YOU AND THE BLUE: Newsletter for Friends of Broward College and Broward College Alumni

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You & the Blue

A Newsletter for Alumni and Friends of Broward College

MAY 2020


Nancy O'Donnell-WilsonI am so proud of our Spring 2020 graduates who powered through distance learning and completed their degree or certificate programs. Broward College awarded 223 bachelor’s degrees, 2,294 associate degrees, and 1,802 technical certificates.

While we truly wish we could have celebrated their accomplishments in person, we followed the Center for Control's recommendations and canceled our commencement ceremony that was to have been held on May 5. Instead, we will be offering a virtual graduation on Saturday, June 6 at 1 p.m.

Strategic storytelling expert Andy Henriquez, author of Show Up for Your Life: 7 Principles to Living an Extraordinary Life, will be the keynote speaker. I hope you will join us and take part in what will be a remarkable event.


Class of 2020


Nancy O'Donnell-Wilson, Vice President for Advancement, Broward College
Executive Director, Broward College Foundation



Please join us at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, June 16 for the next Alumni & Friends interactive webinar on the “Challenge of Change.” We’ll hear from three very knowledgeable alumni who will share their personal awareness and understanding.


Webinar Series

We will poll the audience to gain important insight, and you will be able to ask questions and provide feedback on this important topic facing our world today. Register online and get your Zoom code.


The Broward College Foundation appointed Broward Health Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Alexander Fernandez; Haig Partners President Alan Haig; Valley Forge Fabrics Chief Operating Officer Vanesa Patiño; and The Rhodes Insurance Group President Lloyd F. Rhodes to its Board of Directors during its May 28 board meeting.

Alex FernandezAlexander Fernandez Alexander Fernandez is a seasoned executive with more than 13 years of experience leading the accounting and financial operations for complex healthcare systems in South Florida. In his current role, he oversees the enterprise-wide financial strategy for one of the nation’s largest public healthcare systems. He manages several departments within Broward Health, including finance, procurement, revenue cycle, and managed care. Prior to this, he served Broward Health as vice president for financial operations. Before joining Broward Health, he was the chief operating officer at Tenet Healthcare Corporation, where he worked in collaboration with the chief executive officer to formulate and execute strategies designed to drive performance and sustain the long-term viability of Good Samaritan Medical Center. He earned his MBA and a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from Florida Atlantic University and holds a Bachelor of Science in Financial and Multinational Business from Florida State University.

Alan HaigAlan Haig Alan Haig founded Haig Partners, LLC., to provide trusted advice and services to buyers and sellers of higher value automotive dealerships and dealership groups. For six years prior to founding Haig Partners, he led the auto retail practice at The Presidio Group. Before that, he was senior vice president of corporate development at AutoNation, Inc., where he was responsible for all dealership acquisitions and divestitures. He is the primary author of The Haig Report, which tracks industry trends and how they impact buy-sell activity and dealership values. He began his career in investment banking as an analyst and associate for Drexel Burnham Lambert in New York City. He has served on the board of the Broward Chapter of Habitat for Humanity. He earned his MBA from Columbia Business School, a Master of Arts from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a Bachelor of Arts from Dartmouth College.

Vanesa PatinoVanesa Patiño is the current chief operating officer and former chief financial officer and M&A leader at Valley Forge Fabrics. She is the former vice president of Finance and Strategic Initiatives for Ultimate Software. She is a multifaceted leader with a mix of finance and operations expertise and able to confidently direct multiple business lines. Her areas of expertise include identifying and leveraging business opportunities to steer organizations toward year-over-year growth. She serves on several professional advisory boards, including the Broward College Innovation Hub. She is a CFO Leadership Council member, an advisory board member at the Toolbox SaaS Company, and an M&A advisory board member at Qualcare Medical Group. She also volunteers as the PTA CFO at Falcon Cove Middle School. She earned her MBA in International Business from Universidad de Belgrano in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Lloyd RhodesLloyd Rhodes has dedicated his career to providing unparalleled broker and consultant services to South Florida. Specializing in all forms of group insurance, his firm expertly performs the functions of an in-house group insurance risk manager without the added salary and associated costs of an actual employee. He is committed to philanthropic efforts and actively supports many organizations throughout Broward County. He is a former board member and president of Kids in Distress and past president of the Downtown Fort Lauderdale Rotary. In addition, he serves on the board of the Fort Lauderdale Forum and is a graduate and lifetime member of Leadership Broward. He began his education at St. Petersburg College in Clearwater, where he earned his Associate of Arts degree. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Marketing with a minor in Finance from the University of South Florida. This is his third appointment to the Broward College Foundation Board of Directors.

Others serving on the board are Bacardi Jackson, Chair; Dr. Monica McGrath, Vice Chair; Richard A. Suss, Secretary; Craig Farlie, Treasurer; Dr. Andrea Apa, Faculty Representive; John A. Benz; John E. Bochak; Barrington A. Irving; Jarett S. Levan; Dev R. Motwani; Erika Noel, Student Representative; Ann S. Porterfield; Derrick S. Roberts, Esq.; and Beverly J. Yanowitch. Broward College President Gregory Adam Haile, Esq. and Broward College Vice President for Advancement and Executive Director of the Broward College Foundation Nancy O'Donnell-Wilson serve as ex officio members of the board.

