Year in Review: Seminole State’s Best of 2019

Thursday, December 19, 2019
Written by: Kimberly Allen

From the inauguration of a new president to being recognized as one of the top 150 community colleges in the nation, 2019 was a year of changes and achievement for Seminole State College of Florida. Here's a look at the College’s best stories of 2019 (in chronological order).

1.    Moon Week: Lunar Eclipse 


The Emil Buehler Perpetual Trust Planetarium at Seminole State blasted into 2019 with Moon Week activities, which included guest speakers, a film screening, celestial observations and planetarium presentations. The weeklong celebration culminated in the total Lunar Eclipse Jan. 20-21, which attracted more than 5,000 guests and coverage from media including Fox 35, WKMG News 6, Orlando Sentinel, Orlando Weekly and more. The College was even featured on the National Geographic website as one of the top places to view the eclipse. In total, about 7,000 people attended the planetarium’s Moon Week events.

2.    Inauguration of Dr. Georgia L. Lorenz 

Dr. Georgia L. Lorenz was inaugurated as the third president in Seminole State College's history.

March 22, 2019, was a historic day as Seminole State held the inauguration for Dr. Georgia L. Lorenz officially recognizing her as the College’s third president. Dr. Lorenz succeeded Dr. E. Ann McGee, who served as president for 22 years, and Dr. Earl S. Weldon, who was the first president hired in 1965 and who served for 30 years. “As I embark on my tenure as the third president of Seminole State College, I am deeply touched,” said Lorenz. “I have been afforded the chance to be part of a legacy.” 

3.    AFC Professor of the Year

Professor of Biological Sciences Amee Mehta was the Association of Florida College's 2019 Professor of the Year.

Amee Mehta, professor of biological sciences at Seminole State, was named the Association of Florida College’s 2019 Professor of the Year. Mehta’s award-winning presentation was on antimicrobial resistance. She was evaluated on the strength of her recommendations, her teaching philosophy, her presentation and her professional service. “She is a passionate and knowledgeable educator who is dedicated to helping her students reach success,” said Dr. Laura Ross, vice president of Academic Affairs and chief academic officer, who nominated Mehta for the award.

4.    First RN-to-BSN Graduates

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

Claudia Bosdal, Melissa M. Carrion, Linden L. Ferguson, Odetta A. Julien, Erica D. Latimer, Grace Ogochukwu Aralu and Kyle R. Woodruff made Seminole State history in Spring 2019 as the first students to graduate from the College’s RN-to-BSN (Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing) program. The RN-to-BSN program answers the industry’s call for nurses with advanced training and provides graduates with high-growth, high-paying jobs. Courses for the RN-to-BSN are offered entirely online, enabling students to continue working while pursuing their bachelor’s degree.

5.    New Educational Partnerships 

Expanding transfer and completion options for its students and access to higher education for Florida residents, Seminole State added new educational partnerships in 2019. The College partnered with UF Online, the University of Florida's fully online baccalaureate degree program. The partnership gives the College’s Associate in Arts (A.A.) graduates the option of easy transfer to UF’s online bachelor’s degree programs not offered at Seminole State with accelerated admissions, admissions support and other benefits. UF Online is offered in addition to Seminole State’s 2+2 program with the University of Central Florida, DirectConnect to UCF™.  A.A. graduates also receive guaranteed acceptance to any state university.  

Seminole State also joined Complete Florida, a statewide initiative to help more than 2.2 million Floridians who started college but never finished their degree earn the credentials they need for the job they want. With Complete Florida, students are matched with a personal success coach to help them navigate the education process from admission through graduation. 

6.    We are the Champions

The women's golf team stands with their first place NJCAA national competition trophy.

Raider Athletics celebrated big wins in 2019. The women’s golf team finished a historic season with a victory at the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Women’s National Championship Tournament in May. The Raiders finished with a 23-stroke lead over second-place Daytona State College. Golfer Tai Anudit was individual champion, and Coach Christa Teno was named coach of the year.

In just the second year after the return of the cross country program at the College, the men’s cross country team took home first place at the NJCAA Region 8 championships in November. The team outscored second place by 18 points, and Coach Octavius “Ocky” Clark was named Region 8 Men’s Coach of the Year. The team finished the season at No. 16 in the national competition.

7.    Push Back Ceremony for Fire Academy 

A Seminole State fire instructor sprayed down Rally 3, one of the Center for Public Safety's new firetrucks during the College's Push Back ceremony. 

Seminole State’s Center for Public Safety celebrated the completion of $2 million in Fire Academy upgrades and equipment purchases, including the arrival of two new training fire trucks, with a traditional “Wet Down” and “Push Back” ceremony, Thursday, Aug. 29. The facility improvements and equipment purchased from the grant allow the College to continue offering state-of-the-art classroom and training space for the Criminal Justice, Emergency Medical Services and Fire Science programs.

8.    Hispanic Heritage Month Latinx Festival

Jose Betancourt's gallery exhibit opened the Latinx Festival.

To celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, Seminole State’s Center for Fine and Performing Arts hosted its first Latinx Festival. The three-day festival included art, music, poetry, dance, theater and more, all celebrating Hispanic art and culture. The celebration generated positive media coverage for the College, including an article in the Orlando Sentinel and a segment on WESH 2 News

9.    Aspen Institute Names Seminole State Among Top 150 Community Colleges  

Having been recognized as one of the top 150 U.S. community colleges, Seminole State was invited to compete for the $1 million Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, the nation’s signature recognition of high achievement and performance among America's community colleges. To add to this honor, The College also was invited to apply for The Excellence and Equity in Community College STEM Award. The top 10 finalists for the 2021 Aspen Prize will be named in May 2020.

10.    Students Shine in National Competitions

Seminole State students stand with DBIA leadership and faculty advisor Dr. Tan Qu.

Following a Southeast regional win, students from the construction and interior design programs placed first in the nation at the Design-Build Institute of America (DBIA) student competition. Seminole State College’s design, created by students Jeffrey Stout, Michael Miller, Windy Pierre-Louis, Tamara Noftsinger and Tiffany Theodore, was chosen as the winner. The submission displayed design-build best practices and a unique take on this year’s project: a music performing arts center on a college campus. Seminole State was the only state college among the universities competing.

Andrew Aylies (left) won the trade Safety Award and Nicholas Beavers finished third in the Fire Sprinkler Trade Competition.

Earlier in the year, Fire Sprinkler System Technology Apprenticeship students Andrew Aylies and Nicholas Beavers celebrated wins at Association of Builders and Contractors, Inc. (ABC) National Craft Championships (NCC). Aylies won the trade Safety Award and Beavers finished third in the Fire Sprinkler Trade Competition. Aylies and Beavers were among 200 craft trainees competing for top honors in 16 competitions representing 12 crafts.

For a look at more stories from 2019, view the Seminole State News Archive

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