Valencia Wins Top Aspen Prize!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Dear Friends,

Only moments ago, I enjoyed one of the highlights of my career and of Valencia College’s 43-year history when Valencia was named the inaugural winner of the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence.

The announcement was made just after noon today at the National Press Club here in Washington D.C. at an event attended by Arne Duncan, U.S. Secretary of Education and Dr. Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden. The award comes with a $600,000 prize.

I compared the nomination, several months ago, to making it to the Final Four in college basketball. Today, we won the national championship.

It is a great honor that recognizes Valencia’s results: significantly higher graduation rates than peer colleges, among the nation’s highest job placement rates at 95 percent, and the most productive transfer program in the country, thanks to our partnership with UCF.

In addition, they cited our focused dedication to learning “defined by professors and administrators taking responsibility for student success, consistently asking what they each can do to improve student outcomes.”

We are thrilled to bring this prize home to Florida. Please join me in congratulating Valencia’s innovative faculty and staff, and most deservedly, our students, whose achievements are the only ones that really matter. Know too that your tangible support and collaboration makes a meaningful difference to our work.

With best wishes for a wonderful holiday,

Sandy Shugart

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