Foundation For Seminole State Celebrates Milestone 40th Dream Gala

The sold-out event raised over $600,000 – new record funds for student success

The Foundation for Seminole State College’s 40th Annual Dream Gala raised over $600,000 for student scholarships, faculty program support and areas of greatest need throughout the College. The sold-out event was held on Feb. 24 at Orlando Marriott Lake Mary.
From left: Dr. John Gyllin, vice president of Resource and Economic Development and executive director of the Foundation for Seminole State College; Stephanie Pompeo, CFO for Wharton-Smith; and Dr. Georgia Lorenz, president of Seminole State College

SANFORD – The Foundation for Seminole State College of Florida hosted its 40th annual Dream Gala on Saturday, Feb. 24. Celebrating “40 Years of Dreams,” the event broke records once again raising over $600,000 for the first time ever, to support student scholarships and vital programs at Seminole State.

Dream Gala 2024, presented by Addition Financial and held at the Orlando Marriott Lake Mary, proved a resounding success. The excitement-filled evening saw over 400 members of the community in attendance.

The Dream Gala welcomed numerous distinguished guests, including the 2024 Honorary Host Committee with attendees Dr. E. Ann McGee and Barbara Miller. Gale Chiodi, daughter of the late Art and Phyllis Grindle, was there with her family. Gerry Weldon and the family of the late Dede and Bill Schaffner were recognized in absentia.

The night was filled with momentous highlights showcasing the direct impact of donor support on student lives. One especially notable moment from the evening was the announcement of a $2 million commitment from Wharton-Smith Construction and the Wharton-Smith Foundation.

“On behalf of President/CEO Tim Smith who is also a distinguished alumni, and Chairman Ron Davoli, I am proud to announce that Wharton-Smith Foundation is committing $2 million to lead the efforts to renovate and enhance the workforce trades center at Seminole State College. We are proud and humbled to be able to make this commitment tonight and celebrate the power of philanthropy with all of you! Happy 40 years to Wharton-Smith and happy 40th Dream Gala!” said Stephanie Pompeo, chief financial officer.

Additionally, a special recognition was given to long-time community leader Bob Hattaway and his family for their recently established endowed scholarship, which will serve to further the success of Seminole State students.

Inspiring speeches from Seminole State College Board of Trustees Chair Bob Cortes, Foundation Board Chair Kristy Moist, and President Dr. Georgia Lorenz emphasized the unwavering focus of student success. Dr. Lorenz shared, “We are thrilled to see all of you here tonight celebrating Seminole State and supporting our students. When I look around this room, I see 40 years of commitment and passion for higher education, our students, our community and our College.”

The energy soared during silent, live and scholarship auctions, adding to the evening’s fundraising success. Two donors, Pardeep Vedi along with Generation Om and Tom and Sally Moore, went above and beyond, both giving $40,000. With over $200,000 raised during this portion of the evening’s festivities, commitment and generosity shown by donors was apparent and extraordinary.

Exciting experiences made the evening sparkle, including the “Make Your Dreams Come True” raffle sponsored by Dillard’s Altamonte, a thrilling car raffle sponsored by Central Florida Auto Dealers Association, as well as the celebratory “40 Years of Dreams” Ice Luge, sponsored by Scott’s Heating and Air Conditioning. Duke Energy once again sponsored the 360-degree photobooth which featured “Dream On” by Aerosmith.

“The impact that you have had and will continue to have on our Foundation is truly awe-inspiring. You are the star in their story,” said Dr. John Gyllin, vice president of Resource and Economic Development and executive director of the Foundation for Seminole State College.

The Foundation extends its deepest gratitude to all sponsors, donors and attendees. For 40 years, the Dream Gala has made a profound difference, and this unwavering support will continue opening doors of opportunity for Seminole State students.