Alumni Award Winners

Since 1998, Seminole State College has presented an alumnus with its Distinguished Alumni Award, which honors graduates who have demonstrated service to the College and/or community, achieved success in their chosen field and are considered a role model for Seminole State students. This award expanded into the Alumni Legacy Awards in 2016 with the addition of the Outstanding Graduate Award.  In 2019, the Honors Alumni Award and Alumni Excellence Honorees were introduced.

Learn more about our winners below.

Headshot photograph of Tim Smith.

Tim Smith

2023 Distinguished Alumni Award Winner

In 1984, Tim Smith joined Wharton-Smith Construction when he was 16 years old, working his way up the ladder through college, earning full-time employment in 1991. During nearly 40 years of growth and change, Smith has served the company in many roles including cleaning crew, field engineer, estimator, project engineer, project executive, quality control director, vice president and president. 

Smith took classes at Seminole State as a dual enrollment student prior to receiving his bachelor’s degree in finance from Auburn University and used Seminole State classes to bolster his second bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Central Florida (UCF).

On top of being a professional engineer and a licensed general contractor, Smith is committed to the Central Florida community. He actively supports Kids House, Leadership Seminole, Habitat for Humanity, Seminole State College, UCF and the Central Florida Zoo. UCF recognized Smith as well with a Civil, Environmental and Construction Engineering achievement award.

Headshot photograph of Pedro Armona.

Pedro Armona '23

2023 Outstanding Graduate Award Winner

Pedro Armona graduated Summa Cum Laude in 2023 with his Associate in Arts. As an active student and ambassador for the Grindle Honors Institute, he fiercely advocated for students to join the honors program and worked to hold events that helped build a tight-knit community. Armona also served as the Student Affairs committee chair for the Sanford/Lake Mary Campus Student Government Association, where he highlighted the resources of the College to students and connected new students with faculty members. During his time at the College, he attended multiple conferences and presented research on the effectiveness of the College’s First Year Experience class. 

Armona is currently a student at UCF in the Burnett Honors College and is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. After completing his degree, he aspires to work as an intelligence analyst for the U.S. intelligence community, motivated by a desire to help defend national security.


Headshot photograph of Cate Kandle.

Cate Kandle ’17

2023 Honors Alumni Award Winner

Catheryn “Cate” Kandle graduated from the College in 2017, receiving the prestigious Jack Kent Cooke Scholarship and continuing her education at Unity College in Maine to receive her bachelor's degree in sustainable agriculture. After graduating, Kandle interned for Fleet Farming in Orlando and took her first full-time farm job managing 20 acres of fruit and vegetable production in Fort Myers.

Kandle is now the owner and operator of Open Hands Farm in Longwood. She sells her produce at farmer’s markets and shares a portion of the produce at no cost with the Longwood Hills Congregational Church Food Pantry. The food pantry serves approximately 40 families per week, and Kandle is starting to offer low-cost gardening workshops for community members.

Headshot photograph of Shelly Allen.

Shelly Allen ‘18

2023 Alumni Excellence Honoree

Starting her college education in her 30s, Shelly Allen obtained her associate degree in public relations and advertising at the College in 2018 before going on to obtain her bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida (UF), graduating Magna Cum Laude both times. Now, as the director of public affairs for a locally owned solar company, Allen is responsible for supporting the organization’s advocacy and community outreach efforts.

In 2017, Allen co-founded the Sanford Porchfest Corporation and serves as the communications officer and vice president. This volunteer-based corporation donates 100% of its proceeds from the annual music festival to fund youth art programming and fine art scholarships through various beneficiaries, including Seminole State. To date, the organization has given $131,000 back to the community to support the arts. In 2022, Allen was named an Orlando 40 Under 40 Honoree and was awarded Solcium’s Illuminated Individual Award in 2023. In her free time she enjoys traveling with her husband, going to concerts and paddleboarding. 


Headshot photograph of Amber Clore Morales.

Amber Clore Morales ’04

2023 Alumni Excellence Honoree

A.Clore Interior’s CEO Amber Clore Morales is a licensed interior designer who has been practicing for over 15 years. After attending Seminole State for her associate degree in 2004, she earned her bachelor’s degree from Florida State University and grew her passion for interior design into a prominent business. Clore Morales’s work has been featured on several design shows and media outlets like HGTV, Houzz, Fox35 Good Day Orlando, CBS and others. She has spoken at conferences and events, including the Sanford Home and Garden Show, American Society of Interior Designers Florida North and more.

