Seminole State awards more than 2,600 degrees, certificates

Wednesday, May 1, 2019
Written by: Mark Richardson

Seminole State College of Florida awarded more than 2,600 degrees and certificates during the Collegewide Spring 2019 Commencement on Tuesday, April 30, at the Addition Financial Arena (formerly the CFE Arena) at the University of Central Florida.

View photos of the Spring 2019 Graduation

Supervisor of Elections of Seminole County Chris Anderson delivers the commencement speech.

Chris Anderson, Seminole County's supervisor of elections, delivered the keynote address telling the graduates that there are times when life gets difficult but with hard work you can overcome the obstacles. 

"There are going to be some difficult roads ahead but I’m going to share with you some words of wisdom that changed my life and I hope it does the same for you," said Anderson. "There are three ways of living life: The easy way, the hard way, and the tragic way. The easy way is learning from other people’s mistakes. The hard way is learning from your own mistakes. The tragic way is never learning at all!  Don’t live life tragically. Be bold and work hard because hard work wins."

Among the graduates this spring were 184 baccalaureate students representing all seven of Seminole State's four-year degree programs including the inaugural graduates of the RN-to-BSN (nursing) Bachelor of Science program. 

Claudia Bosdal, Melissa M. Carrion, Linden L. Ferguson, Odetta A. Julien, Erica D. Latimer, Grace Ogochukwu Okeke, and Kyle R. Woodruff are the College’s first Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing (BSN) graduates.

(L-R) Odetta A. Julien, Grace Ogochukwu Okeke, Kyle R. Woodruff, Linden L. Ferguson, and Erica D. Latimer were all able to attend a celebration of their achievements hosted by the College's Nursing faculty and staff. 

“The coursework has been scheduled out where it’s self-pacing, offers discussion time with your peers, and helps you with developing your professional nursing skills,” said Erica D. Latimer. “It has been a very great journey with Seminole State, it really has. I would absolutely recommend this program.   Every part of it was a great experience”

Kyle R. Woodruff and Odetta A. Julien both worked full-time at Advent Health and said being able to work and go to school at the same time was beneficial. 

“I would absolutely recommend this program.  It is convenient, and I was able to do my studies  on my off days. Knowing that the professors were easily accessible, and they respond to you quickly helped me get through the program,” said Woodruff.    

“I would absolutely recommend this program to anyone because it is doable.  You can work full time and do the program.  It’s awesome.  That’s why I did it,” said Julien.

Other students who graduated were:

Julio Auguste

Julio Auguste, of Altamonte Springs, grew up in Haiti and credits his time volunteering at an orphanage during high school for driving his desire to give back. When he moved to Altamonte Springs after high school and enrolled at Seminole State, he wanted to continue his volunteer work to help him learn about the needs of his new community. He got involved with Student Life and the Student Government Association (SGA) serving as the Altamonte Springs Campus SGA secretary/treasurer. Auguste says being involved in both organizations helped him grow personally and professionally. With his Associate in Arts (A.A.) Political Science Pre-Law Track pathway, he plans to attend either the University of Florida or the University of Central Florida for his bachelor's.

Shayan Khan

Shayan Khan of Lake Mary grew up in Pakistan and in 2013, began her college career in Texas as an international student, but she had to put her studies on hold for financial reasons and return home in 2015.  With encouragement from her family she pushed through that setback, and in 2016 enrolled at Seminole State after learning about the College from an aunt who lives in Central Florida.  Khan got involved in the Student Government Association and served as the 2018-19 president for the College’s Sanford/Lake Mary Campus. Additionally, Khan is a member of Seminole State Volunteers and has logged more than 100 hours of community service with organizations such as the Boys & Girls Club, Coalition for the Homeless and Harvest Time International. With her Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Business and Information Management, Khan is pursuing a career in information systems management.

Cheryl Kilsheimer

Cheryl Kilsheimer, of Apopka, was prompted to make a career change after learning about a U.S. Department of Labor study that showed healthcare occupations are in high demand.  Kilsheimer decided to enroll at Seminole State and join The Hartford’s Claims Apprentice Program, a partnership between CareerSource Central Florida, the College, and the insurer.  Apprentices work for the insurance company while at the same time taking courses at Seminole State. Kilsheimer graduated with a Health Information Technology (A.S.) degree and is now working full time at The Hartford in Lake Mary.

Give Hope, Give Back

Graduates who donated were given a commemorative zipper pull to wear on their gown to proudly let others know they are making a difference.

The graduation also served as the start of the Seminole State Alumni Association's new Give Hope, Give Back campaign where graduating students can make a donation to a Seminole State program, scholarship or club that made a difference in their life.  The donations allow graduates to pay it forward and ensure that future students will have continuous growing opportunities. Graduates who donated were given a commemorative zipper pull to wear on their gown to proudly let others know they are making a difference.

Endowed Teaching Chairs recognized

(L-R) Seminole State Vice President of Academic Affairs Dr. Laura Ross, Program Manager of Fire Science Jim Jollie, Professor of Emergency Medical Services Sharon Moore, Professor of English Carissa Baker, Professor of Studio Art Jay Spalding and Seminole State President Dr. Georgia L. Lorenz

During the ceremony, Seminole State also recognized its Endowed Teaching Chairs

  • Dr. Carissa Baker, professor of English, received the Phoenix International Ltd., Inc., Endowed Teaching Chair
  • Jim Jollie, professor/program manager of fire science, received the Wharton-Smith, Inc., Construction Group Endowed Teaching Chair
  • Sharon “Cricket” Moore, professor of emergency medical services, received the Central Florida Regional Hospital Endowed Teaching Chair
  • Jay Spalding, professor of studio art, received the Cirent/Agere, in honor of Dr. Peter Panousis and Mr. Robert B. Koch, Endowed Teaching Chair 

All four winners of the prestigious award received a $5,000 cash award from the Foundation in recognition of their achievements.

About Seminole State College of Florida

Seminole State College of Florida, established in 1965, serves nearly 30,000 students across six sites in Central Florida. A comprehensive college, Seminole State has awarded more than 100,000 credentials, from bachelor's degrees to high school diplomas, and offers more than 200 degrees, certificates and programs designed for success. For more about the college, visit, like us on Facebook at and follow us on Twitter: @seminolestate.  #SSC #GoStateGoFar