Need money for college?


2+2 Grad FB


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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Post Eblast

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.


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



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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
Email us:
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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 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 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.

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.

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We called Dr. Shugart and said, “Here’s what we’d like to do.” And he said, “I’ll set up a meeting in a couple weeks to see where this may go.” Then one day I got a phone call inviting me to a meeting consisting of people from UCF, UF and Valencia. On meeting day, Dr. Shugart made some opening remarks and immediately looked at me and said, “Okay John, you asked for this meeting, what do you want to discuss?” This was the opportunity and audience I needed to present the white paper and openly discuss the need for an architectural program in Orlando.
Student project2

The current scenario was a student would go to Valencia and get a two-year degree then they’d apply to UF or other colleges. They were accepted at major universities across the country and once they received their degree, they would very seldom return to Orlando. So our goal was very selfish – keep the talent here in Orlando. We wanted the ability for students to get an education here, complete their internship here and stay here to design their professional life in Orlando where they started.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 .


state board of education oks new campus in poinciana

The State Board of Education on Tuesday approved Valencia College’s plans to create a new campus in Poinciana, paving the way for Valencia to begin the process of looking for a site for the new campus.

Although Valencia College officials have been eyeing a possible Poinciana campus since 2003, the discussion began to gain traction this year, said Dr. Sandy Shugart, Valencia College president. “We have been looking forward to bringing our presence to Poinciana for many years,” Shugart said.

When the campus will be completed depends on state funding, but college officials hope to get it added to the list of state-approved building projects. Plans call for securing a site by late spring of 2014.

College officials estimate that the first phase of construction of the Poinciana campus will consist of one 60,000-70,000 square foot building, which would serve about 2,500 students. Eventually, the campus would encompass 150,000 square feet of classrooms and offices and would serve about 4,000 students.

The new Poinciana campus will be Valencia’s sixth campus. The college currently operates four campuses in Orange County and one in Osceola County.

Poinciana is one of the fastest-growing communities in Central Florida. Census figures show that the area’s population grew from 13,600 residents to more than 53,000 from 2000 to 2010. Currently, students who live in the Poinciana area must commute about 45 minutes during rush hour to reach Valencia’s Kissimmee campus. The commute takes nearly two hours by bus.

“A campus in Poinciana would be a game-changer,” said Shugart. “We’d like to increase the college-going rate of students who graduate from high school in the Poinciana area; we’d like to get more adults to complete college degrees as well. We’d like to offer more career-training there; and we’d like to partner with the University of Central Florida and TECO (Technical Education Center Osceola) and others to make sure a full gamut of talent is available for companies that relocate and expand there.”

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

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.


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:

aha is hosting another exciting luau for alumni!

luau 3

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

mentor program provides 49 high school students with full college scholarships


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

valencia veteran students benefit from wells fargo grant

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

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

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

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

who gets more curious with age? research scientists, says shugart

Importance-of-Research40If you’re the kind of person with “blazing curiosity,” chances are that you’ve got the right stuff to become a research scientist.

“You’ll wake up in the middle of the night, wanting to know the answer to a question. You’ll read books that cause people to say, ‘You’re crazy to read that stuff,’ ” Dr. Sandy Shugart, Valencia College’s president, told a group of honors students and members of the East Campus Student Research Community on Thursday, Jan. 24. Speaking before more than 80 students and faculty members at the East Campus Performing Arts Center, Shugart told them that if they decided to pursue a career in scientific research, they’ll discover a fascinating career — and an engaging life.

Even students who don’t become scientists, however, can learn to think like researchers. “Research isn’t just a tool; it’s a way of engaging, of asking better questions,” Shugart said.

As a freshman in college at the University of North Carolina, Shugart said he didn’t have a particular major or career in mind. Instead, he focused on figuring out the answers to the questions and issues that intrigued him. The question forefront in his mind, he said, was basic: “How do we know the ‘truth’ is true? That question grabbed me when I was 18.”

