Lidia O’Shields, Nancy White Named SCF Outstanding Graduates

Spring 2013 Commencement Held May 4

(Bradenton, Fla., May 4, 2013) – State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota (SCF) Spring 2013 commencement was held Saturday, May 4, in Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, 777 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota.

Out of 759 students who were eligible for graduation, 329 graduates were expected to participate in the ceremony. In addition to associate degree graduates, this number included 25 baccalaureate graduates.

The Outstanding Graduate Award was presented to an associate-level student and a baccalaureate-level student who have shown superior leadership, academic achievement and community service while attending SCF.

Boca Grande resident and Russian native Lidia O'Shields was the recipient of the Outstanding Associate Graduate Award. While at SCF, O'Shields served as president of the Alpha Mu Upsilon chapter of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, PTK representative to the Student Activity Budget Review Committee, member of the History/Political Science Club, and officer for Phi Beta Lambda Business Club. She realized her dream of an American college education, excelled academically as a member of the 2013 All-Florida Academic First Team and served as a peer tutor in mathematics. O'Shields will study Chinese in the summer language program at Middlebury College in Vermont. She plans to major in Russian and French studies and minor in mathematics and Chinese at the University of Florida with the goal of becoming a U.S. Foreign Service officer.

Other finalists for the Outstanding Associate Graduate Award were Christine Gambino, Bradenton; Nara Fernandez, Sarasota; Jeannean O'Connell, Sarasota; Emre Özgener, Parrish; and Jared Padgett, Sarasota.

Sarasota native Nancy White was the recipient of the Outstanding Baccalaureate Graduate Award. White has been active in the College and the community. She is a master gardener volunteer through the Sarasota County Cooperative Extension and served on the board for the George Avenue Public Improvement District. While at SCF, White served as an SCF peer advising assistant, helping students with enrollment, registration and advising. In her role, she also became the liaison for SCF student veterans. After graduating with a Bachelor of Applied Science in Energy Technology Management, she plans to continue working in the public sector.

Other finalists for the Outstanding Baccalaureate Graduate Award were Arnold Bailey Jr., Sarasota, and Ketan Senjalia, Lakewood Ranch.

Funding for SCF's Outstanding Graduate Award is provided by The State College of Florida Foundation Inc.

The graduation speaker was David Houle, author, futurist-in-residence and faculty member of Ringling College of Art and Design. Houle, who has spent more than 20 years in media and entertainment, worked at NBC and CBS and was part of the senior executive team that created and launched MTV, Nickelodeon, VH1 and CNN Headline News.

He consistently is ranked as one of the top futurists in the world today on topics including the future of education and technology. Houle has won two Emmys, the prestigious George Foster Peabody award, and the Heartland award for "Hank Aaron: Chasing the Dream."

Often called "the CEOs' futurist," Houle has spoken to or advised more than 2,000 CEOs and business owners. He is a featured column contributor to, and his fourth book, "Entering the Shift Age," reached No. 1 best-seller status in the category of Business Planning and Forecasting.

Program participants included SCF President Dr. Carol F. Probstfeld; Dr. Donald Bowman, vice president of educational and student services and interim provost of SCF Lakewood Ranch; Gary Russell, vice president of academic affairs; Dr. Mike Mears, vice president of baccalaureate programs and provost of SCF Bradenton; Darlene Wedler-Johnson, provost of SCF Venice; Dr. Joni Pirnot, professor, mathematics; Stephanie Cook, professor and program director, computer science; and Dr. James Williamson, chaplain, campus ministries.

Pam Stewart, professor, art, design, humanities, who has taught at SCF for 55 years, served as the macebearer in the ceremony.

The national anthem was sung by the SCF Chamber Choir directed by Melodie Dickerson, SCF Music Program director, and the processional and recessional were performed by the SCF Symphony Orchestra conducted by Robyn Wilkes, SCF director of instrumental studies.

Lidia O'Shields
Lidia O'Shields, Outstanding Associate

Nancy White
Nancy White, Outstanding Baccalaureate

OGA Associate
Outstanding Associate Graduate Award finalists Nara Fernandez, Jared Padgett,
Lidia O'Shields, Christine Gambino, Emre Özgener and Jeannean O'Connell

OGA Bachelor
Outstanding Baccalaureate Graduate Award finalists Arnold Bailey Jr.,
Nancy White and Ketan Senjalia


Page Edit