Start FIT at Lake Nona

BSLM Promo 2

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

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


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

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

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

Graduating Valencia students entering UCF:

  • Mathieu Hill
  • Javier Grisales
  • Andrew Wulf

High school students entering Valencia College:

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

not too late


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

Watch for:

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

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

Can’t make it but still would like to participate? Valencia 5K donations can be made online at


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distinguished graduate award and scholarships go live!

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

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

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

Encourage your candidates to apply.

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


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.

progress energy 2+2 scholarship – $4,275 annually

ImageProgress Energy is boosting access to female students who would like a career in the engineering field. So to serve the needs of our community, this generous donor is looking for female, engineering majors in Orange or Osceola counties. Students must demonstrate financial need and students must be at least 19 years of age or older to be considered.

The scholarship is a 2+2 allowing students to study for two-years at Valencia and two-years at the University of Central Florida to earn a bachelors.

Don’t delay – apply TODAY!

a taste for learning – april 2

In light of recent economic struggles, many local residents are turning to higher education as the key to new employment opportunities and job security. While things seem to be looking up for many families, finances can still be tight, especially when including the ever rising costs of tuition and books that can make paying for college seem impossible.

To increase access to higher education and bolster scholarship funding, Valencia Foundation and UCF Foundation are partnering once again to host A Taste for Learning on Saturday, April 2, at Rosen Shingle Creek. An international wine sampling and auction, A Taste for Learning expects to draw over 1,000 attendees to raise monies for scholarships that support students who are the first in their families to attend college. Making this event unique, 100 percent of all sponsorships, tickets and auction receipts are given directly to student scholarships and are eligible to earn dollar-for-dollar match through the Florida First Generation in College matching grant program.

Tickets for A Taste for Learning are $125 per person or $200 per couple and can be purchased online at

When A Taste for Learning was first proposed in 2005 by Valencia Foundation board member Jess Bailes, ABC Fine Wine & Spirits executive vice president, the idea was to create an event that could be sustained by the support of community partners donating all the necessary items for the event. The generosity of those willing to contribute everything needed, the venue, food, wines, auction items and décor for the event, has resulted in $1.67 million dollars going straight to deserving students in need.

2011 will mark the second year that Valencia and UCF have collaborated on A Taste for Learning to raise funds for 2+2 scholarships for the DirectConnect program. DirectConnect is an initiative guaranteeing admission to UCF for all Valencia graduates, and is the most successful community college/university partnership in the nation.

For this year’s tasting and auction, ABC Fine Wine & Spirits has invited wineries from around the world to donate hundreds of bottles of their finest wines, as well as providing exceptional auction items. Each year about 100 visit from throughout the country, as well as Australia, France, Italy, Germany and Spain.

Gourmet hors d’oeuvres and sample entrée selections from Rosen Shingle Creek, Artist Point at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge WALT DISNEY WORLD® Resort and Fiorella’s Cucina Toscana, among others, will be served during the event.

This year’s generous sponsors include ABC Fine Wine & Spirits, Rosen Shingle Creek, Freeman, Orlando Health, Orlando Magic, Walt Disney World Resort, Edlen Electrical Exhibition Services of Orlando Inc., Jack Holloway Foundation, LarsonAllen LLP, Orlando Event Photographers, Central Florida Hotel and Lodging Association, FAIRWINDS Credit Union, Fifth Third Bank, Paul and Mary Ann Kinser, McCree General Contractors & Architects, PPI Construction Management Inc., SeaWorld, Aquatica and Discovery Cove, Skanska USA Building Inc., Terra Firma Construction Management, Signature Systems of Florida, Universal Orlando Resort and Williams Company.

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

building named for paul mears sr.

At a ceremony held last week, Valencia celebrated a $1 million gift from the Mears Transportation Group in memory of Paul Mears Sr. to support educational opportunities through the Orange County Take Stock in Children program. In honor of Mears, the college renamed its West Campus Student Services Building the Paul Mears Sr. Student Services Building.