She is a member of the Rotary Club of Avalon Park and on the executive council for Leadership Seminole as well as the advisory council for the interior design program at Seminole State. She has previously served on the Alumni Leadership Team and is a community representative for the Dream Gala Events Committee. 


Headshot photograph of Dr. Milly Kostenbauder.

Dr. Molly Kostenbauder ’98

2023 Alumni Excellence Honoree

Dr. Molly Kostenbauder received her Associate in Arts degree from Seminole Community College in 1998. She went on to graduate from the UF with a focus in animal science and worked as a 4-H agent, educating the youth of Highlands County, before she returned to UF for a master’s degree in animal science. Shortly after graduating in 2001, she had the opportunity to return to Seminole State as a retention specialist for healthcare students. While working as the coordinator of healthcare programs, her desire to continue learning took her to UCF to complete a doctorate in higher education and policy studies and a graduate certificate in public health in 2016. 

During her 20 years at Seminole State, she has had the unique opportunity to work in both Student and Academic affairs, which provided her with an understanding of College processes and a strong network of experts to help students. She became the associate vice president for the School of Business, Health and Public Safety at Seminole State in 2022.

Headshot photograph of Jon Hughes.

Jon Hughes '77

2022 Distinguished Alumni Award Winner

Jon Hughes, who graduated from Seminole State in 1977. Hughes co-owns Track Shack with his wife, Betsy, and the store has been a staple in the Central Florida running community since ’77. Since the late 1970s, Jon has pioneered the organization of athletic events, first in his
home base of Central Florida and today throughout the world. He has been recognized
for his outstanding leadership and organizational achievements by USA Track & Field,
the Pan American Junior Games, the governor of Florida, Running USA and the Grand
Bahamas Promotion Board. Jon was one of the youngest inductees into the USA Track &
Field-Florida Hall of Fame; admitted in 1987 at the age of 29. He currently serves on the
advisory board of Central Florida Sports Commission. In 2002, Jon was inducted into the
Central Florida Sports Hall of Fame. As president of Track Shack Events, he directs the
overall marketing effort as well as operations and staff and has positioned the organization to offer the best in technology, marketing and road race management. 

In 1994, Jon co-founded the Walt Disney World Marathon and has served as the runDisney Race Director for 29 years. Track Shack Events is the race management partner for all runDisney events. The largest event weekend, the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend consists of 65,000 participants. They also own Event Marketing and Management International (or Track Shack Events), the sister company to Track Shack that manages and produces many running-related events throughout the region. Through the success of these organizations, the Hughes family has established the Track Shack Youth Foundation, Inc., a nonprofit organization with the purpose of promoting health and fitness with an emphasis on youth programs. Since it was started in 1994, the foundation has touched the lives of thousands of people and contributed more than $2 million to the greater Central Florida community, primarily serving Orange, Osceola, Lake, Seminole, Brevard and Volusia counties.

Headshot photograph of Amber Chipman.

Amber Chipman '21

2022 Outstanding Graduate Award Winner

Amber Chipman graduated in Spring 2021 with her Associate in Arts and an honors diploma. She completed a Business Specialist Certificate in Summer 2022. She was named a Coca-Cola Silver Scholar, a member of the All-Florida Academic Team, and a Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship semifinalist. She is studying at Columbia University to pursue her Bachelor of Arts in Economics. While a student at Seminole State College, Chipman founded the Economics Club, graduated from the Civic Scholars program, served as an Honors Ambassador, a member of the Seminole State Volunteers human rights committee, and a member of Beyond Raiders. She also was avidly involved in Phi Theta Kappa, holding various leadership positions, including chapter president during the chapter’s tenure as Executive Chapter of the Florida Region.  

Headshot photograph of Melissa Cunningham.

