State College of Florida Foundation Presents 2018-19 Sundays at Neel

Now in its 17th year, the State College of Florida Foundation will host the 2018-19 Sundays at Neel entertainment series at the SCF Neel Performing Arts Center, 5840 26th St. W. Six shows will take place between Dec. 9 and March 24. All concerts begin at 2 p.m.

Sundays at Neel is a series of fundraising concerts that benefit State College of Florida Foundation scholarships. The series kicks off Dec. 9 with “The Nowhere Band,” a Florida-based band using historically accurate equipment to recreate the Beatles’ Feb. 9, 1964, performance on the Ed Sullivan Show. Other performances will include:

  • Sun. Jan. 13, The Kingston Trio – Mike Marvin, Tim Gorelangton and Bob Haworth, have intrinsic links to and experience with the original group. Many of their personal memories recall the iconic trio’s performances as folk music made its extraordinary ascent to the top of the music charts.
  • Sun. Jan. 20, Simply Streisand – Carla Del Villaggio, an award-winning tribute artist, has the look and sound of Barbara Streisand.
  • Sun. Feb. 17, Alter Eagles – Considered to be the most authentic representation of the Eagles in their prime. Eagles fans will recognize the subtle complexities of instruments and vocals.
  • Sun. Feb. 24, Broadway at the Movies – Broadway stars Kirsten Scott and Josh Young take the audience on a musical journey through the 80-year union of cinema and musical theater.
  • Sun. March 24, Jay White – He played Neil Diamond in the Academy Award nominated film, “Frost/Nixon.” He has performed 8,000 shows, re-creating the look sound and mannerisms of the rock icon.

For more information and to view preview videos of each group, visit

Single tickets are $40. Discounted season subscriptions also are available. To order tickets, visit or contact SCF’s Neel box office at 941-752-5252

SCF Foundation Set to Highlight Health Care at Scholarship Luncheon

In response to a shortage of local health care workers, the State College of Florida Foundation will showcase health care programs at State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota (SCF) during its annual scholarship luncheon to be held 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Nov. 14 at Michael’s On East, 1212 S. East Ave., Sarasota.

Manatee, Sarasota and surrounding counties are facing a critical shortage of health care workers, including nurses, physical therapist assistants, radiography technologists, occupational therapy assistants and dental hygienists. The Foundation provides scholarships for SCF students in those disciplines, as well as biotechnology, business, criminal justice, early childhood education and associate in arts transfer programs.

The annual scholarship luncheon allows donors to meet the students they help, showcases SCF’s academic programs and creates an opportunity to raise more money for all scholarship needs. While the spotlight this year is on the critical need for health care workers, the Foundation continues to fund scholarships which have a huge impact on students’ ability to attend college across SCF’s programs.

About 2,400 students applied for scholarships for this school year. The Foundation awarded scholarships averaging about $1,400 each to 1,151 students. Buying tickets to the scholarship luncheon helps the Foundation serve even more students. The fundraising goal for the event is $60,000. Those who want to help, but can’t attend, can participate by sponsoring a health care student or any other scholar for a year or a semester.

For the 17th year, Suncoast Credit Union is the title sponsor for this important event. Sponsorships and underwriting opportunities are still available. Reservations for a table of eight are $750. Individual tickets are $100 each.

For more information on scholarships, contact Allison Nash at or 941-752-5653. To purchase tickets, visit

Physical Therapist Assistant Graduates from SCF Gather to Celebrate Success

It was 19-years in the making: More than 70 alumni from the Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) Program at State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota (SCF) gathered in the Together Manatee room at SCF’s Library & Learning Center to celebrate the relationships they made. About 300 PTAs have graduated from the program since 1999.

The reunion included both faculty and alumni. Four recent graduates – Derrick Hawkins, Jose Sanchez, Victoria Kolbach and Joanna Hennessey – decided to put together an alumni reunion as their community service project. The group was reluctant at first, offering other community service ideas, but when they saw their success, they realized it was a worthwhile project. The group exceeded their own expectations by bringing in dozens of alumni and raising money for scholarships. They also realized it was the perfect warmup to next year’s reunion when the program will be celebrating 20 years of graduates.

Vicky Duquette, who graduated from the first PTA class in 1999, brought her daughter Kourtney Spekko with her to the reunion. Spekko is a student at SCF who plans to apply to the PTA program once she completes her prerequisites. The 2018 graduates celebrated earning their PTA licenses after all 18 graduates passed the National Physical Therapy Exam (NPTE) for PTAs on their first attempt.

Because the program is rigorous, students study together and learn from one another, and become a tight-knit group, so it was no surprise to the instructors that so many alumni showed up. They expect an even bigger gathering for the reunion of all the classes of the past 20 years.

The Saturday event included lunch catered by Sonny’s BBQ. Del Carr, the PTA professor who approved the community service project, welcomed the group and Matt Connell, PTA program director, awarded prizes during the afternoon. But mostly the event was about getting together and renewing connections.