Inspired in part by Jacob Bronowski’s 13-part BBC documentary series, “Ascent of Man,” — in which Bronowski traced the history of civilization through man’s understanding of science — Shugart decided to pursue chemistry.

“I did not go to college to get a job. I went, hoping to avoid it altogether,” he told the audience. “I became a chemistry major — but I should have become a philosophy major.”

Along the way, he gravitated toward thought-provoking books such as Lewis Thomas’s “Lives of a Cell,” Bronowski’s “Science and Human Values” and anthropologist Loren Eiseley’s “The Immense Journey.” And, like many college students embarking in their own career paths, Shugart’s route was meandering: Though he started in chemistry, he ended up in higher education.

Although he never became a research scientist, Shugart learned the basic tools of a research scientist: observation, awareness of your own biases, the ability to find patterns in data, understanding outliers, generating hypotheses, how to test hypotheses.

It may sound boring, but he says it’s essential, he told the students, many of whom are students in Valencia’s Seneff Honors College, and are interested in participating in research projects as undergraduates.

“If you’re serious about research, you’ll put in the hours of drudgery,” he said. Learning to play a musical instrument may be tedious in the beginning, he noted, but allows musicians to play wonderfully complex music later on.

And for students who aren’t quite sure what majors or careers to pursue, Shugart offered words of encouragement.

“Wandering,” he noted, “is an important part of wondering.”

Source: Linda Shrieves Beaty, Marketing and Strategic Communications, Valencia College; Valencia News;

sandy shugart in concert


Please join Valencia Foundation board, donors and friends
to enjoy original music by

 Sandy Shugart in concert at the Winter Garden Theatre
Saturday, Jan. 12, 8 p.m.

The Garden Theatre
160 W. Plant Street, Winter Garden, FL 34787

A limited number of complimentary tickets are available through the foundation on a
first-call basis. Please RSVP to Pamela Dorn at or

General admission tickets are $25; Valencia student tickets are $14. Proceeds benefit students and the arts.

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;

legislative update: a plan to double the number of FL college graduates

Legislative Update

Florida state colleges unveil
ambitious plan to be best in the nation

Shugart: Florida state colleges unveil ambitious plan to be best in the nation

When the state legislature convenes, legislators will receive a new, headline-grabbing proposal from the presidents of Florida’s 28 state colleges: A four-year plan that will double the number of college graduates in Florida by the year 2020.

The plan, which has been dubbed Florida First, calls for Florida’s state and community colleges to lead the nation in job placement, affordability and accountability. Florida First also calls for the state’s public colleges to be the nation’s best at accelerating students, through partnerships with high-schools and universities.

The idea grew from discussions that state college presidents, including Valencia College president Dr. Sandy Shugart, had with Gov. Rick Scott earlier this year. To pay for the changes, the college presidents will ask for a 35-percent increase in state funding during the next four years.

“I think [legislators] will probably blink when they first see the pricetag,” said Shugart. “But it’s not a one-year price-tag.”

To be first in the nation in job placement, the proposal includes investing in programs that need workers, including careers in science, technology, engineering, math, and health and life sciences.

The state colleges would also promise to hit certain benchmarks on graduation rates and certificate awards. Those that don’t would see a 10 percent cut in their state funding.

To remain affordable, Florida state colleges would tie tuition increases to rises in the cost of living—so tuition increases would not outpace the rate of inflation.

“We think in Florida we have an opportunity to establish ourselves as the best college system in the country,” said Shugart. “We’re very close now.” Half of the state’s twoyear colleges were among the 120 colleges in the running for the 2013 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence—and two, Santa Fe College in Gainesville and Broward College in Fort Lauderdale—are finalists. Valencia won the inaugural Aspen Prize in 2011.

Florida’s two-year colleges already have a three-year graduation rate that’s nearly double the national average. In Florida, 38.2 percent of community college students earn their associate degrees in three years, while nationally, only 20.4 percent of community college students graduate in three years, according to the U.S. Department of Education.

