForLearning.com

When Taste was first proposed in 2005 by Valencia Foundation board member Jess Bailes, ABC Fine Wine and Spirits executive vice president, the idea was to create an event that could be sustained by the support of community partners. The generosity of contributors who donate all necessary items has resulted in $2.27 million to support learning. In-kind contributions include the venue, food, wine, auction items, publicity, printing and décor.

For this year’s tasting and auction, ABC Fine Wine and Spirits has invited vintners from around the world who donate hundreds of their finest wines, as well as provide exceptional auction items. Taste will feature over 100 wines coming to Orlando from throughout this country, as well as Australia, France, Italy, Germany and Spain.

This year’s event will feature a selection of worldwide spirits, craft beers and a personalized Maker’s Mark dipping station.

Guests will enjoy gourmet hors d’oeuvres and sample entrée selections donated by A Land Remembered, B.B. King’s Blues Club and Grill, Bubbalou’s Bodacious Bar-B-Que, Cabin Creek Catering, Cala Bella, Hard Rock Cafe, Mi Casa Tequila Taqueria, Rainforest Cafe, Shutters at Old Port Royale (Walt Disney World – Epcot Resort Area – Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort), Taverna Yamas, Tommy Bahama Restaurant and Bar, T-REX, and Yak & Yeti.

This year’s generous sponsors include: ABC Fine Wine and Spirits; Rosen Shingle Creek; Rosen Hotels and Resorts; Freeman Co.; McCree General Contractors and Architects Inc.; SunTrust Robinson Humphrey; Walt Disney World Resort; CliftonLarsenAllen LLP; Coca-Cola; Martinez Manglardi PA; Orlando Health; Orlando Magic; Signature Systems of Florida; Valencia College; Charles Perry Partners Inc.; Clancy and Theys Construction Co.; HuntonBrady Architects; Orlando Health Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery – Dr. Mark Sand, Dr. Jeffrey Bott, Dr. Stephen Hoff; Universal Orlando Resort; and Wolverine Anesthesia Consultants.

According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, a study released by Public Agenda, a nonpartisan research group, found that most students drop out of college when faced with the hardship of juggling their dream of education with having to financially support themselves. Far too often, work must come first. We see this struggle in Valencia students, working a full-time or several part-time jobs, as well as balancing family, community, volunteer and personal commitments. Scholarships make a tremendous difference in their ability to attend college.

In the past 13 years, the foundation has disbursed $30 million, making education possible for thousands of students. But there is still crucial work to be done. Valencia Foundation board and leaders strive for a day when anyone who wants to go to Valencia can, regardless of financial circumstance.

Valencia won the inaugural Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence based on student performance and graduation data. Valencia was lauded for focus on college completion and job preparation. The Aspen Prize was a selection factor for President Barack Obama’s recent visit to Valencia to discuss the economy and leveling the playing field for women.

For more information or to make a donation, please call (407)582-3150 or visit WWW.VALENCIA.ORG

a closer look: commercial real estate women

crewlogoValencia Foundation’s successes are the direct result of successful partnerships with organizations and individuals who do their part to contribute, advocate and invite others to learn about Valencia. Partnerships with organizations such as Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW) Orlando take the important step in setting the philanthropic curve in today’s world – finding new and unique ways to bring funds to those who need it most and over an extended period of time.

CREW Orlando was formed in 1987 to attract the most powerful and influential professionals in the commercial real estate industry. Each chapter has its own unique structure and framework but every chapter follows the purpose of “advancing women in commercial real estate.”

Former foundation board chair, Helen Von Dolteren-Fournier, Esq., and former board member, Sarah Kelly, led the charge for Valencia’s partnership with CREW. The organization endowed a scholarship through Valencia Foundation and also partnered on an interactive program designed to introduce female high school students to career opportunities in the commercial real estate industry.

Every year since 2002, CREW Orlando has used dollars raised at their golf tournament to fund The CREW Orlando Scholarship at Valencia. In all, CREW’s golf tournaments have gathered $119,500 to benefit students in need.

Bill Mullowney, Brian Macon, Geraldine Gallagher and Jim Grumberg at CREW's annual golf tournament

Bill Mullowney, Brian Macon, Geraldine Gallagher and Jim Grumberg at CREW’s annual golf tournament

This year the CREW golf tournament is Friday, May 16 at Eagle Creek Golf Club. Sponsorships start at $250 and individual golfers can play for $175 per person. For more information, here is the brochure.

The CREW Scholarship was created to support students who seek a future in commercial real estate or a related industry, students such as Arzu.

Becoming a mechanical engineer was a childhood dream for Arzu, but that is all it was, just a dream. She came from a family of six with parents who tried to make ends meet with a very low income. When she came to the United States, she feels she was given a second chance to pursue her education.

Three years ago, she started attending Valencia and although it was a start, the road was still very rough. She felt alone and faced the problem of not knowing the language. Naysayers told her graduation would be very difficult, but she did not give up. She took English for Academic Purposes (EAP) and her hard work paid off. Today she is proud to tell of her 3.7 GPA.

In addition to being a student, Arzu is a wife and mother and she says that her marriage and birth of her daughter are the most satisfying and inspiring events in her life. Though it has been a struggle to manage all of these roles, she knows that education is important and feels it will make her a wonderful role model for her daughter.

Arzu is currently enrolled as a full-time sophomore in the articulated pre-major program for engineering. This course of study is based on an agreement with UCF and is designed for students who plan to transfer to UCF as a junior to complete a bachelor’s degree in engineering.

At UCF, she plans to graduate with a degree in mechanical engineering. She is passionate about her degree choice and enjoys building and construction and fabricating projects from scratch. She also plans to get a Professional Engineering license to increase her knowledge in her career and boost her position in the workforce.

When she found out she received the CREW Scholarship, she got very emotional. She was using Valencia computers and library services to learn, but now she could get her own books, a calculator and a laptop. These tools allow her to study anywhere and give her more time to help her daughter with her schoolwork.

She says she will always be appreciative to CREW because even though they didn’t know her, they helped make her dream come true.

For more information about CREW, please visit http://creworlando.org/.

taste for learning update

taste-logo-rgbTaste invitations are on their way, but you don’t have to wait. Visit http://www.ATasteForLearning.com to get your tickets today. While there, you can book a room at Rosen Shingle Creek at a reduced event price. May 17 is just about six weeks away; let’s take a look at how things are coming together.

There has been unprecedented response to our call for gourmet tastings. Every craving will be satisfied with food from Tommy Bahama Restaurant and Bar, Bubbalou’s Bodacious BBQ, Cabin Creek Food Services Inc., Rainforest Cafe, Yak and Yeti, T-REX, Taverna Yamas and Shutters at Old Port Royale.

Rosen Shingle Creek’s eateries, A Land Remembered, Cala Bella and Mi Casa Tequila Taqueria, will also provide delicious offerings.

Our other presenting sponsor, ABC Fine Wine and Spirits, recently confirmed that a favorite will be back again this year; the Maker’s Mark personalized dipping station.

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The silent auction items are growing by the day and include hotel stays, spa packages, theater tickets and wine tastings.

The wine is the big draw and ABC has graciously agreed to give us a sneak peek at some of the vintners and spirits.

Wagner Family of Wine – Belle Glos Pinot Noir, Conundrum

Treasury Wine Estates – Chateau St. Jean, Beringer

Justin and Landmark Wines – Justin Sauvignon Blanc, Landmark Pinot Noir

Delicato Family Vineyards – Gnarly Head, Noble, Belle Ambiance

The Lergenmüller Wine Group Germany – Dornfelder, Müller Piesporter, Villa Riesling

Vine and Branches – Bogle, Hook and Ladder

Peter Mondavi Family – several selections from the Charles Krug portfolio

Campari America – Skyy Infusions, Appleton, Rusell’s Reserve, American Honey

Fish Hawk Spirits – Absinthia Rubra, Marion Black 106

These are just a few selections with many more to come. Usually there are between 50 and 70 stations offering libations.

The last six Taste events have raised $2.27 million for scholarships and medical education. Remember, 100 percent of all funds raised go directly to students. An investment in Taste is an investment in medical and allied health science education in Central Florida. Every Valencia allied health scholarship contribution is doubled.

In a word, the reason sponsors sign on year after year is “fun.” The event is a great time; it’s a jovial atmosphere with no formal program. We are grateful to all of our benefactors, both past supporters and new friends. Sponsorships are still available, call Donna Marino (407-582-3128) for more information.

Sommelier – ABC Fine Wine and Spirits, Rosen Hotels and Resorts, Rosen Shingle Creek

First Press – Freeman Co., McCree General Contractors and Architects Inc., SunTrust Robinson Humphrey, Walt Disney World Resort

Vintner – CliftonLarsonAllen LLP, Martinez Manglardi PA, Orlando Health, Orlando Magic, Signature Systems of Florida, Valencia College

Cabernet – Charles Perry Partners Inc., Clancy and Theys Construction Co., HuntonBrady Architects, Orlando Health Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery, Universal Orlando Resort, Wolverine Anesthesia Consultants

a closer look – johnson scholarship foundation

Johnson Scholarship Foundation’s mission is to assist disadvantaged people obtain an education. They recently issued a challenge grant that brought together a number of local colleges and UCF to fund scholarships.

Valencia, Brevard Community College, Seminole State College and Lake-Sumter State College all signed on for this unique fundraising effort.

At the heart is something that we know works, the DirectConnect to UCF program. One out of every four UCF graduates started at Valencia. Valencia graduates are UCF’s number one source of transfer students.

The DirectConnect to UCF partnership is designed to help students transition from partner colleges to UCF. The program guarantees admission to students who have earned their associate degrees from a partner college and meet academic requirements.

The chance to strengthen this partnership with 2+2 scholarships that will travel with the student as they journey from Valencia to UCF was a very worthwhile endeavor to Valencia.

Simply put, each partner college has to raise a certain amount. These funds will be used for scholarships. Johnson Scholarship Foundation will match these funds, and that money will be used to create an endowment. This partnership is projected to raise $4 million in scholarships.

Students were identified; Osceola campus students who plan to receive a bachelor’s degree in biomedical sciences from UCF. Students must demonstrate financial need and be enrolled in biology and chemistry courses.

Another unique aspect of this scholarship is that it will increase in amount over time. The amount of each award will increase each term as a student demonstrates academic success, growing from $500 to $1,500 in the fifth term.

Dr. Melissa Pedone, dean of math and science, offers her perspective on this unique partnership and its benefit to Valencia students. “The Johnson Scholarship is a very special opportunity to support students on the Osceola campus pursuing a STEM degree focused on biomedical sciences. It is unique in that it provides growing support as students make progress through the degree. STEM majors include many rigorous math and science classes that go beyond the standard math and science general education requirements. Sometimes STEM students run into problems when traditional forms of financial aid cannot accommodate the extra classes or time it takes to complete all of the requirements. The Johnson Scholarship takes this into consideration and provides the critical additional support necessary to help students reach their full STEM potential.”

The first of Valencia’s Johnson Scholars have been awarded, future doctors and researchers who will shape the landscape of tomorrow. In support of Dr. Pedone’s comments, each of these students is well on the way to their highest potential.

Duneishka Roman’s first patient was Mr. Cuddles, the teddy bear. She soon moved beyond the plastic stethoscope and is now in her first year at Valencia studying biology.

Valencia Johnson Scholar, Duneishka Roman

Valencia Johnson Scholar, Duneishka Roman


She started down an uncertain path in high school, influenced by the wrong people, but she soon got herself back on track, pushing her GPA up and taking part in scholastic clubs and doing volunteer work. Today, she maintains a 4.0 average by studying, handing in assignments on time and is sure to speak up if she doesn’t understand a concept in class.

She found out she was a Johnson Scholar mid-bite at a family meal. She pushed the food aside and thanked God for blessing her with this opportunity.

She hopes to one day be a pediatrician and says she wants to “give hope to those who find themselves weak and without hope, to be able to lift at least one person’s spirit.”

She hopes to take advantage of the education she has been given and use it wisely, “because I know for sure that all the building blocks I’m putting together now are to build my future tomorrow.”

She feels as long as she keeps her goals in mind, her dream will be realized and all of her passion and effort will pay off.

Mention of this scholarship kept finding its way into Ekaterina Karelova’s life so she thought she better take advantage of the opportunity. She heard about the scholarship in her chemistry class and then again, right after, in her biology class. On top of that, she received an email about the scholarship, and she decided to check it out.

Ekaterina grew up with her grandparents and they stressed the importance of learning English. “At the age of six they got me an English tutor and no matter what the financial situation was, we would always have money set aside for my English tutor.”

Ekaterina is from the Republic of Georgia and first came to the United States to study business. It was part of a foundation implemented by the then-president of her country, and she traveled with a group of seven kids for what was supposed to be one year, but ended up being much longer.

Curiosity brought her to biomedical science. She was doing research on what could be the underlying cause of an illness and “one day it just hit me. In order to see the big picture, first I have to understand the basics. That is when I enrolled at Valencia College.”

Today she juggles a full-time course load with a full-time job and admits sometimes she is not sure how everything gets done.

She said she felt a great feeling of accomplishment and relief when she found out she was a Johnson Scholar. She sums it up so well: “Education is not cheap. A lot of people with great potential might never attend a college or university because they cannot afford it. Scholarships give this amazing opportunity to everyone.”

Ekaterina brings an international perspective to what many of us may take for granted, access to education. “Schools in the United States have so many resources and opportunities to give students, to teach students and help them be who they choose to be, whether it is great lawyers, great teachers, great businessmen, great doctors.”

Daniel Salas doesn’t care about statistics; he firmly believes his mindset will carry him through any obstacle.

When Daniel’s grandfather passed away during an effort to find the right surgeon, he made a choice. “I chose to dedicate my life to make sure another member of my community would not have to go through that experience.”

He came to Valencia knowing his path, having shadowed medical professionals at both Osceola Regional Hospital and Good Samaritan Village and continuing his community service at Celebration Health.

Daniel chose Valencia because staff member Nelson Sepulveda made him feel “like an individual versus a number.” He was also swayed by the small class size. Unlike large, auditorium-seating classrooms, Valencia’s average class size is 23.6.

His roster of activity seems endless with active involvement in the Student Government Association and he is an active member of the Seneff Honors College, the Valencia Ambassadors Program and the American Medical Student Association at Valencia. He keeps his drive and determination by always asking himself a question when faced with a distraction, “Will attending that bring me any closer to my goals?”

A conversation with Dr. Kathleen Plinske, Osceola Campus president, made him aware of the Johnson Scholar opportunity. Daniel followed up with Dr. Pedone, who encouraged him to apply for the scholarship.

On the importance of scholarships, he says, “Personally, I believe that scholarships are much more than giving away money. They impact the lives of students by allowing us to focus more on our studies so that we can one day give back to those who believed in us.”

orlando magic youth fund gives valencia’s take stock in children $35,000

Take StockTake Stock in Children of Orange County received $35,000 to help disadvantaged and at-risk youth be successful in school and go on to college. Take Stock was one of 25 local charities that received grants totaling $600,000 from the Orlando Magic Youth Fund, in celebration of the Magic’s 25th anniversary season.

“We are proud to be one of the 25 organizations recognized for making a significant difference in our community,” said Elisha Gonzalez, director of the Take Stock in Children program.

“The commitment of the Orlando Magic Youth Fund and The McCormick Foundation to provide opportunities to our students locally is unprecedented. This grant means providing scholarships, mentors and hope to many more students to end the cycle of poverty. We are honored to celebrate 25 years of the Orlando Magic and to be part of their All Star team.”

In addition to the grant award, each organization will be recognized during the remaining home games this season.

“In what has become one of my favorite days of the year, we are proud to assist these very deserving organizations who work tirelessly to improve the lives of youth in Central Florida,” said Orlando Magic CEO Alex Martins.

Valencia administers Take Stock in Children—a statewide program—in the Orlando area in collaboration with Orange County Public Schools. Valencia’s Take Stock In Children program pairs community leader mentors with students starting in the 8th grade. Students who maintain good grades, remain crime and drug free, and meet with their mentors are awarded a 2+2 Florida Prepaid scholarship upon graduating from high school. Students can attend a two-year community college and state university of their choice.

For more about Take Stock in Children: http://valenciacollege.edu/tsic

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

taste – where does the money go?

new Taste logo

new Taste logo

Have you bought your tickets to Taste for Learning at www.ATasteForLearning.com? Well, you can be proud of the fact that 100 percent will go to scholarships and medical education.

From the ticket holder to the presenting sponsor and all the auction items in between, all of the money goes to the cause. And it has always been that way. The last six Taste events have raised a total of $2.27 million for educational support.

Money for the event comes from ticket sales, the silent auction and, of course, sponsors. With the addition of McCree General Contractors and Architects Inc. and Universal Orlando Resort, here is a look at our generous benefactors.

Sommelier level: ABC Fine Wine and Spirits and Rosen Shingle Creek
First press level: McCree General Contractors and Architects
Vintner level: Orlando Magic
Cabernet level: Charles Perry Partners Inc., Edlen Electrical Exhibition Services, Universal Orlando Resort, Wolverine Anesthesia Consultants

In order to maximize recognition, we ask sponsors to sign on as soon as possible. If you are interested, or know someone who might be, please contact Donna Marino at 407-582-3128 or dmarino@valenciacollege.edu.

While our partner, Orlando Health Foundation, will fund medical education efforts, Valencia Foundation will put the money toward scholarships for first-generation college students.

Just last year, the foundation completed a successful First One campaign and raised $200,000 for first-generation scholarships. During that time, we got to know students, faculty and staff who are first-generation scholars.

Dr. Joyce Romano, Valencia’s vice president of student affairs, put it best when she said, “When you are a first-generation college student, your ideas of what is possible are so limited because you just don’t know what you don’t know.”

Unfortunately, first-generation students are not always set up for success. Not knowing about the college experience, families may be unprepared to offer support when it comes to education after high school. Maybe college was so out of their realm of thinking that they neglected to take core college-prep classes in high school. If the going gets tough, do they have a support network or role model who can offer real-life inspiration that college is attainable?

Being a part of that support network, that is what these scholarships hope to do. Scholarships offer not only financial support, but the belief that someone cares and wants them to do well.

Here are the thoughts and thanks of some of our first-generation students.

Qunesha is the oldest of three and no doubt a big inspiration to her siblings. She said, “Not only will your scholarship help me in obtaining my degree here at Valencia, it will continue to encourage me as I enter the workforce, knowing that I have supporters that believe in my success by investing in my future.”

Bobi shared that education was stressed at her house, but only through high school. She is a mom, working and going to school full time. From her: “I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for your generosity and for helping students who have a vision of bettering themselves through education.”

Jazmine’s career goal is to be a nurse. She plans to continue her education at UCF after Valencia. She acknowledged, “Being the oldest of eight kids puts me in a role model position and I appreciate the opportunity you’ve given me to prove myself and set an example for my younger siblings.”

And Jerome shows us that any time is a perfect time to start at Valencia. He loves computers and looks forward to having a career working with them. He shared, “Because of your generous donation, this third-generation, native resident of Orlando will be able to achieve his dreams and become the first in my family to obtain a college degree.”

Again, tickets can be purchased at www.ATasteForLearning.com. You can truly make a difference in someone’s life.

a closer look: 1st united bank scholarship

1st United Bank presents a check for $5,000 to Valencia Foundation for student scholarships at Valencia College.  From left to right: Michelle Matis, COO, Valencia Foundation; Sam Miles, Sr. VP, 1st United Bank; Jennifer Hinkle, Business Development Officer, 1st United Bank; Donna Marino, CFRE Valencia Foundation Manager

1st United Bank presents a check for $5,000 to Valencia Foundation for student scholarships at Valencia College.
From left to right: Michelle Matis, COO, Valencia Foundation; Sam Miles, Sr. VP, 1st United Bank; Jennifer Hinkle, Business Development Officer, 1st United Bank; Donna Marino, CFRE Valencia Foundation Manager

It used to be thought that people provided charitable donations for some pretty broad, single-focused reasons – they gave because of a religious calling or for the tax deduction. However, now we know that there are a myriad of reasons why people give. Just as each of our students has a story, so too do our donors. The tapestry of each life has been woven and we are grateful to be a part of it.

Relationships are a big part of our work, and it is the same for 1st United Bank, who builds successful relationships with customers, investors and business leaders.

To further promote financial literacy, 1st United Bank established a scholarship program in all the bank’s assessment areas, which includes Orange County. In support of this program, the foundation was gifted $5,000 for scholarships. Senior vice-president, Sam Miles, and Jennifer Hinkle, business development officer at 1st United Bank, delivered the check personally to the foundation. (See photo.)

The scholarship is for low-and-moderate income students who meet the requirement for federal financial aid. They must have a 3.0 or above GPA and be studying banking and finance, nursing or teaching.

These funds will provide 50 credit hours of support and is roughly equivalent to 16 classes at Valencia.

The first of these scholarships have already been awarded and are helping students in need. From Marie, a recent recipient: “It is because of your generosity that I am able to go to class with academic worries instead of financial worries. The 1st United Bank Scholarship has made a huge difference in my life. I appreciate everything that the scholarship has done for me this semester. I will do my best to make this another successful semester.”

And from Ashley: “I would like to sincerely thank you for your generous gift. The scholarship for spring 2013 came to me at a time when I needed it most. With your kindness, I was able to afford my tuition. This scholarship allowed me to focus on my studies without financial concerns.

I currently have an additional two years of school ahead of me. Once I have completed my education I will become a registered nurse. My ultimate goal is to work on a cardiac unit and take an active role in saving lives. From a very young age, I have always wanted to help others. Your generosity has brought me one step closer to reaching my goal.”

And let me add the thanks of Valencia Foundation as well. We count on generous partners to fund scholarships and make education a reality for students who might not otherwise be able to afford an education.

Special kudos: 1st United Bank

1st United Bank recently contributed $5,000 towards student scholarships at Valencia College. These funds will provide for 50 credit hours of support and is roughly equivalent to 16 classes at Valencia.  Now, that’s an ROI worth supporting!

1st United Bank presents a check for $5,000 to Valencia Foundation for student scholarships at Valencia College.  From left to right: Michelle Matis, VP Valencia Foundation; Sam Miles, Sr. VP 1st United Bank; Jennifer Hinkle, Business Development Officer, 1st United Bank; Donna Marino, CFRE Valencia Foundation Manager

1st United Bank presents a check for $5,000 to Valencia Foundation for student scholarships at Valencia College. From left to right: Michelle Matis, VP Valencia Foundation; Sam Miles, Sr. VP 1st United Bank; Jennifer Hinkle, Business Development Officer, 1st United Bank; Donna Marino, CFRE Valencia Foundation Manager

SGA campus leaders send appreciation for student scholarship support

Student Government Association (SGA) presidents gathered across multiple Valencia campus locations to express appreciation for student scholarship support. The result? A heartwarming note of gratitude!

Your support is key to our success

Your support is key to our success.

On behalf of Valencia College and the students we serve, please accept our appreciation for your contributions which provide deserving individuals access to education in our community.

As Valencia College student government leaders, we represent driven and motivated students. Unlike the college generation of years ago, most of our peers are often balancing family, work and community commitments.

The combined efforts of our donors help students through funding for essential and key needs like scholarships, books, tuition and supplies. All Valencia students greatly benefit from the support they receive, no matter how large or modest the award.

We appreciate your support of students like us!

Valencia Student Government Association Presidents

a closer look – grainger tools for tomorrow scholarship

(l to r) Rhonda Fensterer, market manager at Grainger's branch in Orlando, and Gabriella Johnson

(l to r) Rhonda Fensterer, market manager at Grainger’s branch in Orlando, and Gabriella Johnson

Scholarships are a step among the path. They help students to enroll, or stay enrolled, at Valencia. Another step along the path is completion. Through Valencia’s A.S. degree programs, learners are able to immediately join the workforce.

When we measure the college’s impact on our local community it is vital to remember that we provide training and tools that lead to a better workforce, which benefits all of us who work and live in Orange and Osceola counties, and even beyond.

It is this path, from scholarship to completion to workforce, which leads us to companies like W.W. Grainger Inc. (Grainger), North America’s leading broad line supplier of maintenance, repair and operating products, with expanding global operations.

We work closely with businesses like Grainger to make sure that we are graduating students with the highest level of ability, and from these partnerships we know there is a need in the workforce. Many businesses that rely on skilled workers report difficulty finding qualified individuals to fill open jobs. In fact, skilled trades have been the hardest segment of the workforce for employers to staff for the last three years, according to ManpowerGroup.

It seems that part of the challenge in finding trained workers comes from misperceptions of the skilled trade industry. To promote the innovation of careers in the industrial skilled trades, Grainger, in conjunction with the American Association of Community Colleges, launched the Grainger Tools for Tomorrow Scholarship for 129 students at 70 community colleges in the U.S., with one-half of the scholarships targeted to U.S. Armed Forces veterans. In addition to a $2,000 scholarship, each student receives a Westward tool-kit upon graduation to help jump start their career.

“Grainger is investing in the future industry and communities through the Grainger Tools for Tomorrow Scholarship program,” said Rhonda Fensterer, market manager at Grainger’s branch in Orlando. “We are proud to partner with Valencia College and believe business and college partnerships are one solution to building a stronger workforce.”

For consideration, Valencia students must be in their last year of study and in good standing to graduate from their technical education program in 2014. And we found a perfect fit with Gabriella Johnson, who is studying toward her A.S. in drafting and design technology.

She heard about the opportunity through a professor and was so surprised and grateful when she received the scholarship, as she had tried for other scholarships but never heard back.

She shares that the scholarship will help her take her last classes and keep her motivated to maintain good grades. She thinks scholarships are important because applying for scholarships helps one reflect on their goals and the level of motivation they have to pursue an education. And she says they help financially of course, alleviating the responsibility and worry of paying for classes. “Instead, said responsibility is focused on education outcomes and accomplishments.”

Gabriella was drawn to industrial trades because she is interested in the function of things. She enjoys learning how to create, work and improve machinery and design.

Her career aspirations are “to demonstrate creativity, commitment and quality in drafting.” She hopes to work in a career where designing skills are used to develop and innovate.

