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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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!

Support the September 11th Walk/Run for Heroes

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Online Registration or Mail In Registration

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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!

just the facts

Here is a look inside the newly released Valencia College Just the Facts 2012-2013.

Valencia:

  • Has an economic impact on the region that is over $1 billion a year.
  • Was named the best community college in the nation as the winner of the 2012 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence.
  • Has saved $3.8 million in energy costs over the last three years through a new sustainability initiative.
  • Became a smoke-free college in Aug. 2012.

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.

trustees move forward on campus, scholarships, and innovation funding

The work we do is truly rewarding.

Know what to do with a $600,000 prize?  Valencia College invested the recent award right back into the students they serve!

At the Feb. 21 Valencia College Board of Trustees meeting the funds were approved for student scholarships and project innovations for improving student learning.

Last December Valencia College was awarded the $600,000 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence.  From the total prize, $250,000 will be used as matching funds for the Johnson Family Foundation to partially underwrite 2+2 scholarships for students in the Direct Connect to UCF program.

Every dollar given by Valencia to this fund will be matched by both UCF and the Johnson Scholarship Foundation. Recipients of the scholarship will be deemed “Johnson Scholars.” Throughout their college careers they will have special program requirements that emphasize leadership development.

The remaining $350,000 from the Aspen Prize will be matched with $750,000 from other sources to create a $1.1 million fund to support team-led projects to improve student learning, completion, placement in jobs and success in transfer.

For more information please visit the recent press release online.

 

Trustees Vote to Move Forward with Apopka Campus, Create New Scholarship, Innovation Funds

By Linda Shrieves Beaty, Valencia College

At its Feb. 21 meeting, Valencia College’s District Board of Trustees took preliminary steps toward creating a new campus in Apopka, and voted on how to spend the $600,000 award the college received for winning the 2011 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, which is given to the top community college in the nation.

The college was named the winner of the inaugural Aspen Prize in December, and the trustees voted to divide the prize money into two efforts – one that will provide scholarships and another fund that will encourage faculty members to come up with innovative programs that help students complete college, get placed in jobs or transfer to other institutions to complete their four-year degrees.

Of the $600,000 prize, $250,000 will be used as matching funds for the Johnson Family Foundation to partially underwrite 2+2 scholarships for students in the Direct Connect to UCF program.

Every dollar given by Valencia to this fund will be matched by both UCF and the Johnson Scholarship Foundation. Recipients of the scholarship will be deemed “Johnson Scholars.” Throughout their college careers they will have special program requirements that emphasize leadership development.

The remaining $350,000 from the Aspen Prize will be matched with $750,000 from other sources to create a $1.1 million fund to support team-led projects to improve student learning, completion, placement in jobs and success in transfer.

In other action, Valencia’s board of trustees approved a nonbinding letter-of-intent to accept a donation of land for its proposed Apopka campus. The letter of intent is the first step in the process of accepting a land donation. The proposed donor, Rochelle Holdings, is developing Kelly Park Crossings, a 624-acre development that is set to include shops, offices and homes.

Also at the board meeting, Valencia College President Sandy Shugart announced to the trustees that that Florida Institute of Technology, a private technological university in Melbourne, Fla., will provide $150,000 annually in scholarships to be awarded to 10 Valencia students who plan to attend FIT.

The college’s board of trustees also made history at this meeting when they elected Bertica Cabrera Morris as their chairwoman, making her the first Hispanic woman to lead the board of trustees in the college’s 44-year history.

Cabrera Morris owns and operates a public relations and governmental affairs consulting firm based in Orlando that represents Fortune 500 companies.

At the same meeting, the board elected Maria Grulich Toumazos as its vice chair. Grulich Toumazos serves as administrator of the Osceola County Economic Development Department.

The eight-member governing board welcomed two new members at its February meeting: Guillermo Hansen and Fernando Perez. They, along with members Lewis Oliver, III, Jerry Buchanan, Lori Kifer Johnson and Jo Quittschreiber, are appointed by the governor to direct the college’s policies

what is the aspen award?

Valencia College was recently awarded the inaugural Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence.  This award is based on student performance and graduation data collected by the U.S. Department of Education.

Colleges recognized by the Aspen Prize serve as models and laboratories for identifying practices that can elevate community college education. This is extremely meaningful to the 6 million students who rely on the nearly 1,200 community colleges nationwide, particularly students who are under-represented in higher education.

Walter Isaacson serves as the president and CEO of the Aspen Institute, a nonpartisan educational and policy studies institute.  The Aspen Institute board of trustees is made up of high-level individuals from the public and private sectors and include Madeleine K. Albright, Michael D. Eisner, Henry Louis Gates Jr., David Koch and Condoleezza Rice just to name a few. 

In selecting Valencia as the best community college in America, Aspen officials noted that over half of the college’s full-time students graduate or transfer within three years of entering the school, a rate significantly higher than the national average (51 percent versus 39 percent).

