TEDxOrlandoSalon, register now!

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

 6:30-9pm

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

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

Join us for A Night of Celebration

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

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

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Join Us!

 

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Come Join Us!

Valencia Alumni, Students, Employees and Friends

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

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

Spectator Parking Information
Library Garage | Central Garage

Street Closure Information

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DON’T BE CAUGHT OFF GUARD!

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

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It’s not too late!

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Alumni Spotlight

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

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

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

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

Know A Deserving Valencia Graduate?

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

Nomination Criteria:

Graduate of Valencia College (formerly Valencia Community College).

Demonstrated significant accomplishments in their field.

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

Only online nominations will be accepted.

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

Check out last year’s amazing award recipients.

Photos from last year’s event!

Start FIT at Lake Nona

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

Valencia Alumni Volunteer Spotlight

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Become a mentor and give back!

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Amazing Discounts for You!

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

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


Join the Valencia Alumni Rewards Member Perks Program!

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

Popular Features Include:

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

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

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Enjoy some great deals through Working Advantage!

Popular Features Include:

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

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

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

Support the September 11th Walk/Run for Heroes

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Online Registration or Mail In Registration

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Featured Alumnus — Melvin Scott ’11

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By Joy S. Jones

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It’s Class Notes Time!

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

valencia grad doing big things!

Carmi May 15 Post

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

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

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

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

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

Free Discount Program Membership!

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

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

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

TEDxOrlando 2015

September LIVE Ted Talk

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

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

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

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

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

Need money for college?

 

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oh what a night!

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

Distinguished Alumni Award 2014 recipients:

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

a night of celebration!

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

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

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get your scholarship now!

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

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

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

 

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

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By: Adam Rhodes, Central Florida Future

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

calling for alumni class notes for Vitae magazine!

Social Media Post

Check out the current edition of the Vitae magazine.

valencia alum louis gray ’98 making a difference

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

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

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

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

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

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

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(USF student volunteers with Gray’s Project)

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

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

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

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(Gray’s parents)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

tedxorlandosalon at valencia!

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

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

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

What we have planned for our next meeting:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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making a difference

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

BY JOY S. JONES

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

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

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

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

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

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

One such opportunity is the TEDxOrlando partnership, with TEDxOrlandoSalons.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

association of honors alumni transfer scholarship

Capture

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

 

valencia graduate doing it big!

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

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

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

7th Brazilian Film Festival at Valencia College Osceola

View a selection of the best current Brazilian films moderated by renowned producer Elisa Tolomelli.
View a selection of the best current Brazilian films
moderated by renowned producer Elisa Tolomelli.

Valencia College will hold its 7th Brazilian Film Festival from Feb. 13 through Feb. 21, with free showings of six Brazilian films. The week-long film festival is one of only two Brazilian film festivals in Florida. Admission to the film series is free and open to the public. All films will be shown in Portuguese with English subtitles.

The films will be shown on Valencia’s West Campus, located at 1800 S. Kirkman Road, Orlando, and at Valencia’s Osceola Campus, located at 1800 Denn John Lane in Kissimmee.

For more details, including film trailers, visit http://valenciacollege.edu/brazilianfilmfestival 

The Brazilian Film Festival at Valencia College is presented in partnership with the Central Florida Brazilian American Chamber of Commerce and the University of Florida Center for Latin American Studies. The films were selected by Valencia Professor Sansone and renowned Brazilian filmmaker Elisa Tolomelli, who will moderate each film and hold a question-and-answer with audience members following each film.

Below is a partial listing of films for the full listing, locations and times please visit  http://valenciacollege.edu/brazilianfilmfestival 

BuddiesFeb. 13 at 7 p.m., Valencia College, West Campus, Building 3, Room 111
“Colegas” (“Buddies”)
Cinematic stars rarely portray as much charisma nor evoke as much sympathy as the Down syndrome heroes do in “Colegas,” an adventure-comedy road movie that shines a poetic light on the simple things in life. ence along for a fantastic ride. The film will be shown in Portuguese with English subtitles. Appropriate for audiences ages 10 and older.

CocoFeb. 17 at 6:30 p.m., Valencia College, Osceola Campus, Building 1, Auditorium
“Coco” (“Coconuts”)
This five-minute short feature from documentary director Luciano Mota Reis Filho captures the traditions surrounding coconut production in his adopted community of Camaratuba. The short film celebrates the

Feb. 17 at 7 p.m., Valencia College Osceola Campus, Building 1, Auditorium
“Xingu”

Feb. 18 at 7 p.m., Valencia College, West Campus, Building 3, Room 111
“Faroeste Caboclo” (“Brazilian Western”)

Feb. 20 at 6:30 p.m., Valencia College, West Campus, Building 3, Room 111
“Coco”(“Coconuts”)

Feb. 20 at 7 p.m., Valencia College West Campus, Building 3, Room 111
“Disparos” (“Auto-Exposure”)

Feb. 21 at 7 p.m., Valencia College West Campus, Building 3, Room 111
“Minha Mãe é uma Peça” (“My Mom is a Character”)

For more details, including film trailers, please visit http://valenciacollege.edu/brazilianfilmfestival

For more information, please call 407-582-1383.

valencia graduate- michael maguire

 

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By Joy S. Jones

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

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

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

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

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

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

The student becomes the master.

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

valencia-productions-collage-grove-568x256

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

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

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

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

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

 

alumni events!

Blue Martini Flyer

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

Solar Flyer II

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

valencia graduate mehdi khoumassi

Mehdi-Khoumassi-fc-grove

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 By Laura Knight

idignity

Michael DippyGlenda Lenihan and Michael Dippy of IDignity at
Association of Florida Colleges Gala

Michael Dippy graduated from high school with aspirations to major in architecture at the University of Florida (UF).  His application was not accepted.  Not one to give up, this led him to enroll at Valencia College.

Although Michael took numerous math and drawing classes at Valencia to prepare himself for a career in architecture, he attributes the encouragement he received from professors and several humanities classes he took for planting the seeds for his future. It was the study of the human condition that resonated with his inherent sense of empathy and compassion.

After Michael graduated from UF, he spent several years working for architecture firms. In his spare time, he would volunteer with social service organizations that served the local homeless population. Through the knowledge he gained about services available, he began to assist homeless people he met on the streets or at his church. Much of Michael’s assistance was directing individuals where they could go for food, shelter or healthcare. When a homeless man asked him where to get help to replace his photo-ID card so that he could accept a job he had been offered, Michael discovered a gap.  There was nowhere to refer the man for help.

Michael began work to create IDignity, an Orlando nonprofit organization dedicated to helping poor and homeless citizens obtain the identification they need to participate fully in society. The first IDignity event was held in May 2008 as a collaborative outreach program of five downtown Orlando churches with Michael in its leadership role.  The plan called for a monthly event that incorporated all multiple government agencies along with attorneys and numerous other volunteers to provide needed services in one visit.

IDignity has hosted monthly events at downtown’s Orlando Rescue Mission since that time.   Each day-long collaboration serves about 250 clients. Since it began, IDignity has provided life-changing identification to more than 10,000 clients in Orlando and thousands of additional clients though its three self-sustaining satellite sites in Deland, Merritt Island and Sanford. IDignity is also currently working with national consultants to expedite the launching of IDignity programs throughout Florida and other states that have requested assistance.

Michael’s work has not gone unnoticed. In 2011, the Orlando Sentinel recognized his leadership strengths and designated him the 2010 Central Floridian of the Year.  He also was designated a “Local Hero” by Bank of America and awarded the 2012 Community Service Award from the RAFMAN Club (Retired Air Force, Marine, Army and Navy).  In November 2012, Idignity received national recognition by winning the Manhattan Institute’s 2012 Richard Cornuelle Award for Social Entrepreneurship.  He was a recent finalist in the Association of Florida Colleges Leroy Collins Distinguished Alumni Awards 2013.

Michael sums up his journey from Valencia to IDignity this way:  “Even though I am no longer working in architecture, I am still using those problem solving skills, only now focusing on societal problems. Much like my nurturing experience at Valencia College, I am now meeting individuals where they are in life and offering the guidance and support necessary for them to reach their full potential.”

Learn more on a short video, “Identity Crisis” at http://www.idignity.org/video-gallery.

valencia homecoming 2013

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

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

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

 

going fast!

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

Print

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

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

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

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.

orlando magic vs new orleans pelicans game discount tickets!

orl vs no

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

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

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

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.

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.
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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.
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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/).
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5k honoring 9/11 heroes

DRAFT PIC

 

 

Dear Friends,

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

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

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

Come and enjoy:

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

Go here for more information and to register.

See you there!

Your Osceola 5K Planning Committee

ALL Sponsors

help make a difference!

Drawing

 

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

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

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

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

We are grateful for your consideration.

www.valencia.org/FirstOne

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.

letter from the governor to valencia graduates

College Graduate

aha is hosting another exciting luau for alumni!

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

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

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

5K to benefit student scholarships for emergency responders

Valencia College Osceola Campus will host a Family Walk/Run for Heroes with a 5K run & 2.5K ‘fun’ run
on Saturday, September 7, 2013 at 6:30 p.m.

All proceeds go toward the Rotary Club of Lake Nona’s Sept. 11 Memorial Fund to support Valencia College student scholarships for emergency responders.

ONLINE race registration or MAIL IN registration

For sponsorship opportunities, call 407-582-3426 or email Barbara Shell at bshell@valenciacollege.edu.

