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College a finalist for national diversity award

Actors rehearse for the College's production of 'King Hedley II,' one of August Wilson's plays depicting the African-American experience throughout the 20th century.

Seminole State College of Florida is among a select group of colleges named as finalists in a new program designed to recognize innovation among colleges nationwide.

The Awards of Excellence are sponsored by the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), which established the awards in August 2012.

The finalists were announced Tuesday, Feb. 5. Winners in each of five categories will be named April 23 in San Francisco during the AACC annual convention. Seminole State College is one of five colleges recognized in the Advancing Diversity category for its sustained faculty, staff and student diversity programs and for its unique, 10-year commitment to producing the works of Pulitzer Prize-winning African-American playwright August Wilson.

Other categories include Emerging Leadership, Student Success, Exemplary CEO/Board and Outstanding College/Corporate Partnership.

“Seminole State College is dedicated to promoting a culture of diversity in every aspect of college life, from our fine arts presentations to our internal programs for faculty and staff,” says President Dr. E. Ann McGee. “We’re pleased that our efforts to embrace diversity at all levels have received national recognition.”

Performances of Seminole State’s production of “King Hedley II” by August Wilson open Feb. 8, with subsequent shows on Feb. 9, 10, 14, 15, 16 and 17 in the Fine Arts Theatre on the Sanford/Lake Mary Campus.

Criteria for the Awards of Excellence are designed to reflect innovative practices in areas that relate to recommendations of the 21st-Century Commission on the Future of Community Colleges, a national, blue-ribbon group of education experts that issued its report last spring. In the report, the commission described a redesigned community college of tomorrow, one that would “reinvent the student experience” and help “reclaim the American dream.”

“The 21st-Century Commission provided a blueprint for the community college of the future,” said Marie Gnage, chair of the AACC Board of Directors. “With these new awards, AACC intends to elevate community colleges that are in the vanguard of progressive practices.”

Finalists for the AACC Awards of Excellence were chosen by a specially appointed committee of the association’s board of directors, based on specific and measurable criteria. The AACC represents close to 1,200 state, community, junior and technical colleges nationwide.

For a full list of finalists, visit the AACC website.

Seminole State operates six sites in Central Florida, including campuses in Altamonte Springs, Heathrow, Oviedo and Sanford/Lake Mary. Seminole State, one of the fastest growing two-year colleges in the nation, has enrollments of more than 32,000.

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