What a perfect addition to the trade, and it was all made possible through Grainger’s Tools for Tomorrow Scholarship. The foundation is ever thankful for these relationships, as they help so many students forge ahead on their own paths with an ultimate destination that makes the community stronger.

spirit of the season

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

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

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

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

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

winter blessings

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Happy holidays!

ingredients in chef’s stellar career

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 www.VALENCIAGIVING.org, 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 www.VALENCIAGIVING.org. 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.

a closer look: national philanthropy day

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

The Mears family and Mears Transportation Group have been involved with the foundation for more than a decade and their contributions include an endowed scholarship to benefit students in Valencia’s hospitality management program. Deb has been a valued board member since 2008.

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

On the morning of Nov. 22, it was a pleasure to join colleagues and friends at the Association of Fundraising Professionals Central Florida Chapter’s National Philanthropy Day at the Ritz-Carlton Orlando Grande Lakes. The event acknowledges the entire spectrum of services that the nonprofit and civic service sectors provide, as well as the profound impact that philanthropy has on the fabric of society.

Our dear friends from The Retired Air Force, Marine, Army, Navy (RAFMAN) Club received an award for outstanding civic and service group. RAFMAN Club was started in 1974 to unite retired military personnel as a brotherhood and become more actively involved in the community.

Member Arthur Jarvis observed a troubling trend in his church and in his neighborhood: Young African-Americans wanted to go to college but simply couldn’t afford it. Mr. Jarvis brought this to the attention of his fellow members, and, in 1996, RAFMAN Club partnered with Valencia Foundation to begin offering the RAFMAN Club Scholarship. To date, 26 students have received financial support through RAFMAN’s scholarship.

Members of RAFMAN Club at National Philanthropy Day

Members of RAFMAN Club at National Philanthropy Day


Improving access to a higher education through scholarships is a solution that RAFMAN believes in from the top down. Shares club president, George Jordan, “Education is such a simple word with a powerful impact. Education not only opens doors but it breaks barriers and evens the playing field, it increases personal confidence, it boosts morale, improves effectiveness and allows for endless possibilities. Education begins with us, we are the ones who instill the importance of this simple word, we are the ones who tell the young why education is important, we are the ones who encourage and motivate the young to seek education and to utilize it. We set the example for this generation as they will set the example for the next. Our legacy should include our commitment to such a simple yet powerful word, education.”

Mr. Jordan was on-hand to receive the award and told the crowd, “We love giving back to the community.”

Sue Foreman received honor as the outstanding volunteer fundraiser. Sue’s passion for giving back and making a difference has benefited this community through 40 years of service to at least a dozen non-profits. As she demonstrates the power of volunteerism in making a difference to solve community challenges, Sue inspires others to donate their time to local nonprofits.

Sue got involved with Valencia in 1976, as part of a Junior Woman’s Club group working in partnership with the college to create the Parent Resource Center, a family education and support center. She also has volunteered her time and talent to Valencia Foundation as a board director since the late 1980s. And after nearly 30 years on the Valencia board, Sue continues to raise her hand to support every project with her time, talent and resources.

Her continued and innovative commitment to Valencia demonstrates a stellar example of individuals who have made a remarkable difference in the life of this college. But she doesn’t think of herself as a fundraiser. In reality, she is an expert at building authentic relationships.

It was this model of friendraising not fundraising that Sue spoke of while accepting her award. She talked about the joy of a being a donor in this situation, where she is tasked to have fun and talk about these great successes.

Sue and Steve Foreman at National Philanthropy Day

Sue and Steve Foreman at National Philanthropy Day


Sue accepted her award with her trademark verve and soon had the entire audience laughing and smiling with her. She commented that each recipient is doing what they love, and today they are getting an award for it!

The morning was, as always, so moving and inspirational. It is timed perfectly, ushering in our traditional season of thanks and giving. From all of us at the foundation, we appreciate you and wish for you a happy and healthy December.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

violin instructor’s fermata: legacy through music

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

a closer look: taste for learning makeover

Who doesn’t love a good makeover? Senior public relations manager Carol Traynor, senior art director Marty Csercsevits and their talented team at the college’s marketing and strategic communications department brought a new look and new life to our Taste for Learning event.

The next Taste event is scheduled for May 17, 2014 at Rosen Shingle Creek.

The event started in 2005 when foundation board member Jess Bailes and his team at ABC Fine Wine and Spirits partnered with Valencia Foundation. Our board of directors agreed to host the fundraiser only if we could ensure that every single dollar donated went directly to support education.

Today, we are still so blessed to have ABC’s involvement, as well as the support of Rosen Shingle Creek. Throughout the years, the logo stayed the same, with a graduation hat symbolizing the funds that went to support scholarships and grapes representing the wine that was served.

But now, as the event evolves, it was time for something new. First, the liquor landscape is always changing and ABC recognizes not just wines, but worldwide wine and spirits. Craft beers are currently very popular and that will be reflected at the event. As the event progressed, we came to realize that we had outgrown the grapes.

previous Taste logo

previous Taste logo

Additionally, we began partnering with other organizations for the event. First we partnered with UCF Foundation and now for the second year with Orlando Health Foundation. While we don’t share an identical mission with Orlando Health, we both place a priority on education. Funds raised at the event support student scholarships for us and medical education for Orlando Health Foundation.

Everyone is competing for fundraising dollars and these unique partnerships offer an opportunity to support more than one effort in our local community. What also sets us apart is the fact that still, eight years later, 100 percent of all funds raised goes directly to the cause.

We could not make that claim without the support of ABC Fine Wine and Spirits, Rosen Shingle Creek and our other sponsors. Our supporters work diligently to make sure that everything is donated, even down to the electrical drops for the event. The college generously underwrites the printing and creative costs.

Which brings us to the new logo – here it is!

new Taste logo

new Taste logo

Our new tagline is: An evening of food,wine and spirits paired with an auction to benefit scholarships and medical education.

The new logo gives a well-rounded representation of the spirits that will be at the event and the bright colors bring a sense of fun and liveliness, which is what Taste is all about.

Again, this year’s event will be on Saturday, May 17. In addition to ABC Fine Wine and Spirits and Rosen Shingle Creek, we are thrilled to have two early sponsors, Charles Perry Partners Inc. and Wolverine Anesthesia Consultants.

Stay tuned to the event website for updates WWW.ATASTEFORLEARNING.COM and if there is someone you would like us to send a sponsor packet to, please reach out to Donna Marino at 407-582-3128 or dmarino@valenciacollege.edu.

Mark your calendars – we will see you there!

consulate awards scholarships for valencia students of mexican origin

IME BECAS Scholarships Funds Awarded: The funding is part of the Institute for Mexicans Abroad (IME) “BECAS for a Better Life,” a fundraising program that was created by the Mexican government in 2005 to support the development and well being of Mexican migrant students living in the United States. The program’s ultimate goal is to help develop a more educated and better-trained work force by supporting underserved students to continue or begin their academic development.

IME BECAS Scholarships Funds Awarded: The funding is part of the Institute for Mexicans Abroad (IME) “BECAS for a Better Life,” a fundraising program that was created by the Mexican government in 2005 to support the development and well being of Mexican migrant students living in the United States. The program’s ultimate goal is to help develop a more educated and better-trained work force by supporting underserved students to continue or begin their academic development.

The Mexican Consulate in Orlando awarded Valencia College $4,000 in scholarships to benefit Mexican-American students. Together with matching dollars from the Valencia Foundation, the college will award four students each with a $2,000 scholarship. Recipients must be current Valencia students who are Mexican or of Mexican descent.

A total of $28,000 was awarded by the consulate to three Florida colleges and two nonprofits during a ceremony held earlier today at the consulate. Each award will be matched by the recipients’ foundations to provide $56,000 in scholarships to benefit more than 160 students.

“We are very grateful to have the opportunity to partner with the Mexican Consulate to provide scholarship support to students of Mexican descent,” said Kathleen Plinske, president of Valencia’s Osceola and Lake Nona campuses. “One of our strategies to increase the number of students who pursue a higher education in our community is to reduce the financial barriers they face, and this scholarship program will help several of our students to realize their dreams at Valencia College.”

Hispanics make up the largest minority group at Valencia at 31 percent. In the last five years, Hispanic enrollment at the college has grown by 37%, or 4,959 students.

This is the second year that Valencia has received these funds, after awarding scholarships last year to four Mexican-America students, including:

  • Ashley Vasquez, a first-generation college student, member of Phi Theta Kappa, who dreams of becoming an optometrist and plans to complete her A.A. then transfer to UCF for her bachelor’s;
  • Daisy Mondragon, who’s pursing an A.S in Radiology Technician and is hoping to graduate in December 2014;
  • Carolina Lopez, married with small children, will be the first in her family to graduate from college. She’s studying for her A.S. in nursing—a highly competitive and rigorous program—and plans to complete her bachelor’s in nursing at UCF.

The funding is part of the Institute for Mexicans Abroad (IME) “BECAS for a Better Life,” a fundraising program that was created by the Mexican government in 2005 to support the development and well being of Mexican migrant students living in the United States. The program’s ultimate goal is to help develop a more educated and better-trained work force by supporting underserved students to continue or begin their academic development.

Information on how students can apply for the scholarships can be found here: https://valenciafoundation.wordpress.com/2013/10/09/2013-14-ime-becas-scholarship-available-now-2/

note from the “Tina’s Heart” scholarship committee

The endowed scholarship created in memory of Valencia student Christine “Tina” Collyer will begin distributing to Valencia College students in 2014.  Family and friends of Tina celebrated her memory in the following letter that thanked community members and contributors of this learning legacy.

Thank you so much for your donation to Tina's Heart Scholarship. Your generosity made this scholarship possible. Most donations came through the 2011 and 2012 Tina's Turn Out events at Lake Eola, the support of Valencia's Alumni Association, and through the 2013 graduating class at Valencia College. We are so very grateful to all of you.We are happy to announce that the Tina’s Heart Scholarship in memory of Tina Collyer is now endowed!

Starting in 2014, Valencia will award one scholarship every year to a freshman student who will attend Valencia. EVERY YEAR!!! Although the specific criteria for eligibility to receive the scholarship has not been finalized, it will be awarded to a student who has participated in the Fire Department Explorer program and wants to pursue a career as a firefighter/EMT.

The Orlando Fire Department Explorer program was at the center of Tina’s heart, and she inspired the Explorers that she guided through the program. Tina’s legacy will live on in our memories and this scholarship will extend that legacy to future Explorers!

Thank you so much for your donation to Tina’s Heart Scholarship, as your generosity made this scholarship possible. Most donations came through our 2011 and 2012 Tina’s Turn Out events at Lake Eola, through the Valencia Alumni Association, and through the 2013 graduating class at Valencia College. We are so very grateful to all of you.

Please celebrate Tina whenever you think of her – when you take a walk around Lake Eola, or when you hear a fire truck, or just whenever you think of her crazy antics.

With heartfelt thanks,

The Tina’s Heart Scholarship Committee
Janice Collyer, Bill Collyer, Shannon Omark, Suzanne Rhodes, Barbara Shell, Randy & Genie Tuten

P.S. If you would like to provide input on the eligibility and selection criteria prior to the 2014 Scholarship season, please contact Shannon Omark at sbomark@mchsi.com or Suzanne Rhodes at suz403@yahoo.com prior to March 1, 2014.

Christine ”Tina” Collyer’s lifelong dream of becoming a fire fighter was ignited by an AS degree in Fire Officer Technology, an AS in Emergency Medical Service Technology and a certificate in Paramedic Technology from Valencia Community College. In January of 1996 she joined the Orlando Fire Department and also served as Paramedic and instructor for the department and citizens of Orlando.

Tina was the Explorer Advisor for many years and proudly served on the Honor Guard. Her contributions to the Orlando community extended as a volunteer with Burn Camp, Dream Flight, and the Winnie Palmer Secret Santa.

Friends and family are honoring Tina’s commitment to learning and her giving spirit with a scholarship in her honor.  The family wanted to create hope with Tina’s Heart marking one year since Tina’s passing in October 2008.

For more information about the efforts of this committee in memory of Valencia Grad Tina Collyer please read the blogs In memory of Tina Collyer and The results are in: Tina’s Turnout for scholarships.

alumni networking – the osceola county connection

Osceola CampusSome months ago, Valencia’s alumni executive board met with college president, Dr. Sandy Shugart. As a result of this conversation, and feedback from fellow alums, the alumni board turned their focus to networking opportunities, an initiative driven by the Learning and Growing committee.

Under this new direction, the alumni association hosted a networking reception on West Campus in partnership with the Heart of Florida United Way last year. The event was a great success and left alumni in Osceola County with just one question: What about us?

“Now everyone wants one!” says Barbara Shell, alumni relations director at Valencia.

The Osceola alumni networking reception will be held on Thursday, Oct. 10 from 6 – 8 p.m. on Osceola Campus.

Barbara shares that having an event in Osceola is exciting because the campus has changed so dramatically and alumni get to see all the new development, including the new Building 4 that cements the partnership between Valencia and UCF on Osceola Campus. Building 4 is the largest building on any Valencia campus. In addition to classrooms, the four-story building houses the campus library, bookstore, 10 science labs, 18 classrooms, math and computer labs, the campus cafeteria and a coffee bar.

Attendees of the networking reception will have a chance to check it out in person on the 10th, the event will be held there and refreshments will be provided.

Osceola alumni see this event as another step to their ultimate goal, starting their own Valencia alumni chapter. The first step was the 5K Run Walk for Heroes on Saturday, Sept. 7. The event was part of the September 11 memorial events at the campus and raised more than $8,000 for the Rotary Club of Lake Nona’s September 11 Memorial Fund, which supports Valencia scholarships for emergency responders at Osceola Campus.

12,000 students take classes at our Osceola Campus, a number that campus president, Dr. Kathleen Plinske, hopes to grow with the help of our best ambassadors – alumni.

“We’re working hard in Osceola County to move the needle on our college-going rate. Osceola County ranks 57th in 67 counties in the state of Florida in terms of the percentage of high school graduates that enroll in college. In our effort to promote a college-going culture, we’d like to highlight some of our notable Valencia alumni who live and work in Osceola County. I hope that students in our elementary, middle, and high schools learn of these amazing Valencia alumni, and recognize that Valencia is a great start to any career. Valencia alumni have gone on to become doctors, lawyers, fire chiefs, bankers, teachers, business owners and public servants. I would like for students in Osceola County to recognize that they can accomplish anything that they set their minds to, and Valencia is a great place to start to achieve their dreams.”

Dr. Plinske wants to build a strong relationship with alumni in the area and is encouraging our former students to reach out and reconnect with Valencia. Input is requested from a variety of professions and careers so if you or someone you know is an alum, having completed a degree or certificate program, living or working in Osceola County, please contact Laura Oldroyd at 407-582-4101.

And after making that call, there is one more you need to make – your RSVP call for the Oct. 10 networking reception! Please call 407-582-3426 or email alumni@valenciacollege.edu by Friday, Oct. 4 so we know you are coming. The evening promises to be a chance to get back to campus and meet other previous students. Bring plenty of good Valencia stories to share!

checking up on the dental hygiene program

DentalHygieneReunion015October is homecoming month for Valencia with a number of events scheduled to bring alumni back to campus, including the 35th anniversary Valencia dental hygiene program reunion on Saturday, Oct. 12.

Valencia College’s dental hygiene program was established in 1977 and graduated its charter class of 23 students in 1978. The graduates of the program are employed as clinicians, educators and public health hygienists. Numerous graduates have continued their education in dental hygiene, dentistry, education and public health.

The reunion celebration offers graduates a chance to stay connected to the program. One alumna takes that connection a step further, by offering generous scholarship funding. Megan Warlow is a 1989 graduate of the program and provides scholarship dollars to those who are following in her footsteps.

Emily Anderson is a 2012-2013 recipient of that funding. She found out about the opportunity through the dental hygiene program director, Pamela Sandy. Without this assistance, she would not have been able to return to college.

Emily plans to continue schooling and obtain a bachelor’s degree in dental hygiene. She wants to be active in the American Dental Hygienists’ Association and support the work to increase the scope of practice for dental hygienists in Florida.

Beyond the dollars, the greatest gift she received from the scholarship was the confidence to go after what she wanted. “I feel like I have a team of cheerleaders in my corner,” she describes, declaring that she feels obligated to succeed and pay it forward.

And she already is paying it forward, seizing an opportunity that presented itself at a First One campaign event for the foundation. It was there that Emily met a young man who was the eldest of 12 siblings whose life had a rough start with a teenage mother and trouble around every corner. He shared that sometimes he gets lonely and wants to give up on his dream of education.

As Megan Warlow was the cheerleader for Emily, she became the cheerleader for this young man, sending him the link to apply for scholarships and offering to be that friend in need when the going gets tough.

She credits the scholarship with helping to shape this outlook. “It has created a momentum that carries me and affects all those around me.”

She realizes that scholarships are a blessing that can help dreams become a reality and have a positive effect on the community. “I feel that the more skilled and educated people become, the more they contribute to making our society better as a whole. Often without the support, many talented individuals will not reach their full potential because they cannot afford to go to college.”

Jessica Alexander is another 2012-2013 recipient. She is finishing up her core classes, currently with a 4.0 GPA, and she hopes to find “a job that I love” after graduation.

She was referred to the online scholarship application through the Answer Center at the college. “When I saw the foundation scholarship, I figured I would give it a shot.”

And quite a shot it was. “Amazing!” she recounts. The scholarship surpassed anything she could imagine and provided almost a year’s worth of schooling for her.

Like Emily, Jessica comments that the financial burden is what keeps so many people from getting a degree. Thanks to her benefactor, she has peace of mind and can focus on her studies.

She thinks that scholarships are important because they reassure students that they are headed in the right direction. “All students have a time when they wonder if they are on the right path and when you receive a scholarship, it makes you feel like you are in the right place.”

And after graduation, expect to see both of them at reunions and alumni functions. Jessica says, “I will definitely keep in touch with the dental hygiene program. I have had such a great experience so far at Valencia. This year has changed me so much and I know over the next few years I will grow even more. I will always have the relationships and experiences to take with me.”

From Emily, “I definitely plan to keep in touch with the dental hygiene program after I leave. My entire experience with Valencia has been about making connections and feeling like part of a family committed to helping everyone succeed. At each event I have attended, I have seen the dedication that alumni have shown to their alma mater and I know that I will want to do the same!”

For all interested in the October reunion, the event will be held from 2 – 5 p.m. at the Special Events Center on the college’s West Campus. Please RSVP by Oct. 7 to 407-582-3426 or alumni@valenciacollege.edu.

a closer look: valencia’s paralegal program

paralegalAs Valencia’s alumni relations efforts continue to grow, certain disciplines develop their own alumni followings and host receptions that provide professional networking opportunities, as well as a great chance to catch up with former classmates.

This is the case for the paralegal program, which is hosting an alumni reception on Thursday, Oct. 24 from 6 – 8 p.m. in the auditorium of Valencia’s Criminal Justice Institute.

As the legal system becomes more and more complex, lawyers are increasingly turning to qualified paralegals to provide essential support services. The paralegal is one of the lawyer’s most valuable resources, performing substantive legal work delegated and supervised by the lawyer, including assisting with trial preparation and real estate closings, drafting legal documents and performing research.

Students in Valencia’s AS degree program in paralegal studies develop a strong background in many areas, including civil litigation, real property, business organizations, legal research and legal technology. Students also gain an understanding of the ethical framework within which they work and can effectively analyze and communicate in these areas.

Students may choose to specialize in two areas, litigation or transactional, and can work for lawyers in myriad of institutions, including firms, banks, corporations and government agencies.

Approximately 35 percent of program graduates transfer to an institution offering a baccalaureate degree. For students who choose this route, the program at Valencia has an articulation agreement with UCF and Valencia graduates may transfer to UCF’s BA or BS in legal studies program. There is also an articulation agreement with Florida Gulf Coast University, offering students a chance to complete an online bachelor’s degree in legal studies.

The program provides many ways to prepare students for the job market, beginning in PLA 1003, Introduction to Paralegal Practices and Ethics. In this class, the students are required to prepare a resume, cover letter and references. A guest speaker is also invited to provide information regarding the current job market and hiring tips. Students are encouraged to attend a free seminar sponsored by the Central Florida Paralegal Association that addresses the topic of resumes.

Program director, Wendy Toscano, is an important resource for the students. Upon request, she will meet with a student individually, review their resume and assist them in job searches. Students are also supported by the college’s Career Center, which provides resume writing assistance, mock interviews, career counseling and reference materials related to the paralegal profession and law school.

In their final year of studies, students will take PLA 2192, Legal Research and Theory III: Capstone. In this class students will create a portfolio of their assignments completed through the program. This portfolio can be used to showcase work during a job interview. Students are also required to prepare an updated resume, cover letter and reference list, as well as participate in a mock interview with a career counselor. This course also affords the opportunity to job shadow with local attorneys and paralegals to experience law firm culture.

For many, internships are a key experience when deciding a future career and life path. The paralegal program does provide an intern course as an elective. A member of the paralegal program faculty is responsible for placing, monitoring and evaluating the internship. Valencia paralegal students have interned with the state attorney’s office, working closely with the assistant state attorneys. Students have also interned with local law firms, small and large, as well as solo practitioners.

The program is supported by a strong advisory committee. The committee provides meaningful guidance, job shadowing, internships and jobs, funds for book scholarships and other program needs. They also help with the most important factor in getting a job – networking. Wendy Toscano states that bringing the alumni together with current students and the advisory committee is a great way to learn about job opportunities and recent developments in the paralegal arena.

Wendy expands on the importance of alumni in the equation: “Program alumni are one of our primary sources regarding paralegal job opportunities in the Central Florida legal community as well as current trends affecting the paralegal career. They are also living, breathing examples of the quality of Valencia’s paralegal studies program.”

There is something else that provides assistance to our paralegal students, and Valencia students in all disciplines – scholarships. Scholarships lead to more graduates, which strengthens our alumni base and leads to all of these great networking and reunion events.

One day soon, Melixa and Katie will be proud alumni sharing their stories and serving as the embodiment of how education can change the trajectory of a life.

Melixa is currently unemployed and has a child with severe learning disabilities, but she says she will continue to fight for their future. It is a future that will involve more education as she would like to transfer to UCF to complete a bachelor’s degree. Her dream is to go to law school and one day have the initials JD behind her name.

Flattered and blessed, that is how Melixa feels about her scholarship support. Her first reaction to the scholarship news was to laugh out loud and say, “Thank you all!” She feels the faculty at Valencia is doing a superb job and she is proud to say that she is a Valencia student.

To the generous donors, she says, “God has provided angels disguised as scholarship benefactors. Again, my children and I say thank you for investing in our future. I will do the same for others when the time comes.”

A very special benefactor offered assistance to Katie, Helen Von Dolteren-Fournier, Esq. Helen is a past president of the Valencia Foundation board and one of our most treasured friends. Her generosity knows no bounds and students like Katie reap the rewards of that philanthropy.

Katie is a single mom with four children and this is her first time in college. There was a problem accessing her financial aid and she found herself struggling to pay for two semesters. She hopes getting a degree will improve her life and her children’s. “I want to show them I can, and will, succeed.”

Come share your success and mix and mingle with fellow paralegal graduates on the 24th. RSVP to 407-582-3426 or alumni@valenciacollege.edu by Oct. 21.

Note: Paralegals cannot give legal advice, represent a client, or provide legal services directly to the public, except as permitted by law.

putting a human face on genocide

Valencia’s Peace and Justice Institute brought Carl Wilkens to Valencia campus through a $2,000 grant from the United States Institute of Peace, which was matched by a $2,000 donation from Orlando-based ShuffieldLowman Attorneys & Advisors.

One Person Can Make a Difference: Recalling Lessons from Rwanda

  • By Linda Shrieves Beaty

When the genocide in Rwanda began in 1994, Carl Wilkens found himself facing a terrible dilemma.

A Seventh-Day Adventist aid worker, Wilkens had lived in Rwanda for four years, building schools and starting his young family there. But as the violence between the majority Hutus and the minority Tutsis erupted, and the killing began to engulf the country, the U.S. embassy urged all Americans to get out of the country.

There was just one problem, Carl Wilkens told audiences at Valencia this week. The Wilkens family — Carl, his wife Teresa and their three small children –  employed two Rwandans: a housekeeper and a young man who was their night watchman. Both were members of the Tutsi tribe, whose members were being hunted down and killed by members of the majority Hutu tribe and its government.

Wilkens figured he had two choices: Leave the country and try to sneak out his two employees, which the U.S. embassy had forbidden, and which he felt might risk his family’s lives if  they were caught at the border. Or, he and his wife could leave their home in Kigali, and let their employees hide out in their home. Unfortunately, Wilkens knew that the Hutus would quickly find their employees and kill them.

In the face of such dreadful choices, Wilkens came up with a different solution.

He sent his wife and children to neighboring Burundi, and he chose to stay in Rwanda — where he could shelter his employees and other Tutsi friends.

“When Plan A is unacceptable and Plan B is equally unacceptable, I’d encourage you to stop and look for a Plan C,” Wilkens told the Valencia students and staffers at his speeches.

Wilkens, the only American who stayed during the bloody genocide that claimed more than 800,000 lives, managed to save the lives of his employees — and he’s credited with saving the lives of hundreds of others, including children in nearby orphanages.

During the 100 days of nonstop killing, Wilkens went out into the bloody streets of Kigali, faced down soldiers and civilians armed with AK-47s and machetes, and bargained with Hutu government officials to let him help the children.  Before long, he found himself dealing with men who were ordering the slaughter of thousands of people.  He was uncomfortable with the idea, but a Tutsi friend and pastor suggested it. “He said, ‘Carl, if you really want to make a difference, you have to form a relationship with the people in power,’ ” Wilkens recalled.

So Wilkens  met with Col. Tharcisse Renzaho, the governor of Kigali. Renzaho gave Wilkens a travel permit that would allow him through roadblocks to provide food and water to children in orphanages. When Wilkens asked for a truck to deliver the materials, the colonel provided one. Later, after the violence ended and the Rwandan people drove out the extremist government, that colonel was arrested and tried for his crimes.