Melissa Cunningham ’15

2022 Honors Alumni Award Winner

Melissa Cunningham is a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner who works at a community health center in Portland, Maine. She is a graduate of the University of Southern Maine, earning her master’s degree and obtaining a 3.911 GPA. She completed her bachelor's in nursing and the honors program at the University of Southern Maine in 2018, finishing with a 4.0 GPA, and was selected as the School of Nursing “Student to Remember” award, the School of Nursing “Class Marshal,” in addition to being selected as one of the institution’s “Featured Graduates.” She was inducted into Golden Key International Honors Society, Sigma Theta Tau Honors Society of Nursing, and Phi Kappa Phi Honors Society. Additionally, she served as a marketing officer for the Student Nurse Organization, and helped organize sock drives for unhoused community members and craft events with residents of a local long-term care facility. Melissa was a Goodguides mentor to a high school student and serves as an ongoing volunteer with Portland Public Schools. Melissa is proud that her academic journey began in 2012 when she enrolled in classes at Seminole State College. She graduated in May 2015 with summa cum laude designation and was selected that year as one of four Seminole State Jack Kent Cooke Scholars. She attributes much of her academic success to the faculty, professors, staff and fellow students who supported and guided her as a nontraditional student who began college at 34 years old and parenting a 1-year-old son. Melissa recognizes the unique challenges first-generation and nontraditional students may face and is a grateful for the services and support Seminole State offers.  

Headshot photograph of Larry Campbell.

Larry Campbell ‘01

2022 Alumni Excellence Honoree

Larry Campbell received his Associate in Arts degree from Seminole Community College in 2001, while simultaneously building his career resume as a community banker in Seminole County and all of Central Florida. He later graduated from Liberty University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration. He was also a distinguished graduate of the BB&T Banking School at Wake Forest. Larry has 30 years of banking experience in retail and commercial banking. Throughout his career, Larry has been passionate about serving his community with a focus on education, healthcare, and financial well-being. Larry is especially passionate about Seminole State College and counts his time on the Foundation Board as a highlight in his career. He has served on the Foundation board since 2015, was a founding board member of the Alumni Association, and had the distinct privilege of serving on the Presidential Search Committee in 2017-18. He has also served on various boards and nonprofits in the community, including Leadership Seminole, AdventHealth Foundation, Rotary and the Apopka Adventist Church. His family is his greatest joy in life. Larry and his wife, Elizabeth (also a Seminole State alum), have two children… his daughter, Sydney, and his son, Colin, a current Seminole State student.


Headshot photograph of Jenny Galarza.

Jenny Galarza ’10

2022 Alumni Excellence Honoree

Sonia “Jenny” Galarza is a Puerto Rican single mother of three beautiful daughters who is the first to receive a college education in her family. She received her Associate in Arts degree from Seminole State College in 2010. She went on to graduate from Rollins College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Vocal Music Performance in 2012. She now teaches at the same school she attended as a child, Millennium Middle School (Lakeview Middle School). She has combined all her passions and teaches dance, gospel choir, musical theater and Young Women of Distinction (a leadership program for minority girls). Jenny has partnered with the Seminole State arts programming on numerous occasions, connecting her middle school students to the College, and encouraging them to begin to think of college as an opportunity for them. Representation is a driving force in how she chooses to teach her classes throughout the year. Jenny accredits her success in part to her children and their love, support and understanding of a working mother that was enrolled full-time in college. Two of her daughters are Seminole State alumni. She would like to thank Robin Parker for chasing her down the sidewalk and making sure she came back for an audition with the Music Department and becoming one of the biggest supporters of her family’s success.


Headshot photograph of Shannon Foster.

Shannon Foster ’15

2022 Alumni Excellence Honoree

Shannon Foster graduated with a B.S. in Engineering Technology in 2015 from Seminole State College, she is currently a senior consultant at Delta Consulting Group. Seminole State impacted her life by giving her the chance to earn an affordable degree to jumpstart her career. The bachelor’s in engineering technology created an experience that enhanced her knowledge and skills in the construction field. The community feeling of the classes and campus gave her the support she needed to have confidence when entering the workforce. She has received a PSP (Planning and Scheduling Professional) Certification through the AACE. Shannon volunteers for Disney races that benefit cancer. She is a member of the Society of Women Engineers and AACE International. She gives back to Seminole State every year and participated in the cookbook that was made in 2020. Shannon is also a strong advocate for prospective college students to attend Seminole State College.

