First Commencement Held as State College of Florida

(Bradenton, Fla., Dec. 18, 2009) – State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota (SCF) Winter 2009 commencement exercises were held Friday, Dec. 18, in Neel Performing Arts Center at SCF Bradenton, 5840 26th St. West. Out of 776 students eligible for graduation, 231 were expected to participate in the ceremonies.

The guest speaker was Steve Shenbaum, a former actor and president and founder of game on Media Inc., based at IMG Academies.

The creative communication company uses role-playing techniques to help professional athletes, teams and corporations improve communication and confidence. Shenbaum travels the world leading seminars and speaking to teams and organizations, emphasizing honesty and humility through improvisations.

Shenbaum earned a degree in theatre and performance from Northwestern University and has trained at the British American Drama Academy in Oxford, England.

The President’s Award of Distinction was presented to SCF alumni Rose Carlson and John W. Schaub III.

Carlson, a graduate of the University of Texas, is vice president and general manager of Bright House Networks, Manatee Region. A third generation native of Manatee County, she has a long history of service to the community in leadership positions including a gubernatorial appointment to the SCF College District Board of Trustees and a term on the SCF Foundation Board of Directors. She served as a partner with SCF as the college has expanded its community outreach and educated students through the use of high-speed network technologies.

Schaub, a graduate of University of Florida, is president of Florida Coast Realty of Sarasota, a real estate investment company. He has authored three books, published by McGraw Hill, on investing in property. He is the past president of Habitat for Humanity Sarasota and has served on Habitat’s International Board of Directors. A native of Florida, Schaub grew up in Manatee County and is committed to education. He is currently the president of State College of Florida Foundation.

Cathleen Cornish was the recipient of the Outstanding Graduate Award presented to a student who has shown superior leadership, academic achievement and community service while attending SCF. Cornish has been active in the college and community as a Phi Theta Kappa vice president of fellowship, coordinating a recent Venice Main Street “Go Green” Service Project. She also has served as a mentor for Family Support Groups and intern for Women’s Resource Center of Sarasota County. Cornish, who has been accepted into the Program for Experienced Learners at Eckerd College, plans to study humanities, human development and religion.

The Outstanding Graduate Award finalists were Elisha Byerly, Cathleen Cornish, Terrance Marshall, Rafael Gonzalez and Laura Shade.

Other program participants included SCF President Dr. Lars A. Hafner; Steve Harner, chair, SCF district board of trustees; Dr. Jack Crocker, vice president of academic quality and success; Donald Hall, professor, natural science, mace bearer; Stephanie Cook, assistant professor, business and technology; Dr. Joni Pirnot, associate professor, mathematics; SCF Bradenton Student Government Association (SGA) President Charles E “C.J.” Hunnicutt II; SCF Venice SGA President Ashley L. Darr; and Rev. Dr. James Williamson, chaplain, Campus Ministries. The National Anthem was sung by the SCF Chamber Choir conducted by Melodie Dickerson. The new alma mater, music and lyrics by Dr. Jack Crocker, arrangement by Rex Willis and Melodie Dickerson, was performed for the first time.

Oustanding Graduate Finalists 

Oustanding Graduate Finalists: Elisha Byerly, Rafael Gonzalez,
Cathy Cornish, Laura Shade and Terrance Marshall

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