Yet the incident taught Wilkens a lesson. “I want to focus on the power of relationships to make a difference,” said Wilkens.

Peace, he said, depends on it. “How are we going to build world peace? Through friendships.”

Wilkens stayed in Rwanda for another 18 months after the genocide, as the country began to heal. In 2011, Wilkens released his first book, “I’m Not Leaving,” which is based on tapes he made to his wife and children during the genocide. Today, he is the director of World Outside My Shoes, a nonprofit based in Spokane, Wash. Wilkens now spends much of his time traveling around the country,  telling how his experiences puts a human “face” on genocide,  showing students that  perpetrators, victims, and resistors will not soon be forgotten, and teaching participants how one person really can make a difference.

Valencia’s Peace and Justice Institute brought Carl Wilkens to campus through a $2,000 grant from the United States Institute of Peace, which was matched by a $2,000 donation from Orlando-based ShuffieldLowman Attorneys & Advisors.

thank you femmes de coeur

Sending appreciation to Femmes de Coeur (Women of Heart) for the recent $5,000 donation to Valencia Foundation. This generous contribution is earmarked to support Valencia College nursing students through the Femmes de Coeur Endowed Nursing Scholarship.

In addition to Valencia College Nurising program, Femmes de Coeur also contributed to Florida Hospital College of Health and Sciences, Seminole State College and UCF College of Nursing.

FemmesDC

first one campaign success

First One GroupThanks to grassroots support, Valencia gathered $203,746 in scholarships for students who are the first in their families to attend college. That total includes our dollar-for-dollar match through a challenge grant; 100 percent of this money will go directly to students.

Top internal fundraisers were: Paula Pritchard, dean of nursing, Annmarie Coco Wise, purchasing agent, Katie Shephard, speech professor, Brenda Jones, facilities specialist, David Hosman, student life skills professor, Amanda Kern, graphics technology professor, Rob McCaffrey, graphics technology professor, and Josh Murdock, instructional designer.

The top Valencia alumni teams were led by Michele Nichols (Generation One), Julie Bennett (Gladiators in Wingtips) and Zia-ur-Rehman Ansari (Team Zia).

Foundation board members Rebecca York and Sue Foreman and foundation director emeritus and alumnna Sarah Kelly helped the team surpass its goal.

The most productive internal teams were graphic design, nursing, purchasing and OIT. These fearless internal philanthropy warriors were led by many, including Kristy Pennino and Ariane Dicarlo.

Kudos to Jason Dodge and the Valencia Volunteers team for their commitment, enthusiasm and heart.

Our thanks to each of you for, once again, putting students first.

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.
haiti-relief-flight-cite-soleil-house-small

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 (http://stlukehaiti.org/) 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.
haiti-relief-flight-st-mary-group-walking-small

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 (http://www.bradim.com/).
haiti-relief-flight-return-bahamas-small

discussion on philanthropy

This month we are going full spectrum, featuring both a donor and scholarship recipient perspective.

Patti Riva is a true friend of Valencia Foundation. She has been an active donor for 15 years. She is a planned giving donor and member of the Legacy Society as well as a member of the Jeffersonian Society (formerly the President’s Circle).

Born in Orlando, this Florida native attended University of Hawaii for her master’s degree and also worked there for six years. She then moved on to Los Angeles and worked at the University of California for ten years.

She came back to Florida in 1996 and became a Valencia employee in 1998, working in the marketing department coordinating the production of the continuing education course booklet. She then secured a position overseeing a grant funded program for single parents, followed by her role as evening/weekend manager for the Winter Park campus. In July 2011, she began a new adventure as operations manager, energy education with a focus on energy savings college-wide.

Her definition of philanthropy is simple: “As part of my job and how I hope each day of my life allows, I would define philanthropy simply as helping make a positive difference for someone or some group.”

She feels it is important to support Valencia scholarships as it is all about giving back. “I always say we are in ‘this’ together. ‘This’ represents so many aspects – the Valencia family, my own friends and family; and yet however one defines ‘this,’ we do it together. It’s exciting to see what a difference a scholarship can make for someone,” she says. It shows that someone believed in them and cared enough to invest in their future. “What do we know about their circumstances? How big of a difference did this make for them? What message does it send to their family and friends about how you are valued and we gladly support you? I can’t say enough about the value of giving.”

Valencia student Fleck Cadeau has been on the receiving end of this giving as a foundation scholarship recipient. Fleck has always been fascinated with the unknown and drawn to science. With the goal in mind of becoming a doctor, he chose to major in biomedical science, which combines his passion for science with his interest in medicine. His short term goal is to earn an undergraduate degree from UCF and then gain entrance to medical school, hopefully at UCF’s College of Medicine. His long term goal is to become a licensed surgeon working at one of Orlando’s hospitals.

Fleck Cadeau

Fleck Cadeau

He takes a global view of philanthropy. “My definition of philanthropy is showing compassion for your fellow human being; whether it is through donation, volunteering or just making steps towards improving life for others who are less fortunate. I believe that through philanthropy, we are able to care for and help improve parts of the world that have less than we do. For example, when we donate money and nourishment to poverty-stricken countries we are helping improve these countries with philanthropic acts.”

He believes it is important to support scholarships as they provide aid to students who are in need and serve as accolades for students who have persevered and excelled throughout their educational journey. He uses himself as an example, not being from an affluent background made it difficult to afford school. He found himself working a lot, “which complicated my education because now I had to balance work and school. However, with the help from the scholarship I received, I am able to work less and place greater focus on school.”

Fleck feels that supporting education will benefit Valencia as a whole. “When Valencia awards scholarships to deserving students it indicates to that individual that his/her hard work actually does pay off. This trend will filter to the rest of the school’s population, increasing performance in education.”

This month gives us interesting perspective from two active audiences at the foundation – the student who has big plans for the future and the benefactor who makes it all possible.

first one: college team leaders share their stories

The First One campaign only has a few weeks left to raise $100,000 in scholarships for first generation students. The best part is that the $100,000 raised by August 31 will be doubled by a matching grant.

So far the community has contributed over $47,000 (and that does not include the match)!

Josh, Amanda and Lisa are doing their part for the First One Campaign by sharing their ‘firsts’ and leading a team – how can you help first generation college students?

This  fundraiser is a grassroots effort spearheaded by faculty, staff, students, alumni and other friends  – please consider getting involved today!

Josh, Amanda and Lisa are doing their part for the First One Campaign by sharing their ‘firsts’ and leading a team – how can you help first generation college students?

  • Lead – Consider being a team leader! You can have fun with your friends setting up a team with a ‘fun’ name online at http://www.valencia.org/firstone, and then begin inviting others to join your team. Many templates, (for example a “join my team” email template) are available to make this an easy process.
  • Join – Not one to lead a team? Well, you can volunteer with one of the already established teams – simply click on the team name you would like to join and click “join team”.
  • Share – Get involved by spreading the word about the First One campaign, and share your “first” story to inspire others. Change your Facebook profile pictures and/or Twitter avatar in support, and invite others to do the same (#firstone). You can visit the Facebook ONE page for over 20 awesome options of profile pictures to choose from.
  • Donate – If you’d like to make a donation, visit the First One donation webpage, and click “give now”.

For more information and ways you can contribute to the First One campaign, contact Donna Marino, donor relations manager, at dmarino@valenciacollege.edu or extension 3128.

first one – campaign extension

first-one-avatars-23The foundation’s First One campaign has been extended! We heard from some of our hardworking team leads that perhaps we were too quick to end the campaign on Aug. 11. Scheduling things in the summer months can be difficult and we want to make sure everyone has the opportunity to be successful. We want to be sure the campaign ends at an appropriate time, and raises all the funds we can for our first-generation students.

All funds raised are still eligible for a dollar-for-dollar match and 100 percent of all money raised will go directly to scholarships.

For those of you already working on the campaign, thank you so much for your support. Yes, our campaign goal is important, but your friendship matters more. If there is anything we can do to help you reach your fundraising goal, just let us know! (foundation@valenciacollege.edu)

If you haven’t yet pledged your support, please visit http://www.valencia.org/FirstOne today to find out more about this important campaign that supports education in our community.

First One Kickoff

building bridges to success

The Valencia College Bridges to Success program is responsible for working with diverse populations to assist with the post-secondary transition from enrollment to graduation.

Students often balance their academic course work, family responsibilities and personal life. Bridges students are provided an educational environment that supports their success and provides academic services, programs of interest and mentoring that benefit this diverse student population.

On July 26, the Bridges to Success mentor program IMAGES (Influential Men Applying Gifts and Employing Strategies) gathered in support of Valencia students: those who are the first in their family to attend college.

These IMAGES members joined the Bridges First One online fundraising team and created their team webpage: http://firstone.kintera.org/bridges

These IMAGES members joined the Bridges online fundraising team and created their First One team webpage: http://firstone.kintera.org/bridges

Bridges to Success at Valencia works with ethnically diverse populations to:

  • assist with post-secondary transition from application to enrollment and graduation
  • assist the college in creating an educational environment that supports the success of these students

For more information on the Bridges to Success program at Valencia College, please contact:

John Stover, Bridges to Success Program Manager
Student Services Building, West Campus
jstover@valenciacollege.edu
1800 S Kirkman Rd., Orlando, FL 32811-2302

spotlight story – donald gibson

Donald Gibson
“I truly try my best to enjoy every single day no matter how tough it gets or how bad it is.” And after meeting Donald Gibson, I can certainly attest to that fact.

Donald currently works at Valencia as a VA certifying official. He helps veterans and dependents of veterans, making sure they are accessing their education benefits and assisting with obstacles that might hinder their educational journeys.

It is a job he eyed when he was a work study student, a position funded through the VA. He found out that his VA benefits would be running out the same month that his supervisor was retiring. He approached his supervisor and told her, “I want your job. How do I get it?” Stunned at first, once she realized he was serious she did everything in her power to teach Donald everything she could. He made the transition and is very proud of the work he does at Valencia and especially proud that he gets to help his fellow veterans.

Donald joined the Marine Corps in order to access the GI Bill and go to college. He was told by his parents at an early age that they were not going to be able to help him finance college. He was good in school but hit some rough spots in high school and education took a second seat to life. At 15 he was responsible for all of his expenses – food, clothing, etc. At 18 he was told that he needed to live on his own, so with 6 months until high school graduation, he found a place of his own and worked to pay for it. Despite all of this, he did manage to graduate high school. Thinking back on that time, Donald says, “I was not necessarily ever anti-school, I was just a teenager trying to juggle a full-time job and going to school full time and it was difficult for me.”

He started attending Valencia, the first in his family to attend college, but soon life happened again. He was not successful at accessing his GI Bill funds and ended up thousands of dollars in debt. He soon found himself unable to continue his education.

Time passed and the Post 9/11 GI Bill was introduced. This version paid the school directly and gave him much needed peace of mind. He applied for benefits and was part of the inaugural group of scholars to attend college using this bill.

And then life dealt another blow. His father was electrocuted by a power line and almost passed away. He moved in with Donald, who not only served as his caregiver, but found himself paying for some of his actual medical care, he estimates $9,000 over two years. During this time, being a care provider and working full time, Donald remained a full-time student and had a 3.8 GPA.

It was a foundation scholarship that helped Donald during another one of life’s troubling moments – a $1,000 scholarship just as his VA benefits were running out. He often wonders if those funds saved him from having to drop out again.

Donald admits that his story may not be typical, and that his first-generation experience has included a lot of struggles. But he recognizes that he is farther along than others, “I’m getting ready to purchase my first home. Even with minimum wage jobs I always made sure that I took care of what I needed to take care of.”

He is able to put things in perspective, and credits Valencia in his life. “One of the biggest things to learn is that if you have goals, you have to understand there is going to be those unknowns that you can’t really plan for, but you have to be able to manipulate and work with them. And that is why I love Valencia so much, as a student and as an employee, because they understand, they truly understand life does happen. And they don’t hold it against you, they actually help you try to manipulate and maneuver those obstacles that get thrown in your way.”

And in his job, he is part of Valencia’s helping hand, providing service to fellow veterans. It is a population that is growing, with more than 2,000 students using VA benefits on an annual basis. Summer enrollment was the highest that he’s ever seen with 900 veterans using their benefits.

When asked how he remains so positive, even in the face of challenges, he shares that he has a good support system. “Me and my mom have an amazing relationship,” he shares. Some may question their relationship based on his strict upbringing, but he shares the truth is actually far different than people may assume. She knew him better than he knew himself and realized that he was the type of person who needed to go out into life and experience things on his own, even hardships. And he also cites his faith with reassuring him that everything happens for a reason and this is God’s plan.

His positive energy is not contained, it spills over to those close to him. He is a mentor to his cousin, who is also a first-generation student and currently attending Valencia. He identifies with the struggle of other first-generation families, struggles they may not have needed to go through if they were able to make more money with a college education.

He also mentors a young man that his aunt and uncle took into their home. The young man’s mother struggled with substance abuse and his aunt and uncle offered a stable and loving environment. Donald will tell you that this young man is “one of those people who has so much potential but doesn’t know how to tap into it.” To make sure this young man realizes that potential, he paid the $35 registration fee for him to go to Valencia and helped him fill out the FAFSA. But the support doesn’t end there: “I will be taking time to walk him through the system, to make it easy for him, so he doesn’t get overwhelmed and lost and confused. He doesn’t have people like that in his life that can help him walk through it because nobody he knows, not one person, has ever been to college.”

After meeting with him, I can definitely say that Donald Gibson is someone you would be grateful to have in your corner. The foundation is in the midst of our First One campaign and I find myself thinking about something Donald said at the very end of our chat. First time in college stories aren’t always about college. Donald’s story certainly shows that, sometimes life happens and how you get through it makes you stronger and wiser than before.

discussion on philanthropy – dr. kathleen plinske

This issue is dedicated to our First One campaign, and a celebration of first-generation students. For this month’s discussion on philanthropy, I am checking in with another first-generation college student, Dr. Kathleen Plinske, campus president at Osceola.
Dr. Plinske

Dr. Plinske had a distinctive high school experience, essentially moving out of home at 14 to attend a public, residential high school in Illinois, Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy (IMSA). Growing up, there was always an expectation that she would go to college, and attending that high school was a game changer for her because such a large percentage of the graduating class went on to college. It also instilled in her early the concept of philanthropy and giving back. “When you are a student at the high school, they instill in you that the education you are given is a gift from the people of Illinois and the expectation is that you are going to make a difference in the world and give back for that gift you were given.”

The blessings continued for her as she went on to Indiana University and received a merit-based full scholarship which covered not only tuition, room and board but also undergraduate experiences like study abroad opportunities. She graduated with bachelor degrees in physics and Spanish and got a job at her hometown community college. She immediately started working on her master’s degree in Spanish, and they allowed her teach in the evenings while also working full time. She remembers that being a very neat experience – teaching, being a student and working as college support staff all at one time.

She got her master’s from Roosevelt University in Chicago and started a doctoral program at Pepperdine University in Malibu. It was a hybrid program that required attendance for a week at a time and the rest of the coursework was online. She would save and use her vacation time from work in order to attend classes.

She then progressed through a number of positions at McHenry County College and ultimately ended up serving as interim president, and from there she came to Valencia. But it wasn’t a full stop at Valencia, she continued her educational journey and received her MBA from the University of Florida in December 2012.

Doing all of this as a first-generation student offered a unique set of circumstances. She remembers her first semester, she was convinced she was failing all her courses. She remembers having conversations with her mom, should she drop out? Am I college material? And her mother wanted to help but didn’t know how to advise her, having not been in that position. But her mother gave her some wonderful advice: Just stick it out for this first semester and then we’ll see how you do and go from there. It turns out Dr. Plinske had straight A’s, and continued having straight A’s, she just didn’t have a thermometer to gauge how she was doing.

She brings these experiences to her job at Valencia and it is especially helpful at Osceola, where she cites having a very high percentage of students that are first generation. “I can empathize with what they are going through and I understand the importance of really uplifting them. I understand what they are feeling and what their fears might be and what type of support they might need, and just being understanding of what they are going through and how big a deal it is for them and for their families to be the first ones to go to college.”

Dr. Plinske is a firm believer in the power of scholarships, they open a door to a future that might not be possible. For her, she knows that her life and career path would have been much different had she not been afforded additional opportunities and one opportunity impacts the next, which impacts the next and so on.

And on the subject of first-generation students, she is just as passionate, “A contribution to this campaign that supports scholarships for first-generation students will have long-lasting impact on our world that we might not even be able to imagine.” Supporting the First One campaign helps support a student who one day may cure cancer or be president of the United States, the possibilities are endless. “We don’t know our impact ultimately in the end and I think that is what is so exciting about supporting student scholarships.” Without the catalyzing effect of higher education, these talents could remain untapped and unrealized.

Dr. Plinske made a very generous donation to the campaign, a $1,000 gift in memory of her father. Osceola’s student government president approached her and asked if she would support their First One fundraising team. They were shocked when she said yes. She knew she wanted to make a gift to honor her father and his support. She tells a wonderful story about when she was in high school. Every Friday, after work, he would drive to her high school to pick her up and then drive her back on Sunday. She was so homesick, without those weekends home she may not have made it through school.

On the subject of philanthropy, she believes “that unto whom much is given, much is expected.” It was a philosophy she developed in high school and every day a quote from astronomer Carl Sagan, his words on the wall at school, served as a reminder: IMSA was a gift from the people of Illinois to the human future. So from a very early age, the expectation to give something back to make a real difference in the world was introduced to her. “Each of us has unique gifts that we can share – time, treasure and talent – and it is our responsibility to make the best use of our gifts to make the world a better place.”

Would you like to join Dr. Plinske and support education in our community? You can, through our First One campaign. With this campaign, we are trying to raise $100,000 for first-generation scholarships. 100 percent of every dollar raised will go directly to scholarships and gifts received by Aug. 10 are eligible for a match through a challenge grant, bringing our impact to students to $200,000!

It’s not too late to start your own fundraising team, or you can support another team or make a general donation. Join us today at www.valencia.org/FirstOne

a closer look – a conversation with dr. joyce romano

Dr. Romano and Barbara Shell at the First One kick-off

Dr. Romano and Barbara Shell at the First One kick-off

I learned that Valencia’s vice president of student affairs, Dr. Joyce Romano, was a first-generation student when she spoke at our First One campaign kick-off celebration. After hearing her words, I was interested in learning more. Hers is a first-generation student story set against the women’s movement and the changes of the 70s.

She was a good student in high school and counts herself lucky that she had friends whose families were college oriented because her family was not. Her parents lived very simply, there was no savings account, much less one for college.

Her father was born in 1910 and her mother in 1916. When she was 17, Dr. Romano’s mother told her that a girl didn’t need a college education. And she was right, speaking from her life model – women grew up, got married, had children and did not work outside the home. Looking back, Dr. Romano also thinks that this sentiment was shared because “she felt really bad that she couldn’t pay for it and I had to struggle on my own.”

Dr. Romano started to save for college early, babysitting when she was 12, getting a job at 16, working every summer, sometimes two jobs at a time. She worked very hard and saved every dime. “My friends used to beg me to go out with them but I would tell them no, I already spent my $5 this week.”

She was always a saver and always oriented toward college. She went to college before all the federal financial aid programs were available, so she paid her own way and took out a small loan from her hometown bank. She also had two or three different jobs on campus and feels those were an enrichment part of her education.

She was interested in psychology so she chose that as her major, receiving her bachelor’s degree and going on to receive her master’s in counseling psychology. She then went to the University of Kansas and received her doctorate by the time she was 31.

She was planning on being a therapist, working in community mental health, but a job opportunity changed her plans and set the course for her future. The job was in Residence Life and the men she worked with were extremely inclusive, treating her not as a graduate student, but as a professional. When she finished her master’s degree they offered her a full-time job with the office. And it was in this realm of student affairs and student activities that she built her career.

She came to Valencia as coordinator of student development on West campus. A few years later, then college president Dr. Gianini revamped student services as a result of feedback he got through the 1993 SACS reaccreditation process. She took an interim role in the new organization in 1994. Soon, she championed her own cause and pushed for a job search, with no guarantee she would get the job, and became a college administrator. She was in that position for nine years and when senior administrator Dr. Hooks retired, Dr. Shugart made her interim vice president of student affairs. She went through another search process and after about 9 months, she was named as vice president of student affairs. That was almost ten years ago.

She admits that even when she went to college, she had no idea she would be doing what she is doing now. It brings her back to her first-generation experience, “When you are a first-generation college student, your ideas of what is possible are so limited because you just don’t know what you don’t know.” Even in her career, she admits that it never crossed her mind to be a doctor, engineer, lawyer or pilot.

Part of this view was due to being the first in her family to attend college and part of it was the women’s movement. Dr. Romano went to school when times were changing for women, their roles in life – home and work – were moving toward what we may take for granted today. Dr. Romano admits that she is definitely a product of the women’s movement and the women she met on campus and saw as role models were the real leaders of the movement. These were the days of Betty Friedan, founder and first president of the National Organization for Women, speaking on campus. Dr. Romano recalls her resident assistant when she was a freshman. She would get everyone together to go to speeches or programs, either on her campus or at nearby Cornell University. People were acknowledging barriers and having conversations about it. The feminist perspective was gaining momentum and was enormously eye-opening. “That’s definitely what my college education gave me,” she says.

Asked why she feels college is so important, Dr. Romano is quick to reply, “It expands your sense of yourself and what is possible. It expands your view of the world and what is in it and what people are in it and what opportunities are in it.”

And she says one thing that students don’t understand when they start, and she didn’t understand, is that it is a process. “Learning is a process. It’s a true development so it is not just a collection of 20 courses that you take to get a degree.” She feels it is much more, following a concept of Gestalt psychology, “that the whole is bigger than the sum of the parts.” It is not an additive process, she shares, more of a multiplying process where you build on experiences that just get bigger and bigger and sets you up to be a curious person in the world.

Dr. Romano did something wonderful during her remarks at our campaign kick-off. She presented foundation president Geraldine with a check to endow the Cliff Romano Scholarship.

She had a few reasons to establish the scholarship and one led back to her dissertation tribute. In it, she wrote that she regrets that her parents did not have the opportunity for a higher education as she did, and that it was simply a matter of the time they were born, it had nothing to do with intellect or curiosity. Indeed, she shares that both her parents were very curious. And her husband’s parents have a similar story. Neither were college educated, although his father went to the community college in his area after he retired and got an associate degree, becoming involved in the theater department. It is an artistic trait that she says runs in her husband’s family. It really is fitting that it is the Cliff Romano Scholarship because they are both first-generation college students. The scholarship also offers a wonderful way to pay tribute to the memory of these four parents, leaving a legacy that will last a lifetime.

She admits that, given the simple way her parents lived their life, she was surprised there was any money to inherit. She felt very strongly that she wanted to take the funds and pay it forward to help people like her parents get an opportunity. She chose Valencia Foundation because she feels that under Geraldine’s leadership, the foundation is humble and focused on serving the students. And she also loved the fact that here, at Valencia, $25,000 can make a remarkable difference in the lives of our students. When people hear or think about philanthropy, they might assume that you have to be a billionaire to be able to do something. But she proves that wrong and says, “It feels pretty good to be able to make a difference in someone’s life.”

And she brings it all back to her first-generation experience and how college changed her world view. Somebody like me could actually establish a scholarship? Dr. Romano proves that yes, someone like her and her good works can have a lasting effect on Valencia students. And she feels that through the scholarship, it is her parents, still giving her opportunity that she never felt that someone like her would ever have.

faculty and staff giving committee award 5 student scholarships

Valencia’s Student Opportunity Circle Scholarship — the first scholarship created solely with donations from faculty and staff —  awards 5 student scholarships for academic year 2013-2014.

Special thanks to Valencia’s faculty and staff committee ambassadors for their work diligently screening and reviewing scholarship applications from deserving students.

This scholarship is the direct result of Valencia’s annual Faculty and Staff Giving Campaign, designed by a team of Valencia faculty and staff.

Valencia Faculty and Staff campaign ambassadors offer their support of First One.  Valencia established the First One campaign to help first generation college students, those that are first in their families to attend college.

Valencia Faculty and Staff campaign ambassadors offer their support of First One. Valencia Foundation established the First One campaign to help first generation students, those that are first in their families to attend college, with scholarship support.

At the quarterly meeting on July 19th, the faculty and staff committee ambassadors also committed their individual time and resources in support of Valencia’s First One campaign.

Valencia Foundation launched First One as a fund-raising effort to help first-generation, low-income students pursue a college education.

The First One campaign provides the opportunity to give another first by helping a student go to college. For more information on First One please visit: http://www.VALENCIA.org/FirstONE

For more information on Valencia’s faculty and staff committee please visit: http://www.valencia.org/fsg/committee.cfm

The First One campaign takes advantage of Florida’s First Generation Matching Grant Program that maximizes state dollars for students through a dollar-for-dollar match of private contributions. During the 2011-12 school year, more than 29,000 Valencia students were the first in their families to go to college.

online fundraising campaign for first generation scholars

In whatever way you are able to pitch in, we are grateful. The students you serve are grateful. The deserving First Ones will be ecstatic.

In whatever way you are able to pitch in, we are grateful.
The students Valencia serves are grateful.
The deserving First Ones will be ecstatic.

Were you the first person in your family to attend college? If so, we’d like to hear your story and share it as an inspiration for our students and our donors.

Valencia has launched its first online fundraising campaign called First One. This short-term grassroots effort is spearheaded by faculty, staff, students, alumni and other community supporters.

We’re looking to gather $100,000 from our friends, which, quite frankly, is an ambitious initial effort. But think about the impact your efforts will have on individual lives!

Gifts raised by August 31, 2013 are doubled by a matching grant! This means that once we reach our fundraising goal, we’ll be able to provide $200,000 in scholarships to deserving students who are among the first ones in their families to attend college.
Here’s how you can play an important part:

• Share your story! Please email a few paragraphs to jwileden@valenciacollege.edu.

• If you use social media, please temporarily change your avatar to one of our nifty First One pictures, which you will find here. (Your friends will ask questions.)

• We welcome your gift, which can be made by credit card by clicking here.