For updates throughout the legislative session, go to

Reposted from Vitae Issue 10

valencia college day in the city of orlando

Valencia President Sanford Shugart accepts a proclamation from Mayor Buddy Dyer marking Aug. 27, 2012 as “Valencia College Day” in the City of Orlando.

valencia leaders committed to keeping tuition low

Valencia to Freeze Student Tuition for the Fall

During a visit to Tallahassee last February, Valencia President Sanford Shugart told lawmakers it would be a mistake to raise college tuition rates at a time when federal financial aid is constrained by the budget problems in Washington.

Today he made good on those intentions, when he presented Valencia trustees with a budget overview for the coming year that holds tuition at current levels. While trustees approved the plan, they will still need to formally approve the college’s operating budget for the 2012-13 fiscal year when they meet on June 19.

At $99.06 per credit hour for Florida residents, Valencia’s tuition is currently less than five other Central Florida community colleges, including Seminole State College and Polk and Brevard community colleges, and is about half the cost of a state university.

“Valencia has held the line on student costs, even at some pain to the college,” said Shugart.

While good news for students, employees of Valencia will not see a salary increase under the new proposal. The college also plans to cut $3.8 million in expenses through reductions to travel, supplies and the number of adjunct faculty and part-time staff.

Valencia leaders have declined to raise tuition although authorized to do so by the Florida Legislature, which gave colleges in the Florida College System—including Valencia—the option of implementing a 5 percent tuition hike.

Valencia’s trustees applauded the administration’s budget outline.

“I think it is a thoughtful and considered approach to trying to solve a number of problems,” said trustee Lew Oliver.

Shugart said that the budget scenario presented is a short-term solution and cannot be sustained indefinitely.

“We really need to start moderating tuition and investing in the system again,” said Shugart.

In the past, state dollars funded about 75 percent of a student’s education at Valencia, with students funding the rest. But in recent years that model has shifted. The state now pays about 40 percent of the cost with students paying 60 percent.

At Tuesday’s board meeting, trustees expressed frustration with the way the state funds two-year colleges. Over the last decade lawmakers have cut financing or not allocated enough to keep pace with growing enrollment, while expecting colleges to make up the difference by increasing tuition. In 2011-2012, Valencia was next to last in state funding per full-time student – and yet the college leads the nation in the number of associate degrees awarded.

Not only is the college committed to keeping tuition as low as possible, it is also looking at other ways to hold down costs for students, including discounting textbooks and exploring textbook alternatives.

In the last two years, students took advantage of a 20 percent discount on textbooks sold through the college’s bookstores. The total savings to students fell just shy of $2 million at $1,975,000.

valencia veteran students benefit from wells fargo grant

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

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

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

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

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.

sounds of sandy shugart

Don’t miss Sandy Shugart in concert, releasing his newest CD, “Distances We Keep, “ at the Garden Theatre in Winter Garden.

Don’t miss Sandy Shugart in concert, releasing his newest CD “Distances We Keep,” at the Garden Theatre in Winter Garden.  Saturday, January 14, 2012 8pm.  Tickets: $15 (students/seniors $12); visit online for tickets.

This is coffeehouse music at its best – intelligent and engaging. Ranging in style from Americana to alternative country to urban folk, this singer-songwriter offers an acoustic tour of the emotions, including humor, with original songs mixed with the occasional cover.

Extended tickets for $40 include 6:30 pm pre-show reception plus 8 pm concert; visit online for tickets.

Garden Theatre –
160 West Plant Street
Winter Garden, FL 34787


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

Valencia president named one of Orlando’s most influential businessmen

Dr. Sanford "Sandy" Shugart

Dr. Sanford “Sandy” Shugart, Valencia College’s president, has been named one of the Orlando Business Journal’s Most Influential Businessmen for 2011.

The business publication selected Shugart as the most influential businessman in the education field.

