Giving to Florida Southern is a meaningful and lasting decision. It provides opportunity and access, impacts our distinction as an institution, supports our academic programs, and inspires others.
Our generous donors give for many reasons. Read a few of their stories below.
Growing up in Brazil, Albert Misan '72 did not have the resources for a college education. According to Albert, "everyone I knew wanted to come to the United States to attend college because it was clearly a higher standard of education." He received offers from three American schools, including Florida Southern College. On the advice of his guidance counselor – who favored Florida Southern for its library and ideal climate – Albert eagerly accepted Florida Southern's offer. Fortunately, he also received tuition assistance from the College, local Rotary Club, and from his high school in Brazil.
Although there were not many South American students in attendance at the time, Albert immediately felt welcomed and a part of a community when he arrived on campus. "I was a foreign, Jewish student, and there were so few of us back when I attended. However, I was in an environment where I was not just getting a great education; I was invited into other students’ homes for dinners and for holidays because I could not afford to travel back to Brazil during the school year. Everyone was so nice and welcoming."
After graduating from Florida Southern, Albert enjoyed a successful 40-year career in banking. Today, Albert serves on the National Alumni Board and is a faithful donor to the College. "I made my first donation back to Florida Southern more than 30 year ago. It really feels like it's my time to give back now. Strong education provides opportunities. As a graduate, I recognize the benefits FSC provided for me." Albert's donations include support of the Evett L. Simmons Center for Multicultural Appreciation, an annual scholarship for Business students, and the Florida Southern Annual Fund.
"Florida Southern has evolved so much since I graduated. The school is at different level today from the buildings to the education and even the student body. FSC has gone from three foreign students in my day to a much more diverse school," said Albert. While the Misan family currently resides in Miami, Albert purchased a house in Lakeland 30 years ago so they could always be near his alma mater.
Your investment will help Florida Southern continue to foster learning, engagement, and a greater sense of community for all of its students, faculty, and staff.
In 1929, just six months before the stock market crash, Jeannetta Claville (Simmons) was born. Her family did not have much to offer her: Jeannetta's father was blind and her mother was a seamstress. However, Jeannetta was a smart child who was satisfied so long as she had music in her life. In fact, at the early age of nine, she had already learned and started to play the piano in her local church.
Jeannetta attended Mulberry High School, and during her senior year, she participated in a work-study program with the Bank of Mulberry. She graduated a year early in 1946, the valedictorian of her class, and started working at the bank full-time.
At that time, the Bank of Mulberry was owned by L. N. Pipkin. A well-known philanthropist and champion of Florida Southern, Pipkin paid for Jeannetta's Florida Southern education while she continued working at the bank.
At Florida Southern, Jeannetta was a member of the orchestra and continued to shine in her academics. Jeannetta graduated in 1950 the salutatorian of her class. That same year, Jeannetta married Steve Claville. They shared a love for music and even played together at a local church. Jeannetta and Steve had one child, Gary.
Jeannetta passed away in 2013, after working in the banking industry for most of her life. Her love for music lasted her entire life as she was the pianist for multiple churches and even wrote the theme song for the city of Kissimmee, Florida. To honor his mother and family, Gary established an endowed music scholarship in Jeannetta's name through the donation of real estate. According to Gary, "she was a remarkable woman, and never bragged about any of her accomplishments."
Gary hopes to follow Pipkin's example so that future music-loving students may receive the same opportunity for a college education as Jeannetta. "Florida Southern has always been in my life, so I'm just trying to pay it forward," said Gary.
Your gift will give students from all backgrounds the opportunity to receive a world-class education that supports their passions and strengthens their communities.
Twin brothers Bill and John Buckley ‘89 have always been a package deal. Growing up in Demarest, New Jersey, colleges from across the country recruited them to play basketball, but they would only consider offers that allowed them to play together. After visiting Florida Southern and receiving basketball scholarships, they knew it was the school for them.
Thirty years later, Bill and John are still a package deal. The two live across the street from one another in Haworth, New Jersey. Successful equity traders, Bill works for Virtu Financial and John works for Merus Global Investments. Bill and John developed their career goals as undergraduate business students. "I took an investment class where we had a class-wide, stock-trading competition, and I had the best return on investment. So I thought I might be good at it," John said.
During their time on the basketball team, Bill and John helped the Mocs compete in two final four tournaments. "There's a lot of correlation between sports and what we do. There is a lot of pressure and stress in our field, which we learned how to manage as basketball players. I learned quickly how to take what I did as a student and use it professionally," Bill said. John added, "It's always a challenge to meet all of your goals as a student athlete, but the individual attention that we got from the teachers at FSC made it possible to develop our strengths in the classroom, and take those strengths with us into our professional career." In addition to the valuable skills they developed as athletes, the two also gained lifelong friends through their teammates. John and Bill stay in regular contact with their teammates, reuniting occasionally across the country.
Florida Southern's size and emphasis on engaged learning fuel's Bill and John's affinity for the College. "We never felt lost there, we had connections with all of our friends and teachers, and had a support system at all times," John said. The brothers financially support the Barney Barnett School of Business and Free Enterprise as it helped mold them into the professionals they are today. Additionally, they established an endowed basketball scholarship in 2006. "Our hope is to give a future student the same type of experience and same type of opportunity that we got. We want to say thank you, because we never forgot what FSC and our scholarship donors did for us," Bill said.
Join Bill and John Buckley in donating to Florida Southern as a way to say thank you for the experiences you had at the College.
Cedric Powell ‘02 was born and raised in Tampa, Florida. He attended Robinson High School where he was an all-star basketball player as well as the second leading scorer in the school's 40-year history. While seeking to advance his basketball career, Cedric transferred to Florida Southern College in the fall of 1999.
An offensive powerhouse, Cedric quickly found success as a guard with the Mocs. One of the many highlights of his career: beating his brother, who played for the University of Tampa. Victory was sweet for Cedric as the Mocs took home the win. His mother, on the other hand, found it particularly difficult to cheer during the game.
Life beyond basketball evolved as Cedric engaged in his Florida Southern education. "Florida Southern gave me the foundation and confidence that I needed to be successful at whatever I put my mind, heart, and soul into," Cedric said. He was mentored off the court by faculty who helped him build that foundation. "Professor Hopkins was a genius in how he taught his student to think outside the box in my marketing class. The late Col. Wiley gave us the vision of what it took for businesses to be successful using his favorite ‘Vroom' phrase. Dr. Blythewood gave us practical and real-life applications for financial management. Professor Clements was awesome. She constantly displayed her love for accounting and for Florida Southern," Cedric remembers fondly.
Upon graduating in 2002, Cedric entered the world of wealth management. He now owns a successful practice in Tampa. Cedric serves on Florida Southern's National Alumni Board of Directors and partners with Florida Southern to offer summer internships to current students with his firm. Cedric is married to Dr. Donna Powell. Together, they have three children and reside in Tampa.
Cedric is grateful for his time at Florida Southern and established an endowed scholarship for future students, like him, which he will further fund through a life insurance policy. "I created the Cedric P. Powell and Dr. Donna Powell Endowed Basketball Scholarship because it gives me an opportunity to pay it forward, while giving back," Cedric said. He hopes his scholarship will provide a way for more first-generation, African-American, inner-city students to better themselves. "We want to make a world-class education and athletic experience accessible to everyone, and that is why we give back," Cedric said.
Join Donna and Cedric Powell in giving back to Florida Southern College. Your gift can help make a quality education accessible to all students and inspire others to help students like Cedric realize their potential.
Your generosity enables us to attract and retain the best and brightest students.