Dear CF Family:
Tuesday morning, members of our leadership team had the honor of accepting a proclamation by the Marion County Board of County Commissioners in recognition of the college’s 60th anniversary. Recognitions such as this serve as a reminder of our immeasurable impact in our community. We truly make a difference.
Thanks to all who supported the United Way at the Lip Sync Challenge Friday evening and the March of Dimes March for Babies Saturday morning. As you will see from the video, Rob Batsel, Mac McIntosh and I had a blast representing the college and supporting the United Way. Special thanks to our very own Barry Davis for filming the event, and Ocala Mayor Kent Guinn, Commissioner Michelle Stone, and Ocala City Manager John Zobler for being in the band. We also won and raised a lot of money for United Way’s ReadingPals program! Thanks to the Men’s Basketball team for their opening act performance and CF team members who attended to cheer us on. A special thanks to Kathy Robbins and ambassador Mackenzie Robbins for rallying the troops at March for Babies. We raised more than $3,700 to support this important cause.
On the Legislative front, it was just announced that they will not be able to complete the session on time this Friday. There is some good news, bad news, and no news yet, on a variety of issues impacting CF. First, on the good news front, both chambers recognized the great work we are doing at CF by agreeing on a $1 million operational support increase! Additionally, the guns on campus bills did not have any traction this session. Unfortunately, funding for the whole Florida College System will be reduced this year. They agreed to cut system funding by $30 million due to declining developmental education enrollments. This despite our lobbying efforts to inform them that we incurred additional costs for those students taking college-level courses. The system cuts coupled with the $1 million appropriation should give us a slight increase in appropriations this year. That’s good news considering we have not had an increase in three straight sessions. No news yet on first-year funding for our new Health Sciences Technology Center. It was listed in a Senate offer for $3 million, but the House and Senate have not agreed yet on any of the building projects. This information is not finalized as the session has not concluded so “things” can still happen. We are watching it very closely.
Friday will be a busy day as we honor our CF employees in the morning and celebrate with our graduates in the afternoon.
I look forward to our annual Employee Service and Recognition Awards program where we recognize retirees, service anniversaries, Patriot PRIDE honorees, faculty advancements, and a number of additional awards. The program will culminate with the CF Foundation Gabor Awards. We will start the day with breakfast in the Patriot Café, 7:30-8:45 a.m. Our program will begin at 9 a.m. in the Dassance Fine Arts Center.
We will celebrate the achievement of our students in two ceremonies at the First Baptist Church of Ocala. The 3 p.m. ceremony will celebrate our bachelor’s degrees, Associate in Science, Associate in Applied Science and certificate students. The 6 p.m. ceremony will celebrate our Associate in Arts students, the largest group. In addition to two student speakers, we will have a commencement address by U.S. District Judge Carlos Eduardo Mendoza, who will also receive the Distinguished Alumni Award.
Remember, our four-day workweek begins Monday, May 8. Don’t forget to change your voice and email messages.
Thank you for all that you do for our students and the college, and congratulations for another amazing academic year. We have much to celebrate!