Sally Moore Photo

Sally Moore '02

2021 Distinguished Alumni Award Winner

Moore attended Seminole Junior College starting in 1974. During her time as a student, she worked in the Audio Visual Department as well as the Library. In 1976, she took time away from classes to work full time and focus on building her family, dedicating her time to the PTA and Booster Club. With her family, she attended the first Dream Auction that was held in 1984 and has remained a supporter of that event to this day. She returned to then Seminole Community College in 2000 and completed an Associate in Arts degree in December 2002. A true friend to the College and other community efforts, Moore has established her legacy and that of her family through impactful philanthropy and top-notch service to others including through service on the Foundation for Seminole State College Board of Directors and the Dream Gala Committee. She worked to partner with the College and Be The Match to hold bone marrow drives on campus and has been a Women’s Golf enthusiast for many years. The Moore’s continue to support the efforts of the Foundation for Seminole State College through scholarship and event support. 

Joel Figueroa Photo

Joel Figueroa '21

2021 Outstanding Graduate Award Winner

A Central Florida native, with Puerto Rican roots, Joel Figueroa graduated with his Bachelor of Science in Information Systems Technology with the Cyber Security Specialization in August 2021. During his time at The Florida Department of Children and Families, he was able to turn the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Medicaid and TANF policy into tangible help for thousands of Floridians. He has had the honor of aiding Florida by traveling to remote parts of the state where food was in dire need after natural disasters. His work in social services also pushed him to further his education and led to his pursuit of education in information technology. The Association of Latino Professionals For America has not only awarded him with scholarships but also aided in securing a full-time cybersecurity position at Deloitte upon graduation. Figueroa has been accepted into the University of South Florida's master's in cybersecurity information assurance program where he hopes to bring more representation to the industry. He also serves on the Board of Directors of Impulse Group Orlando which promotes HIV/AIDS advocacy and awareness of mental health, substance abuse and social justice. In his nomination, Yariel Lopez shared that they’ve had the opportunity to see Figueroa “continue to grow and inspire others” while also advocating for them to “be proactive in their career goals while providing mentorship.”

Derek Demeter Photo

Derek Demeter ’05

2021 Honors Alumni Award Winner

Demeter has received the Honors Alumni Award that recognizes an Honors Institute graduate whose professional successes, contributions to society and contributions to Seminole State embody the mission of the Grindle Honors Institute. As the Director of the Emil Buehler Perpetual Trust Planetarium at Seminole State College, Demeter in known nationally as an expert in the field of astronomy and serves as a board member for the Central Florida Astronomical Society. His commitment to sharing a love for all things “out of this world” is clear through his work with school field trips, public offerings, and features on both news and radio. He also has been expanding his expertise into local history, including a viral mammoth bone find in Spring 2021.

Collin Edouard Photo

Collin Edouard ‘10

2021 Alumni Excellence Honoree

Collin Edouard (he/him) is a first-year ethnomusicology student at Yale University, focusing on music from the Caribbean Islands. Edouard is a choir director and music teacher with extensive experience in primary/secondary education. He has also participated in the theoretical and practical study of choral conducting at the University of Cambridge, music and music education at Teachers College, Columbia University, and vocal performance from The City College of New York and Seminole State College of Florida. Edouard served as an adjunct professor of music at Seminole State during the 2020-21 academic year. He encourages his students to rediscover their identity and implement that important perspective while interpreting music. Edouard often travels to countries such as Turkey and Uganda in the hope of expanding access to music education and, in particular, with music less frequently circulated in the Western Canon. In her nomination, Dean of Arts and Communications Michele Cuomo wrote, “I have the highest regard for Collin Edouard. I believe he will make a great impact in the way music is studied and taught. He has the potential to be an important thought leader for truly equitable education in this country.”


Katie George Photo

Katie George ’09

2021 Alumni Excellence Honoree

Katie George received her Associate in Arts degree, graduating Cum Laude from Seminole Community College in December 2009. She went on to graduate from West Liberty University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Organizational Leadership and Business Administration in 2012. Katie was hired into a marketing role at CFE Federal Credit Union (now Addition Financial) in 2013 and remains with that credit union today. She works as a senior relationship manager in the Community Engagement & Partnerships Department where she facilitates partnership activation with Seminole County partners such as Seminole State College and Seminole County Public Schools. George is also active with Leadership Seminole (Class 27) on the Executive Council as the alumni chair. She serves as a Foundation for Seminole County Public Schools board member, chairing the Governance Committee. George enjoys her role as a Take Stock in Children Mentor – where Seminole County students receive a two-year scholarship to a state or community college upon completion of the program. She is active with the Seminole County Chamber of Commerce and Seminole State College's Alumni Leadership Team. You can also find her helping plan large events benefiting student scholarships through The Foundation for Seminole State College on the Host Committee. Katie George was nominated for the Alumni Excellence Award by The Foundation for Seminole State’s Assistant Director Laura Schumacher. Schumacher states, “Katie makes such a major impact on the community through her service on multiple boards. It’s extremely clear that she cares for this community and is definitely a leader in supporting education efforts.”


