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A year in review: The top 13 news stories of 2013

President E. Ann McGee address graduates during the December Collegewide Commencement at CFE Arena at UCF.

2013 was another year of changes and achievement for Seminole State College of Florida. Here's a look at the top 13 news stories of 2013.

13. Seminole State helps lure Verizon to Lake Mary
Verizon announced in February that it was creating a finance hub in Lake Mary that will create 750 jobs with an average annual salary of $55,000. Seminole State was one big factor in the move, assisting Verizon in receiving a $1.6 million Quick Response Training (QRT) grant from Workforce Florida. The College also agreed to offer waivers to Verizon employees and their dependents so they can receive in-state tuition rates. Seminole State is also in talks with Verizon to tailor more courses to meet the employer's needs.

12. Seminole State, SCPS partnership benefits Seminole County students
Seminole State and Seminole County Public Schools' longtime partnership continued to reap rewards for students and for residents of Seminole County in 2013. Here are just a few examples:

  • The College officially invited SCPS in October to become an anchor partner for a planned "education city" at the Altamonte Springs Campus.
  • Seminole State and SCPS developed a shared cost approach to dual enrollment that increased the number of courses this year, resulting in a 38 percent enrollment increase.
  • In June, Seminole State invited 94 rising high-school juniors and seniors to a weeklong summer program, sponsored through a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant.
The Seminole County School Board and the District Board of Trustees meet for a workshop in October at the Altamonte Springs Campus.

11. Foundation provides more than $1.5 million in support in 2012-13
The Foundation for Seminole State College celebrated a record of more than $1.5 million in scholarships and program support for the College and its students for the 2012-13 fiscal year – an increase of 67 percent over the previous year.

10. Seminole State signs agreement with Denmark college
Seminole State signed its first agreement with an international college or university in October, agreeing to a five-year partnership with Basic Health Care College of Fredericia-Vejle-Horsens, Denmark. This was one of many endeavors for the Center for Global Engagements in 2013, which was created in 2012 to promote service learning, study abroad and internationalization efforts.

9. Record $3 million in grants
For the first time, Seminole State brought in more than $3 million during the 2012-13 fiscal year in grants. This included $450,000 partnership grant through the NSF, the College's first National Endowment for the Humanities grant for $100,000, and a $50,000 grant from AT&T.

8. Successful reaccreditations
October was a busy month for Seminole State, with the College successfully completing its 10-year reaccreditation. As required, the College also launched its Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP). Read to Succeed, the QEP, focuses on reading comprehension and creating a culture of reading. The program includes reading apprenticeship program, as well as a QEP center, book nooks, books clubs and reading events. In addition to the collegewide reaffirmation, the nursing and law enforcement programs also were successfully reviewed in October.

7. National, regional recognition
Seminole State continued to receive national as well as regional recognition. Here are a few examples:

6. A tobacco-free college 
On Aug. 26, Seminole State joined more than 1,100 colleges and universities across the nation by becoming tobacco-free. The ban was part of a wellness initiative that includes a proposed wellness center at the Sanford/Lake Mary Campus. The wellness center project was designated a public-private partnership in August.

5. $430.6 million impact on Seminole County
A report released in March by the Council of Presidents of the Florida College System found that Seminole State had an economic impact on Seminole County of $430.6 million in 2011-12. Increased earnings of students and alumni made up $361 million of the study, and the remainder was from college operations ($67 million) and student spending ($1.7 million). The report measured the College's impact only on Seminole County. Because about 44 percent of the College's students live outside the county, Seminole State's impact on Central Florida is even greater.

4. New high-demand programs
Seminole State continued to respond to Central Florida workforce needs by introducing new programs in 2013. In Fall Term, the College became the first in the Florida College System to offer a two-year Associate in Science (A.S.) in Entrepreneurship and Small Business Management. In Fall Term, the College also began offering a cybersecurity track within the Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Information Systems Management and credit certificates in alternative energy, TV production and homeland security specialist.

3. Altamonte Springs Campus expansion moves forward
In 2013, Seminole State took giant steps toward the development of an "education city" at the Altamonte Springs Campus.

2. Expansion of bachelor's degrees
Bachelor's degrees, which have been offered at Seminole State since 2010, continue to become a popular option for students at the College. In May, Seminole State awarded its first Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degrees. By August, Seminole State had more than 1,000 students enrolled in five bachelor's degree programs.

1. Record number of graduates
Seminole State, which has has had the second largest increase in enrollments in the FCS over the past six years, is also graduating a record number of students. For the 2012-13 academic year, Seminole State awarded a record 6,060 degrees and certificates. The College is also up in nationally, ranking no. 15 for A.A. degrees on Community College Week's annual list of the Top 100 producers of associate degrees in the nation.

More: Take a look at the best photos of 2013 on Seminole State's official Facebook page.

Seminole State became tobacco-free in August.

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