Seminole State College of Florida awarded 2,069 degrees and certificates, including more than 100 bachelor’s degrees, during the Fall 2016 Collegewide Commencement on Dec. 14 at the University of Central Florida’s CFE Arena.
In her address, Seminole State President Dr. E. Ann McGee noted significant developments at Seminole State including the launch of the sixth bachelor’s degree in health sciences this summer and news that the College is seeking state approval for the next bachelor’s degree in nursing.
She also noted that just last week, Seminole State received word that the College is ranked seventh in the nation for bachelor’s degrees awarded among two-year colleges offering bachelor’s degrees.
Amid highlights of the College’s successes, the night belonged to the graduates.
“Congratulations, graduates. Today is truly all about you,” McGee said. "Your determination, your sacrifices, your perseverance. That you never gave up on your dream, even though there may have been times when you thought about it. Today, we celebrate all that you have accomplished.”
McGee attributed the many successes at Seminole State to the quality of the faculty and staff and the dedication of the students. She recognized a few of the graduates, sharing their unique stories.
Among the graduates were:
During the ceremony, Seminole State graduating nursing students who were at Orlando Regional Medical Center (ORMC) on the morning of the Pulse shooting also were recognized. For the nine students, Colin Bailey, Victoria Casto, Crystal Clarke, Janelle Coats, Asiya Jones, Elizabeth Smith, Molly Stoute, Victoria Valentine and Megan Ward, that tragic day brought all of their education and training into focus when they arrived for their clinical rotation and discovered they would be joining the medical team at ORMC’s Trauma Step Down unit. Each student utilized what he or she learned over the last two years to make a difference and help save lives.
Orlando City Commissioner and Seminole State College alumna Patty Sheehan provided the keynote speech for the graduation ceremony, sharing her personal challenge to overcome crippling stage fright in addition to her emotional role following the Pulse nightclub shooting.
As the commissioner, Sheehan witnessed parents and friends frantically searching for loved ones, and some receiving the worst news possible. She spoke of Luis Vielma, a Seminole State student who was killed in the attack. Sheehan urged graduates to honor Vielma by being of service to others and doing the best job possible.
“Every one of you will have a contribution to make in this world,” said Sheehan. “And while you may not find it tomorrow or the next day, if you believe in your voice, do every job well and find inspiration in those you love, you will be well ahead of most of the folks in this world.”
For those who were unable to attend, a video of the ceremony is available on the College’s graduation website.
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 nearly 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 seminolestate.edu, like us on Facebook at facebook.com/seminolestate and follow us on Twitter: @seminolestate.