Shugart, 55, has led Valencia since 2000. He came to Valencia from North Harris College near Houston.  Prior to that, the North Carolina native served as vice president of the North Carolina Community College System. He received his doctorate from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Shugart is the fourth president of Valencia, one of the nation’s largest and most celebrated two-year colleges. Earlier this year, Valencia was named one of 10 finalists for the inaugural Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, which rewards the best and most innovative community college in the nation. Valencia is also 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. 

Shugart is well known on campus as a poet and musician. But the Orlando Business Journal article spotlighted a few things you may not know about Valencia’s president. For instance, did you know that his favorite movie is “Twelve O’Clock High,” a 1949 film about a general who takes over a bomber pilot unit suffering from low morale and whips them into fighting shape?  Or that he describes the birth of his first child as his “most life-changing experience”?  And who would have guessed that his pet peeve is aggressive drivers?

Source: Marketing & Strategic Communications

foundation board kickoff – Aug. 25, 2011

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;

learning day: valencia employees give back to the community

More than 1,000 Valencia Community College employees collectively undertook a massive public service project Friday as a way of giving thanks for the community’s ongoing support.

It was all part of Learning Day, an annual event in which all college campuses are closed and faculty and staff gather to focus on the college’s learning-based mission.

Traditionally, activities have been campus-based and involved a variety of activities.

This year, employees started the day off by gathering under one roof — UCF Arena — for a rare convocation.

Attendees heard from distinguished alumni about how Valencia helped shape their lives:

Eddie Ruiz, principal of Jackson Middle School. Ruiz received his AA degree in 1999 and went on to graduate from UCF two years later. He is currently in the doctoral program at UCF. Before becoming a principal, he worked as a science teacher. He was a finalist for Orange County Teacher of the Year in 2006. Note: He attended Jackson Middle as a teen.

Abeer Beshir Abdalla, a 2005 Valencia grad — also named that year’s Distinguished Graduate – who works as a writer and communications specialist in Washington, D.C. She earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from UCF. She is also a former president of Valencia’s Alumni Association.

Francis Angibeaud Montjen, a Cameroon native who earned an AA degree from Valencia in 2002. Since moving to the United Kingdom, he’s received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Southampton and is currently working on a master’s degree in finance and banking at Queen Mary University in London.

Following the convocation, employees jumped on buses for a ride to Moss Park in southeast Orlando.

Their mission: spruce the place up for the enjoyment of the entire community.

At the park/campground, employees:

– Widened and mulched the Bear Island Nature Trail.

– Replaced old guide poles and filled potholes.

– Cleaned up landscaping at the park’s entrance, removed invasive plants and cleared vegetation in certain areas to enhance sight-lines.

– Raked volleyball courts and filled with new sand.

– Cleaned playground equipment.

– Cleaned and refinished picnic tables, fire rings and grills.

Valencia teamed with Hands on Orlando, a nonprofit group that connects volunteers with service projects, to organize the Moss Park clean-up.

Valencia President Sandy Shugart thanked employees at the end of the day, saying he liked the idea of a collective service learning project because it presented the rare opportunity for employees of the far-flung college community to come together in one place. 

Choosing a public park as a focus instead of splintering across different projects had deep meaning too, he said.

“A park is great because it represents the community,” Shugart said.

For more information:

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

valencia trustees move to become “valencia college”

Valencia Community College will soon be known as Valencia College after trustees today approved President Sanford Shugart’s recommendation to rename the school to more accurately convey its mission and program mix.

“The name Valencia College conveys who we are and all that we offer and may yet deliver in fulfillment of our mission,” said Shugart in an e-mail to faculty and staff earlier this week. “It is consistent with the evolving higher education landscape in Florida and with our position in it.”

Shugart stressed that the college remains committed to its core principles of an “open door,” affordable tuition, and a learning-centered philosophy for which it has become known as one of the best community colleges in the nation. Valencia produces more associate degree graduates than any two-year college in America.