Rotary

Location:
Valencia College – Osceola Campus
1800 Denn John Lane
Kissimmee, FL 34744

Map of Location

This event is a 5K two loop course around campus.  The 2.5K ‘fun run’ is a one loop course.  The 5K will be the only officially timed event with age group awards, whereas the 2.5K will be timed but but for fun, not award eligibility.  Results for the 2.5K will be done in overall format only.

General Entry:
$25 through August 31
$30 September 1 through September 5
$35 Day of Race (cash or check only)

Valencia Student:
$20 through September 5
$35 Day of race (cash or check only)

Valencia Alumni / Retiree
$20 through September 5
$35 Day of race (cash or check only)
Day of race registration opens at 5:00PM

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER ONLINE (processing fees do apply)

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD A HARD COPY REGISTRATION FORM

Mail in completed entry form to race headquarters at:Race Time Sports
478 E. Altamonte Drive, Suite 108-716
Altamonte Springs, FL 32701
Checks payable to: Valencia Alumni

T-shirts:
All per-registered participants are guaranteed a special event day t-shirt.  Shirt sizes are not guaranteed for day of race registrations.

Pre-event packet pick-up:
Pre-event pick up of race number and t-shirt will be at Valencia College, Friday, September 6 from 4pm to 7pm in building 4.  Packets will also be available on race day at the race site starting at 5pm.

Awards and Timing:  5K
Awards are given in overall and age group categories.  Overall male and female, overall masters male and female and 3 deep in the following age groups:  14 and under, 15-19, 20-24, 25-29, 30-34, 35-39, 40-44, 45-49, 50-54, 55-59, 60-64, 65-69, 70 and over.

Timing: 2.5K
This event is electronically timed but for FUN ONLY.  There are NO AWARDS for this event.  All participants will received their time in an overall results format.

Beneficiary:
All proceeds will go to the Rotary Club of Lake Nona’s September 11 Memorial Fund to support Valencia College student scholarships for emergency responders.

Restrictions:
For safety reasons, in-line skates, bicycles, and pets will not be allowed on the race course.  Headphones are discouraged.

Baby joggers and strollers are welcome to participate, however will be required to start at the back of the starting corral.

For additional race questions please email staff@racetimesports.com

Registration: All registration fees are non-refundable and non-transferrable.

valencia alumni news

Miriam

 

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

Go Miriam!

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.

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

valencia alumni news

 

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

Wow! Congratulations Richard

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.

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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.”

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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.

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

new vitae magazine is out!

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

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

Check this and more out! 

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

christian

PV 2 Christian Anthony Clausen V

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

Published in the Orlando Sentinel on June 13, 2013

celebrating student achievement!

LOVELYNE

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

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

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

alumni association celebrates students!

Sandra Murphy

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

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

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

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.

alumni association scholarship celebration

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

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

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

bill castellano civic leadership award recipient honored

bill castel

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

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

alumni and friends reunion/reception!

dental ready

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

dhr

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

join the valencia alumni association!

keep calm

 

Joining the Valencia Alumni Association has never been so easy.

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

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

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

I WANT TO BE A MEMBER!

spotlight story – lynn desjarlais

When foundation board member Rich Maladecki talks, people listen. Rich is a longtime supporter of Valencia Foundation and president and CEO of the Central Florida Hotel and Lodging Association (CFHLA). So when he told us about Lynn Desjarlais, a former CFHLA intern who is now a career program advisor at Valencia, we decided to see just what it was that made this industry leader speak so highly of her.

Her enthusiasm is immediate and contagious. We jump right in and learn that Lynn graduated from Valencia in 2007 with a degree in hospitality and tourism management, which is now what she advises for. She then moved on to UCF and the Rosen College of Hospitality Management and received her bachelor’s degree.

Lynn Desjarlais

Lynn Desjarlais

She met Rich when she was a student at Valencia. “He walked into one of my classes at Valencia after Professor Inglis invited him in. He said, ‘Hi, I’m Rich Maladecki and I have an internship opportunity. You need to go apply, you can get a scholarship.’ I thought, a scholarship, sure!”

She applied and received the internship, and CFHLA scholarships, and was soon spending every Friday from August to December at CFHLA, assisting the special events director and taking part in the annual hospitality gala. After her internship, she kept in touch with everyone at CFHLA and 6 months later, Rich offered her a full-time job, which she accepted, leaving Universal Orlando Resort after nine years.

She worked with Rich for a few years and then her life changed, she was pregnant with twins. She dropped down to part time and eventually decided she needed to stay home on a full-time basis. Her desire for more education soon took over and she went back to school. She also re-entered the workforce, working in hotels, which was then her passion.

She was working her way up in the industry, promoted to assistant front office manager. It was exactly where she wanted to be, but she realized that the 50-plus hour workweek was just not manageable with two young children. The career program advisor position was offered at Valencia and she felt it was a perfect fit – who better to guide students than someone who had been in the industry and been through the programs at Valencia and UCF/Rosen? She is now the advisor to about 1,000 students studying hospitality/tourism, culinary, baking/pastry or restaurant management.

Her dedication to her job and passion for students is remarkable, even more so when you learn she’s only been an employee since January. She develops individual plans for each of her students, tailored to their area of study and catalog year. It is a living document that can be updated by the student as they complete classes each semester.

When asked about merging her hospitality background with the fields of education and leadership, she shares that, “You want to grow other people and teach them. I want to teach them how to do this for themselves. In the hotel industry, everyone wants things customized and you have to listen to your client. Well, the students are my clients so I need to listen to them or else I am not going to be helping them or effective whatsoever.”

And it was something Rich taught her – network, network, network – that has also made her so valuable to Valencia. Lynn seeks out relationships with other departments that will benefit her students. All of her students must do an internship, so she made sure to reach out to Carmen Diaz in the internship and workforce services office. Recently she began seeing a lot of veterans, so she joined the VA committee to see how she can help them more. She’s reached out to UCF, connected with her program chairs, dean and other advisors. Anything she can do to provide better service to our scholars, she will do.

The path to an education can sometimes be bumpy; students can question their path, maybe even wanting to drop out. In the truest sense of the word, Lynn can empathize with these struggling students. Her first experience at Valencia did not go as planned, the program she chose was not a good fit and it took her leaving school and getting honest with herself before she came back to be a success in the hospitality field. She tells students, “this is very important, you need to own this and you need this degree because the world is too competitive.”

She is able to relate to students and share common experiences: “I can say you know what, I had that same problem with that math class and here is what helped me. I don’t think there is any shame in saying that you didn’t do well in something that you weren’t meant to do well in. You can shine in something you are good at.”

Even now, as she continues her studies to get a masters, she understands the hardships of a student. “I understand what it is like, it’s hard. There have been plenty of times, like when I was in school last night until 9 p.m. and I haven’t seen my kids all day…but you can’t quit, or else what are you here for?”

So what is Lynn here for? Well, in the long term she is getting her masters in management and leadership so that she can teach and bring her experiences full circle. She wants to continue on and eventually get her PhD. “Well,” she says, “you never stop learning.”

And now? Well, now she continues to be an amazing resource for her students. She is an integral part of the process here at Valencia, stewarding our students’ education and making each student strive to be the best.

Rich Maladecki sums it up so well. “In the workplace, Lynn is dedicated to excellence. She is a hard working professional, striving to be the best she can be. Lynn is personable and understands that customer service is imperative to success.”

We couldn’t have said it better ourselves. Thank you, Rich, for introducing us to Lynn, she is a shining example of stellar service and a devotee of lifelong learning!

let everybody know what you’ve been up to!

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

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

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

 

 

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

Matheiu

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

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

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

Graduating Valencia students entering UCF:

  • Mathieu Hill
  • Javier Grisales
  • Andrew Wulf

High school students entering Valencia College:

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

valencia 5k photos are up!

2013 Alumni 5k312

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

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.

not too late

today

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

Watch for:

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

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

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

 

fb linked pin

valencia alumni association has new pinterest

Pinterest

 

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

Don’t forget to follow us!

 

almost time to run, walk & roll!

5k post

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

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

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

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

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

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

Register Online or Mail-In registration 

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

networking reception photos are up!

Image

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

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

come together, run together!

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

get connected!

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

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

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

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

distinguished graduate award and scholarships go live!

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

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

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

Encourage your candidates to apply.

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

 

gearing up for the 18th annual valencia celebration

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

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

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

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

valencia college alumni association officially carved in brick!

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

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

rafman club supports valencia college students

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

what an honor!

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

valencia nurses rock!

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

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

two valencia college alums tie the knot!

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

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

valencia alumni association leader attends foundation board retreat

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

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

bon voyage and thank you, ty johnson!

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Shout out your thanks and well wishes!

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

sweating it out to support valencia student scholarships

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

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

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

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

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

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valencia college alumni association scholarships are going electronic

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

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

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

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

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

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

2012 valencia homecoming update

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

Valencia College was a supporting sponsor for the event.

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

valencia college homecoming 2012 kicks off

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 college retirees celebrate!

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

orlando magic vs denver nuggets game discount tickets

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

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

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

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!

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.

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.

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

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!

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.

follow one student’s career path to the world of museums

When Jeffreen Hayes graduated from Oviedo High School, she moved on to the University of Central Florida to major in chemistry. Her goal? To become a pharmacist.

It would have been a good plan, but there was one problem: Hayes wasn’t passionate about chemistry.

So she took some time off to consider her options, and turned to Valencia.

Here, she signed up for humanities classes and soon discovered her true love: humanities and art. After taking a class with the late humanities professor Philip Bishop, she asked him what kinds of jobs she might be able to get with a degree in humanities. “He said I could do a lot of things. I could be an art critic or work in a museum,” Hayes recalls.

