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


It’s not too late!


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

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?


2+2 Grad FB


association of honors alumni transfer scholarship


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.

valencia graduate mehdi khoumassi



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

congratulations graduates


On Saturday, May 4, about 1,200 Valencia students received their associate degrees as Valencia College celebrated its 44th spring commencement at the Silver Spurs Arena in Kissimmee.

But another 20 Valencia students made history at this commencement ceremony – becoming the first students to earn their bachelor’s degrees at Valencia College.

Eleven of the graduating seniors earned bachelor’s degrees in radiologic and imaging sciences, while nine students earned their bachelor’s degrees in electrical and computer engineering technology.

To recognize this year’s graduates, the college has posted the names of all 7,515 Class of 2013 graduates on a Lynx bus. After commencement ceremonies, the bus will be used on Lynx bus route 15, which travels from downtown Orlando to Valencia’s East Campus, on Econlockhatchee Trail.

The Orlando Sentinel has some great photos from the day here, including a photo of foundation staff member Susan Ambridge and her service dog Binx. Congratulations Susan and to all of our Valencia graduates!


watch graduation live


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.


making history: navy vet earns one of valencia’s first bachelor’s degrees

MaryMiller72On Saturday, May 4, Mary Miller and 19 other Valencia students will make history, becoming the first students to earn their bachelor’s degrees from Valencia College.
But when Mary was graduating from high school, she chose another direction — one that ultimately led her to Valencia.

After high school, Mary enrolled at the University of Central Florida in the late 1980s, and followed her passion: music. A trombone player, she majored in music performance, minored in voice and even served as the marching band president for the Knights.

But along the way, Mary began wondering how she’d be able to make a living as a music teacher. With those doubts troubling her, she dropped out of UCF and joined the U.S. Navy – as a musician. After going through the Navy’s Virginia training camp for musicians, she was assigned to, of all places, Orlando. And here she played in the Orlando Naval Training Center’s band, playing for the base’s weekly graduations, playing Fourth of July events, playing at Disney and at UCF football games.

But in 1994, when the Navy announced it would close the Orlando base in 1995, Mary found herself at a crossroads.

Although her Navy superiors encouraged her to enter officer training, she had been recovering from back surgery and didn’t feel ready. Besides, her mother – a breast-cancer survivor — lived in south Florida and moving to Jacksonville would take Mary even farther from her mom. Ultimately, “the band went to Jacksonville and I stayed here.”

For a while, Mary managed a music store, but the pay was discouraging. “I thought, ‘I need to find a career that’s going to enable me to survive on my own,’ “ she recalls. After doing some research, she discovered that Valencia College offers an associate in science degree in radiologic and imaging science.

She was intrigued by the field, particularly by the array of possible jobs in the field, from x-ray technician to CT (computed tomography)-scans to MRI technicians. So she signed up and, in May 2001, graduated and landed a job at Arnold Palmer Children’s Hospital.

There, she worked her way up from X-ray technician to lead X-ray tech before cross training to become a CT scan technologist. Today, she’s the hospital’s lead CT scan technologist.

And though most of the people in the field have two-year, associate in science degrees, Miller wanted a four-year degree. “Some people have asked me why I want it, and I always said, ‘I want it for me.’ I wanted a four-year degree when I was a music major – and I want one now,” she said.

However, money remained a factor. When UCF offered the four-year radiography degree, the cost of the tuition was higher. So Mary put off enrolling, wondering if the investment of money would pay off in the long run. But when Valencia took over the four-year Radiologic and Imaging Sciences program that UCF had shuttered, Mary was one of the first to sign up.

“I was already familiar with the school and the staff. I knew that the instructors want us to succeed,” she says. “As soon as (Valencia) announced that they were taking over the program, I jumped on it like I was a dog on a bone.”

Valencia’s online program enabled 46-year-old Mary, who works three 12-hour shifts each week, to take classes and do homework at her convenience.

Along the way, she discovered that taking bachelor’s degree coursework changed her outlook about her job. “It broadens your perspective,” Mary said. “Before, it was just a job, not my career. Now I don’t think just about what we’re doing at my hospital. Now I think, ‘Where do we fit inside the community of radiology?’ ”

Still, earning her bachelor’s degree hasn’t been easy. During the past two years, Mary had major surgery and four family members passed away. Yet she persisted.

“It’s been a battle to get this far,” she said. “I’ve learned to be so tenacious. I made up my mind that I will not be defeated by the other obstacles that life is putting in front of me.”

And on May 4, she will walk across the stage at the Silver Spurs Arena in Kissimmee, and will start a new chapter in Valencia’s history, as one of the first students to earn a bachelor’s degree from Valencia.
Nothing, she says, will prevent her from participating in this commencement.

“You could not stop me,” she says, laughing. “After all this, believe me, I’ll be sprinting like FloJo across the stage.”

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

ucf awards valencia president honorary doctorate

sandydoctorate2-1024x682Dr. Sanford C. “Sandy” Shugart, was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Central Florida at UCF’s Dec. 14 commencement ceremony, in honor of his contributions to Central Florida’s education community.

