Trustees Vote to Move Forward with Apopka Campus, Create New Scholarship, Innovation Funds
Thursday, February 23, 2012
At its Feb. 21 meeting, Valencia College’s District Board of Trustees took preliminary steps toward creating a new campus in Apopka, and voted on how to spend the $600,000 award the college received for winning the 2011 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, which is given to the top community college in the nation.
The college was named the winner of the inaugural Aspen Prize in December, and the trustees voted to divide the prize money into two efforts – one that will provide scholarships and another fund that will encourage faculty members to come up with innovative programs that help students complete college, get placed in jobs or transfer to other institutions to complete their four-year degrees.
Of the $600,000 prize, $250,000 will be used as matching funds for the Johnson Family Foundation to partially underwrite 2+2 scholarships for students in the Direct Connect to UCF program.
Every dollar given by Valencia to this fund will be matched by both UCF and the Johnson Scholarship Foundation. Recipients of the scholarship will be deemed “Johnson Scholars.” Throughout their college careers they will have special program requirements that emphasize leadership development.
The remaining $350,000 from the Aspen Prize will be matched with $750,000 from other sources to create a $1.1 million fund to support team-led projects to improve student learning, completion, placement in jobs and success in transfer.
In other action, Valencia’s board of trustees approved a nonbinding letter-of-intent to accept a donation of land for its proposed Apopka campus. The letter of intent is the first step in the process of accepting a land donation. The proposed donor, Rochelle Holdings, is developing Kelly Park Crossings, a 624-acre development that is set to include shops, offices and homes.
Also at the board meeting, Valencia College President Sandy Shugart announced to the trustees that that Florida Institute of Technology, a private technological university in Melbourne, Fla., will provide $150,000 annually in scholarships to be awarded to 10 Valencia students who plan to attend FIT.
The college’s board of trustees also made history at this meeting when they elected Bertica Cabrera Morris as their chairwoman, making her the first Hispanic woman to lead the board of trustees in the college’s 44-year history.
Cabrera Morris owns and operates a public relations and governmental affairs consulting firm based in Orlando that represents Fortune 500 companies.
At the same meeting, the board elected Maria Grulich Toumazos as its vice chair. Grulich Toumazos serves as administrator of the Osceola County Economic Development Department.
The eight-member governing board welcomed two new members at its February meeting: Guillermo Hansen and Fernando Perez. They, along with members Lewis Oliver, III, Jerry Buchanan, Lori Kifer Johnson and Jo Quittschreiber, are appointed by the governor to direct the college’s policies.