Thanks to a number of internships – including one she landed while at Valencia – Hayes is on her way to her dream job as a museum director.  

Hayes’ journey began at Valencia, where college staffers helped her land an internship at Orlando Museum of Art. There, her primary job was to lead tours of the museum’s African and pre-Columbian art galleries, primarily for elementary school children. In addition, museum staffers asked her to research an African-American artist, Kerry James Marshall, who had an exhibition coming up at the museum. “They wanted help figuring out how to reach out to the African-American community,” Hayes said. “I was supposed to research him and his work and come up with ways to engage the community.”

Although Hayes was growing increasingly interested in art – and a potential career as a curator – her dad wasn’t happy about the idea. A retired military man, he wanted to know how she was going to find a job. But she had a plan.

After graduating from Valencia, Hayes transferred to Florida International University in Miami, to finish her undergraduate degree in humanities. There, she got a work-study job in the campus museum – and learned more hands-on museum work. “It was a really great experience,” she said. “I learned how to describe objects, I learned the database system.” She also learned about an internship program in New York City, sponsored by an organization for women in the arts.

Upon graduation from FIU in December 2000, Hayes packed her bags and headed to Washington, D.C., where she worked for the federal government’s General Services Administration in the department’s art and architecture program. Her responsibilities included asking artists and galleries to send their proposals for various building projects. 

She continued at that job for two years, before heading to Howard University in D.C. to earn her master’s degree in art history. At Howard, she landed even more internships – at the National Gallery of Art and the Library of Congress. It’s a path she encourages students to follow.

“I think the most important thing about the internships I’ve done was that they helped me find my niche,” Hayes says. “I learned, for instance, that I didn’t want to be a registrar — the person in charge of taking care of the collection,” who catalogs the works and coordinates the schedule. Instead, she discovered she liked researching the artists and their work and talking to them. “The internships allowed me to fine-tune my interests and really find my niche. My strategy was to work in as many different institutions in as many different positions as I could,” she said.  But at the end of her many internships, she knew she wanted to be a museum curator.

Hayes has already had a taste of that, having worked as an interim curator at the University of Delaware and as associate curator at the Hampton University Museum in Hampton, Va. Now working full-time on her doctoral dissertation at the College of William & Mary, she will soon head to the Birmingham Museum of Art, where she’ll be doing a post-doctoral fellowship.

 “I love what I do and I think that if you’re really passionate and if you’re willing to put forth the work, you can do it. But you have to be willing to do the work. You can love being an actress, but if you’re not willing to do the legwork, it’s not going to happen.”

She also advises students to find mentors and stay in touch with them. “I asked for help all along the way. I think that’s something a lot of younger people do not do,” she said.

Often, she said, it’s as easy as asking someone in the business if they have time for a cup of coffee to chat about how they got started. And after you’ve established that friendship, stay in touch. Hayes updates her mentors and friends in the art world about her moves, from one job to another.

“You would be surprised at the lifelong relationships you will have with these people. I am still in touch with the people I reached out to 10 years ago,” Hayes says. “Those people who’ve been instrumental in my life, I always let them know what my next step is. It shows them: Look, this is what you helped me accomplish.”

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

leaving a legacy through planned giving

Secure your future while doing the same for students.

Your deferred donation can provide support to future Valencia students.
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.

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.

etch your name in someone’s future

You are invited to create a memory! Click here to purchase your engraved brick and etch your name in Valencia's legacy.

Help lay the foundation for a student’s future!

The sale of personalized engraved bricks are available to anyone who wishes to create a lasting memory. 

These bricks will be embedded in the entry courtyard of the newest Valencia Osceola Campus building 4 once construction is complete.

The cost of a personalized memory brick is $100.  The proceeds from these courtyard-bound bricks will 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

valencia homecoming

With a variety of activities during the month of October on multiple campuses, as well as special off-campus outings in the community, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to connect with fellow Valencia alumni, retirees, faculty, staff, students and friends. Chances are good that you will be able to find at least one you can’t resist!

Wednesday, October 12

  • Valencia Alumni Association Networking Reception & Idea Exchange
    West Campus Special Events Center, Bldg 8
    6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. —  Networking Reception
    RSVPs Encouraged  alumni@valenciacollege.edu

Thursday, October 13

  • Valencia’s Student Development Celebrates “Spirit Day” (Matador Day)
    • West Campus: 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., SSB Patio
    • Osceola Campus: 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., Clock Tower
    • East Campus: 11 a.m. – 3 p.m., Mall Area
    • Winter Park Campus: 11 a.m. – 2 p.m., Student Lounge & Courtyard
    • Lake Nona Campus: 11:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m., Room 408 Atlas Lab/Student Lounge
  • Popcorn Flicks in Central Park featuring “The Fly” 8-10:00 p.m.  Bring your blanket or chair to enjoy the movie under the stars in Central Park in downtown Winter Park.  Free popcorn. Rain date will be Oct. 27th.  Free.  www.enzian.org

Friday, October 14

  • Valencia College Allied Health Fair
    West Campus (outside tables located near cafeteria, SSB and AHS), 10 am – 2 pm. Learn about the health care programs offered at Valencia.  Laboratory tours every hour, free popcorn and snow cones.  Free. Allied Health
  • Latin Night in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month Osceola Campus, 7-10 p.m. Entertainment, food, dancing. Free for Valencia students; $5 for non-students. Directions

October 14 through November 6

  • Little Shop of Horrors
    Book and lyrics by Howard Ashman; Music by Alan Menken; Produced by TheatreWorks Florida.
    Seymour loves two things: a beautiful, way-out-of-his-league girl named Audrey and interesting, unusual plants. As a down and out floral assistant, he never dreamed that discovering an exotic plant with a mysterious craving for fresh blood would turn him into an overnight sensation! Little Shop of Horrors is an affectionate rock-n-roll spoof of 1950s sci-fi movies that will have you laughing and dancing in your seats.
    Advance purchase tickets for Oct.14-Oct.23 – performances $17 with Promo Code VALENCIAHOMECOMING  www.gardentheatre.org

Wednesday, October 19

  • Reception and presentation by Dr. George Lopez of Notre Dame Univ. Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies
    East Campus, Bldg 6 Room 110, 1-2:15 p.m. Directions
  • Reception, Dinner and Conversation with Dr. George Lopez of Notre Dame Univ. Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, Private event

Friday, October 21 Campus Locations

  • Fine Arts Faculty Exhibit Opening Reception
    East Campus Building 3 Atrium
    6:30-8:30 pm, Free
  • Monster Ball – “No Tricks Just Treats” Halloween Event  
    Osceola Campus 7:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. Loud music, food, drinks, scary characters, fun!   Entry donation of $3 to benefit the American Cancer Society.
  • “The Drowsy Chaperone” opening night – musical comedy
    Music and Lyrics by Lisa Lambert and Greg Morrison, Book by Bob Martin and Don McKellar. Winner of many Tony awards in 2006, this magical musical will transport the audience to the dazzling musicals of the 1920’s as the musical literally bursts to life in the living room of a die-hard musical theater fan! 
    East Campus Performing Arts Center – Curtain time: 7:30 p.m.
    Discounted tickets available online at www.valenciacollege.edu/arts  @ $6 with Coupon Code: VALENCIAALUMNI

Saturday, October 22

  • Memory Walk – Walk to End Alzheimer’s
    8am-registration begins
    9 am-walk begins
    For more details and to join Team Valencia, visit www.valenciacollege.edu/alumni

October 22 through 23rd

  • Enzian’s Second Annual Haunted Swamp Walk of Terror
    The walk is a chilling tour through 2,000 feet of natural woods behind the Enzian Theater. Featuring original characters, spine- tingling theatrics and impressive decor, attendees will experience nail-biting fun and anxiety as they fall prey to hidden scare traps and surprises around every turn of their tour. Admission is $6 when purchased in advance, $8 day of the event and free for Enzian Film Society members. 8p.m. – 1a.m.  For tickets and more information, visit www.enzian.org.

Sunday, October 23rd

  • Bright House Networks Calle Orange Festival
    10 blocks of downtown Orlando are closed for the largest event in Central Florida! Now in its 14th year, Bright House Networks Calle Orange Festival features five stages of Latin America’s biggest and best performers! Music variety will appeal to the American Hispanic as well as those from the Caribbean, Central and South America! Enjoy authentic food delicacies from Hispanic countries and all types of entertainment including a block just for kids!

Thursday, October 27

  • “Wagner’s Music and Anti-Semitism in Film” presented by Professor Matt McAllister as part of the East Campus Humanities Speaker Series 
    Opera has remained relevant within popular culture primarily via its use in film and ironical deployments constitute one of its most sophisticated uses.  The Nazi party’s use of music during its reign and the stigma that Wagner’s music in particular suffers from as a result will be discussed as well as the circumstances that allow for music to be read ironically in film.
    Valencia’s East Campus Bldg. 6 Room 110, 1-2:15 p.m.
    Contact Nichole Jackson at njackson18@valenciacollege.edu for more information.  Free. Directions

Saturday, October 29

  • UCF Homecoming Game vs Memphis Tickets $15 ($10 savings) for seats in the north end zone. Get an optional PATCH for just $2 more. Game Time is 4 p.m.   UCF football tickets can be purchased by calling the UCF Athletics Ticket Office at (407) 823-1000 or email tickets@athletics.ucf.edu

October 29 through 31st

  • Enzian’s Second Annual Haunted Swamp Walk of Terror
    The walk is a chilling tour through 2,000 feet of natural woods behind the Enzian Theater. Featuring original characters, spine- tingling theatrics and impressive decor, attendees will experience nail-biting fun and anxiety as they fall prey to hidden scare traps and surprises around every turn of their tour. Admission is $6 when purchased in advance, $8 day of the event and free for Enzian Film Society members. 8p.m. – 1p.m.  For tickets and more information, visit www.enzian.org.

the results are in: tina’s turnout for scholarships

Remembering Tina Collyer. At the event Fire Chief John Miller (pictured here) spoke to friends and family and honored their commitment to keeping Tina's spirit of service alive.