In their discussions, trustees emphasized that Valencia is now the “primary on ramp” to higher education for Central Florida with more than 60,000 students. More than twice as many local high school graduates enroll at Valencia than at all public universities in the state combined.

“Valencia loves its role in serving a very broad range of students in this community and is arguably one of the best in the nation at achieving the vision of a community college,” said Raymer F. Maguire III, chair of Valencia’s District Board of Trustees.

The college’s highly successful guaranteed transfer program into UCF, known as DirectConnect, has also turned Valencia into a sought-after college destination for many students. More than 20 percent of UCF’s upper division is made up of Valencia transfers with many in the pipeline, thanks to the seamless transition.

Valencia launches its own bachelor’s degree programs for the first time in its history next fall, with electrical and computer engineering technology and radiologic and imaging science. They add to an already strong presence of bachelor’s programs offered through UCF’s regional campus at Valencia.

“We’re pleased to see Valencia moving forward with the offering of select bachelor’s degrees,” said UCF Board of Trustee Chair Rick Walsh. “I believe our partnership can only be strengthened as we work together to ensure students a path toward degree completion.”

On Valencia’s West Campus, UCF offers complete bachelor’s degrees in applied science, architecture, business administration, criminal justice, electrical engineering, elementary education, interdisciplinary studies, legal studies, nursing, political science, psychology and sociology. On Osceola Campus, UCF offers bachelor’s degrees in applied science, business administration, elementary education, interdisciplinary studies and psychology.

Valencia’s workforce offerings are highly regarded with signature programs in film, nursing, hospitality and culinary, digital media, and computer technology.

Driven by a belief that “anyone can learn anything under the right circumstances,” Valencia has instituted several innovative strategies to improve academic performance for students in their critical first year of college, including linking paired courses to strengthen learning, and placing specially trained student leaders in the classroom to offer support and tutoring.

The success of these reforms has earned Valencia support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation through non-profit group MDC, Inc., who gave Valencia almost three-quarters of a million dollars last year to expand its efforts to close educational achievement gaps across racial and ethnic lines.

Valencia also operates several programs, including Take Stock in Children and Bridges, that identify at-risk students prior to college and provides them with mentors coupled with financial support throughout their academic careers.

Valencia operates six campuses and centers in Orange and Osceola counties offering credit and continuing education programs. In 2012 it will open a new campus in Lake Nona. The college was founded in 1967 as Valencia Junior College and renamed in 1972 as Valencia Community College.

The college conducted a year-long consultation with students, faculty, and business leaders inviting them to share their thoughts on Valencia’s mission. Many attended campus forums and weighed in on the issue. “We were very open, thoughtful and deliberate about this step,” said Shugart. “Valencia holds a unique position in this community but also in many hearts and minds. This move comes at the right time and for the right reasons.”

The name change will take effect July 1, 2011. Officials say the college will incur only minimal costs to implement the name, leaving unchanged its well-recognized Valencia logo, adopted in the mid 1990s. The official college seal, used since 1967, will see slight modifications.

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

building named for paul mears sr.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How To Reverse Higher Ed Dropout Crisis?

Thought leaders from government, academia and business–including Valencia President Sandy Shugart– called for an improvement in college completion rates. At stake, they said, is Americans’ ability to remain competitive in a global economy.

conversation on higher education dropout crisis

Educators, officials and others discuss this worrisome trend.

Source:; by Eliza Krigman; Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Thought leaders from the government, academia and business today called for an improvement in college completion rates. At stake, they said, is Americans’ ability to remain competitive in a global economy.

The statistics are grim: Only about 56 percent of students enrolling at four-year colleges in America today graduate within six years. For Hispanic students, that figure is 49 percent, and for black students, it’s 42 percent. At community colleges, fewer than 30 percent of those who start as full-time students graduate with an associate’s degree in three years.