• To make a donation by check, please send it to: Valencia Foundation at DTC-1 with First One in the memo line. We’ll be sure it counts toward the online campaign and that it is matched.

• To amplify your reach and impact, consider creating a team you can manage at WWW.VALENCIA.ORG/FirstOne. If, for example, you have nine other team members and each raises $250, your impact will be $2,500 x 2 = $5,000 for scholarships!

• If you’d rather use your mad social media skills to spread the word about the First One campaign far and wide, please click here.

• Visit WWW.VALENCIA.ORG/FirstOne to start a team or make a donation today. For more information on the campaign, contact Donna Marino  at dmarino@valenciacollege.edu or Barbara Shell bshell@valenciacollege.edu or call 407-582-3150.

In whatever way you are able to pitch in, we are grateful. The students you serve are grateful. The deserving First Ones will be ecstatic.

Through this campaign – and every day on campus – you are transforming lives and families.

Thank you.

Geraldine

Geraldine Gallagher, CFRE

President and CEO

Valencia College Foundation

a first that will last a lifetime

Now, you have the opportunity to help someone else have a first that will last a lifetime — becoming the first person in their family to go to college. And, with dollar-to-dollar matching on donations, you can make twice the impact.

First One Donate

Valencia established the First One campaign to help first generation college students, those that are first in their families to attend college.

The First One campaign provides the opportunity to give another first by helping a student go to college. – See more at: http://www.VALENCIA.org/FirstONE

first one efforts support first generation college students

New Campaign Seeks to Raise Scholarships for First-Generation College Students – by Carol Traynor

Valencia Foundation has launched a fund-raising effort to help first-generation, low-income students pursue a college education. The “First One” campaign takes advantage of Florida’s First Generation Matching Grant Program that maximizes state dollars for students through a dollar-for-dollar match of private contributions.

First One Kickoff

To share your “first” or show your support through a donation, go to http://www.VALENCIA.org/FirstONE or http://facebook.com/myvalenciafoundation

“For first-generation students, a college degree not only transforms their lives, but alters the trajectory of their families for generations to come,” said Geraldine Gallagher, Foundation president and CEO.

During the 2011-12 school year, more than 29,000 Valencia students were the first in their families to go to college.

The campaign, which lasts from July 1 to August 9, seeks to raise $100,000 in private donations with a $100,000 state match. Students who qualify will be eligible for a scholarship of up to $2,000 to help offset the costs associated with college, including tuition, books and supplies, that cannot always be met with state or federal aid alone.

first-one-avatars-23

First-generation student and Valencia graduate Donald Gibson shared that he was the first person in his family to graduate from high school, not just college.

At a kick-off event held yesterday, first-generation student Donald Gibson, 31, told the crowd assembled that he was the first person in his family to graduate from high school, not just college. After graduating from Poinciana High in 2000, he spent five years in the military and later enrolled in college.

“I got my first-generation scholarship right as my GI Bill was running out. If it weren’t for that, I probably would have had to drop out my last semester,” Gibson said.

Finances are just one of the obstacles many first-generation students face. Joyce Romano, Valencia’s vice president of Student Affairs, shared the story of a student she met who drove to Valencia’s Osceola Campus six times before she could muster the courage to get out of her car, go inside the building and apply.

Romano herself was the first in her family to go to college. “I didn’t think of law school. I didn’t think of being a doctor. I didn’t think of owning a business. I didn’t think people like me did such a thing,” she said. “That’s another restraint for people who are first-

generation: they don’t know what things are possible.”

The First One campaign makes use of social media and peer-to-peer outreach and invites others to share how they were the first one to do “something.”

first-one-avatars-17

Available state funds are contingent upon matching contributions from private sources on a one to one dollar basis.

The First Generation Matching Grant Program (FGMG) is a need-based grant program available to degree-seeking, resident, undergraduate students who demonstrate substantial financial need, are enrolled at Valencia College, and whose parents have not earned baccalaureate or higher degrees.

Available state funds are contingent upon matching contributions from private sources on a one to one dollar basis.

To share your “first” or show your support of first-generation students through a donation, go to http://valencia.org/firstone/first-one.cfm or http://facebook.com/myvalenciafoundation

share your first …. help someone become a first

Your first day of college, your first road trip or your first born -- show your story with a First ONE profile picture and help spread the word on Facebook, or use one as an avatar wherever you share. http://valencia.org/firstone/first-one.cfm

One’s life is full of firsts — first steps, first day of school, first car, first kiss. They only happen once, yet they stay with you forever. Now, you have the opportunity to help someone else have a first that will last a lifetime — becoming the first person in their family to go to college. And, with dollar-to-dollar matching on donations, you can make twice the impact.

 tell-your-story

Show your support with a First ONE profile picture.

Your first day of college, your first road trip or your first born — show your story with a First ONE profile picture and help spread the word on Facebook, or use one as an avatar on Twitter, WordPress or wherever you share.

Download an avatar — right click and select “save image as” on a picture below.

first-one-avatars-1first-one-avatars-23first-one-avatars-16first-one-avatars-24

first-one-avatars-13first-one-avatars-7first-one-avatars-8first-one-avatars-20first-one-avatars-17foundation-first-one-wordmark-4c-stacked-print

student pin up highlighted in valencia vitae

PinUP

Ryan Dey assembles his project for UCF’s pin-up review.

Valencia architecture students pin up their work–and their hopes for admission to architecture school. — By Linda Shrieves Beaty

The temperature in the room is rising. So is the level of stress and excitement. Architectural models, foam board and pins are scattered all over the floor at Valencia’s Special Events Center. Nearly 80 architecture students are painstakingly pinning their favorite models, sketches and paintings to a 4-foot-by-8-foot board. For the students, the boards represent more than a three-dimensional portfolio of their work.

These are their tickets to architecture school. How well they present their work on those boards—known as pin-ups—is crucial. Their admission to architecture school hangs in the balance. The excitement in the room is palpable. So is the exhaustion.

“We haven’t slept in, like, three days,” said Valencia architecture students Angel Almanzar, 19, and Juan Diaz, 20. Working side by side, they have been fueling themselves with energy drinks like Monster and 5-Hour Energy.

Held at Valencia’s Special Events Center on April 17 and 18, the UCF “pin-up” is an annual ritual for Valencia’s graduating architecture students. Valencia students who want to be admitted to the University of Central Florida’s architecture program present their best work—and then display it for a team of judges who will decide which students get the 38 seats in next year’s junior class at UCF.ShowtimeBut the Valencia students are not alone at the pin-up. Students from 10 other colleges and universities are also competing, just as eager to get admitted to the UCF architecture program. At UCF—and at architecture schools around the country—admission to the upper division (or junior and senior classes) in the architecture program is limited. This year, more than 80 students are competing for the 38 seats in the UCF program. Last year, only 44 students applied for admission to UCF’s architecture program, so the competition is getting stiffer, says Lynn McConnell Hepner, associate dean of UCF’s College of Arts & Humanities.

And that’s just the beginning. When the Valencia students take their work to the University of Florida’s pin-up—held only a few days after UCF’s—they’ll face even more competition.

“It’s competitive, but that’s a good thing,” says Valencia architecture professor Allen Watters. “The competition is a friendly competition and it brings out the best in the students.”

At the UCF pin-up, students have seven hours to pin-up their boards. When the doors to the Special Events Center open at noon, students stream in, carrying the models and work they’ve done during their first two years in architecture design classes.

They also come bearing tools—scissors, X-Acto knives and lots of pins—for pinning their models and work to the large foam boards, which will be the canvas that holds all their work.

“It’s always been a fantastic event,” says Watters, who gets excited by the energy the students generate. “There’s always been a lot of excitement, but the event gets better each year.”

Mauricio Zamora and Sara Ramirez at pin up. They are part of nearly 80 architecture students who painstakingly pinned their favorite models, sketches and paintings to a 4-foot-by-8-foot board to create a three-dimensional portfolio of their work.

Mauricio Zamora and Sara Ramirez at pin up. They are part of nearly 80 architecture students who painstakingly
pinned their favorite models, sketches and paintings to a 4-foot-by-8-foot board to create a three-dimensional portfolio of their work.

While other students are buzzing around the room, Paola Munoz, 21, is busy in one corner, carefully pinning models and sketches up on her board. “I think I got about four hours of sleep last night,” says Munoz. “I was up until 5 a.m. figuring out how and where to pin everything.”

There are many rules, both written and unwritten. The top quarter of the board must be devoted to work done in a student’s first year, so that judges can see the students’ progression. And though they don’t have to, most of the students display their best work at eye-level to attract the judges’ attention.

But it’s tricky, says Valencia student Chris O’Beirne, who is working next to Munoz. “You can’t have too much white space, but you don’t want too much clutter,” says O’Beirne, 22.

Like many of Valencia’s architecture students, Munoz took a circuitous route to architecture school. She started her college career at UCF as an engineering major. When she discovered she didn’t like engineering, she transferred to Valencia to study architecture. “I wanted to do something more creative,” she says. “Besides, it runs in the family,” she adds, noting that her uncle is an architect in Ecuador and her cousin is currently studying architecture too. While Munoz wants to attend UCF—and hasn’t applied elsewhere—Juan Diaz is aiming for admission to the University of Florida’s architecture school. So when he takes apart his pin-up board, taking down the models and sketches and artwork, he’ll drive to Gainesville and start all over again the next day, for UF’s pin-up. “For me, this is more of a practice for UF,” Diaz said. But the process—the nights without sleep and the madness of producing a 3-D portfolio in a matter of hours—is nerve wracking.

Even the professors, most of who went through the same process as undergraduates, remember pin-up vividly. “You didn’t sleep for weeks beforehand,” says Valencia professor Jennifer Princivil. “This was Show Time. If your board didn’t sing, forget it.”

Adds Professor Christine Daelo: “This process is extremely nerve-wracking. Even if the air conditioning is cranked down to 30 degrees, you can feel the heat in the room.”

Valencia’s reputation heats up

The day after the students finish pinning their work to their boards, the judges—local architects and architecture professors at Valencia, UCF and UF—converge on the Special Events Center to score the students’ work. Judges hand out scores from 1 to 10 for each board.

“I look at the density of the board, meaning almost the entire board is covered, the work is pretty well laid out and the content is interesting,” says Daelo. “I always look for ones that are doing something different. Are they experimenting with different materials, for instance?”

The pin-up process even attracts former students, eager to see what this year’s crop of graduates has produced. This year, one of the visitors is Charles Green, who graduated from Valencia’s architecture program in 2011 and is graduating from UF’s architecture program in May. Now he’s headed to the University of California- Berkeley for graduate school. Green applied to Harvard, MIT, Columbia University, University of Florida and Washington University in St. Louis, as well as Berkeley for graduate school—and was thrilled to get into Berkeley. He—and many other Valencia graduates who’ve been accepted to top-flight graduate schools—is proof that Valencia’s architecture program is producing excellent students.

“I strongly believe in Valencia’s program,” said Green, 23, who transferred to Valencia after growing frustrated in an engineering program at the University of South Florida. “Wherever students want to go after this—whether it’s UF or UCF or Berkeley—Valencia gives you a good base of design knowledge. The work here is comparable, if not better than, UF.”

As Valencia students spread out to architecture schools around the country, they are discovering that word about the program is spreading. At the University of Michigan—one of the top architecture schools in the country—professors are offering encouragement to applicants from Valencia. “Some of our students went up there and the professors were raving about them because they already have two Valencia students there who are doing quite well,” said Valencia professor Kourtney Baldwin.

“They already know the reputation of our program.” Here in Orlando, the architecture community is supporting—and noticing—the progress at Valencia’s program. “I’ve been to three pin-ups now and I think that the quality of the work for pin-up is improving,” said Dr. Frank Bosworth, director of the University of Florida’s Citylab architecture program, an Orlando master’s level program that has partnered with Valencia and UCF. Bosworth believes the

Valencia program is maturing rapidly, thanks to contributions from Orlando’s well-established architecture community and the value of the 2+2+2 partnership between Valencia, UCF and UF. The partnership doesn’t guarantee Valencia students admission to UCF and UF, but is a transfer agreement that ensures a student is taking the right classes for a seamless transition. The growing maturity of Valencia’s architecture program, says Bosworth, is demonstrated at pin-up events and by the large number of Valencia students being admitted to the University of Florida’s architecture school. “Getting into the University of Florida is not easy. It requires a certain level of attention to detail, and to the quality of the work,” Bosworth says. Meanwhile, back on the floor of the Special Events Center, the Valencia students are relieved to finish their pin-up boards, but anxious to hear the results.

Jamie Connell, for instance, has applied to UCF and the University of South Florida architecture programs. And though she has already been accepted to USF’s program, she’s waiting to hear from UCF. “I really love Orlando and would like to stay here,” says Connell, 22. But whether she lands at UCF or USF, she’ll be content. “There’s a lot of competition every year because there are only a few seats available. Architecture is a competitive program.”

way to go crew!

crewlogoCommercial Real Estate Women (CREW) Orlando had a successful golf outing on May 10. Net event proceeds from the event were $16,186.91. Funds raised at this event go to support the Commercial Real Estate Women Scholarship, designed for students studying in the fields of accounting, architecture, building construction, engineering, drafting and design, pre-law/paralegal studies, real estate and marketing. In all, CREW Orlando golf outings have raised $113,000 for student scholarships.

We send CREW a job well done, thank you for being our partner and helping students realize their dreams!

endowed chair sparked recent TEDx ValenciaCollegeLive

TEDxValenciaCollegeLiveStudents

Valencia’s East Campus recently hosted TEDxValenciaCollegeLive.
This photo of Valencia College students and faculty made an appearance on the TED global stage in Scotland during the TEDGlobal 2013 Live Stream.

Dr. James S. May, Professor of English as a Second Language, expresses his appreciation for the 2012-2013 Maguire Family Teacher Endowed Chair:

“It is with the support Valencia Foundation and the Maguire Family Teacher Endowed Chair, that Valencia College was able to take part in the recent global collaboration as part of TEDGlobal 2013 Live Stream.

Valencia students, faculty and staff  had the opportunity to experience these enriching TED talks, presented in time-delayed simulcast from the TED Global in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Last February, thanks in large part to the Valencia Foundation and the Maguire Family Teacher Endowed Chair, I had the honor of attending TEDActive2013. There, I experienced the true power and wonder of TED. An outcome of the endowed chair was this participation with TEDGlobal 2013. “

Valencia Foundation 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.

At Valencia College the endowed chair program recognizes and supports the Valencia faculty. In contrast to endowed chair programs at four-year institutions, which aim to attract preeminent researchers, Valencia Foundation endowed chairs fund a faculty proposed learning experiences.

These proposals that supports the mission, vision, and values of Valencia College and has a connection to student learning.  Endowed chairs also provide funding for projects that enhance learning-centered activities and/or foster professional development departmentally, college wide, within a discipline, or within the central Florida community.

Additional photos of Valencia’s day-long event are posted online.

a closer look – femmes de coeur and let us entertain you

What started out as a fundraising group for the American Heart Association has grown into a wonderful group that raises important nursing scholarship funds for local areas colleges and universities.

The group started as Coeur de Coeur in 1980 and raised more than $2.5 million for the American Heart Association. They reorganized in 1998 as Femmes de Coeur (Women of Heart) and have raised another million dollars for local charities. The group is made up of 50 members who are women volunteering time and sharing a common goal to serve the needs of the community. Part of their uniqueness is that they partner with existing organizations to accomplish their mission. The sharing of resources allows Femmes de Coeur to provide help to a larger community audience.

Each year, Femmes de Coeur hosts an event, Let Us Entertain You!, a dance challenge full of dancing and music. Funds raised at the event go to support Adventist University of Health Sciences, Seminole State College, UCF College of Nursing and Valencia College. The event features a professional dance show including a dancing challenge by local celebrities. Additionally, faculty from each participating school are paired with a dance professional for the challenge.

People vote with their dollars and competitors do quite a good job fundraising and collecting donations. These donations, as well as the judges’ score, produce the winners of the celebrity and faculty dance challenges.

The current president of Femmes de Coeur, Judy Conrad, shares how the event was created. Six years ago she was the event chairwoman and wanted to include all of the four teaching colleges in their fundraising efforts. Judy and her co-chairs, Doris Holiday and Betty Wilson, were ballroom dancers and after the popularity of televised dance competition shows, they decided to approach some of the professionals in the dance community and the event was launched. The faculty challenge was added in the second year.

Not to brag, but Valencia seems to produce some great talent. For the past four years, our dancing divas and dudes have been the ones to beat! Past winning competitors include Dr. Paula Pritchard, dean of nursing, Manny Ramos, professor of nursing, Dr. Mike Bosley, executive dean at Lake Nona Campus and dear foundation friend and donor Dean Maguire.

This year’s event was held on June 2 and our competitor was interim dean of science on West Campus, Dr. Bob Gessner. He was chosen as a result of his friendship with Valencia’s nursing division and their dean. “Paula asked if I could dance and I said of course.”

But he didn’t know it was ballroom dance, which he had never done before. He credits his dance pro, Jennifer Caminas, with helping him get competition ready. “It has been a lot of work, but the time has been well spent doing this for our nursing division and for the scholarships this will fund for our nursing students.”

Last year, Valencia’s nursing students were so touched by Femmes de Coeur generous $12,500 donation that they did the photo below, “You have our heart.” Those funds are earmarked to support Valencia College nursing students through the Femmes de Coeur Nursing Endowed Scholarship. We add our thanks to that, Femmes de Coeur is an organization made up of women who bring great help and hope to our community and we are so happy for our long-time partnership.
Nursing Students

And in breaking news…Valencia continues the winning streak! Last night, Dr. Gessner was crowned as this year’s winner. Congratulations and keep dancing!

sending appreciation to faculty and staff

You may soon see Valencia employees on campus sporting a new piece of Valencia flair: the gold Valencia Foundation lapel pin.

This lapel pin is given in appreciation to those faculty and staff members who are “Giving Opportunity” to Valencia students through payroll contributions to the Valencia Foundation

This lapel pin is given in appreciation to those faculty and staff members who are “Giving Opportunity” to Valencia students through payroll contributions to the Valencia Foundation

This lapel pin is given in appreciation to faculty and staff members who are “Giving Opportunity” to Valencia students through payroll contributions to the Valencia Foundation.

Employees who contribute by payroll deduction can select which scholarship they would like to support. These scholarships may reflect discipline, organization affiliation, or in memory of a colleague.

Others Valencia employees support Valencia’s Student Opportunity Scholarship, the first scholarship created and funded solely by faculty and staff for the students they serve.

For a full list of scholarships please visit the Valencia Foundation website.  If employees wish to contribute by semi-monthly payroll deductions please download the application here.

The Valencia Foundation would like to send special thanks to Katie Shephard and Josh Murdock who lead the 2012-2013 Faculty and Staff Committee!

If you are interested in serving as a faculty and staff campus ambassador please contact Donna Marino, manager of donor stewardship for Valencia Foundation at 407-582-3128 or email dmarino@valenciacollege.edu.

every drop counts: the courtyard fountain

Tucked away in a courtyard on Valencia’s Osceola Campus, this fountain is surrounded by embedded bricks engraved with warm wishes by community members. These bricks have been placed around this special water feature with proceeds from each sale supporting Osceola student scholarships.

Your small change makes a big difference! Donations to this fountain benefit student scholarships at Osceola Campus through the Valencia Foundation.

This fountain is located in the courtyard of Valencia’s largest building,
the state-of-the-art building 4, which opened at Osceola Campus in 2013.

Recently, Valencia’s facilities team noticed this water feature had begun to collect change, much like a wishing well. Perhaps students and employees reliving nostalgia of childhood by tossing in spare change?

No matter who made the first toss–or how the loose change appeared–Valencia’s Osceola administration wanted to make sure the contributions really did help someone’s wish come true.

Thanks to the coins of those first optimistic tossers, a purpose has been identified for those contributions: they will be included into the “etch your name in someone’s future” Osceola Campus scholarship fund.

This May, a plaque was installed on the Osceola Campus foundation that reads:

Your small change makes a big difference!
Donations to this fountain benefit student scholarships at
Osceola Campus through the Valencia Foundation.

If you are interested in helping to lay the foundation for a student’s future, please consider purchasing a brick to be embedded in the courtyard around the Osceola Campus fountain.

The cost of a personalized memory brick is $100.  The proceeds from these courtyard-bound bricks will be used to support scholarships for Osceola Campus students of Valencia College.

For more details or to place your order, please visit  valenciacollege.edu/Osceola/bricks

https://valenciafoundation.wordpress.com/2011/10/21/etch-your-name-in-someones-future-2/

Click here to purchase your engraved brick and etch your name in Valencia's legacy.

Click here for more information on the Osceola Campus engraved bricks.

leaving a legacy: planned and deferred giving

Your deferred donation can provide support to future Valencia College students. With planning, you have the opportunity to make a gift that will have a great impact and can leave a legacy of learning for future generations.

Bequests are the simplest form of a planned gift. By naming Valencia Foundation a beneficiary through your will or amending your will with a codicil, you are affirming a commitment to education. You can pledge today to leave a lasting legacy. There are three types from which you can select when creating or amending your will.

Below are definitions of each type of bequest and sample language that you and your lawyer may find helpful.

If you have already included Valencia Foundation in your estate plan, please contact us at (407) 582-3128 to become a part of the Valencia Legacy Society.

If you have already included Valencia Foundation in your estate plan, please contact us at (407) 582-3128 to become a part of the Valencia Legacy Society.

Bequest Type

Sample Language

Specific Bequest: A specific value or dollar amount named for a charitable gift by will. I give $_______ (specific amount or percentage) to Valencia Foundation, a not-for-profit, IRS approved 501(c)(3) corporation chartered in 1974, in support of (a specific area of interest).
Residuary Bequest: A residuary bequest will provide remaining / residuary property of the estate after all the special gifts designated in the will were made. I give and bequeath the residue of my estate to Valencia Foundation, a not-for-profit, IRS approved 501(c)(3) corporation chartered in 1974, to be used to further its purposes as the board of directors in their discretion may deem appropriate (or in support of a specific area of interest).
Contingent Bequest: This gift in your will depends upon an event which may or may not occur. Should your beneficiary pass on or disclaim the property, this contingency would ensure your estate is distributed as you requested. In the event that ___________(beneficiary) does not survive me, I give the rest, residue and remainder of my estate (or $_______ specific amount or percentage) to Valencia Foundation, a not-for-profit, IRS approved 501(c)(3) corporation chartered in 1974, to be used to further its purposes as the board of directors in their discretion may deem appropriate (or in support of a specific area of interest).

We welcome your feedback on our online resources, designed to help you chart your charitable intentions, which can be found at www.VALENCIAGIVING.org.

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. Please feel free to contact the foundation at 407-582-3150 with questions.

watch graduation live

grad

Click here on May 4 at 10 a.m. to watch Valencia College graduation live!

Valencia College’s Commencement Ceremony will be streamed live on Saturday, May 4 at 10 a.m. and will last about two hours. Limited technical support will be available at 407-582-1872.

Watch live on May 4 at 10 a.m. – click here!

2012-2013 Valencia Commencement Program

Please note: The broadcast will only be viewable until the ceremony’s conclusion. No other video recordings of the ceremony will be made available.

gograd

philanthropy – different definitions, same message

Professor Ed Frame

Professor Ed Frame

This month, we get a Valencia faculty perspective on philanthropy and scholarships. Professor Ed Frame has been a professor at Valencia for 16 years. Prior to that, he taught at the University of Wisconsin and at a university in Malaysia.

He is a professor of humanities on the West Campus and also teaches Asian humanities. And he even teaches in avatar form, conducting honors mythology for Valencia’s virtual campus, Second Life. He also leads an honors trip overseas during spring break. Recently, 18 students traveled to Paris with him and Professor Gustavo Morales and next year’s international trip will be to London.

Professor Frame's classroom in Second Life

Professor Frame’s classroom in Second Life

Professor Frame is a member of the honor’s council, the SAGE committee and he serves on several ILP review groups. SAGE stands for Study Abroad and Global Experiences. Valencia offers international study abroad opportunities for students, as well as a number of international professional development opportunities for faculty and staff. Photos from these trips and experiences can be found on Flickr. An ILP is an Individualized Learning Plan, a tenure candidate’s professional development plan.

He has served his local community through the Rotary Club of Pine Hills and the Rotary and Kiwanis clubs of Clermont, and his good works have even been felt across continents. After receiving his bachelor’s degree, Professor Frame served as a member of the United States Peace Corps involved in community development on the island of Borneo. The experience helped shape his ideas concerning the need to provide equal opportunities to all members of society. It is an idea that has lived on in his family – his daughter taught in Tanzania as a member of the Peace Corps.

“Philanthropy to me is anything we give – time, money, etc. – to help individuals improve their own self-esteem. Most important of all is the giving to help further education.”

In addition to his generous support of Valencia Foundation, he also works with African students, something he started doing with his wife when his daughter taught in Tanzania. When visiting, he was able to set up a continuing education program, similar to our DirectConnect program. He enlisted the support of local churches in Clermont and Hope College in Michigan, where his sister is a professor, and the program continues today. Seven students have been sponsored, with the entire cost of their education or technical training subsidized, and one student is now working on a doctorate degree. They also have purchased books for classes and provided funds to build a physics lab, including equipment, in the village where his daughter taught.

“These are students from villages that would never have had the opportunity to continue their education. I believe that often an individual can do more than an organization in terms of making a difference in the world.”

When asked about the importance of supporting scholarships, Professor Frame again refers to the opportunity an individual has to make a difference. “Valencia scholarships are extremely important in our community because a relatively small amount of money can make a major impact on the educational opportunities available. We are not a $55,000 per year school where major scholarships are needed. It is an opportunity for an individual donor to give funds that go directly to the community and make a difference. It is important to me that 100 percent of the monies donated go for scholarships.”

Thank you Professor Frame for reminding us that each individual and each gift counts so very much.

alumni spotlight: Michael Dippy ’89

The plight of homeless individuals and families troubled Valencia graduate Michael Dippy.He recognized that their circumstances prohibited them from obtaining basic personal identification cards required to get a job or enroll in college.

