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Foundation honors donors, highlights successes at 2017 Celebration of Giving

(l-r) Rob Baker, 2017-18 Foundation Board chair; Dr. E. Ann McGee, president of Seminole State; Wendy Brandon, CEO of Central Florida Regional Hospital and Seminole State trustee; and Robert Utsey, 2016-17 Foundation Board chair, at the Foundation for Seminole State College's Celebration of Giving on Aug. 10  

The Foundation for Seminole State College celebrated $1.87 million in scholarships and program support for the College and its students – including nearly $800,000 in scholarships awarded directly to students – during its Celebration of Giving on Aug. 10.

About 125 people, including donors, alumni, elected officials and community partners, attended the event, which gave donors the opportunity to interact with students, faculty and staff on campus, and to be recognized for their support.

"The reason we're here is to look back at the past year and thank you for making it another special year," said John Gyllin, vice president of resource and economic development at Seminole State and executive director of the Foundation. "Thank you for investing in the future of our college and students – which truly adds up to an investment in the future of our community."

Robert and Jane Lee Campus at Oviedo

A native of Oviedo, Robert Lee and his wife, Jane, were farmers and raised their children in Seminole County. In December 2016, Robert Lee signed a gift commitment to the College for approximately $3.5 million to establish the Robert and Jane Lee Endowed Scholarship. In recognition of their gift and commitment to the College, their lifelong service to Seminole County, and their son’s, former Seminole State Trustee Rick Lee, great connection to Seminole State, the Board of Trustees approved the Foundation’s request that the Oviedo Campus be named the Robert and Jane Lee Campus at Oviedo.

Robert Lee passed away in July. At the Celebration of Giving, Seminole State College President Dr. E. Ann McGee shared her story about her interactions with Robert and Rick Lee, as well as part of Rick’s message at his father’s funeral:

"Rick spoke at his father’s funeral about his dad’s unassuming and humble nature. He talked about the scholarship fund that his father established with us many years ago and showed a picture of his dad’s “kids” as his father referred to them – students who were attending college on the Robert and Jane Lee Scholarship.  Every day, Robert would check his financial statements to see if he had made even more money for “his kids.” It was humbling to hear how dedicated his father was to making sure that others less fortunate would have an opportunity to succeed. In honor of this gift, this fall we will be renaming the Oviedo campus for Robert and Jane Lee. A hard-working man whose legacy is a living one as personified each day by “his kids” – thousands of them!"

The Foundation will continue to work with high school guidance counselors to provide this scholarship opportunity to generations of deserving students.

In March, Seminole State's Board of Trustees approved the Foundation’s request that the Oviedo Campus be renamed in honor of the late Robert and Jane Lee. (Photo: courtesy of the Lee family)

Corporate Champion Award

During the event, Central Florida Regional Hospital was presented with the Foundation Board of Directors' top honor, the Corporate Champion Award.

Central Florida Regional Hospital has been a longtime supporter of the College, especially the nursing program. With over half a million dollars in support since 1999, the hospital has established an Endowed Teaching Chair, annually sponsored the Foundation’s Dream Gala and Dream Cup, been actively involved in the Presidents’ Club, and serves as an annual scholarship match for nursing scholarships provided by the Florida College System Foundation. Additionally, they have served the Foundation and the College through service on the Foundation Board of Directors and the College’s Board of Trustees.

Dr. McGee also recognized and thanked Wendy Brandon, CEO of Central Florida Regional Hospital and a Seminole State College trustee, for taking a leadership role in the initiative for Seminole State and select other state colleges to offer a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Nursing starting in January 2018. This will be the College’s seventh bachelor’s degree and is supported by donations from local hospitals, including Central Florida Regional Hospital, Florida Hospital and Orlando Health.

2016-17 Highlights

Highlights of the Foundation’s 2016-17 fiscal year include:

  • Provided $1.87 million in support to Seminole State
  • Awarded 1,582 scholarships totaling nearly $800,000
  • Funded 29 faculty and staff Mini-Grants totaling over $35,000 and provided additional funding for classroom and teaching enhancements. More than $717,000 has been provided since the program’s inception in 1998.
  • Raised over $375,000 at the 2017 Dream Gala and Dream Cup
  • Raised more than $75,000 through faculty and staff contributions to the Blue & Gold Giving Campaign with a 38 percent participation rate
  • Surpassed $27 million in total assets
  • Achieved all-time high endowment levels with more than $15.4 million through 186 funds

The Foundation for Seminole State College, founded in 1968, is a not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) corporation that enhances the College's programs and services through the development and management of private contributions, public grants and community partnerships. For more information, visit


2017 Celebration of Giving

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