Help Identify the 2020 Distinguished Graduate

The Valencia Foundation needs your help to identify the 2020 Mary S. Collier Distinguished Graduate, who will serve as the keynote speaker for our commencement ceremonies.

We know from experience that many of our eligible students are too humble to see themselves in this role, so please encourage eligible, praiseworthy students to apply by providing them with a letter of recommendation. The student is responsible for applying, and he or she will include your letter of recommendation as part of the application packet.

In past years, our Distinguished Graduates have been non-traditional students like 2019 Distinguished Graduate Dalton Joseph, a son of Haitian immigrants, who fell in with a gang of young men who broke into homes; Jehojada Merilan (2018), a first-generation American; and Rula Khalaf (2017) who moved from the Middle East in search of a better future. These are the students who inspire our mission, who tell our story and empower others to overcome whatever challenges they face. These are the students who tell their peers, “We don’t settle; we succeed” and who demonstrate the power of commitment and dedication.

Eligibility requirements include:

  • Must have a minimum overall 3.5 GPA.
  • Must have two letters of recommendation from two separate Valencia faculty or staff members. (When the student applies, he or she must include a faculty or staff letter of recommendation as a part of the online application packet. We recommend providing the student with a digital/electronic letter of your letter of recommendation when you encourage the student to apply and he or she agrees.)
  • Must graduate during the academic year in which the scholarship is awarded. This includes summer 2019, fall 2019 and spring 2020 terms.
  • Must be available to attend all commencement ceremonies on Sunday, May 3, 2020, and give a commencement speech at each ceremony.

The application will open on Monday, November 4, 2019. Students can apply online by visiting the Valencia Foundation website and clicking on the red Student Log-In button. After entering their Atlas username and password, students will be redirected to the Distinguished Graduate application. The deadline for students to apply is Friday, January 31, 2020. Don’t let this opportunity to recognize a deserving student slip by.

As faculty and staff, we must seek out these students, offer them our support and champion their perseverance. In doing so, we cannot only lift them up but highlight their efforts to others who, amidst their own struggles, require inspiration to succeed.

If you know of a student who would make a great Distinguished Graduate Candidate, please consider sending him or her a personal invitation to apply. Click here for an invitation template.

If you have any questions about the application process, please contact Elvin Cruz, administrative manager, foundation scholars, at ecruz52@valenciacollege.edu or 407-299-5000, extension 3154.

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