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50 Days of Service: Celebrate by giving back

Flags featuring the College's 50th anniversary seal began flying at Seminole State campuses starting on Jan. 5.

Updated: Jan. 29, 2015

Seminole State College of Florida is celebrating a half-century of expanding access to higher education in Central Florida with a yearlong celebration in 2015.

The commemoration began on Monday, Jan. 12 -- the first day of classes -- with the launch of 50 Days of Service, a student-led volunteer initiative. More than 50 community volunteer opportunities are planned throughout Spring Term as part of the initiative.

“Seminole State has a rich legacy of giving back to the community we serve,” says Dr. Jan Lloyd, associate vice president of student development. “50 Days of Service is all about getting the College community involved in making a difference. There are many opportunities for students, and faculty and staff to serve and be part of helping to commemorate our 50th anniversary.”

Students can learn more about volunteer opportunities and the 50 Days of Service on the College's 50th anniversary website or in the Office Student Life on any campus.

Additional events include:

  • Sponsoring key events in all seven Seminole County cities in 2015, which started with the Central Florida Scottish Highland Games in Winter Springs, Jan. 17-18.
  • The 50th Anniversary Dream Gala, a black-tie fundraiser for the Foundation for Seminole State College, Feb. 28.
  • Seminole State College Orlando Magic Night, March 25.
  • Music Department Presents, “Jazz Night: Five Decades of Music,” April 14.

Realizing the Dream

Fifty years ago, a college education was out of reach for most Central Florida residents. In June 1965, Gov. W. Haydon Burns signed legislation – initiated by the Seminole County School Board – to establish a public junior college in Seminole County. A year later, Seminole Junior College opened in a former citrus grove with about 750 students in 17 portable buildings. The college offered one degree program and had about 30 full-time faculty and staff.

Today, more than 30,000 students per year are enrolled at six sites throughout Central Florida – pursuing more than 200 degrees, certificates and programs, including five bachelor’s degrees. Seminole State is the third largest employer in Seminole County, with 1,581 full- and part-time faculty and staff.

Among the achievements in Seminole State’s history:

  • The first public college or university to open in the Orlando area (Orange and Seminole counties).
  • One of the first integrated colleges in Central Florida. Among the first students at the college were recent graduates of Crooms High School, which served as a high school for African-Americans in Seminole County until 1970.
  • One of the first comprehensive colleges in Florida, offering two-year degrees, vocational certificates as well as adult education and community enrichment programs since 1970. 
  • The only state college in Florida to have had only two presidents in its history. Dr. Earl Weldon, the founding president, served for 30 years and was succeeded by Dr. E. Ann McGee in 1996.
  • The first public college in Central Florida to offer bachelor’s degrees in 2010.
  • Producing more than 1 million enrollments and thousands of alumni, including Pulitzer Prize winner Doug Marlette; “Saturday Night Live” head writer Paula Pell; Broadway star Norm Lewis; former Congresswoman Sandy Adams; and Major League Baseball executive John Hart.

For more information on the 50th anniversary, please visit seminolestate.edu/50.

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