Orlando City Commissioner and Seminole State College of Florida alumna Patty Sheehan has been honored with a 2018 Outstanding Alumni Award from the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC). The award is given to alumni who have made a positive impact on their communities and the world, and who are examples of community colleges’ ability to change lives.
Sheehan is one of only three alumni from two-year colleges across the country to be selected for the award this year. She will be recognized for her achievements at the AACC’s 98th Annual Convention on Tuesday, May 1, in Dallas, Texas. Sheehan graduated from Seminole State College in 1986 with her Associate in Arts (A.A.) degree before transferring to the University of Central Florida where she earned her Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree in Art. Since then, she has pursued a life of public service.
“I am very proud to be an alumna of Seminole State College,” Sheehan said. “I worked full time and paid my way through school like many of my fellow graduates. We worked hard for our education and really appreciate the outstanding faculty and support we received at this remarkable educational community.”
Sheehan was first elected to the Orlando City Council in 2000. She is the first openly gay elected official in Central Florida. She served nationally as president of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual Local Officials (GLBLO) constituency group at the National League of Cities. She has consistently worked as an advocate and supporter of diversity and public service.
When the Pulse nightclub shooting shook Orlando on June 12, 2016, Sheehan was a first responder and gained attention from local, national and international press as a spokesperson and leader who grieved with survivors and consoled the victims’ families in the weeks and months following the tragic event.
A believer in communities, Sheehan is well known for her advocacy of pedestrian safety, neighborhoods, historic preservation and a thriving downtown and has been recognized by many organizations for her efforts. She also has consistently been voted one of Orlando’s best elected officials.
“Patty Sheehan is the true definition of compassion, perseverance, courage and strength,” said Seminole State President Dr. E. Ann McGee, who submitted the nomination. “Her devotion to Seminole State College, her community and to the citizens of Central Florida make her truly deserving of the Outstanding Alumni Award.”
About the American Association of Community Colleges: As the voice of the nation’s community colleges, the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), delivers educational and economic opportunity for 12 million diverse students in search of the American Dream. Uniquely dedicated to access and success for all students, AACC’s nearly 1,200 member colleges provide an on-ramp to degree attainment, skilled careers and family-supporting wages. Located in Washington, D.C., AACC advocates for these not-for-profit, public-serving institutions to ensure they have the resources and support they need to deliver on the mission of increasing economic mobility for all.
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 seminolestate.edu, like us on Facebook at facebook.com/seminolestate and follow us on Twitter: @seminolestate.