But unlike most, he was willing to forgo his career to make a remarkable difference in their lives and futures.

Dignity was created to help the disadvantaged in Central Florida overcome the difficulties of obtaining the personal identification that is crucial to enabling them to become self-sufficient. Visit www.iDignity.org for more information or to volunteer.

Dignity was created to help the disadvantaged in Central Florida overcome the difficulties of obtaining the personal identification that is crucial to enabling them to become self-sufficient. Visit http://www.iDignity.org for more information or to volunteer.

He founded and now serves as executive director of IDignity, a non-profit charity that provides hands-on assistance to Central Florida’s poor and disadvantaged in Central Florida, allowing them to overcome the identification that is crucial to enabling their self-sufficiency. IDignity provides the documents required to apply for employment and college, access most homeless shelters, vote, seek help from many social service agencies, open a bank account, cash a check and rent housing.

After graduating from Valencia, Dippy graduated from the University of Florida with an architecture degree. He worked for eight years in this field but found himself drawn to a greater purpose.

Named by the Orlando Sentinel as the 2010 Central Floridian of the Year, Michael issued a challenge to our neighbors: “I hope that others will be encouraged to do even more to make our community a better place for all. I suggest that you find something that bothers you, maybe a societal injustice or an ongoing problem or an unmet need, and then do all you can to try and solve it. Each of us can make a positive impact on our community, in our own way. The reward will be greater than the effort.”

Michael found the treatment of the homeless unacceptable and soon took action. In 2003, he assisted in the development of the local chapter of Family Promise, which provides food, shelter and support services for homeless families. In 2006, he joined Project Homeless Connect, which symbiotically combines vital agencies working to serve the homeless during one-day events.

But he had a more extraordinary vision of partnership and service, launching IDignity in 2008.The need for such a program was recognized by members of five downtown churches which had been unable to access such a service. Exhaustive research led to this inventive new organization, which now works with the DMV’s Florida drivers license department, Orange County Health Department’s birth certificate office, Veterans Affairs and the Social Security Administration. IDignity also provides legal counsel and trouble-shoots the difficult task of obtaining out-of-state birth certificates.

Since May 2008, IDignity has hosted monthly triage at downtown’s Orlando Rescue Mission and has since expanded to Sanford. Each day-long collaboration serves about 225 clients. Since its inception, IDignity has provided life-changing identification to more than 7,000 Central Florida clients.

Michael’s work has not gone unnoticed. 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). He serves as outreach chair for the First United Methodist Church of Orlando.

In December 2011, Valencia Foundation staff volunteered for IDignity. “Spending just a day at IDignity was a moving experience that revealed how a simple identification document could make an enormous difference in the life of an individual,” says foundation president Geraldine Gallagher. “I think it was life-changing for all of us to experience the exuberance of the IDignity clients who received their hard-earned ID cards, something you and I take for granted.”

Michael and his team of staff and volunteers were committed to help every person who walks through the door, she explains. “We witnessed tears of joy, a spring to their step, a newfound self-respect, and such a look of hope from those who received their documents that day.It is the same experience I have with our student scholarship recipients. They held their heads a little higher, ready to take on the road ahead, simply because someone believes in their worth and is willing to invest in their futures.”

Follow Up: On November 14th 2012, Michael Dippy and IDignity were honored as one of four recipients of the Manhattan Institute's Richard Cornuelle Award for Social Entrepreneurship. This esteemed national designation is awarded each year to individuals whom are leading efforts to solve significant social issues.

Follow Up: On November 14th 2012, Michael Dippy and IDignity were honored as one of four recipients of the Manhattan Institute’s Richard Cornuelle Award for Social Entrepreneurship. This esteemed national designation is awarded each year to individuals whom are leading efforts to solve significant social issues.

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.

UO

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

DODell

“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.”

philanthropy – different definitions, same message

For this month’s conversation, we will check in with Betty Palmer and Michael McLaughlin and get their thoughts on philanthropy and giving.

Betty Palmer is a Valencia retiree, alumni and scholarship donor. In words, her definition of philanthropy is a combination of financial contributions and time. Her actions support that and more, so let’s take a look at some of her good work.
Her first encounter with Valencia was attending lectures and workshops at the Center for Continuing Education for Women at the downtown Orlando location. She began working for the college and retired in 2002 after “26 wonderful years.”

A graduate in 1980, she has been active on the board of the alumni association. While she was a student, she served as president of the Winter Park chapter of Professional Secretaries International. Her chapter, with the help of Dr. Michael Hooks, then a dean at the college, presented a proposal to the college trustees that would allow the college to grant college credits in certain curriculum areas for a student pursuing an AA or AS degree after successfully passing the Certified Professional Secretary (CPS) Examination. Betty herself was the first student at Valencia to utilize the CPS rating toward her AS and AA degrees.

Betty strongly believes in the community college system providing education to a diverse population of students. In that spirit, she endowed two scholarships: the Betty House Palmer Scholarship and the Gera Lee Wilson Scholarship for a Valencia student attending Rollins College. Of her scholarships, she shares, “I feel staying connected is an important part of life because I can continue interacting with students who can use some financial help.”

Betty is pictured with the Rev. Eric Turner and Bishop Gregory O. Brewer.

Betty is pictured with the Rev. Eric Turner and Bishop Gregory O. Brewer.

Her commitment to help those around her extends beyond Valencia. She serves as parliamentarian for the Palm Bay Garden Club and Friends of the Library Association. She currently serves as the Episcopal Church Women Southeast deanery director and also participates in the Family Promises Group, pastoral care, Missions Resource Team and is a facilitator for Stephen Ministry. She served two terms as vice president on the Episcopal Church Women Board, Central Florida Diocese and was selected to be their Distinguished Woman of the Year, honored at the triennial convention in Indianapolis last year.

Thank you Betty for continuing to give back to Valencia and our community!

For Michael McLaughlin, his first connection to Valencia was as a student. “The Valencia experience for me was extraordinary and gave me the opportunity to really learn. I appreciated the intimate class size with professors who knew who I was and cared that I was grasping the content.”

Today, Michael serves as president of the leadership board for Valencia’s alumni association, as well as serving on the foundation’s board of directors.

Michael McLaughlin

Michael McLaughlin

Philanthropy and service are a part of his daily life, serving as the senior manager of corporate relations at Heart of Florida United Way. He works with United Way’s partners to provide support to address Central Florida’s pressing issues such as poverty, homelessness, low graduation rates and other serious problems.

When asked about his definition of philanthropy, Michael reflects on a quote that embodies what he hopes to achieve in his giving, work and volunteerism: I shall pass through this way but once. Any good thing, therefore, that I can do or any kindness that I can show to any fellow human being let me do it now. Let me not defer nor neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again. For Michael, “It is about doing what you can, when you can, to make a difference.”

Michael offers more wonderful insight on why it is important to support Valencia scholarships: “The most rewarding parts of my current connections to Valencia are hearing stories of students who are looking to learn more and do more. It is inspiring to see how motivated many of our students are to tackle the challenges that life throws their way. They come to Valencia committed to getting a great education. I’m continually impressed with the goals they are setting for themselves and the achievements that they are making. Providing students with better opportunities through Valencia scholarships is an honor and a true investment in the future.”

Well said, Michael! We will check in with a few more of our friends in the next issue.

a closer look at valencia’s nursing program

7725816912_f1ed8c870f_bDuring the tour for City of Life, there was one word used repeatedly in describing Valencia’s nursing program: intense. However, there was one word used more often: passion.

The nursing, generic track at Valencia is a limited-access program. Upon graduation, students are eligible to take the National Council Licensure Exam (NCLEX-RN) to become registered nurses. Students can also continue on as a junior at any Florida public university to complete a bachelor’s degree in nursing. The courses in this track are progressive in nature, with one course building on the preceding course.

Here is a look at the areas of study:

  • Nursing I – fundamentals
  • Nursing II – applying what is learned in a hospital setting
  • Nursing III – women’s health, ob/gyn and pediatrics
  • Nursing IV – advanced health, intensive care unit (ICU), preventative care unit (PCU)
  • Nursing V – a hybrid of online and face-to-face interaction, management, leadership and pharmacology

In Nursing VI, students demonstrate their abilities to independently perform Valencia’s nursing program educational outcomes in a variety of patient care settings. This is a practicum course, done in the hospital working directly with a registered nurse. In Nursing II through V, students get to choose their clinical sites each semester, working in varied specialties – cardiac, gastrointestinal, neurology, surgery, etc. Through these semesters, a student can hone in on what their interest is and by the time they reach Nursing VI, they usually are in the facility and area they hope to be hired in. This experience can be compared to the more traditional internships done in teaching, business and other fields.

Students also must take a pharmacology and clinical decision making course which addresses the use of critical thinking in making clinical decisions related to pharmacology.

There is much more learning going on beyond those fundamentals. Dr. Louise Pitts, retired Valencia dean of health sciences, explains that in addition to the science of nursing, the ‘what to do when,’ the art of nursing, communication and caring, is also being taught. She shares that students are learning how to be a nurse holistically in life, not just in a clinical setting.

Dr. Pitts admits that it is a hard program, probably one of the more difficult ones you can enter into in college. But there is a plethora of opportunity for these students once they graduate. Not just in the area they choose to work – pediatrics, cardiology, women’s health, etc. – but also in the setting – doctor’s office, hospital, etc. And nurses can continue their education and go on to administration, and even back to the field of education to teach.

Deb Spaulding, senior instructional assistant for Valencia’s nursing program, agrees. “I would have never guessed thirty years ago that there would be so many opportunities. Nursing opens this door and then there are these little trails that you can take to go on and do all kinds of things. And you will know if you really love it because it will come naturally to you.”

It is also a field that has an excellent placement rate. With a nursing degree, you will find a job. Dr. Pitts has never known of a nursing graduate who wanted a job and could not get one within three to four months after graduation.

Students learn in rooms like these, with simulators and set up just like a hospital setting.

Students learn in rooms like these, with simulators and set up just like a hospital.

Another thing that sets the nursing program apart from other areas is the real-life experience early in the program. When you choose the healthcare field, by the second semester you are getting actual experience in a hospital setting. Up to ten students per faculty member work directly on-site, seeing and laying hands on patients. Students can also work with a registered nurse who is an employee at the facility.

Simulation is an important tool in teaching nurses. This ranges from simple mannequins to simulators that can breathe and make cardiac and bowel sounds. Valencia’s nursing program is currently in the process of upgrading these, offering an experience that is identical to a human experiencing a medical condition. Valencia nursing students practice with babies who can burp, adults whose stomachs come apart and have pads exactly at the anatomical places to give injections. Everything at the bed side is just like it would be in a real hospital so there is not a culture shock when students leave the lab and are at the facilities. Feedback from students and faculty help to keep these techniques and learning methods up to date and new things are incorporated frequently to make the experiences as realistic as possible.

Valencia’s nursing program also relies on tutors. They are an invaluable tool to student success and instructors find that students are more likely to open up and work through a problem with a tutor because they are peers. Nicole Witek is currently a nursing tutor and hopes to work in women’s health. She shares that the nursing program is not easy, but feels that nursing faculty provide so many things that will lead to success. “They give us the foundation and the resources, you come with the motivation and the passion and they will teach you.”

Echoes Deb, “As long as you have the desire to learn, we can teach you.”

And Valencia’s nursing students have a consistently high pass rate for the NCLEX-RN. It was something that Deb noticed even 30 years ago, that Valencia graduates seemed better prepared to sit for the exam. And it still holds true today, Valencia’s 4th quarter NCLEX-RN pass rate was 100 percent.

According to the 2012-13 program guide, the current estimated total cost for the nursing, generic track program is $10,000. This includes tuition, special course fees and associated expenses such as background check, immunizations, uniforms and certifications. This total does not include textbooks, which can be costly for this program. For Nursing I alone, books can run between $721 and $1600, depending on the costs for brand new books.

Realizing these costs can be a hindrance, Valencia Foundation is happy to be able to offer a number of scholarship opportunities for nursing students, such as the Dr. Sara Page Scholarship. Dr. Sara Kerr Page was a career nurse who was a nursing instructor at Valencia for several years before her death in 1985 after a valiant battle with scleroderma. She inspired many to continue the tradition of compassionate nursing and the scholarship was established in 1986 through the generosity of her many friends and relatives.

Other scholarships include the Adelina O. Parker Scholarship in Nursing, Central Florida Kidney Centers Inc. Scholarship, Connie Kay Gwizdala Memorial Nursing Scholarship, Florida Hospital Kissimmee Auxiliary Scholarship, Health Education Technologies Scholarship, John S. and Carolyn T. Lord Scholarship and more. Students need only to fill out one application to be screened for these and hundreds of other scholarship opportunities. Students can submit a scholarship application online here.

The foundation also subsidizes the cost for the NCLEX-RN exam for Valencia nursing students, saving them a total cost of $404.

Nursing is truly a calling, and nurses are invaluable to our community. We are so proud of the nursing program at Valencia and are honored to be able to help fund the education of these special men and women.

young money live: financial literacy week

Financial Literacy Week Presents “Young Money Live
Monday, April 8 at 9:30am to 3:00pm
East Campus, Bldg 5, Room 112 & Great Hall
701 N Econlockhatchee Tr.Financial Learning

Along with special sessions like Young Money Live, Student Financial Learning Ambassadors promote financial literacy and responsible money management through peer-to-peer skillships and by presenting at campus events.

Many of the Ambassador presentations occur in the classroom through Valencia’s Student Success course, which is a class teaching strategies for success in life and college and is an appropriate platform for introducing the topic of financial responsibility.

It is with the support of USA Funds over the last 2 years that the Financial Learning Ambassador program has grown and expanded college-wide.

Mounting student debt to cover rising college costs is creating a challenging environment for a number of students pursuing a college degree. A college degree is an avenue to financial success and long-term stability and most college graduates experience more stable employment, higher income, security through assets, and an overall better quality of life than non-graduates.  One mechanism to work toward higher graduation rates and lower default rates is by way of financial literacy strategies and initiatives like the USA Funds supported Financial Learning Ambassadors at Valencia College.

new lake nona rotary supporting valencia students

Valencia Osceola President Kathleen A. Plinske, (L), Valencia Foundation Manager Donna Marino (C)  and  Lake Nona Rotary President Michael Valenzeula

Valencia Osceola President Kathleen A. Plinske, (L), Valencia Foundation Manager Donna Marino (C) and Lake Nona Rotary President Michael Valenzeula

Special appreciation is extended to Lake Nona Rotary; this group modeled service above self with a recent contribution of $4,000 for Valencia student scholarships.

The March 2013 donation is earmarked for first responder student scholarships.

At the same meeting, Lake Nona Rotary members honored the good work of local students in the Civil Air Patrol, US Air Force Auxiliary.

This Civil Air Patrol unit collaborated with Valencia College and Lake Nona Rotary to implement the 9/11 memorial flag display on Osceola Campus.

Valencia Osceola President Kathleen A. Plinske, (L),  Student Leaders from  Civil Air Patrol, US Air Force Auxiliary (C) Valencia Foundation Manager Donna Marino (R)  and  Lake Nona Rotary President Michael Valenzeula (R)

Valencia Osceola President Kathleen A. Plinske, (L), Student Leaders from Civil Air Patrol, US Air Force Auxiliary (C) Valencia Foundation Manager Donna Marino (R) and Lake Nona Rotary President Michael Valenzeula (R)

valencia foundation & united way join forces in finish line campaign

Join your colleagues in helping our students and our community cross the Finish Line in our first joint Valencia Foundation and Heart of Florida United Way campaign. Dr. Sandy Shugart, president of Valencia College, launched the campaign on Monday, March 18 and sent each employee a unique link directly to the electronic pledge process hosted by United Way.

Often students face obstacles in meeting both their educational expenses and their basic needs for housing, food, transportation, and childcare. When a student can’t meet the most basic needs, studying and learning become even more challenging. This joint campaign with the Foundation and United Way is designed to address both needs, ensuring that students have access to necessary financial support to meet their obligations and reach their dreams.

The campaign runs through April 5, 2013 and the goal is to bring new donors and new dollars to both organizations. Specifically, the Foundation is working to bring several scholarships created in honor of Valencia employees, students, and alumni to the Finish Line – completing the endowment – so students can begin receiving disbursements from these funds.

When you log into your personalized e-pledge site, you will have the opportunity to pledge the amount that you wish and to determine where that gift is designated (to the Valencia Foundation and/or to United Way). You can split your gift to fund both organizations or pledge the full amount to only one organization.

For information about how to make a one-time donation, click here.

Check out The Juice newsletter each week during the campaign to see our progress via a Finish Line graphic, as seen below.

If you did not receive the email from Dr. Shugart or accidentally deleted it, please contact ebusiness@huwf.org to have it resent. If you do not wish to receive additional emails about the campaign, simply log into your personalized e-pledge site and click “I do not wish to give at this time.”

For more information about the faculty and staff Finish Line campaign, visit the Valencia Foundation webpage. If you have any questions about the campaign, please contact abosley@valenciacollege.edu or dmarino@valenciacollege.edu.

2013 rafman scholarship banquet

This past Saturday was the 18th annual RAFMAN Club Foundation and Valencia College Foundation’s Scholarship Banquet. (RAFMAN stands for Retired Air Force, Marine, Army, Navy.) The theme was “Continuing our Commitment to Education” and the guest speaker was Dr. Barbara Jenkins, superintendent of Orange County Public Schools. Leslie “Ms. B” Brockington once again dazzled the crowd as mistress of ceremonies – it was a great event!

scholarship recipient Marcellus Hagler

scholarship recipient Marcellus Hagler

Congratulations to our student scholars: 2013 RAFMAN Club Scholarship recipients Alton Mercer and Marcellus Hagler. And kudos to the incentive award recipients, Chavion Collins and Rose Pierre.

scholarship recipient Alton Mercer

scholarship recipient Alton Mercer

We are proud to offer the RAFMAN Club Scholarship to Valencia students. Through this scholarship, we are positively impacting the lives of the future leaders of our community. We are honored to have RAFMAN Club as a partner in philanthropy.

mentor program provides 49 high school students with full college scholarships

Take-Stock-Seniors-Feature-Photo-2013

A college education can be life-changing – “a golden ticket to a better future” – and it’s a dream that’s about to come true for 49 graduating Orange County high school seniors.

On Thursday, Feb. 28, Take Stock in Children of Orange County awarded $30,000 college scholarships to 49 students who have participated in the organization’s unique mentorship program for five years.

At a ceremony held at Full Sail University, community leaders, volunteers, corporate sponsors and mentors — as well as the Orlando Magic dancers and the Magic mascot Stuff — cheered for this year’s high school seniors – the first group of students to graduate from the program.

Each graduating senior will receive a 2+2 Florida Prepaid $30,000 scholarship from the Orange County Take Stock in Children program, paid for by corporate sponsors. The scholarship pays for two years at any Florida community college and two years at one of Florida’s state universities. Altogether, the 49 students will receive $1.47 million in college scholarships.

“This opportunity from Take Stock in Children and our community partners is your ‘golden ticket,’ students, and your new door,” Elisha Gonzalez, executive director of Take Stock in Children of Orange County, told the graduating seniors. “Open it, and run. Run and enjoy the journey.”

In addition to the graduating seniors, 25 new middle-school students were inducted into the program, bringing the number of participating students to 150.

Take Stock In Children is a statewide initiative that helps underserved children succeed. The mentorship program starts when the children are in seventh grade. All are academically promising students who come from disadvantaged backgrounds: Some have parents who’ve been in jail; others have parents who have struggled with addiction, while many have been raised by single moms who are struggling to keep their families afloat financially.

Take Stock In Children provides volunteer mentors, early intervention and long-term support. If the children meet with their mentors weekly, keep their grades up and stay away from drugs and alcohol, they will earn a four-year college scholarship.

For scholarship recipient Cristian Rivera, the program has been “a powerful experience.” Cristian’s mentor, Orlando Magic executive Lucas Boyce, helped Cristian get his driver’s permit by letting Cristian practice driving his Jeep Cherokee. Boyce bought Cristian’s first suit, his own business card and taught him the art of making small talk.

Cristian’s goal is to work at Disney in a management position. He plans to start his college education at Valencia College and then study business management at the University of Central Florida.

Take Stock in Children was started in 1995 and has been successful in other parts of Florida. Valencia College brought the program to Orange County in 2008, thanks to a $1 million gift from the Florida Citrus Sports Foundation and another $1 million donation from Mears Transportation. Full Sail University was also one of the first sponsors to sign on.

Other sponsors include: Orlando Magic, the Martin Andersen-Gracia Andersen Foundation, the Haddock Foundation and the Orlando Magic Youth Foundation.

Speakers at this year’s event included: Steve Hogan, CEO of Florida Citrus Sports; Garry Jones, president of Full Sail University; Dr. Barbara Jenkins, superintendent of Orange County Public Schools; Bill Sublette, school board chairman, Orange County Public Schools; Bob Kodzis, Flight of Ideas Inc.; and Dr. Sandy Shugart, president of Valencia College.

Guests at the event included: Bo Outlaw, Orlando Magic Community Ambassador; Nancy Robbinson, Orange County Public Schools board member; Susan Fernandez of U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio’s office; Jill Mickle of Florida Citrus Sports Foundation; Deb Mears of Mears Transportation; Linda Landman Gonzalez, vice president of community relations for the Orlando Magic and former president of the Valencia College Foundation; Stephanie Allen, executive director, Orlando Magic Youth Foundation; T. Picton Warlow, vice president of the Martin Andersen-Gracia Andersen Foundation; Alberto Fierro Garza, Mexican consul; Orange County Commissioner Jennifer Thompson; and Daisy Lynum, city commissioner, City of Orlando.

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

spring break 2013

540781_10151527616326303_758722549_nThe Valencia College Foundation and Valencia College will be closed March 4-8 for Spring Break. Students are invited to check Atlas for answers to many of their questions during this time.

Atlas is Valencia’s online system that allows students to receive e–mail and check information in student records using a secure personal identification number.

If you wish to make a donation to student scholarships this spring , please visit our secure donation site online at www.VALENCIA.org and click on Give Now: Make a Donation or you may also send your contribution to Valencia Foundation 190 S. Orange Avenue, Orlando, FL 32801.

Best wishes for a happy, safe and relaxing spring break.

–Donna

a closer look – valencia’s culinary management program

Ken Bourgoin's Culinary classMany dream of donning a white chef’s coat and for those in Central Florida, Valencia offers the only two-year degree-granting culinary program in Orlando. Valencia’s unique program is housed in the Walt Disney World Center for Hospitality and Culinary Arts. Opened in 2002, this 61,000 square-foot facility contains dual-purpose classrooms/banquet rooms, a high-tech demonstration kitchen with 20 fully equipped student workstations and a state-of-the-art production kitchen.

The program cultivates winners. Trina shared her love of competing in the story above, and she is part of a talented, award-winning team. The student culinary team won the gold medal representing Valencia and the state of Florida at the Culinary Regional Competition in 2011.

Program chair Chef Pierre Pilloud started his career at Valencia in 1996 as a curriculum writer for the then newly formed hospitality institute. In his time at Valencia, he has been acknowledged locally, recognized as a Top Chef in 2006 by the Central Florida Restaurant Forum magazine, and nationally, nominated for the American Culinary Federation National Culinary Educator of the Year in 2004.

Chef instructor Kenneth Bourgoin, 2010 Southeast Regional Chef Educator of the Year, took a few moments to share with us just what makes Valencia’s culinary management program so special. “We are not training these students how to be cooks, we are training them on how to be chefs that are great cooks. We teach what the industry demands, and believe it or not, the industry demands for you to be passionate about what you are doing and to have a positive attitude in everything you do in the kitchen. When you have that, you are apt to do better and promotions happen quicker. We will teach you how to learn for life!”

The culinary management track at Valencia will cost a student between $8,000 and $9,000. While this is a bargain, especially when compared to other local programs that can run in upwards of $40,000, cost is still a prohibitive factor for some of our current and would-be students.

The good news is that there are plenty of scholarship opportunities available through Valencia Foundation. Students need only fill out one application and they are reviewed for hundreds of potential scholarships. Scholarships like the Michael Jon Dreams and Passions Scholarship, started by Sandy Bove in honor of her brother, a graduate of Valencia’s culinary program. Other scholarships for culinary students include the Clara A. Walsh Scholarship. Ariana Costas is a recent recipient of the Clara A. Walsh Scholarship. She graduates in May 2013 and credits Valencia with helping her to master the necessary skills needed for the workforce. She chose culinary management because she loves to cook and believes cooking is one of her callings. If she could meet the person responsible for her scholarship, she would explain how important education and “my craft” are to her. “I am beyond grateful. I would even cook for them!”

Perhaps the best advertisement for a program at Valencia is its graduates. Through our wonderful alumni connections, we were thrilled to speak with Dawn Viola. Dawn received her certificate in culinary management in Spring 2011 and also has a bachelor’s degree in fine arts from UMass, Dartmouth. She is currently working on her master’s in holistic nutrition.

Dawn’s work has appeared in a variety of print and online publications such as FoodNetwork.com, BlogHer.com, Babble.com, SheKnows.com, Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, Dessert Professional magazine, The Orlando Sentinel and Edible Orlando magazine, and been published in several cook books. She has appeared on Food Network, Cooking with Emeril, Martha Stewart Radio and is a frequent guest chef on Fox News and The Daily Buzz.

Dawn is currently the executive chef and kitchen director at Second Harvest Food Bank. In order to better meet the needs of the community, Second Harvest built a 100,000 square-foot facility and within that building is the 2,000 square-foot commercial kitchen, the Darden Foundation Community Kitchen. Dawn oversees the prepared meal services program, in-house catering program and the culinary training program. The training program serves 20 students with rolling admission every eight weeks.

Dawn chose Valencia’s culinary program for cost and convenience. The program worked well with her schedule and allowed her to be a part-time student while working part-time. It was also the most affordable program in the area accredited by the American Culinary Federation.

“Valencia’s culinary program provided me with an outstanding foundation and support system that has allowed me to excel in my career.”

Be sure to follow Dawn on social media and enjoy her recipe for lavash crackers below.