Les Lusk Photo

Les Lusk ’81

2021 Alumni Excellence Honoree

Les Lusk has been developing web properties for the past 23 years. He began his web development career as a contract employee at Seminole State College, developing websites for the Career Programs Division as well as spearheading the development of the first online courses at the College. He completed an Associate in Arts degree in 1981 and returned to get an Associate in Science degree in Internet Technologies from the College in 2003. He went on to graduate from Western Governors University with a bachelor's degree in information technology. He is the director of software engineering at Seminole State where he oversees the Web properties and custom Web applications at the College. He also runs his own web consulting firm. Les has 18 years of experience teaching college-level courses, both online and in the classroom. He received the 2012 Pathfinder Award from Seminole State. He graduated with the 10th Leadership Academy Class and now serves on the advisory board for this program. Lusk enjoys electronic music, basketball, Legos, working on his photography website (, and hanging out with his wife and two sons.

Headshot of Daniel Gebon, in an office, wearing a light blue shirt.
Daniel Gebon '15

Daniel Gebon '15

2020 Alumni Excellence Honoree

Daniel Gebon was nominated for the Alumni Excellence Award by his direct supervisor at AlphaGraphics Lake Mary, Josh Field. Daniel received multiple credentials from Seminole State, culminating in a Bachelor of Science in Information Systems Technology and IT Client Specialist Certificate in 2015. Josh, in his nomination, credits Daniel’s dual degrees in Design and IT for providing a unique skill set and perspective along with a combination of creativity and analytical thinking. Daniel is active with the African American Chamber of Commerce of Central Florida and Seminole State College's Alumni Leadership Team. He enjoys working with and mentoring young design students, acting as a strong advocate for internship opportunities for qualified Seminole State students.

Patricia PJ Anderson, wearing a gray and black striped sweater is holding a clear lucite award.
Patricia "PJ" Anderson '12

Patricia "PJ" Anderson '12

2020 Alumni Excellence Honoree

Patricia “PJ” Anderson was nominated for the Alumni Excellence Award by her mother and member of Seminole State’s Community Chorus, Caroline Anderson. PJ received her Associate in Arts degree from Seminole State in 2012 and went on to receive her bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from UCF. She has been a financial advisor with Edward Jones since 2017. PJ is a member of the Lake Mary Women’s Club, the Sallie Harrison Chapter of The National Society Daughters of the American Revolution, Seminole County Chamber, Willow Creek Church, and a board member of the J. Douglas Williams YMCA. PJ is an advocate for Seminole State in the community and encourages attendance when talking with those struggling with the decision about higher education.

Robin Parker, wearing a black and red striped jacket, is holding her award and standing beside a Christmas tree.
Robin Parker '76

Robin Parker '76

2020 Alumni Excellence Honoree

Robin Parker was nominated for the Alumni Excellence Award by Belda Stack, who has worked with Robin through the Community Choir. Robin served Seminole State for 45 years and retired at the end of 2020 as the music program coordinator and accompanist. She received her Associate in Arts from Seminole Community College in 1976 and attended UCF for her bachelor’s degree in history. In late 2019, the Robin Lee Parker Endowed Scholarship in Music was established through Robin’s efforts in conjunction with the Foundation for Seminole State and the encouragement of the Community Choir. Robin received the Career Service Excellence Award from Seminole State College in 2008 and the Florida American Choral Directors Association Wayne Hugoboom Distinguished Service Award in 2014. Robin is a Paul Harris Fellow with Rotary International and is a recipient of the Rotary Club of Seminole County South Vocational Service Award. In her nomination, Belda shared that in the two or three years she has known Robin, the positive influence she has on both students and faculty is clear, and that her commitment and hard work are strong examples of her devotion to both Seminole State and the arts program.

