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Seminole State College
Did you know...Seminole State awarded a record 4,576 degrees and workforce certificates in 2011-12.
Presidential Report: March 21, 2011
Events & Kudos
This past Friday, the College celebrated the 10th Anniversary of the Oviedo Campus. The morning's ceremony included Trustees Cindy Drago and Lisa Greer, along with other dignitaries such as the Mayor of Oviedo and many former Trustees like Beth Hattaway. Mrs. Hattaway, along with our Trustees in the '90s, spent nearly 10 years trying to clear the legal hurdles to get the campus built. Congressman Dan Webster, who arrived from Washington, was amazed at the change from an open sandy field to a bustling college campus. As a State Legislator, Mr. Webster was responsible for helping to "save" $2 million in a special allocation that was needed to complete the construction of the Oviedo Campus. The special allocation was slated for a veto by then first-term Governor Jeb Bush. Many of our former employees like Suzanne Tesinsky, Christyne Hamilton and Neal Graham also joined us for the day's events. The afternoon function featured a filmed campus retrospective. We constructed our first "Time Capsule" to be opened on the 25th Anniversary of the Campus in 2026. Many thanks to Provost Lisa Valentino and everyone who not only made the day possible, but who have made the past ten years so successful for our students! It was a great day and a very proud moment for the College!
We have lots of kudos going out to our students this month. Hearing about the successes of Seminole State College's students at the following events makes it very clear that we have many very talented students who are obviously doing well because of, not only their talents, but the dedication of our outstanding faculty and staff members.
Seminole State College competed in the National Academic Quiz Tournaments (NAQT) Community College Championship Tournament (aka Brain Bowl) and placed 6th which earned them a bid to the NAQT Intercollegiate Tournament in Chicago in April. This is the second year in a row that Seminole State has earned a bid to the tournament. Rojay Gordon, Joe Russell, and Dustin Lore earned the 6th place spot. Rojay came in 8th individually and earned an All-Star trophy. Joe finished 14th and just missed a top 12 All-Star spot. Isn't it amazing to think about Seminole State competing in a tournament with Cornell, Princeton, Harvard, and Yale? Congratulations to the Seminole State Team and Coach Jeri Rogers!
Seminole State hosted the "Battle of the Brains," the high school Brain Bowl, in February on the Oviedo Campus. Eight of the nine county schools were represented. Kudos to our Math Department faculty and everyone else who volunteered to assist with the event. Special thanks to Professor Jeri Rogers for her efforts to stage this very meaningful competition!
Many proud moments occurred during the 2011 Florida Phi Beta Lambda Leadership Conference Competitions held during Spring Break. Seminole State took home 38 awards, including 9 First Place awards, 9 Second Place awards and 6 Third Place awards. Our students placed in 22 out of 27 events. Other Colleges represented were FSU, FIU, UF, UCF, Webber International, and the University of Miami. Congratulations to all of the students who represented Seminole State so well! And many thanks and congratulations to our faculty who assisted, particularly PBL advisor, Professor Sherry Jenkins, Professor Terri Walsh and Professor Jordan Camenker, whose students did particularly well AGAIN this year!
Seminole State College's Phi Theta Kappa Chapter was awarded "5 Star Status" in March. Our Chapter also won "Distinguished Chapter" for the second year in a row. Additionally, Seminole State College student, Daniel Leon, was selected to receive Phi Theta Kappa's Guistwhite Scholarship. There were 20 recipients across the country. Daniel was one of three from the State of Florida. Congratulations to Daniel, our dedicated Phi Theta Kappa students and advisor Susan Bell!
And proving that these great student success stories extend to real-life careers, Seminole State College's Interior Design Alum Troy Beasley of Beasley & Henley Interior Design was honored at the national "2010 Best in American Living Awards" event. He and his wife, Stephanie Henley -- his business partner -- were recognized for two of their projects, a residence in Naples and a 5,000 square foot clubhouse in Atlanta.
Have you been watching "Jeopardy"? As of Friday night, Tom Kunzen, a former Seminole State Brain Bowler had won over $110,000! And he is scheduled to compete again tonight. Tom has a Master's Degree from UCF in Civil Engineering, but he enrolled at Seminole State in 2009 and 2010 to take some classes for personal enrichment. He joined the Brain Bowl team and finished 5th individually at the Delta Burke Invitational and was instrumental in our team's 5th-place finish at that tournament. Tom led us to a first-place team finish in the Florida State Activities Association Regional Tournament last year, and he placed 2nd individually. Tom's motivation for joining the Brain Bowl team was to help him get ready for a future appearance on "Jeopardy." And I guess the preparation worked! He is definitely FAST on the clicker!
Congratulations to our Lady Raider's Golf Team who finished second in a field of sixteen teams. Of those sixteen teams, 11 of them are NCAA Division 1 schools! Our own Elia Folch won the entire event! Congratulations to Elia, the Lady Raiders and Coach Christa Teno!
Seminole State is one of 16 community colleges in the nation to offer the "Twenty-First Century Advanced Biotechnology Program" with Cold Spring Harbor Labs thanks to a grant awarded by the National Science Foundation. Congratulations to Professor Suzy Behel and everyone who worked so hard to make this happen!
Kaleidoscope Events – Diversity and Inclusion has developed a schedule of events designed to help the College celebrate the spirit of diversity and inclusion. The schedule for the week of March 21st is:
Since we last met, key leadership team members have participated with key high school personnel in the annual UCF College Access Summit. This meeting is designed to continue refining the Direct Connect program. We have also spent a morning in what is called a "Tabletop Exercise" with the Seminole County Sheriff's Office and other key emergency response personnel. Also, we have held ten meetings with SGA representatives, the Faculty Senate and members of our employee groups to talk with them about establishing "Exchange of Views" sessions. This is an idea that we imported from a sister institution, Florida State College at Jacksonville, and involves one meeting each term with designated members of each of our key employee groups and SGA in an effort to share ideas and concerns and further enhance the lines of communication. When I came 15 years ago, communication was our major issue. Most would agree that it is still a key issue today. But we hope that these "Exchange of Views" sessions will indeed serve to enhance our internal communication.
Honorary Degree Request
One of our former students, David Torres, passed away a few weeks ago and was one course shy of receiving his AS Degree in Television and Film Production. Since David did not complete all of the course requirements, we cannot award him a degree posthumously. However, we could award David an Honorary Degree, if the Board approves. I know that this would mean much to David's family. At the request of our Student Services personnel, I am asking the Board to approve an Honorary AS Degree for David Torres.
In Tallahassee last week, the pace of legislative activity accelerated significantly. However, it is still much too early to determine where we will end up. We have seen budget numbers discussed for the Florida College System that provide for everywhere from flat funding to a 17% cut in our budget. I will be driving to Tallahassee after this meeting and will spend the rest of the week meeting with key legislators and testifying on behalf of the System. On Tuesday, our own Leadership Academy Class will be traveling to Tallahassee to experience the Legislative Session first-hand. Hopefully, we will continue to find the strong support for our System that we have enjoyed in the past.
Scott, in your role as the lobbyist for Orange County public schools, you are living this every day. Do you have any comments?
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