Alumni Association honors Sanford airport CEO as distinguished alumna

Thursday, May 16, 2019
Written by: Seminole State Staff

(L-R) Alumni Association Chair Amber Clore, Diane Crews, Hayley Furman and Seminole State President Dr. Georgia L. Lorenz attend the Seminole State Alumni Association's annual Alumni Legacy Awards. 

The Seminole State College of Florida Alumni Association has honored Diane Crews as its 2019 Distinguished Alumni Award recipient. Crews, president and CEO of Orlando Sanford International Airport, was recognized during the association’s annual Alumni Legacy Awards along with seven other alumni on May 9, at the College’s Heathrow Campus. The event was sponsored by Orlando Sanford International Airport, Addition Financial, R.E. Martin Plumbing, Girl Scouts Citrus Council and Next Horizon.

Crews earned an Associate in Arts from Seminole State in 1994 and went on to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree and Master of Public Administration degree from University of Central Florida. She rose through the ranks at Orlando Sanford International Airport and has served as its president and CEO since August 2015.

2019 Distinguished Alumni Award winner Diane Crews.

“Diane welcomed me into this community with open arms. I have so appreciated her support, not only for the College, but for me,” said Seminole State President Dr. Georgia L. Lorenz who presented the award to Crews. “It gives me great pleasure, on behalf of the College and the Foundation, to present the 2019 Distinguished Alumni Award.” 

Crews, upon accepting the award, said Seminole State was an “open door of opportunity.” After returning to the College after 14 years, Crews said, “I was working full time, and it opened a door that allowed me to go to school.”

The association also presented its Outstanding Graduate Award during the event to Hayley Furman, who graduated in December 2018 with an Associate in Arts focused on environmental studies. “I believe that she will go on to do great things,” said Aaron Hanlin, director of the Grindle Honors Institute. “After finishing her bachelor’s degree, I just know that she’ll do amazing things for our society.” 

Furman, a 2019 Jack Kent Cooke (JKC) Foundation Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship winner, thanked everyone who came to the event to support her and the faculty and staff who helped her along the way, including Hanlin, Professor of Biological Sciences Dr. Debra Socci and Honors Institute Coordinator Beverly Smith. She also thanked the Foundation for Seminole State College and the honors program for their support. 

The Alumni Association also created two new award categories this year – a Honors Alumni Award and Alumni Excellence Honorees. In April 2019, the Alumni Association and Grindle Honors Institute presented the first Honors Alumni Award to Daniel Leon-Davis at the institute’s annual graduate dinner. Leon-Davis is a 2011 graduate of Seminole State and a JKC Scholar. He went on to earn degrees in international relations and music theory at American University in Washington D.C. An immigrant who has recently earned permanent U.S. citizenship, Leon-Davis is the co-founder and partner of The Soze Agency, a social change agency that works to shift the narrative that creates positive culture and drives change forward.

2019 Alumni Excellence Honorees

The newly established Alumni Excellence Honoree category recognizes multiple alumni who exemplify Seminole State’s core values of integrity, respect, excellence, academic freedom and learning. The first class of Alumni Excellence Honorees includes:

  • Harry Ellis III (’01), president and chief information officer of Next Horizon 
  • Juanita Martin (’14), owner and administrator of R.E. Martin Plumbing Inc. 
  • Joshua Murdock (’99), department head of the Technology & Education Center at the Orange County Library System  
  • Flavio Umeda Pacheco (’16), legal investigations associate at Google Inc. 
  • Kristin Ramirez (’99), vice president of membership strategies for Girl Scouts of Citrus Council

The evening concluded with Alumni Association Chair Amber Clore passing the gavel to Katie Bowman, who will lead the Alumni Leadership Team for the next year. Bowman, senior relationship manager of community engagement & partnerships at Addition Financial, shared that her vision for the next year of the Alumni Association is to “help provide new tools and opportunities to graduates and current students alike, who need that boost personally, professionally, or both. Whether they are searching for a first job, currently enrolled in classes, or celebrating 20 years with an organization, we want to be there to connect them all to one another.”

About the Seminole State College Alumni Association

Since 1966, Seminole State College of Florida has awarded more than 100,000 degrees and certificates. The Alumni Association provides benefits and services for all alumni as they continue their lifelong connection with Seminole State College of Florida. It also provides opportunities for alumni to network with one another, interact with the student body and support the College.

Whether you've earned a degree or a certificate, or enrolled in just one course, you're a Seminole State alumnus, and we want you to enjoy the benefits of maintaining a relationship with the College. The Alumni Association is here to help you stay connected to Seminole State through various platforms and initiatives.

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