Tina’s Turn Out was established by friends and community members in memory and celebration of Tina Collyer’s life.  With the proceeds from the inaugural Sept. 24th walk, the Tina Collyer scholarship has reached $9,400 and is almost half way toward becoming a perpetual scholarship. 

Tina Collyer, a Valencia graduate and an Orlando firefighter, had a passion for helping young Explorers fulfill their dreams of becoming firefighters.   Once endowed, the Tina’s Heart scholarship will be earmarked for students, especially Explorers, who wish to certify as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) at Valencia College. 

The EMT-Paramedic Program is designed for students who are interested in providing pre-hospital emergency care to acutely ill or injured patients. A stumbling block for many is the expense of completing the EMT program. 

Help us with the next steps.  Please contribute in memory of Tina Collyer and to help future EMT students.  You can contribute online at www.valencia.org, just click on Give Now and make a donation. 

If you would prefer to mail a check, write ‘In Memory of Tina Collyer’ in the memo field, and send to: Valencia Foundation, 190 S. Orange Ave., Orlando, FL 32801.

Thank you, in advance, for your consideration.  Every gift, no matter how large or modest, will make a difference to our students.

Honoring Tina Collyer, community members create a scholarship in her honor.
Thank you to all who participated. Every gift, no matter how large or modest matters! You can still support future EMT students in memory of Tina Collyer by visiting http://www.VALENCIA.org and click on ‘Make a Donation’

More photos from this event are available on Facebook via Valencia Alumni Association or click here

student video contest

Five winners will get free tuition (up to 60 credit hours, does not include books) for the remainder of their two-year associate degrees at Valencia.

Valencia College is offering students who recently attended Valencia a visual voice!

Through a video contest students are asked to share goals, challenges, struggles and motivations in answering two questions: Why College? Why Valencia?

Five student winners, no matter where they are in pursuit of a degree, will receive the remainder of their coursework at Valencia (up to 60 credit hours).

For more information please visit facebook.com/valenciacollege, see contest information below or go online at: valenciacollege.edu/contest/

Contest Instructions

Why College? Why Valencia? Submit a video sharing your answers. Tell us your story and you could be one of five students to win a free education at Valencia College. No matter where you are in pursuit of your degree, we’ll pay for the rest of your coursework at Valencia (up to 60 credit hours). We want to hear about your goals, challenges, struggles and motivations. This is your chance to share your story, inspire others and have the rest of your Valencia associate degree paid for!

Prize Details

Five winners will get free tuition (up to 60 credit hours, does not include books) for the remainder of their two-year associate degrees at Valencia.

Contest Starts: September 01, 2011 @ 12:00 pm (ET)

Contest Ends: October 21, 2011 @ 12:00 pm (ET)

Prize Eligibility: The contest is open to students who are currently enrolled at Valencia College or who have taken a course at Valencia College (or Valencia Community College) within the last five years (after January 2006). Only persons residing in the United States who are at least 18 years of age can enter. You will need your Valencia ID (VID) or a Valencia email address to enter.

Need more Details? Read the Official Rules

About the Company: For Frequently Asked Questions please visit here.

Questions? videocontest@valenciacollege.edu

valencia graduate shares words from peru

Ana De La Rosa graduated from Valencia in the spring of 2008. While at Valencia she participated in an alternative spring break program with Habitat for Humanity, served as an active member of Amnesty International and completed the Introduction to Peace Studies course.

Ana is currently in Peru with the Peace Corps and writes about recent experience to her Professor Penny Villegas …

“It has been a little while since I have written and felt like it was time to share. This last week I had the opportunity to go on one of the most amazing and rewarding trips of my life. I live in the northern coast of Peru, where it is hot and poor and most other volunteers live in the Andes and middle of Peru where it is cold and poor. The highest reported number of new HIV and AIDS cases is not only on the coast but in my actual district.

We have five high schools we work with in the area and we train young health promoters to teach their peers about the realities of HIV, AIDS, Dengue, and Malaria. The program has been running successfully on the coast for going on 6 years so the rest of the country is trying to adapt the peer to peer education model. Another volunteer and I had the opportunity to take one health promoter from each school, two teachers and a school principal to Ancash, Peru. It is two bus rides and 22 hours away from us. Before my service two volunteers had brought a group of the kids from Ancash to Tumbes and so now it was our turn to pay them a visit. The trip was covered by PEPFAR- the U.S. President’s AIDS fund-since our youth went there with teaching modules, skits and ideas for the new up and coming peer educators in the Sierra. These kids had never left home for more than a day trip to the beach- let alone seen snow. It was wonderful sharing this 7-day experience with them. They got to go to museums and stand at the base of the biggest mountain in Peru.

They did a live television interview talking about the importance of sex education and helped train the kids from Ancash. It was a great exchange of culture and knowledge and I am so lucky to have been a part of it. I have a classroom in Minnesota I am pen-pals with and I cannot wait to send them pictures from this trip. The cultural exchange possibilities go on and on!

Ana de la Rosa Valencia 2008

About the Peace Corp in Peru:  Volunteers in this South American nation work in the areas of youth and community development, environmental and agricultural conservation, health, water sanitation and hygiene promotion, and business development. Many Volunteers working on HIV/AIDS prevention and care receive support from the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) program. Volunteers are trained and work in Quechua and Spanish.

a midsummer nights dream

For its final play of the 2010-2011 theater season, the Valencia Character Company will present William Shakespeare’s classic comedy, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”

For its final play of the 2010-2011 theater season, the Valencia Character Company will present William Shakespeare’s classic comedy, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” Showtimes are June 9-11 and June 16-18 at 7:30 p.m. and June 12 and 19 at 2 p.m.

Silly, magical, funny, romantic and mystical, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” is one of the Bard’s most often produced plays. It follows the adventures of four young lovers and a group of amateur actors who are manipulated by the fairies inhabiting a moonlit forest. Valencia’s interpretation will be fairly traditional, exploring love as a sometimes-irrational facet of life that often seems beyond our control.

Ticket prices are $10 for general admission and $8 for students, seniors and Valencia staff and alumni. Tickets are free for Valencia students.

To purchase tickets please visit: http://www.redchairproject.com/

valencia students wins addy

Valencia Community College students and five Orlando organizations and took top place at American Advertising Federation’s Annual ADDY award ceremony in Miami on May 1.

A graphic design student, Jaclyn Steinberg, took top place at the American Advertising Federation’s District Addy Awards. Jaclyn’s winning entry, a 1950s-style anti-smoking campaign, goes on to compete at the national show in San Diego June 4. Our fingers are crossed that she’ll win! Another student, Brian Nutt, won a silver Addy award for a logo design.
Gold Addy winners were: Acropolis, Disney’s Yellow Shoes Creative Group, Florida Hospital, Red Rocket Studios, Universal Orlando Resort and Jaclyn Steinberg, students at Valencia Community College.

For a complete list, click here.

The winners move on to the national competition in San Diego June 4.

Full article at Orlando Business Journal
Read more: 6 win district gold ADDY awards | Orlando Business Journal

a history-making day

Years of hard work came to a close on Saturday for the graduating class of 2011.

With 1,050 students and thousands of guests in attendance, it was the largest commencement ceremony ever in Valencia’s 44-year history.

The event was also historical for another reason: this year’s commencement marked the final one for Valencia “Community” College; come July, the college will change its name to Valencia College.

“This is bittersweet for us,” said Valencia President Sanford Shugart.

Packed into the Silver Spurs Arena, the graduates listened to commendations from the chair of Valencia’s District Board of Trustees, Raymer Maguire III, and from representatives of the college’s leadership and alumni.

Rob Stio, an Honors graduate who plans to pursue a bachelor’s degree in international affairs, received a $5,000 Hites Foundation Scholarship as well as a transfer scholarship to Rollins College Hamilton Holt School.

The prestigious Jack Kent Cooke Foundation’s Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship, which provides up to $30,000 per year, was awarded to the distinguished graduate, Steven Crist.

In his commencement address, Crist saluted the support he received from friends and from the director of the Honors program, Valerie Burks, while also challenging the institution to give students more of a voice in administrative decision-making.

“Valencia has successfully positioned itself as a viable and valuable alternative to attending a four-year college for the freshman and sophomore years,” Crist said.

“As a result, you have many bright, young minds walking your halls every day, with a wealth of knowledge, and even criticisms to contribute to your institution,” he said. He went on to encourage college leaders to “give those students a voice…even if it makes you uncomfortable.”

When at last, an hour into the ceremony, the president took the podium and said, “Will the candidates for degrees please stand?”, the students sat motionless for a moment until Shugart added, “That would be you,” eliciting laughs from the crowd.

The new college grads exited the arena to sunny skies and a Lynx bus parked nearby that had been imprinted with their names as well as the names of 7,200 others who graduated from Valencia throughout the 2010-2011 academic year.

The bus which read, “The 2011 Valencia Grads are Going Places. Congrats!”, was quickly surrounded by students and their families as they searched for and pointed out their graduate’s name and posed for photos.

“We are going places, so that’s kind of cool,” said Stio.