On her blog: http://dawnviola.com/
On Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/dawnviola
On Twitter: https://twitter.com/dawnviola

Dawn Viola’s lavash crackersDawn Viola - lavash2
(This recipe is adapted from Valencia’s Baking II Class with instructor Jason Stricker.)
Lavash is a Middle Eastern-style flatbread that is rolled thin and baked in clay ovens. The softness of the bread depends on how thin it’s rolled. In stores, you’ll see a thicker, softer version often used for sandwich wraps. My favorite way is rolling paper thin and baking until nutty and crisp. And with the simple ingredients, it’s an easy and quick dough to make and bake.

Yields: approximately 24 crackers
Prep time: 10 minutes + 32 minute rest
Cook time: 7 minutes
Allergy information: soy-free; contains wheat, gluten
Fancy equipment: standing mixer with dough hook, mister

Ingredients:
1 lb. all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 ounces olive oil
7 ounces warm water
coarse salt, sesame seeds, poppy seeds, fennel seeds, black pepper (optional)

Directions:
In the bowl of a standing mixer with dough hook attachment add water and oil. Add flour, salt and baking powder. Mix three minutes on medium speed until smooth; if mixture is dry, add 1/2 teaspoon of additional water at a time until a smooth ball forms. Remove dough from mixing bowl. Wrap dough in plastic wrap; refrigerate 30 minutes or until ready to bake.

Preheat oven to 325 F.  Remove dough from refrigerator; divide in half. Stretch each piece of dough over the back of a sheet pan; edges should be hanging off the sides. Let stand two minutes; trim edges flush with pan. Using a mister, lightly spray dough with water or oil; sprinkle desired toppings (coarse salt, sesame seeds, poppy seeds, fennel seeds, black pepper).

Place pan in oven. Bake seven minutes or until lavash is light golden brown and crisp. Remove pan from oven; let stand five minutes. Break lavash into small pieces. Serve warm or at room temperature. Store lavash in an air-tight container up to three days.

philanthropy – different definitions, same message

At the Aspen Institute dinner in early November, billionaire David Rubenstein pointed out that “Philanthropy means loving other people, not rich people giving away their money.”

In truth, it is a word with a highly personal connotation for many. We decided it would be interesting to see what members of our Valencia community think. What is your definition of philanthropy? Why is it important to support Valencia scholarships?

First, we immediately discovered that people usually don’t fit in just one group: they are faculty and retirees who are donors, donors and partners who are alumni and so on. Second, we found that people welcomed the opportunity to share on this topic and we received so many great responses. Instead of compiling them all into one story, we will feature them in a series of articles and bring you a few perspectives in each newsletter.

The foundation has enjoyed a relationship with the Women’s Executive Council (WEC) for many years. The current president of WEC, Deanna Snyder, an alumna from 1985, felt Valencia’s impact at an early age. She shares how Valencia fit so well into her life-plan and core principles. “To serve others, that has been my guiding beacon for the past several decades.  It started while I was in high school. The field of science and medicine intrigued me. As a young girl, I wanted to be nurse.  Not just any nurse, but a caring nurse that could change the lives of those who crossed my path. As I did my research, I discovered that Valencia had an outstanding nursing program, both clinically and academically. It is one thing to be ‘book smart,’ but it is another thing to have compassion. One of my favorite quotes is from John Maxwell, ‘People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.’ My instructors at Valencia infused both into my training and my soul.  I am grateful and thankful to be a Valencia nursing graduate.  Over the years, my career has led me down different paths, but I always stay true to my mission of serving others.”

Deanna Snyder

Deanna Snyder

Her work with WEC helps to define philanthropy in her life and giving back through their scholarship program greatly enhances the lives of recipients in our local community. “To me, philanthropy comes in many forms, but it all has a common thread of unselfish giving. It is the desire of WEC to empower and embrace and serve women in Central Florida.” And she acknowledges the wonderful circle of giving that result from scholarships. “These scholarships are key turning points in the lives of these remarkable women. Their stories of triumph and success lead them to be philanthropic members of society and thus the giving circle never ends.”

Hannah Wickham

Hannah Wickham

The foundation also shares a wonderful partnership with Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW) Orlando. In addition to a scholarship endowment, CREW also donates proceeds from their annual golf tournament to support their scholarship, which is targeted for female students who wish to pursue a career in commercial real estate with a degree in accounting, architecture, business administration, construction, engineering, law or real estate.

Hannah Wickham has been involved with the CREW board for the past two years as the director of the annual golf tournament She works at Brasfield and Gorrie and is also involved with NAIOP, the Commercial Real Estate Development Association; Frederick Leadership Initiative; United Way and Habitat for Humanity.

So what is Hannah’s definition of philanthropy? “Philanthropy is being connected to your community and feeling the need to give back – volunteering time, donating funds and offering knowledge and perspective – and doing what you say you are going to do.”

She believes it is important to support scholarships because it helps bring females into the commercial real estate industry, here in Central Florida and even outside the state. “There is a great opportunity to develop long careers in this industry and the scholarship gives these young ladies a chance to understand the importance of education, as well as their future opportunities within our community. Valencia is an outstanding educational facility that provides so much to their students and so much back to our surrounding communities.”

The foundation relies on our board members a great deal. They are our advocates, donors and advisors. It is an honor for us to work with this league of extraordinary men and women, and while we are privy to enjoy the fruits of their labor, it is interesting to find out the motivation behind the movement.

Lori Sims has been a Valencia Foundation board member for approximately 11 years and the chair of the finance committee for 6 of those years. She attended a community college in her local town and that experience made her understand the value that a community college can provide.

She became involved with Valencia because she has a deep passion for education. She is a steadfast supporter of our college and foundation and a member of our president’s giving circle. Lori and her company, CliftonLarsenAllen LLP, can always be counted on to offer backing when we have our signature A Taste for Learning fundraiser. And Lori recently answered a call for funds for special 2+2 scholarships for Valencia and UCF students through the Johnson Foundation Scholarship, donating a sizeable personal gift.

Lori Sims

Lori Sims

Her definition of philanthropy is “a desire to improve the material, social and spiritual welfare of humanity, especially through charitable activities. For me personally, philanthropy goes far beyond providing monetary contributions to charities. I strive to provide not just financial support, but also my time and talents to those organizations which need my help and for which I have a passion.”

The importance of scholarships really hit home with Lori when she had the “privilege” of reviewing scholarship applications. “Every single applicant has a compelling story and an intense desire to complete their education. For those less fortunate that can use some additional financial support, it is critical that our community do what we can to make it possible for those desiring a higher education to fulfill their dreams.”

Thank you Deanna, Hannah and Lori. We look forward to next month’s discussion!

spotlight story

To know Gloria Hines and her daughter Trina Gregory is to feel like family. You can immediately tell that Gloria is fantastic at her job, as a counselor on West Campus. And with her chef coat on and poised attitude, Trina is ready to take the culinary world by storm. Indeed, she has already made quite a mark on the local food scene.

Gloria Hines and Trina Gergory

Gloria Hines and Trina Gergory

They have many things in common – they were both returning later-in-life students and juggled the demands of school as a single mom. Both have a special place in their heart for Valencia and for both, giving back is a way of life.

Gloria started her Valencia experience as a student, beginning in 1981 as a returning student. She finished her degree in 1985 and then moved on to Rollins, where she received her bachelor’s degree in organizational communications and a master’s degree in mental health counseling. She was hired at Valencia in 1991, when she was in her master’s program, starting her career as an advisor.

Her days are anything but typical, but each day is full of interaction with our students.

She hopes to retire in December or January and the first thing she wants to do is take a drawing/painting class at East Campus from Nancy Jay. She also wants to keep her counselor roots and go into private practice part time.

Gloria also plans to once again be involved with Valencia’s alumni association. She was a former president of the association and an active board member for years. In addition to our alumni chapter, she plans to be active in the Hamilton Holt School alumni chapter for Rollins.

It wasn’t just Gloria’s relationship with Valencia that drew her daughter Trina here, although that was certainly part of the equation. Right out of high school, Trina went to Rollins to study music.

She ended up in the spa business for 17 years. From there, she went into the real estate business, but it wasn’t her passion. She tossed around many ideas and thought, “Oh, you know, someone might pay me to cook for them.” And so began her culinary career.

She investigated other culinary programs but was soon sold on Valencia. She was impressed by the amazing lineage of expertise that Chef Pierre had, as well as Chef Ken, calling them the “best mentors for this program” anyone could ask for. She jumped in as a student and soon began competing. She got very involved with the Culinary Arts Student Association, serving as the community service officer in 2010-11 and president in 2011-12.

She competed for two years, earning three silver medals and one gold. Her team was the state champions for 2012 and represented Florida at the regionals for the American Culinary Federation.

Her love of competing and the close bonds she formed with her team members were part of the reason she continued her culinary education at Valencia and in May she will walk at graduation and be awarded three degrees – culinary management, baking and pastry management and restaurant management.

Trina has unique perspective on being a later-in-life student. She saw herself among students that were where she wished she would have been, “because now they’ve got 20 years to be where I have to be right now.”

Her ‘all in or nothing’ attitude worked and she is already making a name for herself in the local culinary scene. She is the exclusive provider of pies for PomPom’s Teahouse and Sandwicheria in downtown Orlando and does private and community events, offering drinks to dessert for groups of 25 or less. She also does private, in-home instruction, offering an education on things to keep in your pantry, spices and seven basic things that you can prepare just about any meal with.

In conversation, Gloria will proudly ask Trina to share the meaning behind her business name, Se7en Bites. Five years ago, Trina had gastric bypass surgery. She lost 187 pounds and has kept it off for five years and so that seven bites, it represents what she eats at an average meal. “It’s significant because those seven bites have to be the most magnificent bites of food that I put in my mouth. One of my philosophies when I’m presenting food isn’t about the quantity, but the quality. If you are fulfilling all of your body’s needs and that taste sensation where you’re getting your salty, your sweet, your sour, your bitter…you are fulfilling all of the desires your body is looking for and you’ll be satisfied and won’t need to eat as much.”

She credits her ‘Grammy’ with teaching her how to cook and instilling that passion and love for cooking, and it is a passion that she has passed down to her six-year-old son. “Oh yes, he tells me all the time he’s going to be a chef too!”

Service and scholarships are also an important current in this family. As a student, Trina received the Michael Jon Dreams and Passions Scholarship and the McCall/Wieckowski Families Scholarship. She remembers crying with happiness and excitement at the news, having been living off of student loans and anxious to have some relief and help make ends meet. Trina also gives back to the community and has been involved with the Orlando Gay Chorus and volunteers with Equality Florida and the Human Rights Campaign.

And then there is Gloria, who believed so strongly in scholarships and opportunity that she established the Frank and Carlene Hines Legacy Scholarship. “One of the things that was really close to my heart was making sure that other returning students, single parents especially, have the opportunity to have scholarships.” She freely admits that without her parents’ help, she wouldn’t have made it to where she is today and she established the scholarship as a way to remember them and to repay them for all the hard work they did all their lives.

With both Gloria and Trina, there is a truly caring nature and a call to give back and share with the community. Gloria offers this insight: “My dad always said, ‘I don’t care what you do in life as long as you do it with a good name.’ If you dig a ditch, make sure it is the best ditch you can dig and it is the same thing for giving back to the community. I don’t care what you do as long as you do it with a good name. So we’ve always just stuck with that. And it feeds your soul, when you can give back to other people. I think that’s real important. And to see people that need help and maybe they would never get it if you didn’t do something.”

In the near future, Trina hopes to open a place of her own, with the premise of a supper club and incorporating her love of music. She envisions an “eclectic spin on grandma’s cooking, but elevated and a little more formal.” In the meantime, be sure to stay connected with her through social media:
Twitter: https://twitter.com/se7enbitesChefT
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Se7enbites

valencia veteran students benefit from wells fargo grant

Valencia College Foundation recently received a $10,000 grant from Wells Fargo to support veteran students8431246514_4d0dc878e6_k. This contribution will provide Valencia veteran students the chance to acclimate their academic and leadership skills by providing scholarships for veteran-only speech classes, online preparatory classes and veteran-specific leadership opportunities.

Valencia students who have served will benefit from this partnership with Wells Fargo, enhancing our veteran student’s access to education and easing transition from military to college life.

The latest donation of $10,000 will add to Wells Fargo’s total contributions of $60,000 within the last year.

The May contribution of $50,000 encompassed a two-fold Wells Fargo partnership: providing access to education for students in need while creating a vital source of permanent scholarship funding. Wells Fargo support provided scholarships for first-generation students now, and created a Wells Fargo Endowed Scholarship for future students.

the rafman (retired air force, marine, army, navy) club scholarship

RAFMAN Club Scholarship (F547)

The RAFMAN (Retired Air Force, Marine, Army, Navy) Club Scholarship is currently seeking a High School Graduate and resident of Orange and Seminole Counties.  Applicants must also meet these additional requirements:

  • Submit a complete FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid)
  • Must be enrolled Full-Time or Part-Time
  • Active in African American Student Association and Community Service
  • Completed High School with 2.5 or higher GPA
  • Demonstrate Financial Need
  • Graduates of Jones, Evans or Edgewater high school.

In order to apply for this scholarship, please visit https://valencia.scholarships.ngwebsolutions.com/CMXAdmin/Cmx_Content.aspx?cpId=466 and complete the 2012-13 Valencia Foundation scholarship application today!

 

the herb society of central florida scholarship opportunity for valencia culinary students

The Herb Society of Central Florida was founded in 1992 by a small group of Central Florida residents who met regularly to exchange information and share their passion for herbs. In addition to expanding their personal knowledge of herbs, they are dedicated to educating the public concerning the many aspects of growing and enjoying herbs.

The Herb Society of Central Florida Scholarship is for Valencia College culinary majors. Eligible candidates are required to have the following:

  • Program of Study: Culinary Arts
  • FAFSA Established Date > Saturday, January 01, 2011
  • Demonstrate financial need
  • Maintain a 3.0 GPA or higher
  • Complete the 2012-13 Fall/Spring Valencia College Foundation Scholarship Application

In order to apply for this scholarship, please visit https://valencia.scholarships.ngwebsolutions.com/CMXAdmin/Cmx_Content.aspx?cpId=466 and complete the 2012-13 Valencia Foundation scholarship application today!

scholarship thank you

It is a wonderful part of my job, reading scholarship recipient letters. They are full of thanks and gratitude. Often, it is not just the money, students are grateful that someone cared enough to support their journey. The letters are filled with personal stories, some hardships, but always with a hopeful look to the future. These students know that their Valencia education will lead to a better life.

Valencia student and scholarship recipient, Michelle Morales-Pineda, writes a personal note of thanks upon receiving the Josephine and William Chen Family Scholarship.

I am honored to have been chosen as a recipient for the Josephine and William Chen Family Scholarship. Your generosity has further inspired me to continue on my current path toward acquiring a degree in elementary education.

Your decision to go back to school after being married and raising your children is very dear to my heart, because I too decided to go back to school and get a college education after being married and raising my children. Among my five other siblings, I am the very first to attend college. Not only do I strive to be a mentor and positive role model for the children I am given the opportunity to work with, but also for my two sons. My husband was recently unemployed for almost three months, which makes your scholarship truly a blessing.

What I have experienced here as a student has instilled the encouragement and skills needed to fulfill my goal of becoming an outstanding citizen and leader in the community through working with children. During this time, I have been on the President’s List every semester, with the exception of the fall 2011 semester when I was on the Dean’s List. Currently, I am part of the inaugural class of the James M. and Dayle L. Seneff Honors College and am also a member of Phi Theta Kappa. My future plans include continuing to work toward a master’s degree in education, serving on the board of education and eventually acquiring my PhD.

My family and I sincerely thank you with all our hearts and your generosity is appreciated beyond words.

valencia sga leaders send appreciation

Valencia College student government association presidents recently sent thankful words to community members who donated in support of Valencia College students through a contribution to Valencia Foundation.

Valencia SGA thanks to donors_Page_1

“Please accept our appreciation for your generous support and thank you for opening access to college in our community!”

 

“Our peers are bright, motivated and often balancing work, family and community commitments. All Valencia students greatly benefit from the support they receive, no matter how large or modest the scholarship.”

The note was signed by student leaders from Valencia College area campus locations:
Jose Abastido, Osceola Campus; Mike Acevedo, East Campus; Andrew Johnson, Winter Park Campus; Evan King, West Campus; and Paula Santos, Lake Nona Campus.

Valencia SGA thanks to donors

mentors, scholarships and hope

Orlando Magic Youth Foundation Gives
Orange County Take Stock in Children $100,000 Check Take Stock 2

There were lots of cheers at the Amway Center Thursday night as the Orlando Magic Youth Foundation presented 17 Central Florida non-profit organizations with checks totaling $1.05 million. But there may have been few people happier than Elisha Gonzalez Bonnewitz, who leads Valencia College’s Take Stock In Children program — which was one of four organizations to receive a $100,000 check.

“It is an exciting day at Valencia! The Orlando Magic has committed to being legendary on and off the court, and their commitment to our community  is unprecedented. Their financial support allows us to continue to provide mentors, scholarships and hope to so many underserved students,” said Bonnewitz, who will use the grant money to offer more scholarships to more at-risk children.

Valencia’s Take Stock In Children program pairs community leader mentors with students starting in the 8th grade. The program rewards students with a 2+2 Florida Prepaid scholarship opportunity to students who successfully graduate from high school. Students can attend a two-year community college and state university of their choice.

Over the past 22 years, the Orlando Magic Youth Foundation has distributed more than $17 million to nonprofits in Central Florida.

“To raise so much money for the children of Central Florida and for organizations, many of which are working with disadvantaged youth in our area, is amazing,’’ Magic CEO Alex Martins said. “For a third consecutive year we’ve been able to give away $1 million, which we’re incredibly proud of and we’re proud of the work these organizations are doing. For us to be able to give back to the community and help the lives of kids who need our help, it’s so gratifying.’’

Four organizations received $100,000 in grant money. They were: Boys and Girls Club of Central Florida ($100,000), The Early Learning Coalition ($100,000), Hope CommUnity Center ($100,000) and the Valencia College Foundation’s Orange County Take Stock in Children Program ($100,000).

The other 2013 grant recipients were: Adult Literacy League ($30,000), Beta Center ($76,000), Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida ($50,000), Elevate Orlando ($50,000), Florida Senior Programs ($50,000), Foundation for Foster Children ($25,000), Foundation for Orange County Public Schools ($60,000), Foundation for Seminole State College of Florida ($50,000), Hebni Nutrition Consultants ($49,000), Jewish Family Services of Greater Orlando ($50,000), Orange County Library System ($60,000), The Gift of Swimming ($25,000) and the University of Central Florida Foundation ($75,000).

The recipients were chosen after a five-stage process that began in July of 2012. The beneficiaries were recommended by the OMYF  “VIP” Committee and approved by the McCormick Foundation’s Board of Directors. The McCormick Foundation, which operates the Orlando Sentinel Family Fund, matches all donations to the Orlando Magic Youth Fund at 50 cents on the dollar. With the Orlando Magic and the McCormick Foundation paying all campaign and administrative expenses, 100 percent of all donations, plus the matching funds, is given to qualified nonprofit organizations

The grant money is raised through donations by the Magic’s corporate partners, the Black Tie and Tennies Gala, the OMYF Open golf tournament, 50/50 raffles during games and online and in-game memorabilia auctions.

“There has always been a focus with the Magic on the youth and how we can assist them. There are a lot of challenges out there and we’ve always thought it is important for the youth to be well taken care of because they are the ones who are going to become productive members of our society,’’ said Dan DeVos, chairman of the Orlando Magic. “There is a lot of joy of seeing this event. The organizations here are proven successes and they will take the funds that they receive to expand or offer new or different services that will definitely have an impact on Central Florida. So it’s great to see the good that they are doing, the results they are getting and seeing the excitement in their eyes when they see the checks they are receiving.’’

Take Stock in Children of Orange County began in 2008 with 50 student participants from the three Orange County middle schools considered to be the most in need (Lockhart, Lee and Howard middle schools). Today, there are 155 children in the program. This spring, 49 of the students — the first ones in the program — will graduate from high school this year and begin their journey to college.

To be awarded college scholarships, students must stay in school, maintain good grades, exhibit good behavior, remain crime and drug free, and meet with their mentors. Students are held accountable; if they do not fulfill our program standards, they risk losing their valuable college scholarship.

http://news.valenciacollege.edu/

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.

grand wines at grande bordeaux tasting in orlando

ABC Fine Wine and Spirits Tasting

Bordeaux Grande Wine Tasting
Rosen Shingle Creek
Wednesday, January 16, 2013, 7:00 – 10:00pm

Valencia’s event sponsor for Taste for Learning is hosting another elegant wine tasting event for those who love to sample and sip.

25+ chateau owners and managers from Bordeaux, France will join ABC Fine Wine and Spirits in Orlando to host a one of a kind Bordeaux-only wine tasting.

Bordeaux Grande Wine Tasting at Rosen Shingle Creek
Wednesday, January 16, 2013, 7:00 – 10:00pm

For ticket or event information please visit online at: http://www.abcfws.com/BordeauxGrandeTasting

the best we have to offer

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One of the very favorite parts of my job is reading student scholarship applications and their thank-you letters. Nothing brings the mission closer, and at the end of the day, nothing makes me more grateful to work for the foundation.

The applications and letters do not always tell happy stories. In my time here, I have read about homelessness, hunger, domestic violence, illness and too many other tragedies to count. But even in the saddest of stories, there is hope. These students hope for the day when they walk across the stage and receive a diploma or certificate. Their journeys to commencement are different, but one thing is the same – they believed in themselves enough to make this journey, overcoming obstacles and never losing hope.

The scholarship donor becomes a member of an elite community who help a student along their path. Countless thank-you letters from students share appreciation for more than the monetary scholarship, they are thankful that someone believed in them enough to invest in their journey. This belief spurs them to remain committed and gives them the belief-in-self needed to be a success.

As you consider your year-end giving, please consider Valencia Foundation and scholarships.

On commencement day, amidst the cheers and smiles, is the gratitude for all the scholarship benefactors who made these journeys possible. And each donor should be proud, knowing that these students are the very best we have to offer. Truly, they are the leaders of tomorrow.

To become a part of our elite community and support scholarships, please visit https://donate.valencia.org/

valencia foundation faq’s

Valencia Foundation Logo


“This work is not accomplished without the leadership of our Valencia Foundation board members, college partners and community advocates.”

Valencia College receives support from the Foundation in various forms including scholarships for students, endowed teaching chairs, academic programs and equipment. This work is not accomplished without the leadership of our Foundation board members, college partners and community advocates.

I’d like to share answers to questions frequently asked about this good work. Please take a look at the FAQ’s below and feel free to email us at foundation@valenciacollege.edu with any specific questions.

scholarship spotlight: fleck cadeau – 2012-13 ella b. sadler scholarship recipient

The Ella B. Sadler scholarship is a longtime and dedicated supporter of Valencia College and our students. For the 2012-13 academic year, this scholarship fund has generously gifted 15 students scholarship funding for the fall and spring terms.

Fleck Cadeau, presently a sophomore student with Valencia College, was one of the 2012-13 Ella B. Sadler scholarship recipients. Currently, Fleck holds a 3.81 GPA and has participated in the Valencia Student Government Association, Valencia Volunteers, and was an Orlando Regional Teen Volunteer where he helped prepare meals for patients of the hospital. In addition, Fleck participated in several community service events offered by the National Honor Society and National Science Honor Society. In his free time, Fleck enjoys volunteering at local blood drives as well as Caps for Chemo, a program that teaches volunteers to knit caps for patients who have experienced hair loss due to chemotherapy treatments.

With a love for science and helping others, Fleck plans to earn his Bachelor’s degree in Biology and continue on to apply to medical school with the University of Central Florida.

I began discovering new aspects about myself at Valencia. My tremendous passion for science and medicine led me to major in the expanding filed of biology. I received a very generous gift from the Ella B. Sadler scholarship fund that allowed me to pay for my books and purchase a new laptop for school. The Ella B. Sadler fund made it possible for me to do things I would not have been able to otherwise do. In 10 years, I see myself beginning a promising career as a surgeon for one of Orlando’s amazing hospitals. I will never forget how my education began at Valencia and how the generous donation of the Valencia Foundation and Ella B. Sadler Scholarship helped enhance and motivate my journey to success.” – Fleck Cadeau

The Valencia Foundation partners with many generous donors who are excited to contribute to the education of the leaders of tomorrow. If you haven’t already, there is still time to apply by visiting: http://valenciacollege.edu/finaid/Scholarship_bulletin.cfm and applying for the 2012-13 Valencia Foundation Scholarship Application.

valencia nursing students heart femmes de coeur

Valencia College Students Thank Femmes de Coeur
Valencia College nursing students share their appreciation to Femmes de Coeur (Women of Heart) for the recent $12,500 donation to Valencia Foundation. This generous contribution is earmarked to support Valencia College nursing students through the Femmes de Coeur Endowed Nursing Scholarship.
Femmes de Coeur is an Orlando based, not-for-profit volunteer organization comprised of a unique group of community women volunteering time and sharing a common goal to serve the needs of the community. Their uniqueness is reflected through partnerships with existing organizations to accomplish their mission. The sharing of resources allows Femmes de Coeur to help to a larger community audience.

sponsors host another grande wine tasting event

Our Taste for Learning event sponsor, ABC Fine Wine and Spirits, is hosting another Grande event for those who love to sample and sip.  25+ chateau owners and managers from Bordeaux, France will join ABC Fine Wine and Spirits in Orlando to host a one of a kind Bordeaux-only wine tasting.

A limited number of tickets are available for this wine and food event, so act quickly to secure your attendance.

Bordeaux Grande Wine Tasting at Rosen Shingle Creek
Wednesday, January 16, 2013, 7:00 – 10:00pm

Visit online at:

http://www.abcfws.com/BordeauxGrandeTasting/

ABC Fine Wine and Spirits Tasting

Bordeaux Grande Wine Tasting at Rosen Shingle Creek
Wednesday, January 16, 2013, 7:00 – 10:00pm

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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

alumni spotlight: richard crotty

Richard Crotty, Toni Jennings, Pam Crotty

Mayor Richard Crotty at A Taste for Learning with Toni Jennings and his wife Pam Crotty.