Dr. John C. Hitt, UCF’s president, presented Shugart with a Doctor of Humane Letters, saying that Shugart’s “exceptional leadership at Valencia College has transformed the lives of tens of thousands of students and created a national model for higher education.”

Shugart also served as the commencement speaker for the graduation ceremonies for the College of Arts and Humanities, College of Graduate Studies, College of Sciences, College of Undergraduate Studies and the College of Nursing.

“My message to the class of 2012 is: Be careful. Your work could form you, deform you, transform you,” Shugart told the graduates. “When you look back on the trajectory of your career, wouldn’t you want it to be a journey rather than a rat race?”

More than 4,700 students were expected to participate in graduation ceremonies on Dec. 14 and 15.

Shugart is the president of Valencia College, which was named the nation’s top community college in 2012 by the Aspen Institute.

During his 12-year tenure, Valencia has pioneered changes that have resulted in dramatic improvements in student learning and graduation rates. Today, Valencia is ranked third among the nation’s colleges in the number of associate degrees awarded.

In 2006, Shugart worked with Hitt to create DirectConnect to UCF, an innovative transfer program that guarantees admission to UCF to students who earn their associate degrees at Valencia and three other local state colleges.

Today, that program is recognized as a national model – both as a successful transfer program and one of the most affordable ways to earn a bachelor’s degree. DirectConnect has also been recognized for increasing bachelor’s degrees for minority students. In October, Valencia’s DirectConnect to UCF program was selected by Excelencia in Education, a Washington, D.C.-based organization, as America’s top program for increasing academic opportunities and success for Latino students at the associate level.

Shugart earned his Bachelor of Science, Master of Arts in Teaching, and his doctorate in education at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Before taking the presidency of Valencia in 2000, Shugart served as president of North Harris College in Houston, and Vice President of the North Carolina Community College System. He is also a published author, poet and musician.

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

the best we have to offer


One of the very favorite parts of my job is reading student scholarship applications and their thank-you letters. Nothing brings the mission closer, and at the end of the day, nothing makes me more grateful to work for the foundation.

The applications and letters do not always tell happy stories. In my time here, I have read about homelessness, hunger, domestic violence, illness and too many other tragedies to count. But even in the saddest of stories, there is hope. These students hope for the day when they walk across the stage and receive a diploma or certificate. Their journeys to commencement are different, but one thing is the same – they believed in themselves enough to make this journey, overcoming obstacles and never losing hope.

The scholarship donor becomes a member of an elite community who help a student along their path. Countless thank-you letters from students share appreciation for more than the monetary scholarship, they are thankful that someone believed in them enough to invest in their journey. This belief spurs them to remain committed and gives them the belief-in-self needed to be a success.

As you consider your year-end giving, please consider Valencia Foundation and scholarships.

On commencement day, amidst the cheers and smiles, is the gratitude for all the scholarship benefactors who made these journeys possible. And each donor should be proud, knowing that these students are the very best we have to offer. Truly, they are the leaders of tomorrow.

To become a part of our elite community and support scholarships, please visit

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:

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

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;

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 and simply enter your cell phone number. Donations will be applied to Valencia’s Student Government Association Scholarship. Visit 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 Messaging & Data Rates May Apply. You can unsubscribe at any time by texting STOP to short code 20222; text HELP to 20222 for help.

quick look back with our appreciation

Monday, Aug. 30 is the start of a new academic year at Valencia. We welcome our new freshman class as we take a look at images from last year. We wish all students great success, wonderful connections, and a lifetime of learning.


meet valencia’s 2009-10 distinguished graduate


Kim Do was the president of the Alpha Phi Zeta chapter of Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society and has been recognized for her academic excellence, community service and student leadership.


 Dream big and have courage to take on big roles. Do not pass on an opportunity to be a leader in your school or community.
               -Kim Do, 2009-10 Distinguished Graduate


Academic excellence, community service and student leadership have earned Kim Do the honor of being named the 2009-10 Distinguished Graduate by the Valencia Alumni Association. 

Born in Vietnam, Kim moved to the United States with her family when she was just nine years old. While her father had his own business back home, he gave it up and took a minimum-wage position here in order to provide Kim and her younger sister the opportunity for a U.S. education. His efforts were not in vain.

Kim quickly adapted to her new life, overcoming culture shock and learning a new language in order to make friends and succeed in school. Now, as a graduating Valencia student, she holds a 3.64 GPA and has earned a reputation for her involvement around campus and within the community.

As president of the Alpha Phi Zeta chapter of Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society on the Osceola Campus, Kim wanted to inspire other students to become active as well. To increase membership, Kim promoted the group, hosted orientations for new members and developed a rewards program for participation. Under her leadership, the group’s number of active members has nearly tripled.

“Kim really wanted to improve the chapter and make a difference in our college and community,” said Albert Groccia, mathematics professor and PTK advisor. “She really believes that phi Theta Kappa is a wonderful opportunity for students to learn how to communicate, become leaders and help the community.”

Through PTK, Kim has led many community service initiatives. She has helped to organize bake sales, car washes and cookouts to raise funds for Relay for Life, and has volunteered with several organizations, including BASE Camp Children’s Cancer Foundation, Give Kids the World, Second Harvest Food Bank and Florida’s Nature Conservancy.