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

traditions! class songs and class support

2010-2011 Class Songs & Class Support

Firework
Raise Your Glass
I Made It

This year three, yes 3, songs have been selected to play at commencement – celebration at its best after the years of hard work! Plug in and preview Firework, Raise Your Glass, and I Made It here!

A 2nd tradition is continued this year: current students along with past alumni are working together to help future Valencia students attend college.

Any gift to support students, no matter how large or modest will help a future Valencia Student! You have many ways to contribute to the 2010-2011 class gift – in any amount!

  • Drop off your cash or check donation in any amount at the Alumni Relations Office (407-582-5483) on West Camppus in the Special Events Center – Building 8
  • Have card will travel? Make a credit card donation of any type by filling out the online form.
  • Just the text – feel free to text VALENCIA to 20222 to make a $10 one-time donation that will appear on your next phone bill.
  • Or donate $10 at valenciacc.edu/give and enter your phone number – don’t forget to reply YES on your cell.

Your help with the student effort is needed and appreciated!

Text VALENCIA to 20222 to donate $10. Or visit www.valenciacc.edu/give and simply enter your cell phone number. Donations will be applied to Valencia’s Student Government Association Scholarship. Visit www.valenciacc.edu/give for more details.

A one-time donation of $10.00 will be added to your mobile phone bill or deducted from your prepaid balance. All donations must be authorized by the account holder. All charges are billed by and payable to your mobile service provider. Service is available on most carriers. Donations are collected for the benefit of Valencia Community College by the Mobile Giving Foundation and subject to the terms found at www.hmgf.org/t. Messaging & Data Rates May Apply. You can unsubscribe at any time by texting STOP to short code 20222; text HELP to 20222 for help.

you hold a student’s future in the palm of your hand

Scholarships make a tremendous difference in ability of students to attend college. This year Valencia current students along with past students from the Alumni association are working together for a class gift to help future Valencia students attend college.

Your help with the student effort is needed and appreciated!

Text VALENCIA to 20222 to donate $10. Or visit www.valenciacc.edu/give and simply enter your cell phone number. Donations will be applied to Valencia’s Student Government Association Scholarship. Visit www.valenciacc.edu/give for more details.

A one-time donation of $10.00 will be added to your mobile phone bill or deducted from your prepaid balance. All donations must be authorized by the account holder. All charges are billed by and payable to your mobile service provider. Service is available on most carriers. Donations are collected for the benefit of Valencia Community College by the Mobile Giving Foundation and subject to the terms found at www.hmgf.org/t. Messaging & Data Rates May Apply. You can unsubscribe at any time by texting STOP to short code 20222; text HELP to 20222 for help.

taste for learning: april 2, 2011

Yes, tickets are hot for this event!  A Taste for Learning, April 2, 2011 at Rosen Shingle Creek is our second  joint philanthropic event between Valencia Community College and University of Central Florida.

Vintners from around the around the globe bring their finest wines and spirits, local donor chefs fire up the grills to provide their best cuisine, and hundreds of supporters gather for an evening of fellowship and shopping for gifts, trips and experiences. The formula unites partners who donate every product for the event, including the venue, media, décor, food, wine and auction items.

 
The result? 100 percent of all sponsorships, tickets and auction receipts will go directly to scholarships and is eligible to earn dollar-for-dollar match through the state of Florida First Generation in College matching grant program, doubling a donor’s investment.

Please join us by inviting friends and colleagues, sponsoring a table and contributing auction items.

Become a Silent Auction Gift-In-Kind Sponsor
Become a Sponsor

Tickets are $125 each or $200 for a couple. Check out www.valencia.org/taste or call 407.582.3128 for more details.

wine sampling to benefit valencia and ucf students

Visit http://www.valencia.org/taste for tickets and event information. If you wish to turn the evening into a sparkling weekend, reserve your room with a special Taste for Learning rate.

A Taste for Learning, April 2, 2011 at Rosen Shingle Creek is our second  joint philanthropic event between Valencia Community College and University of Central Florida. 

Vintners from around the around the globe bring their finest wines and spirits, local donor chefs fire up the grills to provide their best cuisine, and hundreds of supporters gather for an evening of fellowship and shopping for gifts, trips and experiences. The formula unites partners who donate every product for the event, including the venue, media, décor, food, wine and auction items.

 
The result? 100 percent of all sponsorships, tickets and auction receipts will go directly to scholarships and is eligible to earn dollar-for-dollar match through the state of Florida First Generation in College matching grant program, doubling a donor’s investment.

Please join us by inviting friends and colleagues, sponsoring a table and contributing auction items.

Become a Sponsor    
Become  a Service-In-Kind Sponsor   
Become a Silent Auction Gift-In-Kind Sponsor

Tickets are now on sale! Check out www.valencia.org/taste or call 407.582.3128 for more details.

enjoy the music of Carousel

The Valencia Character Company will kick off its 2010-11 theater season with the classic, award-winning musical, “Carousel,” with book and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II and music by Richard Rodgers.

“Carousel” tells the story of mill worker Julie Jordan and her ill-fated love affair with carnival barker Billy Bigelow. The tale is told with the help of a brilliant score of music which includes the songs, “If I Loved You,” “You’ll Never Walk Alone” and the delightful “June is Busting Out All Over,” among others. Composer Richard Rodgers deemed the score his personal favorite of the many he created.

The musical opens on Friday, Oct. 22, with additional performances on Oct. 23, 24, 28, 29, 30 and 31. Curtain time is at 7:30 p.m. for Thursday, Friday and Saturday performances and at 2 p.m. on Sundays.

 The performance on Saturday, Oct. 30 will be American Sign Language interpreted, and there will be a special section of seating reserved for the hearing impaired.

 All performances take place at the Performing Arts Center on Valencia Community College’s East Campus, located at 701 N. Econlockhatchee Trail in Orlando.

 Ticket prices are $12 for general admission and $10 for students, seniors and Valencia staff and alumni. For reservations and further information, please call the Box Office at 407-582-2900. Tickets are also available online at http://www.redchairproject.com. Season tickets for 2010-11 are still available, and can be purchased at the Box Office.

 Valencia’s Artistic Director, Julia Allardice Gagne, will direct the production, with musical direction by Alan Gerber and Tim Hanes and choreography by Lesley Brasseux Rodgers.

For the first time, the resident Valencia dance company will be performing in a Valencia musical. They, with Ms. Brasseux Rodgers, will be recreating some of the original choreography by world renowned and groundbreaking choreographer, Agnes DeMille.

Source: Valencia Marketing & Strategic Communications

valencia around town

Wherever you happen to live, Valencia is easy to get to. The college has four main campuses and two centers throughout Orange and Osceola counties, with plans underway for the fifth campus in southeast Orlando!

Feel free to take a quick virtual tour through the video below or check out the new Valencia Future Student  tab to explore all that Valencia offers our community.

a grateful grad

A Grateful Grad, by David Urena ’09, for VITAE Magazine, Summer/Fall 2010

Rejected. The one word that flashed across my mind after being denied acceptance into the University of Florida. I didn’t apply to any other colleges. UF had the best architecture program in the state, and I had placed all my hopes into getting in.

So after graduating from Lyman High School, when most of my friends went off to college, I stayed behind in Altamonte Springs. I transitioned from a part-time to full-time employee at Panera Bread, where I worked throughout high school. In a year’s time, I was promoted to middle management. Although the pay was very little for the workload I had, I stuck with it hoping an upper management position would open up. However, when new management came in, the restaurant underwent downsizing, and I was the first one out. Rejected again.

I was 19, hopeless and confused. I wondered what I would do next in life. Reluctant to give the workforce another try, I mustered just enough money and courage to take courses at Valencia Community College. Although I enrolled part-time, every class engaged my interests and challenged my curiosity. Along the way, I met fascinating classmates, worked a few great jobs, including a land development-drafting job, and was inspired by the best faculty and staff around. I want to especially acknowledge and thank a few people:

 • Richard H. Weinsier, Director of the Math Support Center
While working as a tutor in your Math Support Center, I met several fascinating people and made a new family in all of you.

 • Leesa L. Sward, Professor of Biology and Environmental Science
Your Biology of Human Sexuality course was both enlightening and entertaining.

 • Thomas S. Zurosky, Professor of Chemistry
Attending your Chemistry II course was like being in a laboratory and comedy club at the same time – not every chemistry student can say that!

 • Areej Zufari, Professor of Humanities
You were the only non-literature professor who took an intrinsic interest in my writing. The passion I hold for creative writing is still very strong, mainly due to your encouragement.

 • James L. Chase, Professor of Economics
You are the first Renaissance man I have ever met, and I was fortunate enough to be your student.

 • Merton A. Hollister, Professor of Physics
You are a brilliant thinker who challenged me, through the instrument of Physics, to view the world in different perspectives.

 • Chris D. Borglum, Professor of English
You infused an appreciation for literature I would not have had if it were not for your zealous instruction.

 • Richard L. Russell, Professor of Mathematics
I followed you through seven different mathematics courses, including a sit-in for self-enrichment! I am minoring in mathematics, in large part, due to your impact on my mathematical interests.

 • James D. Lang, Professor of Mathematics
Your calm, collected teachings resonated strongly in my mathematical reasoning and, for that, I have a firm understanding of multivariable calculus today.

 • Patsy G. Buckley, Professor of Student Success
You played an important role in my transition from a good high school student to a great college student through the very first course I took at Valencia: Student Success.

Eventually, I found enough courage and hope to reapply to the University of Florida. This time, I was accepted into a program I was more passionate about: civil engineering.

I hope my story can be one of many that will help and inspire anyone who got rejected and felt like giving up.