Alumni Spotlight – Richard Crotty

Like many Central Floridians, Richard Crotty’s parents moved to Orange County to seek a better life for their family. His dad took a job with defense contractor Martin Marietta in 1960 when Richard was in sixth grade, and Richard and his four brothers were raised in South Orlando.

Richard Crotty is a product of Orange County Public Schools, where he graduated from Oak Ridge High. Upon graduation, he took a job on the assembly line at Martin Marietta. He aspired to obtain a college education, so, after working a few years, he began taking classes at Valencia. He put himself through school working two different jobs driving delivery trucks.

Richard is a living example of the success individuals can achieve through flexible educational opportunities provided at two-year colleges. His own words best demonstrate the opportunity he realized through Valencia: “A four-year college simply was not practical at the time that I enrolled in Valencia. I was working two jobs, but managed to squeeze in enough time for classes. The college gave me the academic foundation I needed to move on and graduate from University of Central Florida. Later, as a state legislator, my interest in being prime sponsor of Florida’s pre-paid tuition plan came, in large part, as a result of my experience at Valencia. Valencia was there for me when I needed it. Without the learning and growing experience of Valencia, I seriously doubt that I would be where I am today.”

One of Valencia’s early graduates in 1970, he graduated from Florida Technological University (FTU), a member of the charter class, in 1972 with a bachelor’s degree in public administration and communication. The next year, Richard was selected to the Florida Legislative Staff Internship Program, where he completed a graduate executive program in public administration. He worked on the Senate staff and completed his service as a member of the U. S. Army Reserve, serving in a military police unit. Upon his return to Orlando, Richard launched a successful career in sales and management consulting. For the next three years, he consulted for cities across the country under a grant from the U. S. EPA. He is credited with saving cities millions of tax dollars by improving the efficiency of their solid waste collection systems. Recognized as an up-and-coming leader for his work in our community, Richard was selected for the first Leadership Orlando class at the age of 27. By age 30, he was elected to the Florida House of Representatives.

He served in the Florida House for 12 years. His accomplishments were many, but the ones he is most proud of involve his passion for education and his love for the community that provided him and his family a better way of life.

In 1990, Richard ran for Florida Senate and was elected overwhelmingly. During his years in the House and Senate, Richard was known as a reformer and consensus builder. His first legislation changed the name of FTU to UCF. Rep. Crotty was prime sponsor of a bill creating the first U. S. prepaid college tuition program in America, which allows parents to purchase a college education for their children well before they go to college. The Florida Prepaid College Tuition Program gives families hope of a college education and the financial ability to make it a reality. He also sponsored the Rios-Martinez Act, which guaranteed that sexual predators of children would not get early prison release.

In 1992, he won election as Orange County’s Property Appraiser and was re-elected in 1996 and 2000. As property appraiser, he is credited with using state-of-the-art technology to maximize efficiency and provide higher levels of service to the citizens of Orange County. He managed 127 staff and a budget of $8 million and was responsible for assessing the value of approximately 320,000 pieces of property, valued at $43 billion. And while property appraiser, Richard attended the executive program for state and local government at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

On January 8, 2001, Florida Governor Jeb Bush appointed Richard to succeed Mel Martinez as Orange County Chairman – he took the official oath of office on January 24, 2001.

Richard T. Crotty served as Orange County Mayor from 2001 to 2010. (The title changed from county chairman to county mayor in 2004.) While mayor, he was responsible for the day-to-day operations of the county government, overseeing nearly 7,300 employees with an annual budget of $3.4 billion.

During his tenure, he focused on transportation, schools and the economy. He helped drive the plan to fund the new Amway Center, the Dr. P. Phillips Performing Arts Center and the renovation of the Citrus Bowl. In spite of many large-scale accomplishments, Mayor Crotty considers his most significant achievement to have stewarded Orange County through the preparation for, response to, and recovery from three major hurricanes in six weeks during the summer of 2004. And in spite of those many large-scale achievements, he remains humble and was quoted as saying that he wanted “to leave the place better than I found it” as he transitions from public service to private life.

Richard’s awards include the Distinguished Alumnus and Distinguished Service Award from UCF and the Leroy Collins Distinguished Alumnus award from the entire Florida Community College System. Richard is most proud of the Allen Morris Award, bestowed on him by a secret vote of House colleagues as the most effective member of his party. During his tenure as Orange County property appraiser, he was ranked the No. 1 property appraiser in the nation with the Distinguished Assessment Jurisdiction Award. He also received the Public Information Award.

Mayor Crotty takes every opportunity to promote Valencia and his relationship as one of the first graduates. It is prominently listed in his bio and emerges frequently in public speeches and personal conversations. He is also a donor, having funded an endowed scholarship in honor of his parents. He also expanded a Valencia / UCF Two-Plus-Two scholarship with a major gift to Valencia Foundation. Richard has also pledged to help increase available transfer resources for Valencia graduates.

Through it all, Mayor Crotty has shown himself to be a true public servant, caring about and serving those in his community. And even now, education remains an important objective. He was recently appointed to the Board of Trustees for UCF. And his commitment to education is as strong today as it ever was. In an interview, he shared that he is concerned that qualified students are being shut out of educational opportunities because of rising tuition prices. “I think it is important to keep our eye on the ball. We have to strike that appropriate balance to strive for excellence but make sure that access is there.”

And Richard Crotty himself stands as a perfect example of that balance: someone who achieved greatness, because of the access and opportunities afforded him at a community college.

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.

revisiting Valencia’s economic impact

Wondering how much value Valencia brings to the area?

The independent economic impact study shows Valencia’s economic value amounts to more than one billion dollars a year. For every dollar students invest in tuition, they will see a $5.60 increase in their lifetime earnings.

wine and winners – vino and vittles

At the September 15 international wine sampling and silent auction the venue, the libations, the scrumptious treats and silent auction items are donated.  So, 100% of every dollar you give for tickets, sponsorships and auction items goes to support learning!

valencia college day in the city of orlando

Valencia President Sanford Shugart accepts a proclamation from Mayor Buddy Dyer marking Aug. 27, 2012 as “Valencia College Day” in the City of Orlando.

silent auction donor spotlight

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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: http://www.cfhla.org/

donor spotlight: george and viola mcloughlin

George and Viola McLoughlin with their daughter, Priscilla, at the unveiling of a sculpture in memory of their son, Michael.

Concept, Control and Communication.

A musician, George calls these principles “The Three C’s of Conducting” and they apply to just about any endeavor beyond the symphony. He says, “If you have a concept of where you want to arrive and what needs to be done to reach that goal, then it’s just a matter of communication. Otherwise, you are wasting people’s time.”

And just about the worst thing you can do to George is waste his time. Having celebrated nine decades, he notes with a smile, “The less of it you have left, the more serious it becomes.” His wife adds, “Seize the day. Carpe diem!”

An accomplished pianist and trombone player, George also conducts and arranges music. He has led choirs and still plays trombone with the Maitland Symphony. Receiving his bachelor of music degree from Boston University, he received a doctor of education degree with a minor in music education from the University of Kentucky. Viola earned a secretarial degree and was an executive assistant in New York. When George was teaching at Asbury College, his bride made the decision to return to school. Viola admits it was a struggle, especially with two little children, but she obtained her bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Asbury and her master’s degree in education from Rollins College. She taught elementary school in Seminole County, working her way up to becoming assistant principal at Red Bug Lake Elementary

Married since 1953, George and Viola met when they were working at a Massachusetts camp. George served in the Navy’s Amphibious Forces in the Pacific and occupied Japan. While teaching at Asbury, George earned his doctorate from the University of Kentucky, with a dissertation focusing on community college teaching and success

Valencia brought them to Florida during the height of the community college movement, which was transforming the academic paradigm to one of open access. His wife notes today, “George, you’ve always said that the community college is the best idea going.”

He agrees. “The community college is for teaching. It is student oriented rather than research or even sports oriented. It is teaching oriented.” George taught humanities at Valencia from 1969 until 1985, offering the opportunity to touch the lives of many students. Viola recounts a story of two international students he had assisted, who one night, knocked at the door. “Here were these two students, husband and wife, no car. I don’t know how they walked. And they’re holding a complete dinner of Vietnamese food to say thank you. It was a beautiful gesture. They thought of everything, a little dish of this kind of food, even around to the dessert and appetizer. It was very moving to me.” George had the kind of impact in the classroom that merited this sort of gratitude from his students

The McLoughlin’s owned an apartment complex in downtown Orlando. Upon George’s retirement, they donated the property to establish a gift annuity. Through this annuity, they created an endowed Valencia scholarship for non-traditional, disadvantaged students who might not qualify for any other aid

George has described his endowment as a last chance for individuals who might have a spotty academic record, abuse victims, recovering substance abusers, the homeless, those undergoing career change, single parents, victims of tragic circumstances, juvenile offenders and those seeking re-entry to the community after incarceration. The reason for targeting these populations was simple: to fill in the gap, and to offer hope and a hand up for students in whom few others are willing to invest

It is a spirit that they have instilled in their daughter, Priscilla, a professional who assists people in recovery at the Center for Drug Free Living. The couple spent the last 20 years enjoying the serendipity of retirement and celebrating many milestones, like George’s 90th birthday. Their adventures included a spontaneous, free-spirited trip to England for which they purchased only rail and plane tickets, “bumming around with no reservations,” and enjoying plays and local inns. Viola jokes about being on the “Today” show to celebrate her 100th birthday. She says she will share her wisdom for a long, fulfilling existence. “Live a thankful life. Take your religion seriously. And don’t say everything that enters your head! I think that covers a lot.”

And for this delightful pair, there is still a lot to cover, more family celebrations, new journeys, and additional students who just need one person to believe in – and invest in them. In addition to their personal and professional accomplishments and their beautiful daughter, George and Viola have left a legacy at Valencia that will endure forever, in perpetuity.

scholarship recipient thank you letter

It is with extreme gratitude that I write this letter of thanks to you. My name is Elizabeth Labbe and I am the proud recipient of the Mildred Overstreet Scholarship. Scholarships such as this one will substantially lessen the financial burden on my family and will also allow me to devote a greater amount of time to my studies. The Mildred Overstreet Scholarship is one of the rewards that make a quality education possible for a hardworking and ambitious student such as me. I am grateful for your kindness and your involvement in the promotion of success in the lives of college students.

I am a political science major with an emphasis in pre-law. I am currently a sophomore and plan to graduate from Valencia in the summer of 2012. After graduation, I will attend University of South Florida – Honors College to earn my bachelor’s degree in political science; then continue on to law school. I have my heart set on Columbia Law School. I plan to pursue a career in government upon graduating law school with hopes of becoming a secretary of state. Eventually, I’d like to do humanitarian work in the U.S. and abroad to help those who need it most. Thanks to you and your donation, I am one step closer to that goal. The financial assistance that you’ve provided will be of great help to me in paying my educational expenses. I have been fortunate enough to see the reality that so many people around the world never have a chance to – to become educated. Because of this, I am grateful and do not take for granted my own opportunity for education. Coming from a small town in Haiti, it was instilled in me by my parents, both of whom are struggling lower middle class workers, to reach for the stars. As you can see, my career goals are not far from what they asked.

Thanks to your confidence in me, you reaffirmed that my dreams are possible. Your generosity is appreciated and accepted with extreme honor. I once again thank you sincerely for believing in me. By awarding me the Mildred Overstreet Scholarship, you have lifted my financial burden by a significant amount. This will allow me to focus more on my studies and projects, and the most important aspect of school, learning. Your generosity has inspired me to help others and give back to the community. I hope one day I will be able to help students achieve their goals just as you have helped me.

donor spotlight: mears family and mears transportation group

Mears Transportation Group pledged $1 million in support to Valencia Foundation to establish the Paul Mears Sr. Take Stock in Children Fund. Created in memory of Paul Mears Sr., the purpose of the fund is to support educational opportunities through the Take Stock in Children program. To honor this gift, the current Student Services Building, located on the West Campus of Valencia College, was renamed the Paul Mears Sr. Student Services Building.

The Mears family has a long history of support in the local community and their philanthropic reach is wide. As a family-owned business, their giving, both individual and corporate, is personal. Paul Jr. and Deb Mears provide the personal connection between Mears Transportation Group and Valencia. Deb is currently a board member for Valencia Foundation. The family has been involved with the foundation for more than a decade and their giving includes endowed scholarship, major gift, in-kind and event support.

Mears Transportation Group also offers support to the Red Cross and is a founding contributor to the Give Kids the World Village. Deb Mears has served on the committee for the local Festival of Trees and Mears Transportation Group has sponsored the event, presented by the Council of 101 to benefit the Orlando Museum of Art. In partnership with their sister company Hello Florida!, Mears has served as a corporate sponsor for the March of Dimes “March for Babies” charity walkathon.

Even the local little league is a touch-point for their generosity, as Mears Transportation Group is a current platinum sponsor of the Delaney Park Little League. The company is also involved in Mears School Supplies Give-Aways to benefit local children.

To offer response to an international crisis, Mears donated $25,000 to Haiti earthquake relief efforts the day after the tragedy happened. Through employee pledges and a dollar-for-dollar company matching challenge, more than $39,000 was raised, in addition to 8,000 pounds of donated items and supplies.

Started through a handshake between Paul Mears Sr. and founder of Give Kids the World, Henri Landwirth, Mears has provided complimentary transportation for more than 37,000 guests of Give Kids the World Village. Additionally, Mears is a sponsor of Give Kids the World’s Black and White Gala.

The Mears family’s support to Valencia was heightened in the ’90s with the establishment of the Paul Mears Sr. Scholarship to benefit Valencia students in the hospitality management program. The family’s establishment of the Paul Mears Sr. Scholarship has led others to achieve their dreams – an education. After a meeting with the foundation’s executive director in 1994, Paul Jr.’s interest was sparked by Valencia’s hospitality program. He believed an endowed scholarship in this area would be a fitting tribute to his father.

Mears Transportation Group recently pledged $1 million in support to Valencia Foundation to establish the Paul Mears Sr. Take Stock in Children Fund. Created in memory of Paul Mears Sr., the purpose of the fund is to support educational opportunities through the Take Stock in Children program. To honor this gift, the current Student Services Building, located on the West Campus of Valencia College, was renamed the Paul Mears Sr. Student Services Building.

Since 1995, Take Stock has impacted the lives of more than 17,600 deserving Florida students, providing more than 9,000 high school graduates with full college scholarships. The first class of Valencia participants is now in the tenth-grade and will graduate from high school in 2013.

This year’s gift to establish the Paul Mears Sr. Take Stock in Children Fund will continue to transform the lives of future Valencia learners and community leaders – creating lasting, positive changes in our community. One shining example of a life transformed is India, one of ten children in an abusive and substance-exposed home. At age 16, on Christmas Eve, she suddenly found herself homeless. It was a simple question that changed India’s life: Do you want to go to college? India took part in the Take Stock program, graduated from the University of Florida and today is a teacher. Through tears, India shares that if it wasn’t for finding the right path through college and Take Stock, “you probably wouldn’t see my face today. I’d be a statistic. I can’t say thank you enough.” As of March 31, 2011, the foundation has purchased 100 prepaid tuition scholarships for Take Stock in Children. The generous funding from Mears will ensure that for those who think that the dream of college is out of reach, it is actually closer than they realize.

Paul Mears Jr. and his wife, Deb, believe that Take Stock in Children reflects the values Paul Sr. engendered: offering students a mentoring relationship, a hand up and a guaranteed college education based on their academic and personal successes through junior high and high school. With what is often called a “golden touch in transportation,” Paul Sr. founded Mears Transportation Group in 1939 with three taxicabs. Today it is one of Central Florida’s most recognized premier guest services and destination management companies. A family business at heart, his three sons always recall that Paul was an aggressive but fair businessman with the utmost integrity. He believed in doing things the right way and doing them well. High achievement and success were not options; they were expectations. Those same high standards were infused into both the Paul Mears Sr. Scholarship and the recent Paul Mears Sr. Take Stock in Children Fund. In fact, high standards, parental involvement and community support are crucial to Take Stock’s success. Students and their parents sign a covenant to maintain solid grades and refrain from illegal activities, such as drug or alcohol use. Weekly mentor meetings help children to focus on their schoolwork and stay out of trouble.

The Mears family provides encouragement and motivation through their gifts and continues to groom future leaders and career-driven members of our community. This is evidenced in the voices of our students who have received the Paul Mears Sr. Scholarship. One such student, Juan, shares his passion and realized potential made possible through this scholarship: “Without scholarship patrons like you, there would be many students such as myself unable to pursue the career they’ve dreamed of.” After Valencia, Juan plans to transfer to the University of Central Florida’s Rosen College of Hospitality Management. His dream is to establish a career that allows him to “learn on an everyday basis.” This is a perfect fit with Paul Mears Sr.’s expectation of high achievement and continues the pay-it-forward spirit of philanthropy and involvement demonstrated by the Mears family. Transport: to carry from one place to another. Paul Mears Sr. began a small enterprise which has expanded into a large-scale transportation brand. His gifts and philanthropic touch, which he passed on to Paul Jr. and Deb Mears, provide transport of a different sort – carrying those most worthy, and often those most in need, to a new life and success through education.

a taste for learning: international wine sampling and auction

Vintners from around the world will donate and pour their finest wines- thanks to ABC Fine Wine & Spirits-hundreds of wines will be available.

Please join us by inviting friends and colleagues, sponsoring a table and contributing auction items.

For more information on the event including tickets, sponsorships and Rosen Shingle Creek Resort special room rates for attendees please visit our website online.

aia golf tournament

This past Friday, many of us were at Reunion Resort for the 23rd annual AIA Orlando Golf Tournament. Some of us played and some of us volunteered, but we all had a great time in support of AIA’s partnership with Valencia and the foundation. In total, AIA Orlando has generated $255,000 in scholarships.

Unique partnerships such as those with American Institute of Architects help us give students opportunities to learn and succeed and keep within our goal to provide access for every person in our community who wishes to attend college.

Here is a fun video by AIA Orlando golf committee member, Al Ramphal, that really captures the spirit of the event. Enjoy!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W9Iy7MPaWaQ&feature=youtu.be

aia golf tournament – june 15

Each year, AIA Orlando, a chapter of the American Institute of Architects, helps support foundation scholarships through proceeds from their golf tournament. This year’s 23rd annual event will be on Friday, June 15, at Reunion Golf Resort. AIA members can play for $150 each and non-members for $175 per player. Sponsorships start at $300. Click here for more information.

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!

new study: valencia boosts local economy by $1 billion a year

A Press Release from Valencia’s Marketing and Strategic Communications Department

Orlando, FL – At a time when Florida’s unemployment rate is 9.4 percent and public funding for higher education is being cut, a new study finds that Valencia College boosts the economy of Orange and Osceola counties by $1.05 billion a year.

The study, conducted by Economic Modeling Specialists, Inc. (EMSI) on behalf of the college, calculated the college’s total economic impact, based on the 70,000 students enrolled at Valencia, and includes alumni earnings, student spending and expenditures related to college operations.

The impact study also examined the college’s return on investment, for both students and taxpayers.

  • For students, every dollar spent on tuition today increases a student’s future income by $5.60, according to the EMSI study.
  • For Florida taxpayers, the rate of return on their investment in the college is 8.9 percent, outperforming nearly all private investments’ return on the dollar.

Valencia, the 17th largest employer in the region, has become an economic engine for Central Florida, generating close to 3,000 jobs and spending $231 million a year on buildings, salaries, services and supplies.

In addition to the impact of students currently enrolled at the college, the study found that Valencia’s graduates contribute $781.7 million in earnings, spending and savings to the region’s economy each year.

To understand Valencia’s economic impact on its two-county region, compare the college’s $1 billion impact to that of the University of Florida (UF). In 2011, an economic impact study found that UF’s impact on the statewide economy was $8.76 billion – and $2.9 billion of that was attributed to the Shands Hospital system and UF physician practices.

“Valencia is a billion dollar gem. We hope the independent study will help the community understand what an asset Valencia actually is to the region,” said Valencia Board of Trustees Chair Bertica Cabrera Morris.

Trustees, along with Valencia President Sandy Shugart, are calling on business and community leaders to join the college’s efforts to increase public and private investment in Valencia.

“We encourage business leaders to get involved with the college and become a part of its success. Seek Valencia interns. Hire the college’s graduates. Serve on industry boards. Support the foundation. It all fuels our local economy and makes a real difference,” added Cabrera Morris.

Valencia stands out as a model of efficiency compared to its peer colleges around the state. Based on data gathered by the Florida Department of Education for the 2011-2012 school year, Valencia has lower funding per FTE (full-time equivalent) than its sister two-year colleges – and yet Valencia consistently produces more graduates and more students who are earning technical certificates.

Valencia was named the best community college in America for 2011/12 when it won the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence. The Aspen Prize was the first national recognition of extraordinary accomplishments at a community college. Valencia won the honor for an overall graduation rate nearly three times that of similar, large urban public community colleges. In addition, Valencia had the highest job placement rates at 95 percent, and the most productive transfer program in the country, because of its partnership with the University of Central Florida (UCF).

Valencia plays a key role in educating the region. Of the graduating high school seniors in Orange and Osceola counties, almost twice as many start their college careers at Valencia as at all other state universities combined. And, today, that’s the new “normal” among college students. Only 25 percent of America’s college students are full-time students, living away from home. Seventy-five percent of current college students are part-time students, juggling families, jobs and school.

At Valencia, 39 percent of the students are focused on learning specialized skills that prepare them for the workforce through the college’s Associate in Science (A.S.) programs or Associate in Applied Science (A.A.S.) degrees. To produce graduates who are ready to hit the ground running, the college works closely with 400 area businesses to tailor the curriculum to meet the needs of the workplace.

In some technical areas, such as nursing and allied health, Valencia graduates make up a large percentage of the local workforce. Valencia’s RN program supplies many of the nurses to local hospitals and is highly regarded for its quality. In 2010, for example, 94 percent of Valencia’s nursing graduates passed the national registered nursing exam – a higher passing rate than the state and national average.

That specialized training is reflected in the graduates’ earnings. Valencia’s Associate in Science and Associate in Applied Science degree graduates earn on average an annual salary of about $43,385 in their first year after graduation – more than double that of a high school graduate and $7,839 more than a bachelor’s degree graduate from UCF in their first year out of college, according to the latest data from the Florida Education and Training Placement Information Program (FETPIP).

In addition to preparing students for the workforce, Valencia offers a two-year A.A. program that prepares students to transfer to an upper-division college or university – at half the cost of tuition at the state’s four-year universities.

And, thanks to DirectConnect to UCF, an innovative partnership between the University of Central Florida and area members of the Florida College System that began in 2007, Valencia students who earn an associate degree are guaranteed admission to UCF’s upper division. Through DirectConnect, Valencia has become an “on ramp” to a four-year degree. In 2011, 22 percent of all UCF graduates started their college careers at Valencia.

Also helping the local economy is the fact that Valencia is attracting more students from outside Orange and Osceola counties. Since DirectConnect began, the number of students moving to the area grew from 14,967 to 21,134, a 34.5 percent increase. These students rent apartments, purchase goods and services, and stay in the area to attend UCF and build their lives here.

Click here to get the economic impact facts.

The full report, “Economic Contribution of Valencia College,” is available on the Valencia News website.

New Study Finds Valencia Boosts Local Economy by $1 Billion a Year

a note of thanks

This letter is to express my sincere gratitude for your generous offer for academic funding. I was overwhelmed with delight and appreciation when I learned that you selected me from countless other students to receive this scholarship. I have never been considered for such an award and your charity affirms my hard work and determination. Philanthropy such as yours is very humbling and commendable.

I currently hold a 4.0 grade point average, and am about to start my fourth semester at Valencia College. I take my studies very seriously – ambitiously pursuing knowledge and success. Once I complete my associate of arts: general studies degree, I intend to continue my education at the University of Central Florida. Thanks to your support, I can maintain my grades worry-free.

By awarding me the Marie Blount Scholarship, you have eased my financial encumbrance and allowed me to continue to focus solely on my studies. You have inspired me to not only continue striving for success, but also to help others as much as possible. I hope one day to use the knowledge and success I gain from my academic endeavors to help students and the community. Once again, I earnestly thank you for your generosity.

Dustin Hope

2011-12 distinguished graduate selected

Shardeh Berry, Single Mom and Honors Student, Will Address a Record Crowd at Commencement By Carol Traynor

On Saturday, May 5, an estimated 1,260 graduates will receive their associate degrees as Valencia College celebrates its 43rd spring commencement at the Silver Spurs Arena in Kissimmee.

Twenty-four-year-old Shardeh Berry, who was named the 2011-12 Distinguished Graduate by the Valencia Alumni Association, will give this year’s commencement address. In addition to being a full-time honors student and single mom to two small children, Berry has found the time to serve her fellow students. She is vice president of the West Campus Student Government Association representing almost 20,000 students, and has held leadership roles with numerous clubs and organizations.

“Valencia students are not people who have carefree lives,” says Shardeh, who will graduate with an honors certificate.  “We have jobs, children or people who are depending on us. But I want all students to know that you can be involved and being involved will change your life. I’m a better speaker and I’m better at time management than I used to be. And I have made friendships that will last forever.”

Berry plans to attend the University of Central Florida, where she wants to study international relations and ultimately work at the United Nations, focusing on human rights.

This will be the college’s first commencement as Valencia College, having changed its name from Valencia Community College last July. To honor the occasion and the graduates, the college posted the names of more than 8,000 students who graduated this school year on a Lynx bus with the message: “Congrats Class of 2012.” The bus will be parked just outside the arena for graduation photos of the students and their families. (For a photo of last year’s bus, click here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/myvalencia/5710557915/)

Valencia is ranked first in the nation among all community colleges in the number of associate degrees awarded, second in the number of associate degrees awarded to Hispanics and third in the number awarded to African Americans.

Valencia’s overall graduation rate is nearly three times that of similar, large urban public community colleges as defined by the U.S. Department of Education. In the last decade, graduation rates for college ready students increased at Valencia by almost ten percent to 44.8 percent from 35.9 percent after four years.