“It’s important for me to give back,” Kim said. “Because I have been given opportunity, I want to pass that on. It’s almost like a rent you pay – giving back to those around you and to the community.”

During her time at Valencia, Kim has also served as the parliamentarian for Phi Theta Kappa, as the treasurer for the Student Government Association, and as historian for the Honors Student Advisory Committee. She has been named to Valencia Dean’s List, the National Dean’s List and the 2008-09 All Florida Academic Team. She is the recipient of Phi Theta Kappa’s High Star Achiever Award and was nominated for 2009’s Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges.

Kim graduates from Valencia with an Associate in Arts degree focused in biology. She plans to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in chemistry and is currently awaiting admission to University of Notre Dame, University of Central Florida and Florida State University. Kim’s ultimate goal is to become a plastic surgeon so that she can help children with birth defects.

As she leaves Valencia, Kim continues to encourage other students to get involved.

(Reprinted from Association UpdateSummer/Fall 2010 VITAE Magazine Issue 6)

valencia is top producer of associate degrees in nation

A report just published by Community College Week shows that Valencia Community College awards more associate degrees than any other two-year school in the nation. Valencia also leads the way in the number of associate degrees awarded to minorities, an 18 percent increase from the year before.

The report, published in June 2010, was compiled using data from the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics and focused on degrees conferred during the 2008-2009 academic year. In that year, Valencia awarded 5,128 associate degrees, including 1,956 earned by minority students.

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

Aside from overall associate degrees conferred, Valencia ranked high across a number of academic disciplines: first in the number of degrees awarded in general studies, 10th in nursing and 15th in engineering technology.

Valencia offers three types of degrees: the Associate in Arts (A.A.), Associate in Science (A.S.) and the Associate in Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree. The A.A. degree parallels the first two years of a four-year bachelor’s degree. In Florida, graduates with an A.A. degree are guaranteed acceptance as juniors into the state university system. Valencia also offers more than 100 A.S., A.A.S. and certificate programs, which lead to immediate entry into the workforce.

Today there are approximately 1,200 community colleges in the United States.

SOURCE:  Valencia News, June 18, 2010, Marketing and Strategic Communications, 407-582-1015

valencia to graduate 2,800 on may 8

On Saturday, May 8, a total of 2,800 graduates will receive their associate degrees as Valencia Community College celebrates its 41st spring commencement at the Silver Spurs Arena in Kissimmee. 

Congratulations Kim Do Valencia 2009-2010 Distinguished Graduate as selected by the Alumni Association

These students join the more than 80,000 graduates who have received degrees since Valencia was established in 1967. Among two-year schools, Valencia awards the second largest number of associate degrees in the nation.

This year’s commencement speaker is 20-year-old Kim Do, who was named the 2009-2010 Distinguished Graduate by the Valencia Alumni Association. Born in Vietnam, Do moved to the United States when she was nine years old. She overcame culture shock and learned a new language in order to make friends and succeed in school. Now, as a graduating Valencia student, she holds a 3.64 GPA and has earned a reputation for her involvement around campus and within the community as the president of the Alpha Phi Zeta chapter of Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society on the Osceola Campus. Do plans to pursue a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and ultimately become a plastic surgeon so that she can help children with birth defects. She currently resides in Kissimmee.

Commencement exercises will take place at 10 a.m. at Silver Spurs Arena, Osceola Heritage Park, on U.S. Hwy. 192 in Kissimmee. 

Source: News and Information, April 30, 2010, Marketing and Strategic Communications, Valencia Community College, 407-582-1778

graduation application deadline

Yes, the graduation application deadline is approaching! Please help us spread the word to students so they don’t miss this important date.

The graduation application deadline is this Friday, January 29,2010, 11:59:59, for students interested in graduating in May 2010. All students apply on line through their ATLAS account.  

Your donations tell a student someone believes in their dream. It represents a life transformed and can change the course of a family for generations. Click on the cap above or visit for more information or to make a donation.

welcome and thanks for stopping by

Welcome to our new home on the web. I hope you’ll spend a few minutes exploring and share with us your thoughts on how to make this blog rock. Our five staff bloggers (the Bloggettes?) will be joined occasionally by guest authors. Would you like to be one?

Here is why I care about this college and its people.

Valencia is a place of great hope. You see it in the faces of our students. You witness it in the nurturing hands of faculty and staff members who guide students through their learning odysseys and help them overcome hurdles. On commencement day, hope is manifest as graduates – some proudly, some humbly and others doing a little jig – cross the stage to accept their hard-earned diplomas. Countless, for the first time ever, are optimistic about their futures.

While our nation faces enormous challenges, it is comforting to know that hope abides.

What is even more heartening is to watch our students’ hope evolve, little by little, into faith:  faith that they can withstand challenges and not only survive but thrive; faith in their own abilities and intelligence; faith that allows them to accept help from others.

Among the knowledge gained at Valencia, perhaps the most important lesson a student can learn is to keep faith with himself. Continue reading