“We need to do more in the area of college completion,” Robert Shireman, deputy undersecretary for the Education Department, said at a National Journal LIVE forum on Capitol Hill this morning. Shireman, a veteran of higher education, oversees the department’s effort to help Americans pay for college and develop strategies to increase college completion, among other initiatives.

Some critics argue that abysmal graduation rates are reflections of a system designed for mass production, not creating learned people. “There is no rationale for having lecture sections with a thousand people,” said Sandy Shugart, president of Valencia Community College in Orlando, Fla. Instead, Shugart argued, college leaders need to rethink the value of students. They’re “unique human beings,” not “raw material,” he said.

Another part of the problem is disagreement over the data. There is no consensus over how best to measure college completion rates. The most widely used formula in four-year colleges is the percentage of full-time students who graduate within six years. Higher education stakeholders, however, are vexed by how to capture difficult variables such as transfer students.

Still, “bad data is no excuse not to do better,” said Hilary Pennington, director of education, post-secondary success and special initiatives at the Gates Foundation. David Leonhardt, a business columnist for the New York Times, also posited that flawed measurements should not allow leaders to ignore the problem.

Kevin Carey, policy director at the Education Sector and an expert on higher education, argued that the urgency surrounding the college completion problem needs to be greater. Education Secretary Arne Duncan talks about the high school dropout crisis all the time, Carey said, but the dropout crisis facing higher education doesn’t get the same attention.

Leaders of post-secondary institutions, nonprofits and the private sector are experimenting with ways to address the retention problem.

Early college credit is one approach. In several hundred high schools around the country, students have the opportunity to simultaneously complete high school and earn post-secondary credit; they can earn an associate’s degree or work two years toward a bachelor’s tuition-free.

Starfish Retention Solutions of Arlington, Va., sells software to help mitigate the dropout phenomenon. The software purports to help identify at-risk students in real time and connect those students to support resources by drawing information from an institution’s student management system.

One of the most powerful solutions, Shireman suggested, is very simple: paying attention. Colleges need to monitor whether students are coming back for the second semester, or the second year, and take follow-up action, he added.

However, Shireman won’t be leading the administration’s college completion initiatives much longer. He’ll be returning to California this summer, and James Kvaal, who currently works at the White House National Economic Council, will take his place.

When the administration announced on May 18 that Shireman would be leaving, Wall Street responded. Stocks of 10 publicly traded higher education companies rose between 1 percent and 13 percent, with analysts speculating that Shireman’s departure might be beneficial for the higher education’s private sector.

“I thought that leaving would help spur the economy,” joked Shireman.

Source:; by Eliza Krigman; Wednesday, June 2, 2010


inspirational alumni blog revisited

Laura and Dr. Shugart

In November, we shared with you a wonderfully inspirational blog, the “Holdin Out for a Hero” blog written by Laura (Valencia alumna, 2006).

In Laura’s words:

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.

Laura recently updated her blog with a beautiful salute to Dr. Shugart.

March 2, Laura writes:

I remember shaking his hand, and then as we took our seats at the table in the boardroom, I nervously clicked on my tape recorder and sat, poised and ready to jot down whatever he said, word for word.

Before asking any questions, I began with a brief explanation that I had done a little research about him.

“Did you Google me?” he asked. I laughed a little shyly, but immediately relaxed considerably. This was no stuffy school principal who was holding my “permanent record.” This was a classy, sophisticated, yet laid-back guy who, in spite of the title, was “down” with the students. He knew us…

…All that being said, as he is an exceptional leader in the college arena (leading one of the top five community colleges in the nation!), and since his support, though demonstrated through our brief encounters, has been instrumental to my success as a student and as a journalist, I think it’s safe to say Dr. Shugart is a hero all around…

…What amazes me most about him though is that he seems to treat each student at Valencia (and alumni, too) as if he or she were the student that matters most…

Please take a moment to check out Laura’s piece about the person that leads Valencia Community College today.