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

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

Among the dignitaries attending today’s ceremony at the West Campus were Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, Mayor-Elect Teresa Jacobs, Orlando commissioners Daisy Lynum and Samuel Ings, and Orange County Commissioner Bill Segal.

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

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

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

Since 1995, Take Stock has impacted the lives of more than 17,600 Florida youngsters, providing 9,000 high school graduates with full college scholarships. This year, 20 local seventh-graders will be inducted into the Orange County program, bringing the total number to 106. The first class of Valencia participants will graduate from high school in 2013.

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

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

Valencia president, Sanford C. Shugart, said in his comments today that “there is nothing that works like a real opportunity,” referring both to the Take Stock program and to Mears Transportation, a company that has provided employment opportunities to many in the community for 71 years.

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

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

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

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

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


I came across this great article featuring DirectConnect and how it’s impacted our students.

Check out the link, I hope you enjoy it.

save your corks this holiday season

As you raise a glass in cheer and celebration this holiday season, please remember to save your corks. Funds are still being raised to support scholarships through ABC Fine Wine and Spirits and the Save the Corks! campaign. Now through the end of December, corks can be dropped off at participating ABC Fine Wine and Spirits locations. Through a partnership with Nomacorc and Terracycle, ABC will donate two cents per cork for scholarships. Matching funds will add another two cents per cork.

 For more information on Save the Corks!, visit

our thanks!

As Jill mentioned below we had a wonderful event this past Saturday. I wanted to send a personal thank you to our generous food sponsors. Our guests were captivated by signature food items that were provided for Taste 4!

It was an absolute pleasure to work with these fantastic  chefs and restaurants, and I look forward to working with each of them in the future. With the support of the these food vendors, ever single dollar raised goes directly to 2+2 scholarships for DirectConnect.

We would like to offer our special thanks for the gourmet food that was provided for this year’s event!

Fiorella’s Cucina Toscana – The Westin Imagine Orlando
Maggiano’s Little Italy
Bubbalou’s Bodacious Bar-B-Que
Cala Bella, Rosen Shingle Creek
Executive Pastry Chef David Ramirez, Rosen Shingle Creek
Kouzzina by Cat Cora™ at Disney’s BoardWalk
Cabin Creek Food Services
B.B. King Blues Club
P.F. Chang’s China Bistro

a taste for learning invitation

Hi There!

Taste invitations are done and mailed. Yay! I know that some of you are racing home to check that mailbox now, but no worries! If you haven’t received your copy in the mail,  feel free to visit our website to purchase tickets today.

You can find additional information, including  an overview of the event, sponsorship information and a listing of our current restaurant partners. We have some great food waiting for you at Taste this year!

See you there!

student speaks about community

F. Cabral is a Valencia graduating senior and 2008-09 Mayor Richard T. Crotty Valencia – UCF Two Plus Two recipient. He takes a moment to expresses his thoughts on community:

My philosophy regarding community service is: pride is the measure of perseverance in overcoming adversity, strength of one’s character and desire to contribute to society.

The gratification I receive from helping another defines my identity and nurtures my virtues. When I help someone and see a small difference of change for the better, it inspires me to continue helping others. I have witnessed that taking the time to help someone, fosters their self-worth, and helped them become more eager and confident as individuals.

As a result, I was surrounded with content people and this improved my own quality of life.

-F. Cabral



board members enjoying taste 3

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

crew golf drives home scholarships

I would like to share my sincerest gratitude to the women (and men) of Commercial Real Estate Women of Orlando for another successful golf tourney, proceeds to benefit student scholarships. They’ve raised about a quarter of a million dollars for Valencia students so far — and are now helping us to provide 2+2 scholarships for Valencia/UCF students, an area of especially urgent need. I appreciate each of you!

gg golf pix

Former CREW golf chair Jim Grumberg