Diane Crews in front of stairs in white blazer
Diane Crews '94

Diane Crews '94

2019 Distinguished Alumni Award Winner

Crews graduated with her Associate in Arts degree in 1994 and served as the president and CEO of Orlando Sanford International Airport from 2015 through 2019. Crews served the City of Sanford for 11 years prior to accepting a vice president position at the airport in 2001. Crews was born and raised in Sanford and has served on numerous boards and committees in the community and at the College. In addition to her associate degree from Seminole State, Crews earned a Bachelor of Arts in Public Administration and a Master of Public Administration degree from University of Central Florida.

Haley Furman standing outside in front of brick wall in a flowered print dress
Haley Furman '18

Hayley Furman '18

2019 Outstanding Graduate Award Winner

Furman graduated in Fall 2018 with her Associate in Arts with an Environmental Engineering pathway. She was awarded a 2019 Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship. She attends Stetson University pursuing her Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Policy and Economics. Furman participated in many ways at Seminole State College, serving as the president of the Environmental Initiative Club, a member of the Honors Advisory Council and as an Honors Ambassador. She lead a project to install composters on campus to improve sustainable practices and has presented at conferences sharing the great work in progress at Seminole State.

Daniel Leon-Davis standing in front of blue screen wearing a black jean jacket and black hat
Daniel Leon-Davis '11

Daniel Leon-Davis '11

2019 Honors Alumni Award Winner

A Dreamer who went on to earn a Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship, Leon-Davis continued his education at American University in Washington, D.C., working with distinguished members of the federal government to help reform policies regarding immigrants and undocumented citizens. He is a proud co-founder and former partner at The Soze Agency, a trailblazing social impact agency dedicated to creating innovative campaigns for causes they deeply believe in including Immigrant Heritage Month, Sons and Brothers and #IAmAnImmigrant. He resides in Brooklyn with his husband, Dom, and is the proud father of two Mini Schnauzer puppies named Raj and Rowan.

Harry Ellis III wearing a blue suit and tie, standing outside in front of a tree
Harry Ellis III '01

Harry Ellis III ‘01

2019 Alumni Excellence Honoree

The founding chair of the Seminole State College Alumni Association, Ellis earned associate degrees from Seminole State in Microsoft computer engineering and Cisco engineering. He went on to get his bachelor’s in information systems technology and master’s in computer forensics from University of Central Florida. Ellis is the CIO and president of Next Horizon and was recognized as CEO of the Year in IT by i4 Magazine.

Juanita Martin wearing a black suit, standing in front of a white inside wall
Juanita Martin '14

Juanita Martin ‘14

2019 Alumni Excellence Honoree

A 2014 Seminole State graduate with a bachelor’s degree in business and information management, Martin is the owner and administrator at R.E. Martin Plumbing, Inc. She is the Orlando Chapter Director for HOPE worldwide - Orlando Chapter and sits on the National Chapter Advisory Board for HOPE worldwide, a global organization that changes lives by delivering sustainable, high-impact, community-based services to the poor and needy.

Josh Murdock wearing a blue tartan plaid sportcoat and blue hat, standing outside in front of palm fronds
Josh Murdock '99

Josh Murdock ‘99

2019 Alumni Excellence Honoree

A 1999 Seminole State graduate, Murdock has served on the Alumni Leadership Team since its inception in 2015. Murdock went on to earn a bachelor’s in criminal justice, a master’s in educational leadership, and a master’s in instructional technology from University of Central Florida. Murdock is the department head of the Technology & Education Center at the Orange County Library System (FL). He serves on the Valencia Foundation Board of Directors and was recognized by Orlando Business Journal as a 40 under 40 award winner.

Flavio Umeda Pacheco wearing a white dress shirt with blue tie, standing outside in front of brick building
Flavio Umeda Pacheco '16

Flavio Umeda Pacheco ‘16

2019 Alumni Excellence Honoree

Flavio Umeda Pacheco graduated from Seminole State College in 2016. Pacheco participated on campus as a member of the Seminole State Student Government Association and the Grindle Honors Institute. He was awarded a Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship and went on to receive his bachelor’s degree in molecular cellular biology with a minor in law and society from Cornell University. He completed internships with Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute and Pfizer. Pacheco works as a legal investigations associate with Google in Silicon Valley.