Again, my warmest thanks go to those mentioned above for making Valencia a better place to start.

Photo courtesy of David Urena

foundation f.a.q for you

faq

FAQ's for you!

Want to know more about the Valencia Foundation and how we support Valencia Community College?  F.A.Qs for you are provided so you can be one of Those-in-the-Know.

What is the Valencia Foundation?
The foundation is a separate, not-for-profit, IRS approved 501(c)(3) corporation chartered in 1974 to provide financially for the educational needs of Valencia that cannot be met through state aid or student tuition income.

What does the Valencia Foundation do?
The office coordinates campaigns that help Valencia Community College provide a range of benefits, including scholarships, new technology, facilities, faculty improvements, and special programs. Nearly 60 community leaders volunteer generously of their time, talent, and resources by serving on the board of directors.

Can I tell the foundation how to spend my money?
Yes, you can tell our foundation how to utilize your donation by making a restricted gift.   *Please see the next question and answer for more information about restricted and unrestricted gifts.

What is the difference between a restricted gift and an unrestricted gift?
If you make a restricted gift, also known as a designated gift, you can direct your contribution to a specific scholarship, academic program, or any other special need. If you make an unrestricted gift—one with no restrictions on its use—you give Valencia the ability to apply funds where students need them most, including taking advantage of unexpected opportunities and meeting unforeseen challenges.

Will I receive tax benefits for my gift?
Yes, in most cases, the college’s supporters can deduct gifts from their taxes. Besides making direct, one-time contributions, you may also want to consider the long-term tax and estate-planning benefits of giving through annuities, trusts, and other financial tools.

Can I make a gift in honor or memory of someone?
Yes. As a tribute to a friend, colleague, mentor, family member, or anyone else, you can give in a person’s name.

How can I double or even triple my contribution?
Check with the human resources office at your company to see if it offers a matching funds program. More than 1,200 corporations have programs that match employees’ gifts to organizations like Valencia Community College.

What is a planned gift?
A planned gift is an arrangement to make a contribution to the Valencia Foundation, usually in the future. Annuities, trusts, and bequests in a will are examples of planned gifts. For more information, please visit our planned giving website at www.valenciagiving.org or contact Donna Marino at (407) 582-3128.

What is an outright gift?
An outright gift is an immediate, direct contribution, usually consisting of cash, real estate, or securities. 

Are there any advantages to making an outright gift?
Yes!  In fact, the advantages of making an outright gift are many… Valencia now offers more than 50 pre-major associate of arts, over 100 associate in science and applied science degrees and certificate programs: most programs lead to immediate entry into the workforce.

When you make an outright gift of cash, property, securities, or other assets to the Valencia Foundation,

  • You provide instant assistance to the college and gain an immediate tax deduction.
  • You usually get a charitable deduction for the full cost of the gift in the year you make it.
  • It’s an easy, efficient way to support a cause you believe in.
  • There are no complex financial documents to fill out.
  • You get the satisfaction of offering direct financial help that furthers Valencia’s mission of reaching out to potential students and providing affordable, accessible learning opportunities.
  • You receive other benefits depending on the type of gift: cash, real estate, or appreciated securities.

Because most Valencia Foundation benefactors make an outright gift of cash, the foundation has established several convenient ways for you to provide that support, including a check or credit card.

Are all gifts useful?
Yes, gifts of all amounts are deeply appreciated no matter how large or modest. Added to other gifts, any one gift combined has a large impact. Any gift demonstrates your concern for educational excellence at Valencia.

Can I make a gift online?
Yes. It’s quick, easy and secure through our online registration form at Make a Donation.

What is an Annual Fund?
An Annual Fund is a yearly campaign that raises resources for student scholarships and college programs and establishes a vehicle for Valencia to broaden its base of support. The rental income from the foundation’s real estate investments cover most of the foundation’s operating and fund-raising expenses, ensuring that 100 percent of donations are used exclusively for our donors’ intended purpose.

What is the Capital Campaign?
The Capital Campaign is a special campaign for new investments in people, programs, technology, and facilities for Valencia.

Where can I get more information?
Contact the Valencia Foundation at 190 S. Orange Ave, Orlando, FL 32804; (407) 582-3150 or by emailing the foundation at foundation@valenciacc.edu

dmarino orig posting 09/09

nursing graduate fulfills lifelong dream

On May 5, when Pamm Danley-Piester walks across the stage during the pinning ceremony for Valencia’s 85 nursing graduates, she will fulfill a life-long dream.  The 43-year-old mother of three always longed to work in nursing, a profession that makes a tangible difference in people’s lives

Like so many women, Pamm’s dreams were derailed after marrying young and raising her three boys, Trevor, Brandon and Brent, now 28, 20 and 17.  A satisfying career in medical transcription didn’t extinguish her dream.  Like most who are drawn to nursing, Pamm is motivated by a deep desire to help others.

“My mom was the neighborhood nurse,“ explains Pamm. “She took care of everybody. Both of my parents instilled a sense of caring for others and giving back. My husband Jerry and I live by that value and have passed it on to our children.”

In 2006, with her youngest son nearing high school age, the St. Cloud resident summoned the courage to rekindle an old dream and enrolled at Valencia.  Its nursing program is recognized as one of the finest anywhere.  In the most recent exam required to become a registered nurse (National Council Licensure Examination), Valencia graduates had a higher pass rate than both the state and national average with a whopping 92.92 percent pass rate for first-time takers.

Pat Woodbery, director of Valencia’s nursing program, underscores the support available to students like Pamm. “Nursing is a very difficult program but the camaraderie students share helps them go through each step together.  It can be tackled in manageable chunks.”

Pamm worried that she would be the oldest student in her classes. She worried that after so many years away from school, math would prove too difficult.

“The professors at Valencia are phenomenal,” says Pamm who quickly realized that life experience gave her a unique perspective on health care.

In 2004, Pamm’s terminally ill mother moved in with her family. The skill and gentleness with which hospice nurses tended to her mother had a profound impact on her and the entire family.  She now wants to specialize in geriatric care.

“My faith grows stronger, as I get older, that what gets us through life is not what we can get but what we can give,” says Pamm. It took almost four years to complete the requirements for her degree.

Pamm isn’t done yet. She plans on enrolling in the University of South Florida online program and has her sights set on a bachelor’s degree in nursing and then a master’s degree. Ultimately teaching is where she hopes to make her mark.

Her more immediate goal is a position with Florida Hospital where she did several clinical rotations. Pamm also worked at St. Cloud Hospital, the Council on Aging, Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women and Babies and Arnold Palmer Hospital.

Her advice to anyone thinking of going back to college after a long delay in their studies is to realize they can do it. “Don’t be afraid to pursue your dream,” says this new Valencia nursing graduate whose fear of math proved unfounded.  In her last semester, Pamm earned an A in statistics.

Nursing Graduate Fulfills Lifelong Dream.

valencia class of 2009/2010

 

CLICK HERE to donate

CLICK HERE to make your class gift donation.

Breaking new ground:
1st Class Song & 1st Class Gift

 

The class of 2009/2010 has started a legacy that will live on and challenge future graduation classes with another first: the creation of a Student Class Gift.  Graduating students have challenged each other to make a donation for future student scholarships.  The Valencia Alumni Association will support these efforts by matching the donations up to $2000!!!

Donations of any amount are accepted by students, parents, faculty, staff and loved ones.  Graduating students are encouraged to become a ‘perfect 10’ with their $10 donation.  Credit cards are accepted online at: http://www.valenciacc.edu/alumni/classgift/ 

 The campaign runs through the end of April and closes with a special check presentation at the May commencement ceremony by this year’s Distinguished Graduate selected through the Valencia Alumni Association.  

Check out http://www.valenciacc.edu/alumni/classgift/ for the class song and more online Class Gift donation information. 

It’s gonna to be a great graduation and a good, good time! 

For the first year ever, the graduating class has replaced their traditional exit recessional march with a song selected by student class leaders.  All the tradition of commencement with an ending pop of flavor to celebrate!

women’s history month event

 The Valencia Alumni Association & League of Women Voters of Orange County invite you to a free community program in celebration of Women’s History Month.   Please join use on Saturday, March 27, 2010 for a viewing of  the historical film “Iron Jawed Angels” followed by an open discussion. 

This event will provide a chance for you to experience Katja von Garnier’s “Iron Jawed Angels”.  Share in the remarkable but little-known story of a group of passionate and dynamic young women, led by Alice Paul (Hilary Swank) and her friend Lucy Burns (Frances O’Connor), who put their lives on the line to fight for American women’s right to vote.

Date:                                     Saturday, March 27, 2010
Time:                                   12:30 p.m. registration; 1:00 viewing
Who should attend:          Women and men of all ages
Fee:                                       FREE
Location:                             Valencia’s West Campus Build 8 Special Events Ctr
                                               1800 South KirkmanRoad, Orlando, FL 32811

RSVP’s encouraged to alumni@valenciacc.edu or call 407-582-2946

valencia alumni annual 5K

5th Annual Valencia 5K - March 21, 2010. In memory of Justin Harvey

Registration is open for friends of all ages and physical abilities to take part in the Alumni Association’s annual Run,Walk and Roll to raise scholarship funds for Valencia students on March 21, 2010. Participants and guests can also enjoy refreshments and younger guests can gather for children’s arts & crafts.

5K (3.1 mile) course through Valencia’s West Campus, located at 1800 South Kirkman Rd., Orlando, FL 32811 Driving Directions

6:45 a.m. Registration opens, University Center, Bldg 11, Room 106
7:30 a.m. 5K Run, Walk & Roll starts
AFTER RACE Kids Fun Run & Crafts FREE (Under 10 only)

For event details & to register online visit:  Buttar.com

Registration Form by mail (type online then print)
Sponsorship
For sponsorship opportunities, please contact Valencia’s
Community Relations office at 407-582-2946 or Email.

