Mary Jane Fuller and Chris Laney Named Outstanding Graduates

SCF Winter 2014 Commencement Held Dec. 12

(Bradenton, Fla., December 12, 2014) — State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota (SCF) Winter 2014 commencement was held at 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 12, at the Bradenton Area Convention Center, 1 Haben Blvd., Palmetto.

Out of 598 students who were eligible for graduation, 222 graduates were expected to participate in the ceremony. This included 164 associate degree graduates, 57 baccalaureate graduates and one certificate graduate.

The graduation speaker was SCF alumnus John LaCivita, a lifelong Sarasota County resident and successful businessman who has invested in his community through philanthropy.

LaCivita is vice president and partner at Willis A. Smith Construction Inc., an award-winning, Sarasota-based construction management firm, which provides a scholarship through the SCF Foundation to encourage students in Manatee and Sarasota counties to seek a college education and pursue a career in the building construction industry.

LaCivita is a respected leader who serves on various boards, including the Argus Foundation, Education Foundation of Sarasota County, Easter Seals Southwest Florida, Easter Seals Southwest Florida Foundation, Sarasota Ski-A-Rees and the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce, where he was chair and an executive committee member of Leadership Sarasota.

He also is a graduate of Leadership Sarasota County 2004-05 and Leadership Florida Class XXVII, 2008-09. LaCivita received Leadership Sarasota’s Outstanding Leadership Award and was named a member of Gulf Coast Business Review’s “40 Under 40.”

He graduated with an Associate in Arts from SCF, then Manatee Community College, in 1988, and earned his Bachelor of Science in Building Construction from the University of Florida in 1991. He became a state certified general contractor in 1993.

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.

Mary Jane Fuller, a Bradenton resident and single mother, was the recipient of the Outstanding Associate Graduate Award. Fuller was the secretary and treasurer of the SCF Paralegal Society Club. As a member of the Lambda Epsilon Chi National Honor Society in Paralegal/Legal Assistant Studies, she organized a continuing education seminar for paralegals in the community. Fuller is a volunteer for Legal Aid of Manasota and recipient of the SCF Outstanding Student in Paralegal/Legal Assisting award. She also is a member of the Paralegal Association of Florida, the Nu Zeta chapter of the PTK International Honor Society, and the Sarasota/Gulf Coast chapter of the American Sewing Guild. After graduating with an Associate in Arts degree and an Advanced Technical Certificate in Paralegal/Legal Assisting, Fuller plans to pursue a bachelor’s degree. Her dream is to advocate for and counsel victims of domestic violence.

Other finalists for the Outstanding Associate Graduate Award were Summer DuBose, Bradenton; Joni Liberty, Bradenton; Alex Masella, Venice; and Tracie Myers, Parrish.

Chris Laney, a Sarasota resident, was the recipient of the Outstanding Baccalaureate Graduate Award. Laney was named the 2014 Sarasota’s Young Professional of the Year and was the youngest member selected for the Business Observer’s 2014 “40 Under 40.” He is the director of client experience for boostDFM Digital Agency and is a 2014 graduate of Leadership Sarasota. Laney also is the chair of the Young Professionals of Sarasota and the government relations chair for the Suncoast chapter of the American Advertising Federation. He serves on the board of directors for the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce and Young Advocates for Sarasota. Laney is a member of the Nu Zeta chapter of the Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society. After graduating with a Bachelor of Applied Science in Technology Management, he plans to pursue a Master of Business Administration in Marketing at Saint Leo University’s School of Business.

Ashley Ewing, an Englewood resident, also was a finalist for the Outstanding Baccalaureate Graduate Award.

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

Program participants included SCF President Dr. Carol F. Probstfeld; Dr. Donald Bowman, vice president of student affairs; Gary Russell, vice president of academic affairs; Janet H. Samuels, assistant professor, mathematics; Kristen Zaborski, assistant professor, business and technology; and the Rev. Jennifer Potter and the Rev. Bryan O’Carroll, campus ministry.

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

Karyn Washington, an SCF alumna and manager of business operations, served as the macebearer in the ceremony. Washington will retire in February 2015 after 37 years of service to SCF.

Mary Jane Fuller
 Outstanding Associate Graduate Mary Jane Fuller

Chris Laney
Outstanding Baccalaureate Graduate Chris Laney


Wniter OGA finalists
Outstanding Graduate Award finalists Ashley Ewing, Chris Laney, Outstanding
Baccalaureate Graduate Award recipient; Summer DuBose, SCF President Dr. Carol F. Probstfeld,
Mary Jane Fuller, Outstanding Associate Graduate Award recipient; Joni Liberty, Alex Masella
and Tracie Myers.



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