Kristin Ramirez wearing a black blouse with flowered scarf, standing outside in front of a tree
Kristin Ramirez '99

Kristin Ramirez ‘99

2019 Alumni Excellence Honoree

Kristin Ramirez served as the vice president of membership strategies for Girl Scouts of Citrus Council. While her professional career took a turn toward customer care and management, she was able to draw on her time from Seminole State and apply the teachings to motivate teams. Kristin has proven herself to be a strong, capable and creative thinker. She has committed to supporting the students at Seminole State College through volunteer service, and is building upon her dreams in entrepreneurship.

Patty Sheehan wearing a blue tartan plaid blazer with white dress shirt standing in front of a blue background
Patty Sheehan '86

Patty Sheehan ‘86

2017 Distinguished Alumni Award Winner

Sheehan earned an Associate in Arts degree at Seminole State College in 1986. She went on to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree in Art from University of Central Florida. Since then, she has pursued a life of public service and continues to lead the Central Florida community, serving as City Commissioner for the City of Orlando, District 4. She served nationally as president of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual Local Officials (GLBLO) constituency group at the National League of Cities and has championed non-discrimination ordinances and the domestic partner registry. Sheehan was a first responder during the Pulse Nightclub tragedy and represented the “face of Orlando” in the weeks and months that followed. She has consistently been voted one of Orlando’s Best Elected Officials in polls conducted by Orlando Magazine, The Watermark and Orlando Weekly. She was named one of Orlando Life Magazine’s Top 25 Influential Women and was awarded the Diversity Champion Award by the Asian American Chamber of Commerce. Sheehan enjoys many outdoor activities, including, gardening, paddle boarding and Dragon Boat racing and she regularly paints and exhibits her artwork in local restaurants, clubs and shops. Sheehan always shows her appreciation for Seminole State College and fond memories of her time here.  

Don Eslinger wearing a gray suite with blue striped tie, standing in front of an American flag
Don Eslinger '79

Don Eslinger ‘79

2016 Distinguished Alumni Award Winner

Eslinger, a 1979 graduate of the College’s Law Enforcement Academy, served the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office for over 38 years and was Sheriff from 1991 to 2017. From Seminole State College, Eslinger continued his education by earning a bachelor’s degree in applied behavioral sciences from National Louis University. He also is a graduate of the Federal Bureau of Investigation National Academy in Quantico, Virginia. During his career, Eslinger championed community policing, advocated for mental health and youth programs and was integral in founding Kids House of Seminole. He serves at the executive director of the Florida Sheriffs Risk Management Fund. Eslinger has served on numerous board and achieved numerous honors and awards, including serving as past president and board member of the Florida Sheriffs Association.

Graduation Speakers

Prior to the re-launch of the Distinguished Alumni Awards, the graduation speaker for the year was recognized at the Distinguished Alumni.

Spring 1998: Carlos Reyes 

Fall 1998: Margaret Linnane (1972) 

Spring 1999: Marie-Terese Henderson (1995) 

Fall 1999: Lyndi Dawson (1996) 

Spring 2000: Col Frances C. Martin (1975) 

Fall 2000: Carolyn Franz (1976) 

Spring 2001: Daryl McLain (1968) 

Fall 2001: Kyle Kilger (1987) 

Spring 2002: Judge Debra Roberts (1973) 

Fall 2002: Gail Bonjione (1968) 

Spring 2003: Vallie Piloian 

Fall 2003: Deborah Partridge (1987) 

Spring 2004: Hardy Rawls (1974) 

Fall 2004: Laurie Mooney (1988) 

Spring 2005: Suzanne Lewis (1976) 

Fall 2005: Les Goldberg (1988) 

Spring 2006: Donald Fisher (1996) 

Fall 2006: Judge Donna L. McIntosh 

Spring 2007: Janet Horvath Pino (1985) 

Fall 2007: Trent Tomengo 

Spring 2008: Mike Gaudreau (1983) 

Fall 2008: Tom Moore (1976) 

Spring 2009: Lalita Booth (2006) 

Fall 2009: Dede Schaffner (1972) 

Spring 2010: D. Troy Beasley (1990) 

Fall 2010: Sabrina O’Bryan (1995) 

Spring 2011: Christi Ashby (1975)