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Foundation celebrates more than $1.5 million in scholarships, support

Student Shannon Connor addresses donors during the Celebration of Giving at the Heathrow Campus.

The Foundation for Seminole State College celebrated more than $1.5 million in scholarships and program support for the College and its students – an increase of 67 percent over the previous year – during its Celebration of Giving on Aug. 22.

About 125 people -- including 12 new Foundation Board of Directors members -- attended the event, which gave donors the opportunity to interact with students, faculty and staff on campus, and also to be recognized for their support. Donors also were able to tour the Foundation’s new offices at the Heathrow Campus.

"The reason we're here is to simply say thank you," said Foundation Executive Director John Gyllin. “Your generosity and support are changing lives and giving students the opportunities to achieve and graduate.”

Corporate Champion Awards

During the event, Sunniland Corp. and Wharton-Smith Construction Co., two Seminole County-based companies with a long history of support for the College, were presented with the Foundation’s top honor, the Corporate Champion Award.

Sunniland, one of the oldest companies in Central Florida, has been a strong supporter of Seminole State since even before the College opened its doors. Chase & Co., the predecessor to Sunniland, sold the land that created Seminole Junior College in 1966. In the early days of the College, Lee Moore, owner of Sunniland, a mayor of Sanford and former Seminole State trustee, often stepped up to help the College financially.

After Moore’s wife, Ann, passed away in 1990, Moore established the Ann Wiggins Moore Memorial Endowed Nursing Scholarship by donating $250,000. Six years later, he spearheaded the Sunniland Nursing Project Fund to renovate the nursing department offices, classrooms and labs.

In 2005, Moore donated $500,000 to help expand the College’s healthcare programs at the Altamonte Springs Campus.

Wharton-Smith, which was founded in 1984, provided the seed capital of $400,000 to start the Wharton-Smith Center for Construction at Seminole State. In addition, Wharton-Smith, seeing the need for professional construction managers in Central Florida, advocated for the creation of a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Construction at Seminole State in 2011.

The company also supports public safety students through a 9/11 scholarship fund.

2012-13 highlights

 Highlights of the Foundation’s fiscal year include:

  • Awarding $1.5 million in scholarships and program support – an increase of 67 percent over the previous year – and ending the year with a record $17 million in assets.
  • Raising more than $300,000 at its two signature events, the Dream Gala and the Dream Cup golf tournament.
  • A $50,000 donation from AT&T that will help students in the Adult High School transition to college credit programs.
  • A $153,000 donation from the Emil Buehler Perpetual Trust that allowed the planetarium to purchase a fisheye lens that enhances the planetarium’s capabilities as a resource for the college, public school children and the community.
  • Donations that created the Michael Holmes Computing Data Center in honor of a longtime employee.
  • A faculty and staff giving campaign that raised $72,000 for scholarships and programs. More than 40 percent of employees participated.

Student Impact

Students who are Foundation scholarship recipients attended the Celebration of Giving and were able to interact and thank donors for their support.

Shannon Connor, 46, a first-generation college student and Wayne M. Densch Scholar, addressed donors during the Celebration of Giving.

"Each and every day, your giving has a major impact in changing the lives of our students," she said. She described last year, her first year in college, as “the best year of my life.”

New Board Members

The Foundation for Seminole State College Board of Directors has added 15 new members as it prepares to ramp up efforts in support of a 2015 comprehensive campaign to raise $12 million for student success.

This was the first event since the Foundation moved its offices to the Heathrow Campus. The new location, next to Interstate 4, allows Foundation staff to be even closer to the business community.

About the Foundation for Seminole State College: The Foundation for Seminole State is a not-for-profit, tax-exempt corporation dedicated to enhancing Seminole State College's programs and services through the development and management of private contributions, public grants and community partnerships. For more information, visit the Foundation website.




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