For more information on the PTA program, visit To learn about alumni events and opportunities, contact Erica Wuorio, alumni coordinator, at or 941-752-5391.

SCF Scholarship Recipients Celebrate National STEAM Day

The State College of Florida Foundation showcased Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math (STEAM) at its annual scholarship luncheon Wednesday, a day after National STEM/STEAM day. State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota (SCF) students at the luncheon were also treated to information on the STEAM programs offered at SCF and a performance by the SCF Presidential String Quartet.


Shay Atluru, president and CEO of DTC Engineering, announced that the Atluru Family Foundation will donate another $10,000 in scholarships, bringing the total to $35,000, for the DTC Engineering Opportunity Scholarship for students in Gator Engineering at SCF and the A.S. Engineering program. In an introduction video at the luncheon, Atluru talked about the importance of technical education and the STEM fields. He also emphasized the importance of community investment in education. His company provides scholarships and internships to local students, who he hopes will return to the community and work as engineers.


Ella Starr and Kyle Stone, students who both transferred from SCF to the University of Florida to pursue degrees in engineering, talked about the things they did at SCF that helped make them successful, including extracurricular activities and internships.


Starr said internships allow students to discover what they love to do and to cull out what they’re not as passionate about. Stone, who worked as an intern at Sun Hydraulics, said he started at SCF because of the affordability and small class sizes.


Donors and scholarship recipients sat together at the luncheon, an important connection said Starr, who met her scholarship donor at the 2014 luncheon, was able to offer a personal thank you. The annual scholarship luncheon allows donors to meet the students they help, showcases SCF’s academic programs and creates an opportunity to raise more money for scholarship needs.


For more information on scholarships contact Allison Nash at or 941-752-5653. To support the SCF Foundation, contact Barbara Bourgoin at or 941-752-5398.

Engineering Students Attend Unveiling of Gator Den at SCF

The first students accepted into Gator Engineering at State College of Florida, Manatee Sarasota (SCF) joined the ribbon cutting celebration for the new Gator Den, a study area for the students who have been accepted into the University of Florida Gator Engineering at SCF program.

Students, faculty, donors and representatives from the University of Florida were on hand as SCF President Dr. Carol Probstfeld kicked off the celebration at SCF Venice. Participating in the Gator Engineering program was the “easiest yes” of her presidency, she said.

“The aspect of this program that really excites me is the ability for these students to build and maintain their ties to our region through internships and the relationships they develop with our local companies,” Dr. Probstfeld said. “With our partners at the UF Innovation Station these Gator Engineering students will be able to find local opportunities and bring their skills back to our region after they finish in Gainesville.”

Gator Engineering develops pathways for students to be admitted to UF’s Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering while starting their education at SCF. The students take their coursework at SCF until they complete their necessary math and science courses and then move to the UF campus to continue their engineering education. The program, with its smaller class sizes and supportive cohort of fellow students, offers advantages to ensure student success. As part of the concierge services, students receive dedicated support with an SCF advisor and access to UF departmental advisors.

The program wouldn’t be successful without community support. SCF Foundation worked with the Charles and Margery Barancik Foundation and the Gulf Coast Community Foundation to help make the program a success. The Barancik foundation gave $60,000 to the program and the Gulf Coast Community Foundation gave $10,000 for the Gator Den. In addition, DTC Engineering created a scholarship for Gator Engineering and Engineering Technology students through its Altura Family Foundation. In addition, the company plans to hire interns from the program.

National Nonprofit Day Offers an Opportunity to Support SCF Students

A steady stream of State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota (SCF) students, staff and faculty visit SCF’s Foundation in the weeks before school begins. The Foundation, a nonprofit organization, raises the money for student scholarships and capital projects that directly impact learning at SCF.

The Foundation will be busy on National Nonprofit Day, recognized on Aug. 17, as Cassandra Holmes, executive director of the SCF Foundation, participates in the ribbon cutting for Gator Engineering at SCF. The Foundation’s efforts helped pay for a Gator Den for students in the new engineering program. The Foundation’s Board of Directors worked with the Charles and Margery Barancik Foundation and the Gulf Coast Community Foundation to pay for the space and are still working to raise another $130,000.

It’s been a busy year for the Board as they continue to raise money for the new Library & Learning Center under construction at SCF Bradenton and have begun to promote new projects, including a $3.5 million Studio for Performing Arts and a $6 million Health & Human Performance Center. Through its work, the nonprofit Foundation focuses on supporting students as they further their education or obtain workforce training. A recent economic impact study for Manatee and Sarasota counties shows that students’ success at SCF results in more than 7,700 jobs in the community.

The SCF Foundation receives nearly 3,000 scholarship applications every year and awards about 900 scholarships across every discipline.

For more information or to donate, contact Holmes at or 941-752-5654.