Whatever your reason for participating, there’s one great benefit—helping someone go to college.

valencia enterprises

Did you know?

Valencia Enterprises, a division of Valencia Community College, provides Continuing Education, Employee Training and Development to help companies and individuals achieve their business, professional, and career goals. 

The idea behind VALENCIA enterprises is to deliver convenient classroom and online training that fits a hetic schedule.  VALENCIA enterprises can help you prepare for a certification, get pre-licensing, or take individual courses in dozens of interest areas such as:

For more information please visit www.valenciaenterprises.org

valencia alumnus commissioned for portrait of condoleezza rice

Photo credit: BarbaraBanks.com

Valencia Alum Colin Boyer presenting portrait to Ms. Condoleezza Rice (photo barbarabanks.com)

On Monday, Feb. 8, Kissimmee resident Colin Boyer, 19, an alumnus of Valencia and current student at Ringling College of Art & Design, presented former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice with a comissioned portrait of her, during a talk she gave at Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall in Sarasota. 

Colin attended Valencia in 2008 as a dual enrolled student, while simultaneously earning his diploma from Celebration High School.  Colin’s talent shined at Valencia when three of his artwork pieces were accepted to be a part of Valencia’s student art show; all three won awards with one as Best in Show. 

The college credits earned while a duel enrollment student at Valencia provided Colin sophomore status at Ringling College of Art & Design.  

You can view some of Colin’s work at this site: www.ColinBoyer.blogspot.com

For information on Ringling’s Town Hall lecture series go to: http://www.rclassociation.org/town_hall_lecture.php

osceola art festival

Want ideas for your upcoming valentine weekend?  Take the family, friends or just your sweetheart and come browse over 140 professional artists, enjoy live entertainment and munch on festival food fare. 

The 43rd Osceola Arts Festival is scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, February 13 & 14, 2010 at Valencia’s Osceola Campus

Presented by Osceola Center for the Arts, this event is free and open to the public! 

Valencia Community College, Osceola Campus
1800 Denn John Lane Kissimmee, FL 34744
Located off of Hwy 192
Between St. Cloud & Kissimmee, Florida

The Festival will be open from 10am until 5pm on Saturday, February 13th and from 10am until 4pm on Sunday, February 14th.  Valencia’s Osceola Campus is located on Hwy 192 about one mile east of Orange Blossom Trail.  Parking and admission are free.

poet steven dunn open reading

Acclaimed poet Stephen Dunn will visit Valencia Community College Winter Park Campus

This Thursday, January 28, acclaimed poet Stephen Dunn will visit Valencia Community College Winter Park Campus to give a reading from his latest book “What Goes On: Selected and New Poems.”  

The free and open reading will take place at Valencia’s Winter Park Campus, located at 850 W. Morse Boulevard, in room 225 from 1:00 – 2:00 p.m., followed by a book signing and sale until 2:45 p.m.

The Poetry Foundation describes Dunn’s work as being “concerned with the anxieties, fears, joys, and problems of how to co-exist in the world with all those who are part of our daily lives.”

He has authored 16 different books including “Different Hours,” which won the 2001 Pulitzer Prize for poetry. In addition to his own books, Dunn’s work has appeared in The Atlantic, The Nation, The New Republic, The New Yorker, The Georgia Review, and the American Poetry Review.

Dunn has worked as an advertising copywriter, an editor and a professor of creative writing. Since 1974, he has taught at Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, where he is Distinguished Professor of Creative Writing. 

Visions & Voices was launched in 2002. This Distinguished Artist Series is the brainchild of Dr. Sanford C. Shugart who wanted to find a way to invite world-class poets, songwriters and artists from across the country and around the world to Valencia to share their work with students, faculty, staff, and the community. 

Artists not only give a public performance, but also interact with students in an intimate master class. Visions & Voices has established a reputation as one of the best ways to see nationally known artists in Central Florida.

Source: Valencia Marketing & Media Relations

obsession/compulsion

Visit the Anita S. Wooten Gallery at Valencia East Campus

The Anita S. Wooten Gallery at Valencia Community College East Campus is exhibiting the work of UCF professor Laine Wyatt from January 22, 2010 to March 12, 2010. 

The  opening reception is tonight, Friday January 22, 2010 from 6:30 p.m. until 8:30 p.m.  It is a free event with refreshments and an artist lecture at 7:30 p.m. 

The exhibition Obsession/Compulsion consists of photographs and installations referencing women’s relationship with clothing. Hope to see you all here.

valencia night with the magic

Valencia friends, alumni, staff, family and students are invited to take part in Valencia Night with the Orlando Magic!
 
Don’t miss your chance to see the 2009 Eastern Conference Champion Orlando Magic on Sunday, March 28th @ 6:00 pm.  Watch All-Stars like Dwight Howard, Jameer Nelson and Rashard Lewis take on the Denver Nuggets!
 
Join us as Orlando Magic battle the Toronto Raptors on Wed, Dec. 16 @t 7:00 pm

Valencia Night with the Orlando Magic!

  • Orlando Magic vs. Denver Nuggets 
  • Weekend game ticket $25
  • + $2 for pre-game reception
  • Call to reserve your Valencia seat @ (407) 916-2531 or download a registration form here

We’d love for you to join the Valencia Alumni Association and Valencia Chapter of FACC for the optional pre-game reception to meet and mingle with friends.  A cash beverage bar will be provided.  Hurry, reception space is limited to the first 60 people!

See you at Valencia Night with the Orlando Magic! 

This special offer is brought to you by the
Valencia Alumni Association
and Valencia FACC Chapter.
 

best in show

Valencia’s Vitae alumni magazine won “Best in Show” at the Florida Association of Community Colleges (FACC) Institutional Advancement Awards in the “colleges with more than 10,000 FTE” category.

 This magazine is truly a team effort. Congratulations to everyone who works so hard to create this very special publication!

 Click here to see this award winning magazine. The next issue of Vitae is due out mid-January.

 Valencia’s other publications also received awards with a first place tie in the brochure category for its internship and placement brochure (combined FTE) and a second place tie for the Skillshops class schedule (more than 10,000 FTE).

 All the awards were presented at the FACC’s 60th anniversary convention in November.

 Members of Valencia’s faculty and staff also received awards:

Region 3 – Unsung Hero Award: Joe Nunes

Cameron Hall Practitioner Award 2009: Dr. Joyce C. Romano

2009 Learning Support Exemplary Award: Joshua Murdock, manager of learning support services (West Campus); presentation title: Learning Summit

Career and Professional Employees Commission Exemplary Practice Award finalists: Phil Graves and Josh Murdock; program: Universal Design: Blending Accessibility with Availability in Assistive Technology

Congratulations!

student art sale today

Valencia Student Art Sale: Wed, Dec 9, 10am–5pm East Campus, Bldg 4

Please consider stopping by Valencia’s East Campus for our Annual Student Art Sale

Find great holiday gifts and help support Valencia’s Art Department with your purchase of pottery, ceramics, jewelry, fine art prints and more!

Stop by today, December 9 from 11am –4pm
Valencia Community College
East Campus (outside of Library, Building 4)

valencia magic night

Join us as Orlando Magic battle the Toronto Raptors on Wed, Dec. 16 @t 7:00 pm

Valencia Alumni & FACC gather to watch Orlando Magic battle the Toronto Raptors on Wed, Dec. 16 @ 7:00 pm

Valencia friends, alumni, staff, family and students are invited to take part in Valencia Night with the Orlando Magic!  Don’t miss your chance to see the 2009 Eastern Conference Champion Orlando Magic battle the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday, December 16, 2009 at 7:00 P.M. at the Amway Arena. 

Ticket info is online with details on an optional Valencia pre-game reception that will take place in the suite level overlooking downtown Orlando. After the game, a group picture will be taken on the court.

See you at Valencia Night with the Orlando Magic!

a great valencia alumni blog

Please be sure to take a moment to check out this inspirational and insightful site:

http://willyoubemyhero.wordpress.com/

Here, in her own words, Laura (Valencia alumna, 2006) shares why she started her blog and the important goal she hopes to accomplish:

I’ve decided to write a blog that will chronicle my search for a spokesperson for people with the condition that I have, spina bifida. It is the #1 cause of paralysis in children in America. It is also more common than muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, and cystic fibrosis combined.

But, why should you even care about this blog? Well, the fact of the matter is that while taking folic acid can help prevent having a child with spina bifida, there is no known cure for it, and my goal is to encourage people to get the conversation going about spina bifida, and how we can all help people through research and quality of life programs.

So, if you’re interested, please share this link with people you know. Spina bifida is a lot more common than you may think.

 Today Laura celebrates her 23rd birthday – Happy birthday and we all wish you the very best!

not a secret anymore

VIsions&Voiceslogo CR WebsiteValencia Community College’s distinguished artist series Visions & Voices is one of the best kept secrets in Orlando.  These amazing events highlight world-class poets, songwriters and artists from across the country.  Visions & Voices events are free and open to community members (that means you), not just Valencia students, and have featured many talented artists including Poet Laureate Billy Collins, Musician David Wilcox, Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Paula Vogel and Poet David Whyte. 

john3

John Gorka at Valencia

This fall Visions & Voices brings back musician John Gorka.  His acoustic music, deep melodic voices, and charming persona provide an expression of everyday life that is rich in complexity yet simple in verse. 

