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Press Release

Thursday, February 7, 2013

DOE Press Office
850-245-0413

National Association Recognizes Florida Colleges for Excellence

- Four Florida colleges vying for top spots in national award program -

Tallahassee, Fla., February 7, 2013 - The American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) has recognized four Florida College System institutions as national leaders for implementing innovative, progressive practices. The four colleges were named finalists Tuesday for the AACC's Awards of Excellence for promoting effective community college governance, advancing diversity, and collaborating with local, regional, and national partners.

"The Florida College System has a strong history of employing innovative strategies to serve the citizens of Florida and responding to community and state needs," said Florida College System Chancellor Randy Hanna. "I am proud four of our colleges have been recognized by the American Association of Community Colleges and commend all Florida colleges for their outstanding work."

The Awards of Excellence is a new national program honoring two-year colleges for innovative practices. Awards will be given in five categories: emerging leadership, student success, exemplary CEO/board, advancing diversity, and outstanding college/corporate partnership.

St. Johns River State College is a finalist in the exemplary CEO/board category, Miami Dade College and Seminole State College of Florida are finalists in the advancing diversity category, and Indian River State College is a finalist in the outstanding college/corporate partnership category.

St. Johns River State College President Joe Pickens, JD, who serves as chair of the Florida College System College of Presidents, said he could not be more proud of each college's tireless efforts to position the state's college system as a leader in postsecondary education. Pickens congratulated the finalists and thanked the St. Johns River State College District Board of Trustees for its initiatives that resulted in the college's distinguished recognition.

"St. Johns River State and its trustees work collectively to ensure effective governance for not only our own college, but for the Florida College System as a whole. The board's endorsement of my role as chair of the Council of Presidents, as well as additional leadership roles, is a testament to their commitment to the advancement of community colleges at the local, state, and national levels," Pickens said. "It is gratifying to be named a finalist in the category of 'Exemplary CEO/Board' as we work together on our many initiatives and together on moving the college forward, ensuring the success of our students and the communities we serve."

"Seminole State College is dedicated to promoting a culture of diversity in every aspect of college life, from our fine arts presentations to our internal programs for faculty and staff," said President Dr. E. Ann McGee. "We're pleased our efforts to embrace diversity at all levels have received national recognition."

"This recognition is truly on behalf of everyone who is part of what we call 'Democracy's College,'" said Dr. Eduardo J. Padrón, president of Miami Dade College. "Diversity is a cornerstone in everything we do. At Miami Dade, we have proven that diversity, open access and quality can go hand in hand."

"The Power Plant Technology Institute developed by Indian River State College and Florida Power & Light is a model of a highly effective educational/business partnership that benefits students and the community," said Dr. Edwin R. Massey, college president. "Over 100 graduates of the program are now working in the energy industry at salaries averaging $55,000 a year. IRSC is honored that the American Association of Community Colleges recognized this very successful program as a finalist for an Award of Excellence."

A specially-appointed committee selected the 25 finalists based on specific and measurable criteria. In addition to recognizing colleges, the AACC also hopes to share the bold and forward-thinking practices with other colleges. The AACC will announce winners for each category on April 23, 2013.

For more information, visit the AACC website.