The Broward College Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and the officially designated means of making private, charitable contributions to Broward College. Its purpose is to change lives through education by providing community awareness, advocacy and funding to the College. Members of the Foundation’s volunteer board of directors work closely with the College’s Office of Advancement to raise money to support scholarships, academic programs and learning facility enhancements ensuring all members of our community have the opportunity to become Empowered by Broward. They believe every person who is determined to change their life through the pursuit of higher education should be afforded that opportunity.


On Wednesday, May 20, the Broward College Alumni & Friends Network hosted the inaugural broadcast of its webinar series. During this virtual interactive event on the “Power of Positivity,” participants heard from three of our alumni: Assistant Fire Marshal Bruce Britton, Retired Marine Combat Veteran Abiud (Abi) Montes, and Award-Winning Author Nerissa Street. More than 140 people registered for the event.


Power of Positivity

If you missed the webinar, you may view a recording of the event.


Mock Interview

Are you able to ask open-ended questions and offer constructive advice?

Are you looking for a change of employment but feel like you need to brush up on your interview skills?

If you answered “yes” to either of these questions, we invite you to participate in our Mock Interview Exercise.

We’ll do our best to match people who have experience serving on search committees with individuals who want honest feedback on how they come across during an interview.

To sign up, complete the Mock Interviewer Form or the Mock Interviewee Form. (And yes, you can sign up for both!)


On Friday, May 8, Dr. Sara Turpel, Dean of Nursing, and her faculty arranged a very unique and special version of the traditional candle lighting ceremony for the 116 nursing graduates who pushed through the challenges of the current pandemic to complete their program. She hosted an emotional, “drive-by” Candle Lighting Ceremony on the A. Hugh Adams Central Campus outside of the Health Sciences Simulation Center.


Nursing Drive-by

Graduates, while in their cars, lined up outside the Health Sciences Simulation Center to receive their candle, the Nurses Oath and a special note of congratulations. This unique event is sure to be most unforgettable for our graduates. You can read more about it on the Broward College Blog. This celebration was also featured on WSVN Channel 7 and in the Sun Sentinel.


Since 2017, The Spirit Airlines Charitable Foundation has been an outstanding philanthropic partner with Broward College, providing merit-based and financial need-based scholarships for 34 aviation students seeking degrees and industry certifications at the Emil Buehler Aviation Institute.


Spirit Airlines

Spirit CEO Ted Christie in black golf shirt on stage

Their recent $20,000 gift is expected to benefit 20 students next year and the 2020 Spirit Open golf event held in Parkland collected a record $1 million for eight nonprofit organizations, including Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting survivors and their families, nearly matching the total raised at the past three tournaments combined.


Golf Logo

The Broward College 33rd Annual Golf Classic tees up this fall on Thursday, October 8, 2020  at the Fort Lauderdale Country Club.

Registration begins at 11 a.m. After lunch, the Golf Classic kicks off with a 1 p.m. shotgun start. Activities and contests on the courses include longest drive, closest to the pin, and a hole-in-one competition. After golfing, enjoy a cocktail reception, dinner, award ceremony, and silent and live auctions, with items that include: a trip for two to Bimini from Tropic Ocean Airways, a suite at BB&T Center, Broward Center for the Performing Arts tickets, gift certificates, and more.

Sponsorship opportunities ranging from $1,200 to $10,000 are still available and will get your company’s name in front of some of Broward County’s most important civic and community leaders. Thanks to Cigna for coming on board as dinner sponsor, Fastrack MCI as golf shirt sponsor, and CSPi as hat sponsor.

We're also grateful to our Platinum, Gold and Bronze sponsors.

Platinum Sponsors: Johnson Controls Fire Protection and Legrand AV

Gold Sponsors: ANF Construction, Barefoot Financial, Green Team Plumbing, Humana, Keith & Associates, PGAL / Kaufman Lynn, Pirtle Construction, Ricoh, SGM Engineering, and State Contracting & Engineering Corporation

Double Bronze Sponsors: AvMed and Dental Dental

Bronze Sponsors: Advanced Roofing, BRPH Architects-Engineers, Consultis, Harvard Jolly, Lego Construction, Miller Legg, and Soprema.

If you want to join this list of committed supporters and make a difference in students’ lives while having fun, please email Elisa Stone.

Since its inception, the annual Golf Classic has raised more than $2.7 million to support the educational environment at Broward College, ensuring our students ultimately succeed in life. Proceeds from this year’s tournament will benefit the First Generation in College Scholarship.


Geico Square

In these trying times, we want to remind you that we’ve partnered with GEICO to offer alumni, friends and our employees a special discount on car insurance. Visit GEICO online or call 1-800-368-2734 to find out how much you could save today!

Be sure to mention your Broward College affiliation to be eligible for the special discount.

Amazon Smile LogoDid you know you could save money, save time, and help students become Empowered by Broward all at once? When you buy your gifts, clothing, food, and other products through Amazon Smile, you can direct a percentage of your purchase to the Broward College Foundation and support the Empowerment Fund, which provides the most flexibility to do what is right for our students.

Prices on Amazon Smile are identical to those on the regular Amazon site. You’ll enjoy the same convenience and help make a student’s dream of higher education a reality.

Learn how easy it is to set up your Amazon Smile account.


When you include the Broward College Foundation in your financial and estate planning, you ensure your legacy of providing opportunity to students who are determined to change their lives through the pursuit of higher education. Help someone become Empowered by Broward!

For more information, email Scott Rivinius or call 954-201-7490.


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