Seminole State College of Florida is preparing students to take leadership roles in the construction industry through its Wharton-Smith Center for Construction, based at the College's Center for Economic Development at Heathrow.
Seminole State has been serving the construction industry for more than 20 years. The College's Associate in Science degree in Construction Management began with input from local companies, which then partnered with Seminole State to develop the curriculum. This successful partnership led George Smith, co-founder and chairman of Wharton-Smith Inc., and Ron Davoli, president of the company, to approach the College about expanding the program. They shared their vision and invested, not just money and time, but their reputation as well.
The Sanford-based construction firm's $400,000 gift, including state match, established the Wharton-Smith Center for Construction and, combined with state match, netted $500,000 toward the fundraising goal of $1.5 million for the program. Donations from partners such as HuntonBrady Architects, Palmer Electric Company, S.I. Goldman Company Inc., Balfour Beatty and Seminole State Trustee Charles "Chick" Gregg raised the total seed money by another $300,000.
In addition to providing insight and seed money for the Construction Management degree program, Wharton-Smith has provided internships to Seminole State students, giving them invaluable experience to augment their classroom instruction.
The goal of the Wharton-Smith Center for Construction is to provide comprehensive, leading-edge educational and professional programs that support the needs of the Central Florida construction industry.