Commencement exercises will take place at 10 a.m. at Silver Spurs Arena, Osceola Heritage Park, on U.S. Hwy. 192 in Kissimmee. The ceremony can be viewed live at http://valenciacollege.edu/graduation/live.cfm.

endowed chairs celebrate and share innovative work

Update provided by The Grove, Valencia College.

On Wednesday, April 11, the 2011-2012 Endowed Chairs for Learning Leadership recipients gathered at the Grand Bohemian hotel in downtown Orlando with members of the Valencia Foundation’s Board of Directors for dinner and a celebration of the faculty’s innovative work.

As the endowed chair projects draw to a conclusion, the winners came to share their results with the Foundation board and receive cords to be worn with their academic regalia at the upcoming commencement ceremony on May 5.

The evening’s program featured remarks from the Foundation board president, Linda Landman Gonzalez (vice president of community relations and government affairs for the  Orlando Magic), who praised the faculty for their strong focus on testing new ideas designed to engage students and aid in their success.

The faculty presentations showcased the impact of the endowed chair funding on their ability to implement new strategies in the classroom and were a small representation of the 28 chairs awarded last year totaling $119,600.

Professor Kitty Harkleroad’s project focused on helping dental hygiene students learn about techniques and tools to prevent physical injuries commonly associated with the repetitive processes and awkward postures required to thoroughly clean a patient’s teeth. Her project created opportunities for students to experience a pre-class, yoga-stretching routine, and allowed her to purchase tools with larger diameters to prevent repetitive motion injuries and saddle stools that will enhance posture, preventing back and shoulder injuries. Harkleroad and her students produced a clever video (see below) to highlight the results of the endowed chair award.

Brenda Schumpert, professor of biology, and Suzanne Salapa, professor of dance also presented results from their endowed chair awards, and other recipients were seated with Foundation board members to exchange project ideas and share results.

Endowed Chairs for Learning Leadership are funded through donations to the Foundation specifically for the purpose of supporting faculty in developing their practice. Donors frequently specify the types of projects, individuals, topics, and/or programs they wish to directly support with their donation.

Chairs range from supporting a particular discipline such as the Sue Luzadder Chair in Communications or the Raymer F. McGuire Jr. Chair in Mathematics, to supporting a specific population such as the Abe and Tess Wise Endowed Chair in the Study of the Shoah. Each year in April or May, a faculty-elected committee (supported by the office for employee development) reviews the applications using a rubric to select the Endowed Chair for Learning Leadership recipients.

The 2012-2013 Endowed Chair for Learning Leadership applications were due on April 9 and the peer review committee will meet later this month to select the recipients.

faculty and staff give-up-a-cup in support of the students they serve

Valencia College faculty and staff have launched an internal campaign to raise scholarships and college program funds. This year they are asking colleagues to “give up a cup” for Valencia students.

Valencia Foundation provides vital support to students and to the college through scholarships, endowed teaching chairs, and program support. Last year, faculty and staff donations grew by 39 percent. This year the campaign ambassadors would like to involve more faculty and staff in payroll contributions.

Primary focus of the committee is to share the good work of Valencia Foundation and encourage faculty and staff participation based

The campaign principles, taglines, and clever graphics were designed by college staff and faculty to provide support for the Valencia students they serve.

on individual interest and willingness to contribute. This is a grassroots effort lead by the hearts and volunteer time of the campaign committees. A faculty or staff member should not, at any time, feel pressured or compelled to give to the foundation.

The clever ‘give up a cup’ slogan and ‘have you left your mark’ logo were created by staff. These taglines really highlight how little drops of support, from multiple contributors, can collect into huge assistance for a Valencia student.

Feel free to visit the “Give Up a Cup” donation site online at: www.valencia.org/fsg/

Under the leadership of the campaign chairs Katie Shephard and Patti Riva the campus committee members have contributed their resources, relations and fond regard in support of the Valencia students they serve. Many thanks to the Valencia College staff and faculty campaign ambassadors: Chris Borglum, Clarence Canada, Diana Ciesko, Kimberly Finley, Brian Macon, Donna Marino, Josh Murdock, Mia Pierre, Denny Rogers, and Jorge Soto.

starting the week on a thankful note

I am writing to express my sincere gratitude to you for giving me the opportunity to make my career goals more accessible and for granting me the financial aid needed to continue with my education. I was thrilled to learn of my selection for this honor and I am deeply appreciative of your support.

I am a nursing major with hopes of becoming a registered nurse. I plan to pursue my doctoral degree in nursing upon graduating from Valencia College. I am currently starting the first semester of nursing and plan to graduate in the fall of 2013. After graduation, I will attend University of Central Florida to earn my graduate degree and become a nurse practitioner. Thanks to you, I am one step closer to that goal.

By awarding me the foundation scholarship you have lightened my financial burden which allows me to focus more on the most important aspect of school, learning. Your generosity has inspired me to help others and give back to the community. I appreciate the great job that all scholarship donors like you do every day, which is making an individual’s dreams come true.

– Laura Cordoba

class of 2012 giving back as they move forward

Fellow Valencia soon-to-be grads and alumni members have challenged the class of 2012 to leave a legacy for future Valencia students.

This year Student Development, in partnership with the Valencia Alumni Association, has created a student-centered giving campaign – the 2012 Legacy Class Gift to support student scholarships.

The student Legacy Class Gift encourages donations of $20.12 in honor of the graduating class of 2012 to support future Valencia College students.

The Challenge: Provide $5,000 for scholarships from graduation class to future students.

The Bonus: If the graduation class meets its goal, the Alumni Association will give a gift of $1000 which bring the total to $6,000.

The Incentive: All donors to the 2012 Class Gift will receive an Alumni Association lapel pin. For those donating $20.12 in honor of their graduating year will receive a limited edition legacy t-shirt.

Want to Help? It’s as easy as 1-2-3.
1) Visit http://valenciacollege.edu/alumni/classgift/
2) Completely fill out the form, decide a gift amount that is right for you, and click submit.
3) Enjoy the warm fuzzy feeling in knowing you have helped raise money for scholarships.

rafman club scholarship banquet

This past Saturday, a few of us at the foundation had the welcome pleasure of attending the 17th Annual RAFMAN Club Foundation and Valencia College Foundation Scholarship Banquet. The event was at the First Baptist Church of Orlando with Rev. Palmer Powell serving as mistress of ceremonies. The silent auction and raffle began at 6 p.m. and the program got underway at 7 p.m.

After dinner was served, guests were treated to an amazing poetry reading, “Polls,” written and performed by Shelby Birch, Mt. Pleasant M.B. Church and senior at Dr. Phillips High School. Her poem so moved guest speaker, Mayor Buddy Dyer, that he invited her to perform it at an election celebration later in the week. RAFMAN president, Mr. George Jordan, introduced the honorable Buddy Dyer. He shared the good news of our community, and gave special recognition to Valencia for being named the best community college in the nation!

Michael Dippy, executive director of IDignity received the RAFMAN Club’s 2012 Community Service Award. Dr. Martha Williams of Valencia’s Black Advisory Committee spoke about the Valencia experience.

And then it was on to the scholarship awards! Two scholarships were awarded, to Maxsill Gracia and Martravia Reed. Maxsill is pursuing her associate degree at Valencia and plans to continue her education in the field of fashion. Martravia is pursuing her A.S. in criminal justice and will go on to pursue a bachelor’s degree in that field. It was a pleasure to share a table with these students and their families. Getting to know them a little better, it was easy to see why they were chosen as recipients. They both spoke eloquently of their goals and seemed ready to take on all the wonderful opportunities that the future holds.

The Retired Air Force, Marine, Army, Navy Club Inc., better known as the RAFMAN Club, began in 1974 as a social organization for retired servicemen. Though its membership is not limited to retired military men, the 19 members of the RAFMAN Club include veterans of the Korean and Vietnam wars.

Members of the RAFMAN Club seek to provide faith, love and charity to the community; represent themselves as participants in an elite group; and share their military experiences with others. The RAFMAN motto makes their mission clear: Men striving together to make a better community for all concerned.

The RAFMAN Club is now a non-profit organization with a 501(c)3 that will help them better serve the Orlando area.

A special thank you to club president Mr. George Jordan and scholarship chairman Mr. Arthur Jarvis, and to all the members of RAFMAN Club. We appreciate your partnership in awarding scholarships to Valencia students!

words of appreciation from faculty member

Valencia College professor James May was recently recognized by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching as the 2011 Florida Professor of the Year and is the 2011/2012 University Club of Orlando Chair in Advanced Computer Technology recipient.

In the note below Dr. May shares his gratitude to the Endowed Chair program, provides a ‘taste of technology’ and explains the advancements this program has provided for Valencia students.

Every year I like to do a little something to thank the Valencia Foundation and an organization who sponsors Valencia’s endowed chair program. This year my gratitude is extended to the University Club of Orlando. The video below is just a small sample of what I am working on this year thanks to the University Club of Orlando Chair in Advanced Computer Technology.

Through this endowed chair I have been able to purchase supplies and learn more about how to use green screening technologies to develop authentic, open source content for students. For example, this year while in Washington for a conference, I visited the National Archive and learned about a letter written in broken English to the then president of the United States by a young Fidel Castro.

In the letter, Fidel requests a “10 dollars bill U.S.” from the president.  This letter is now a combination Grammar & Writing assignment for students, infused with history and much more, and thanks to the green screen technology I can introduce these grammar and history concepts from the steps of the National Archive.

Using technology from a previous endowed chair, I am able to make videos and close caption them (please note that during the first 5 seconds of the video below, that you can chose to switch to a captioned version by clicking on the link inside the interactive YouTube video).

Later this semester, I will also have the ability to add a picture in picture American Sign Language interpreter to the lesson so that I can better reach another population of students. In fact, a large part of this endowed chair work for the rest of the year deals with working to make content more ADA compliant.

Long story short, I want to say thank you. Endowed chairs really make a difference in the work I can do for my students.

students support from brazilian film festival

Brazilian Film Festival Student Volunteers

This past February Valencia College was taken on a brief adventure to Brazil during the 5th Annual Brazilian Film Festival. Over the course of eight days students, faculty, and members of the community enjoyed 5 films picked by Professor Richard Sansone along with renowned Brazilian filmmakers Elisa Tolomelli and Malu de Martino. In addition to these films attendees also partook in Brazilian sweets, listened to traditional Brazilian music, and even purchased commemorative t-shirts to help raise funds for a student trip to Brazil. This event was made possible through the support of Valencia’s Student Development Office and through a partnership with the Central Florida Brazilian American Chamber of Commerce.

In 2008 Sansone was inspired by his students to help spread Brazilian heritage and traditions to the Valencia community. When asked why he thinks this festival is a valuable experience for students and employees, Sansone stated, “It is my hope that the viewers will take away a broader and richer understanding of the Brazilian reality, and that it may inspire them to return to see more films, to study Portuguese, and to better understand marvelous Brazil.”

Professor Sansone believes that learning about a people’s culture goes hand-in-hand with learning their language. To help students gain a better understanding of both, he leads study abroad trips to Brazil and also organizes the annual Valencia Brazilian Film Festival. Currently, Sansone is working on creating a more immersive study abroad experience for Valencia students, where they’ll be able to attend a Brazilian university and live with local families during their stay.

Through the efforts of Sansone and student volunteers, they were able to raise $270 towards a scholarship for student travel to Brazil which will give students the opportunity to truly learn more about the Brazilian language and culture and experience all that Brazil has to offer.

5K: family of first responders encourage participants

Dear Officers, Deputies, Firefighters, Family & Friends,

Throughout the years, we have lost many Law Enforcement Officers, Deputies, and Firefighters both in the line of duty and after their service. While many of these Officers, Deputies, and Firefighters have not been acknowledged we would like to recognize these fallen heroes in the Valencia College Annual, Run Walk and Roll 5K. Not only have they protected the citizens and streets of our communities, some may have also given their lives.

This year, we would like to honor and recognize Charles “Charlie” Edwards of Orlando Police Department, ILona Edwards of Orlando Police Department, Brandon Coates of Orange County Sheriff’s Office, Michael Callin of Orange County Sheriff’s Department and Christine “Tina” Collyer Firefighter of Orlando Fire Department.

The family, friends, Brothers and Sisters of Law Enforcement would be honored to have you, as well as your family and friends, to participate in honoring these fallen heroes. The race will kick off March 31st at 6 p.m. at Valencia College West Campus! Please see Valencia 5K flyer regarding race registration, background about the fallen heroes, and race flyers. We ask of you to please print out the Valencia 5K flyer and post them around your department to help increase participation in honoring our Officers, Deputies, and Firefighters.

If you can participate, please sign up and spread the word. All of this year’s funds from Valencia’s 5K go to public safety scholarships at the college.

If you have Law Enforcement, fire and EMT contacts, please pass this on to them. We hope to have record participation this year. Also, please send throughout the department and agency for I do not have everyone’s email addresses.

Registration for the Valencia 5K is on the following web site:

http://valenciacollege.edu/alumni/

The registration for the 5K is on the right side of this site. Hope to see you there.

Sincerely,

Emily Edwards

trustees move forward on campus, scholarships, and innovation funding

The work we do is truly rewarding.

Know what to do with a $600,000 prize?  Valencia College invested the recent award right back into the students they serve!

At the Feb. 21 Valencia College Board of Trustees meeting the funds were approved for student scholarships and project innovations for improving student learning.

Last December Valencia College was awarded the $600,000 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence.  From the total prize, $250,000 will be used as matching funds for the Johnson Family Foundation to partially underwrite 2+2 scholarships for students in the Direct Connect to UCF program.

Every dollar given by Valencia to this fund will be matched by both UCF and the Johnson Scholarship Foundation. Recipients of the scholarship will be deemed “Johnson Scholars.” Throughout their college careers they will have special program requirements that emphasize leadership development.

The remaining $350,000 from the Aspen Prize will be matched with $750,000 from other sources to create a $1.1 million fund to support team-led projects to improve student learning, completion, placement in jobs and success in transfer.

For more information please visit the recent press release online.

 

Trustees Vote to Move Forward with Apopka Campus, Create New Scholarship, Innovation Funds

By Linda Shrieves Beaty, Valencia College

At its Feb. 21 meeting, Valencia College’s District Board of Trustees took preliminary steps toward creating a new campus in Apopka, and voted on how to spend the $600,000 award the college received for winning the 2011 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, which is given to the top community college in the nation.

The college was named the winner of the inaugural Aspen Prize in December, and the trustees voted to divide the prize money into two efforts – one that will provide scholarships and another fund that will encourage faculty members to come up with innovative programs that help students complete college, get placed in jobs or transfer to other institutions to complete their four-year degrees.

Of the $600,000 prize, $250,000 will be used as matching funds for the Johnson Family Foundation to partially underwrite 2+2 scholarships for students in the Direct Connect to UCF program.

Every dollar given by Valencia to this fund will be matched by both UCF and the Johnson Scholarship Foundation. Recipients of the scholarship will be deemed “Johnson Scholars.” Throughout their college careers they will have special program requirements that emphasize leadership development.

The remaining $350,000 from the Aspen Prize will be matched with $750,000 from other sources to create a $1.1 million fund to support team-led projects to improve student learning, completion, placement in jobs and success in transfer.

In other action, Valencia’s board of trustees approved a nonbinding letter-of-intent to accept a donation of land for its proposed Apopka campus. The letter of intent is the first step in the process of accepting a land donation. The proposed donor, Rochelle Holdings, is developing Kelly Park Crossings, a 624-acre development that is set to include shops, offices and homes.

Also at the board meeting, Valencia College President Sandy Shugart announced to the trustees that that Florida Institute of Technology, a private technological university in Melbourne, Fla., will provide $150,000 annually in scholarships to be awarded to 10 Valencia students who plan to attend FIT.

The college’s board of trustees also made history at this meeting when they elected Bertica Cabrera Morris as their chairwoman, making her the first Hispanic woman to lead the board of trustees in the college’s 44-year history.

Cabrera Morris owns and operates a public relations and governmental affairs consulting firm based in Orlando that represents Fortune 500 companies.

At the same meeting, the board elected Maria Grulich Toumazos as its vice chair. Grulich Toumazos serves as administrator of the Osceola County Economic Development Department.

The eight-member governing board welcomed two new members at its February meeting: Guillermo Hansen and Fernando Perez. They, along with members Lewis Oliver, III, Jerry Buchanan, Lori Kifer Johnson and Jo Quittschreiber, are appointed by the governor to direct the college’s policies

alumni association 5k run, walk and roll

The Mayo Clinic cites many benefits of walking, including:

  • Lower LDL cholesterol (the “bad” cholesterol)
  • Raise HDL cholesterol (the “good” cholesterol)
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Reduce risk of or manage type 2 diabetes
  • Manage weight
  • Improve mood
  • Stay strong and fit

Additionally, research shows that regular walking can be as beneficial to your heart as more strenuous exercise.

On March 31, Valencia’s alumni association offers a great way to get some exercise and support scholarships, with their Alumni Association 5K Run, Walk and Roll. This year’s event is in memory of Justin Harvey and will support criminal justice, firefighter and EMS scholarships at Valencia.

The 5K (3.1 mile) course will take participants through Valencia’s West campus, located at 1800 South Kirman Road, Orlando. Participants and guests can also enjoy refreshments, children’s arts and crafts and much more.

More information can be found at http://valenciacollege.edu/alumni/event_5K.cfm. And whatever your reason for participating, there’s a great benefit – helping someone go to college!

student shares her gratitude

I would like to say THANK YOU so much for sponsoring this trip as a scholarship donor. I can’t express enough how much I am truly grateful for this wonderful opportunity to be a part of something so amazing here at Valencia such as the study abroad program. This will be an experience that I will be happy to share with not only my family but to my friends, current and future classmates.

Coming from a single parent household and being the oldest of 5 kids I have never had the opportunity that I have now to travel, I’ve always had to work to help my mother provide for my other siblings so there was never any time or room for me to explore or to enjoy going on vacations.

Again, I am truly thankful for this opportunity, this is the confidence that I needed to push me to continue to work hard. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

A. Austin
2011/12 Study Abroad Scholarship Recipient

alumni 5k | march 31, 2012

Please join us for the 2012 Alumni Association Run, Walk & Roll 5K!  Whatever your reason for participating, there’s one great benefit—helping someone go to college.  Please visit here for 5K Registration and Details.

Join in as those of all ages and physical abilities come together for the Alumni Association’s annual Run,Walk and Roll to raise scholarship funds and other assistance for Valencia students. Participants and guests can also enjoy refreshments, children’s arts & crafts and much more (please see agenda below).

This is a 5K (3.1 mile) course through Valencia’s West Campus, located at 1800 South Kirkman Rd., Orlando, FL 32811.  Note:  Entrances to West Campus will be closed at 5:50 p.m.  please arrive before that time.

5K Registration and Details

 Links:Agenda: 5K Course Map USATF Certified
Driving Directions
5:00 p.m. Registration opens
West Campus, University Center
Bldg 11, Room 106
6:00 p.m. 5K Run, Walk & Roll Starts
Parking in lot G
Entrances to West Campus will be closed at 5:50 p.m.
Please arrive before then.
AFTER RACE Kids Fun Run & Crafts FREE
(Under 10 only)
For sponsorship opportunities, please contact Valencia’s Alumni Relations office at 407-582-3219 or email alumni@valenciacollege.edu.

The 2012 Alumni Association’s Run, Walk & Roll 5K  in memory of Justin Harvey will support Criminal Justice, Firefighter and EMS Scholarships at Valencia College.

valencia veteran students benefit from wells fargo grant

Valencia College Foundation recently received a $10,000 grant from Wells Fargo to support veteran students8431246514_4d0dc878e6_k. This contribution will provide Valencia veteran students the chance to acclimate their academic and leadership skills by providing scholarships for veteran-only speech classes, online preparatory classes and veteran-specific leadership opportunities.

Valencia students who have served will benefit from this partnership with Wells Fargo, enhancing our veteran student’s access to education and easing transition from military to college life.

The latest donation of $10,000 will add to Wells Fargo’s total contributions of $60,000 within the last year.

The May contribution of $50,000 encompassed a two-fold Wells Fargo partnership: providing access to education for students in need while creating a vital source of permanent scholarship funding. Wells Fargo support provided scholarships for first-generation students now, and created a Wells Fargo Endowed Scholarship for future students.

upcoming theater performance in the black box

Valencia College Theater will present the Lorraine Hansberry modern classic, “A Raisin in the Sun,” on February 15-19 and 22-26. Curtain is at 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays, with an additional matinée on Saturday, February 25 at 2 p.m.

The Valencia College Foundation has coordinated a special ‘come back stage’ event that will provide a tour of the Performing Arts Center followed by a performance in the Black Box Theater.  Valencia friends, community supporters, and donors will receive invitations, with additional information, the first week in February.  For more information please call 407-528-3180.

The New York Times called “A Raisin in the Sun” “a play that changed American theater forever.” The drama is the story of an African American family in the 1950’s waiting desperately for a change in their circumstances. Multiple generations of the family struggle, feeling trapped in a dingy, tiny apartment that was supposed to be temporary housing 40 years earlier. The catalyst for change is an anticipated life insurance check, but various family members have different and conflicting designs on the money. In the end, there is hope, but the family knows that the road to their dreams will not be an easy one.

Hansberry’s work will be directed by John DiDonna, with guest artist Avis Marie Barnes playing Mama, the formidable matriarch of the family.

The play will be presented in the Black Box Theater on the college’s East Campus, located at 701 N. Econlockhatchee Trail in Orlando. Seating is limited in the Black Box, so advance purchase is recommended; also, latecomers will not be seated until intermission.

Ticket prices are $10 general admission, and $8 for students, seniors, Valencia staff and alumni. Tickets may be purchased by phone, in person at the Box Office, or online at http://www.valenciacollege.edu/arts.  For further information, please call the Box Office at 407-582-2900.

student showcase recital tomorrow

On Tuesday, Feb. 7, there is a student showcase recital at the Performing Arts Center on Valencia’s East Campus. The recital starts at 7:30 pm and is free of charge and open to the public. This recital will feature some of Valencia’s most outstanding student performers on piano, sax, trumpet and voice.

About Valencia’s music program
Since 1975, Valencia’s music program has been dedicated to the idea of inspiring future performers by providing students with musically trained faculty and an expanding array of resources and experiences to enrich, stimulate and develop gifts in and outside the classroom.

Valencia’s music program leads to an associate in arts degree.

Students in the program master the fundamentals of performance and build on career opportunities by weekly participation in one of a dozen ensembles.

Students at Valencia get more opportunities for solo work and conducting than at many four-year schools where upperclassmen often get primary roles.

Valencia Foundation offers music-specific scholarships including the Instrumental Music Scholarship, Valerius-Vance Scholarship and Ferrigno Family Scholarship.

Music program students enjoy the resources of Valencia’s East Campus fine arts center, including instrumental and choir rehearsal halls, a library/listening, a MIDI/electronic piano lab and a 550-seat performance hall.

Valencia graduates can be found in many outstanding American music schools including Berkeley, New World School of the Arts, Stetson, FSU, UF and USF. Others now perform with leading symphony orchestras. 

Still others went on to have major recording careers. 

Three famous pop groups have members who received their training in Valencia’s music department:

  • Howie Dorough of the Backstreet Boys
  • Chris Kirkpatrick of ‘N Sync
  • David Perez, Brody Martinez and Raul Molina of C Note

nonprofit partners conference

The 11th Annual Central Florida Community Partners Nonprofit Management Conference is being held on February 2, 2012, and the title is “The Groundhog Day Effect… breaking the cycle.”  It has been said that if you do what you  always did, you get what you always got. Join us for strategies on creative change as we explore ways to avoid the Groundhog Day effect.  

For details, additional information and registration visit: www.ce.ucf.edu/community. Student scholarships are available to Valencia College students.

what is the aspen award?

Valencia College was recently awarded the inaugural Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence.  This award is based on student performance and graduation data collected by the U.S. Department of Education.

Colleges recognized by the Aspen Prize serve as models and laboratories for identifying practices that can elevate community college education. This is extremely meaningful to the 6 million students who rely on the nearly 1,200 community colleges nationwide, particularly students who are under-represented in higher education.

Walter Isaacson serves as the president and CEO of the Aspen Institute, a nonpartisan educational and policy studies institute.  The Aspen Institute board of trustees is made up of high-level individuals from the public and private sectors and include Madeleine K. Albright, Michael D. Eisner, Henry Louis Gates Jr., David Koch and Condoleezza Rice just to name a few. 

In selecting Valencia as the best community college in America, Aspen officials noted that over half of the college’s full-time students graduate or transfer within three years of entering the school, a rate significantly higher than the national average (51 percent versus 39 percent).

At a time when data show an increasing number of students nationwide are not ready for college-level work – and that the U.S. has slipped to 12th globally in the percentage of young adults who hold at least an associate degree – Valencia is experiencing rising graduation rates among all students, including minorities.

  • Valencia has experienced dramatic increases in graduation rates among college-ready African American students, nearly tripling in the last decade from 15.4 percent to 44.3 percent today.
  • Graduation rates for college-ready Hispanic students have similarly impressive gains, jumping from 38.7 to 45.5 percent in the last decade.

Because community colleges also train students for the workforce, Aspen judges focused on the college’s workforce training programs and the likelihood of graduates landing jobs. They noted that Valencia graduates “are employed at rates higher than graduates from any of the other 10 Aspen Prize finalists. This is especially impressive given the region’s unusually high unemployment rate and low job growth rate.”

This is not the first time that Valencia has made national news. In November, the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching named Valencia ESL professor James May the 2011 Florida Professor of the Year. May was one of only 27 state professors selected to represent the most outstanding undergraduate instructors in the country.

In 2009, Valencia won the inaugural Leah Meyer Austin Institutional Student Success Leadership Award for helping minority students succeed. In 2007, the New York Times named Valencia as one of the nation’s leading community colleges, and in 2001, Valencia was chosen by Time Magazine as one of the nation’s best schools at helping first-year students excel.

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