I beseech you: take a mid-day break and come experience John Gorka on November 18, 2009.  You will thank me later. The performance is from 1:00 – 2:00 p.m. at the East Campus Performing Arts Center.  Add to your calendar, schedule a date, make a plan, and attend the event. John Gorka will be the best afternoon treat!  Well worth any effort to attend.

Gorka, like the Visions & Voices series, is a wonderful kept secret–artists have recorded and/or performed John Gorka songs, including Mary Chapin Carpenter, Mary Black and Maura O’Connell. His music video for the single “When She Kisses Me” found a long-term rotation on VH-1’s “Current Country,” as well as on CMT and the Nashville Network. John has also graced the stage of Austin City Limits, appeared on CNN, and has been the subject of other national programming. 

This visit by John Gorka isn’t just for students, faculty, and staff; it’s for our community to experience something unique and different.  Invite a friend, pass it on . . . this is one secret not worth keeping. 

For more information about Valencia’s distinguished artist series and other upcoming artist visits, please visit online at: www.valenciacc.edu/visionsvoices

alas, alumni welcome!

Join or update us today!Did you know that annual alumni membership is absolutely free at Valencia?

Please take a moment to reconnect and get involved with exciting Alumni Association benefits and events.  We invite you to fill out the membership registration form online today!

Already a member?   Please complete the alumni class notes online. We’d like to know what you’ve been doing: new job, new degree, new adventure, new babies . . . all stories are welcome!

in memory of tina collyer

tina2Scholarship in memory of Valencia student Christine “Tina” Collyer: Tina’s Heart

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. 

If you wish to make a donation to the Tina Collyer Memorial Scholarship, Tina’s Heart please visit www.VALENCIA.org and click on Make a Donation.

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

 

 

community

community by Dr. Sanford Shugart
President, Valencia Community College
 Vitae, Summer/Fall ’09

Many of you have been reading about community colleges in Florida adding bachelor’s degrees to their programs, changing their names to “college” or “state college,” and other issues swirling around the future of our system. In the last issue of Vitae, I promised an update on these issues with a focus on Valencia’s direction.

Background

First, it is important to note that Florida is, in fact, under-built for undergraduate education. As far into the future as I can see, the metropolitan areas in central and south Florida will have significantly more demand for freshmen seats than supply. This is a result of improving school performance over the past decade leading to more graduates and an even larger percentage of high school graduates prepared for and seeking admission to college. In addition, the burgeoning regional universities (UCF, USF, FIU) that were nearly open door a decade ago are filled to undergraduate capacity and managing demand as they always have, by raising admissions standards. Thus at UCF, where more than 70 percent of applicants were accepted for admission just 10 years ago, only 45 percent are today. This situation has created very real access challenges in these several metropolitan areas, challenges not seen in the rural areas of North Florida, the Panhandle, or even Southeast Florida.

Meanwhile, the number of Florida community colleges offering a few bachelor’s degrees in occupational areas such as teaching, nursing, and applied technologies has steadily grown since 2000. These programs were intended to meet very specific needs that were unlikely to be met by universities, not to signal a break from the traditional mission and programs of the best community college system in the country; many, however, including me, considered these programs to have been the proverbial camel’s nose under the tent, a “slippery slope” on which “mission drift” would be difficult to manage, a conclusion now hard to avoid.

By last spring, some 14 colleges out of the 28 had either added one or more bachelor’s degrees or signaled their intention to do so, while strange new names were appearing – Daytona State College, Northwest Florida State College, etc. Then, pretty much out of the blue and without consultation with the State Board of Education or the community colleges’ Council of Presidents, a bill appeared in the legislature attempting to break up the system into two tiers comprising 20 or more community colleges and some three to nine “state colleges.”

The bill was full of special interest, some of which you have read in the press, and was deeply divisive within our college system. In the end, some of the worst thinking in the bill was blunted and two task forces were created to recommend further details on the new Florida College System. They met through the year and presented their findings to the legislature at just about the time the issues surrounding the now resigned speaker of the house, the bill’s sponsor, were unraveling.

At present, a bill has been introduced in both the House and the Senate to round out the details of the new system. It is my hope that it will retain the character of our system – one college system, not two; serious governance and oversight of limited bachelor’s degrees by the State Board of Education; one funding formula with bachelor’s degrees funded at no advantage over associate degrees; and serious limits on the percentage of one’s enrollment that can come from the upper-division programming, a way of guarding the core mission of the community college. The next few weeks will tell if the state’s policy leaders can get us back on track.

“The college is what the students experience, no more and no less.”

Valencia’s Future Regarding Bachelor’s Degrees

So what may be in Valencia’s future with regard to bachelor’s degrees? As I have often said to my colleagues around the state and country, “The college is what the students experience, no more and no less.” So we always ask, “What do we want our students to experience?” As access to the freshman class at UCF began to be seriously constrained, especially for place-bound local students, we asked just this question. Our answer was that our first preference for our students was unfettered access to the whole range of established degrees at UCF.  You see, offering degrees of our own would consume all of our discretionary resources for years to come, and even after 10 years might provide only 15 or 20 degree options.

So we opted to push our relationship with UCF, signing an agreement guaranteeing all Valencia graduates with an A.A. degree admission to UCF and calling for UCF to bring dozens of new degree programs to our campuses. We call this program “Direct Connect” and will celebrate a milestone in this partnership this fall by opening a 100,000-square-foot university center on our West Campus to serve upward of 5,000 upper-division and graduate students.

Is this working? Frankly, this may be the most powerful partnership of its kind in the world. Valencia currently has more than 27,000 students in Direct Connect (compared to 2,700 statewide in community college bachelor’s degrees) with rapidly expanding options for bachelor’s degrees in business, accounting, education, nursing, and engineering. In Fall 2010, the upper division of the region’s first architectural design degree will be added exclusively at Valencia in partnership with UCF. And for the first time, Valencia and UCF are working together to generate major philanthropic support to 2+2 scholarships.

Will Valencia ever add its own bachelor’s degrees and change its name? Ever is a long time, and actually our agreement with UCF permits the offering of bachelor’s degrees should a clear need arise. I hope, however, that this would be a very rare occurrence and that any such decision would be made together in the spirit of our deep partnership. Should the state’s naming conventions change, I suppose we’d study the matter to determine, again, what is in the best interest of our students, but personally I’d hate to lose the word “community.”  It says so much about who we are — all of us, including you, our alumni.

(Reprinted from CommunitySummer/Fall 2009 VITAE Magazine Issue 4)

 http://www.valenciacc.edu/alumni/documents/Vitae_Summer-Fall09.pdf

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who is counting?

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

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

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

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

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

vcc is not for me!

So it’s after midnight and I can’t sleep. Plagued by rogue acronyms, I’ve dragged myself from bed to rant about the errant and rampant use of VCC. I’m disturbed by the reduction of our academic institution to a few small letters. To me (a Valencia alum), the institution of Valencia is one of strong academic rigor, including a first-rate honors program and one of the largest graduating classes among two-year colleges.

Valencia possesses faculty members who care more about student learning than the modest incomes they earn and an administration that supports and encourages ways to make the student experience the center of our work. With a team devoted solely to helping new tenure-track professors understand multiple student learning styles, Valencia excels. Additional pedagogical highlights include the weaving of four core competencies in the full curriculum: think, value, communicate and act.

The foundation is privileged to call friends our myriad, loyal donors, including community members, organizations and businesses, as well as Valencia staff and faculty, who willingly put students first so generations of bright, up-and-coming scholars can have a shot at a stellar education.

Valencia has been featured in Time Magazine and USA Today and on National Public Radio. It boasts the largest university-transfer rate of 1,200 community colleges in the country. This summer, it was named the top community college nationwide by the Lumina Foundation for ground-breaking work reducing the achievement gaps from students of diverse backgrounds.  The MDC Foundation last week recognized this accomplishment by awarding a $700,000 grant to expand the project.

It seems a shame to limit a college that knows no bounds to a simple acronym.

Disturbed by the reduction of our academic institution to a few small letters Valencia Alumn Donna Marino asks for five more letters and one syllable. After all, it seems a shame to limit a college that knows no bounds to a simple acronym.

i like to move it, move it

At our board meeting recently, the inevitable discussion of the economy came up. Thankfully, our foundation’s wise and prudent investment strategy has softened the blow for our foundation, and thus for the students we serve. And though the discussion was focused on financial aspects, I found my mind wandering to economic coping strategies on a more personal level. How do I deal with the stress and the strife when things seem a bit overwhelming and the bottom line is looming?

Well, I like to move it, move it!

As a staff member, sometimes I feel the effects of the “behind the desk syndrome,” where my view seems clouded by my desk and papers and deadlines and oh gosh! all that intense stuff! During those times, it is so important for me to physically move myself out from behind my desk and into the community where I can see our mission in action. I had the pleasure of doing that twice recently, at a Take Stock in Children celebration event and at Valencia’s Alumni Achievers Reception.

At both events, what struck me was that the achievement and accolades go so beyond just the student being called to the podium. It transcends the room: It is the pride in the faces of the parents, teachers and mentors; it is in the hope of the younger children – siblings, sons and daughters – who now see that education and success are attainable.

As the claps and the hoots and joy rang out at the alumni event, our board chair, Helen, turned to me and said, “This is what it is all about.”

And she’s right – it’s not just about who needs to be called back first or which email I need to respond to…it’s about attending to my daily work with the real purpose in mind – to bring education, and the realized dreams that come with it, to so many in our community.

I’m grateful to have been able to experience those events. Suddenly, my view just got a lot brighter.

Jill