SANFORD – Seminole State College of Florida celebrated the success of more than 1,800 graduates during its Spring 2023 Commencement Tuesday, May 2, in Addition Financial Arena at University of Central Florida. The College awarded over 2,000 degrees and certificates this spring.
The tradition, pomp and circumstance of graduation was on full display as bagpipers led the procession of special guests, faculty and graduates into the arena as commencement began. In addition to a faculty challenge delivered by Dr. Maya Byfield, professor of biological science, and a student challenge issued by Justina Nielsen, Student Government Association president at Seminole State’s Robert and Jane Lee Campus at Oviedo, college president Dr. Georgia L. Lorenz praised the graduates for their tenacity and hard work. “Coming to college and achieving your goals is a choice…a choice not everyone makes,” she said. “By attending Seminole State, you chose to stand out…you chose to commit yourself fully to your goal and demonstrate that a certificate or degree is achievable.”
Dr. Laura Ross, who will retire from her role as vice president of Academic Affairs this summer after more than 30 years at Seminole State, delivered the keynote address. She reminded the graduates that “courage leads to confidence” and commended the courage they exhibited on the “zipline of graduation.”
“Be sure you take time today to reflect on the courage and persistence it took to reach your goal…and above all, celebrate,” Ross said. “But tomorrow, you have another zipline to conquer. As a veteran of ziplines, I encourage you to be brave, keep your eyes open, and enjoy the ride.”
Seminole State also recognized its 2023 Endowed Teaching Chairs during the ceremony:
- Dr. Ekaterina Goussakova, professor of English for Academic Purposes: Phoenix International Ltd., Inc. Endowed Teaching Chair
- Dr. Jaime Magnetico-Walsh, professor of respiratory therapy: HCA Florida Endowed Teaching Chair
- Michael Mendoza, professor of English: Cirent/Agere, in honor of Dr. Peter Panousis and Mr. Robert B. Koch Endowed Teaching Chair
- Dr. Neil Vaz, professor of history: Wharton‐Smith, Inc. – Construction Group Endowed Teaching Chair
The four honorees each received $5,000 and a medallion.
Following the recognition of the Endowed Teaching Chairs and Seminole State’s honor graduates, Dr. Ross returned to the podium to present the spring class of 2023. As they turned their tassels in preparation to cross the stage, they became the newest members of the Seminole State College Alumni Association, which is more than 130,000 Raiders strong.