At a time when data show an increasing number of students nationwide are not ready for college-level work – and that the U.S. has slipped to 12th globally in the percentage of young adults who hold at least an associate degree – Valencia is experiencing rising graduation rates among all students, including minorities.

  • Valencia has experienced dramatic increases in graduation rates among college-ready African American students, nearly tripling in the last decade from 15.4 percent to 44.3 percent today.
  • Graduation rates for college-ready Hispanic students have similarly impressive gains, jumping from 38.7 to 45.5 percent in the last decade.

Because community colleges also train students for the workforce, Aspen judges focused on the college’s workforce training programs and the likelihood of graduates landing jobs. They noted that Valencia graduates “are employed at rates higher than graduates from any of the other 10 Aspen Prize finalists. This is especially impressive given the region’s unusually high unemployment rate and low job growth rate.”

This is not the first time that Valencia has made national news. In November, the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching named Valencia ESL professor James May the 2011 Florida Professor of the Year. May was one of only 27 state professors selected to represent the most outstanding undergraduate instructors in the country.

In 2009, Valencia won the inaugural Leah Meyer Austin Institutional Student Success Leadership Award for helping minority students succeed. In 2007, the New York Times named Valencia as one of the nation’s leading community colleges, and in 2001, Valencia was chosen by Time Magazine as one of the nation’s best schools at helping first-year students excel.

orlando declares monday ‘valencia college day’

Orlando Declares Monday ‘Valencia College Day’

In honor of Valencia College winning the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, the Orlando City Commission on Jan. 9 paid tribute to the college that has been recognized as being the top two-year college in the nation.

“They were not named one of the best community colleges in the nation, but the best, number one community college in the entire nation,” Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer said, proclaiming that Jan. 9 would be recognized as Valencia College Day in the city of Orlando.

Last month, Valencia was named the winner of the inaugural Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence at a ceremony held in Washington, D.C. The award comes with $600,000 in prize money.

During Monday’s city commission meeting, Dyer and members of the commission said the nation is finally discovering what they’ve known for a long time: the excellent reputation of Valencia.

“Congratulations to Valencia College,” said Commissioner Samuel B. Ings. “It was Valencia Community College when I was there and graduated from Valencia in the 1970s. It was really great that the Aspen institute recognized the great things they’re doing.”

Ings noted that Valencia prepares a lot of minority students for the job market and helps them find employment as they near graduation. “They really do move a lot of students along, particularly African-Americans,” Ings said.

Several members of the Valencia College staff attended the city commission meeting to hear Mayor Dyer read the proclamation, including Valencia President Sandy Shugart, who  said his staff was deeply proud of the honor awarded by the Aspen Institute, and equally proud to be serving the Orlando community.

“A great college like Valencia College is only as good as the community we’re in,” Shugart said. “We’re grateful for that honor and that support.”

Dyer said the Aspen recognition is valuable to the city’s business leaders too. In a recent meeting to discuss economic development efforts in the city of Orlando, business leaders said one key to the city’s future growth will be having well-educated students and college graduates, Dyer said. “They talk about education being one of the most critical components,” Dyer said. He noted that Valencia College has a wide curriculum, offering 700 courses each semester, and that the college “produces more associates degrees each semester than any other community college in the nation.” These courses, Dyer said, “link students to well paying jobs” both in Orlando and other parts of Florida and the nation.

Commissioner Daisy W. Lynum also noted that those courses have first-rate reputations as well. “It’s real good to stand for intelligence and brilliance in education,” she said.

achieving the dream president congratulates valencia on aspen prize

The following statement was released by William E. Trueheart, president and CEO of Achieving the Dream Inc., a national nonprofit dedicated to helping low-income students and students of color stay in school and earn a college certificate or degree.

Silver Spring, MD (December 12, 2011) – We are proud to congratulate Valencia College for winning The Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence.  Valencia College – an Achieving the Dream Leader College and 2009 winner of Achieving the Dream’s most prestigious award– the Leah Meyer Austin Institutional Student Success Leadership Award – was recognized today for demonstrated excellence in improved student performance over time. Valencia College was also recognized for achieving high levels of equity in outcomes among all student populations, and for its deliberate and sustained focus on using data to guide practice and policy to sustain student success and program completion. Today’s recognition is the culmination of an intensive, year-long process that included the review of institutional-level, disaggregated data on completion, labor market, and learning outcomes, and two-day site visits to each of the ten finalist colleges.

We want to especially applaud Valencia College President Sanford C. “Sandy” Shugart and the entire faculty and staff, who are outstanding leaders in every sense of the word – serious, committed, and effective exemplars of the student success process.  The work of improving student success is difficult, important, and urgent. Across the nation, more colleges are committing to raising persistence and graduation rates. Achieving the Dream Institutions like Valencia College are national exemplars of what is possible with an institution-wide commitment to student success and equity.

We are also proud to congratulate Achieving the Dream colleagues at Mott Community College and Southwest Texas Junior College who were among the top ten finalists for the Aspen Prize.  

Source: Marketing & Strategic Communications