We thank you, Laura!

new chiller plant brings valencia one step closer to sustainability

In charge of maintaining and operating the new chiller plant are (left to right): Clifton Taylor, John Letterman, Winsome Bennett (Valencia’s energy conservation manager), Robert Hickman, Lawrence Wainwright and Jim Nelson.

Valencia and Siemens officials gathered last week for a ribbon-cutting ceremony in the new environmentally friendly central chiller plant on Valencia’s campus in west Orlando.

 Siemens Building Technologies, Inc. installed the high-efficiency chillers, which are designed to supply all the cooling needs for the campus’s 14 buildings using chilled water. The new system will result in over $400,000 in energy savings a year or a 30% reduction in utility costs for the college. A similar chiller plant will soon be up and running on the college’s East Campus, further reducing costs by a combined $1 million per year.

 “Since 1998 we have been working on energy conservation projects touching lighting, water and HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) systems within the buildings,” said Robert Hickman, who serves as the HVAC energy manager for the campus. “With this new plant, not only did we exceed our energy conservation goals, we were able to overcome insufficient cooling capacity and drastically reduce repair costs.”

 Besides the addition of the new chiller plants, the college has sought to reduce its overall impact on the environment by committing to building only LEED-certified facilities as designated by the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design through the U.S. Green Building Council. So far, three Valencia buildings either have qualified for LEED gold certification or are awaiting certification.

 Valencia President Sanford Shugart has also signed the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment. To date, 657 colleges and universities have pledged to reduce their campus greenhouse gas emissions over time.

Source: Marketing and Media Relations, Valencia Community College, 407-582-1015

going for gold

special eventValencia’s new special events center going for gold!

This week, Orlando Sentinel highlights Valencia’s work on current and upcoming LEED gold buildings.
Florida trails the nation in environmentally friendly architecture —

Excerpt:   The cost of going for gold adds about 2.5 percent to the cost of construction, according to officials at Valencia, which soon stands to have three gold certifications in its portfolio. The new special-events center on the school’s west Orlando campus is now vying for gold LEED, with such features as toilets that use filtered rainwater collected in an underground cistern. Designed by Orlando’s Hunton Brady Architects, the showcase building — which also holds the school’s culinary-arts program — optimizes its use of daylight and its views of Lake Pamela while minimizing the effects of direct sunlight. Reflective roofing materials and crushed limestone walkways help ward off the heat.

“It’s all about return on investment,” said Valencia President Sanford C. Shugart. “For public buildings, we’ve been in a period in the last two or three years when both capital and operating resources have been scarce, but it’s usually a good strategy to spend more on capital to save on operating.”

In addition to saving on power and water bills, the structures have carpet and paint intended to decrease allergens and, possibly, health-care costs. Paying extra to go for gold is “kind of a gamble” in terms of monetary pay backs because of uncertainties in the oil markets, Shugart said. But, he added, working toward top-level certifications also says something about how a company perceives its role in the larger community.

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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.


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)

on gratitude: featuring poetry by sandy

One of the great joys of my work is that every day is different. But amid the diversity a common theme emerges: Every day I get to help make people’s dreams come true. It’s nourishing work.

Sometimes it’s the donor who is able to honor the immigrant parents who ensured she went to college by endowing a scholarship in their memory. Or a benefactor who wishes to provide the opportunities for students that he never had growing up.

Many times it means that a young man will be able to attend college and break the cycle of poverty, or a single mom can balance her life with her studies to earn a degree, serving as a role model for her little ones.

A young man who grew up on food stamps and free lunches is able to visit South America to study abroad, soaking up the culture, history, politics, arts and language in a way that just can’t happen from reading a book. Or a woman experiences the bone-chilling concentration camps first hand, bringing history to life.

A midlife parent realizes that there is opportunity beyond the recession, as he trains for and builds a new career to support his family. A mother flees with her children and the clothes on her back to escape abuse and start anew. The life stories of so many of our students demonstrate triumph over adversity. Continue reading