Commissioner's Corner: Higher education

A look at three local universities

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  • | 10:00 a.m. September 29, 2016
  • Winter Park - Maitland Observer
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Over the past few months, I have written about District 5’s abundance of public higher education. Both the University of Central Florida and Valencia are great centers of innovation, jobs, and provide crucial training for our increasingly high-tech workforce. However, UCF and Valencia are not the only two options for higher education in District 5. This month, I will highlight three private universities in District 5 and the unique benefits each institution brings to our community.

Rollins College in Winter Park is the region’s premier private liberal arts college. The Congregational Church founded Rollins in 1885 to provide high quality, coeducational instruction on the shores of Lake Virginia. Its first two students, Ida May Missildine and Clara Louise Guild, graduated with bachelor’s degrees five years later in 1890. Since then, the grounds have grown to a scenic 80-acre campus known for its Spanish-Mediterranean architecture. Rollins offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in a variety of areas, including education, health, communications, business, and arts and sciences. Rollins offers Masters of Business Administration degrees through its renowned Crummer Graduate School of Business, which has been recently ranked as hosting the best MBA program in Florida by BusinessesWeek Magazine. Located just blocks from campus on the site of the old Langford Hotel, Rollins College opened the Alfond Inn in 2013. The hotel provides jobs for Rollins students and net profits from hotel operations directly fund an endowment dedicated to student scholarships. The Alfond is ranked No. 1 in Condé Nast Traveler’s Top 20 Hotels in Florida. Rollins is dedicated to fostering the arts both among its student body and in the community at large. Rollins promotes the arts by displaying works at both the Cornell Fine Art Museum and the Alfond Inn. In addition, the campus is home to the Annie Russell Theatre, the longest continually operating theater in Florida. The Bach Festival Society of Winter Park, founded in 1935 to commemorate the 250th anniversary of composer Johann Sebastian Bach’s birth, stages performances of Bach’s works on campus at the Knowles Memorial Chapel.

Full Sail University specializes in training students for careers in the in-demand fields of entertainment, media, arts, and technology. Full Sail was founded in 1979 as an audio recording workshop in Dayton, Ohio dedicated to teaching students the music production process. Its current site on the corner of Semoran Boulevard and University Boulevard has been Full Sail’s home since 1989. Full Sail offers its 15,000 students their choice of 78 degree programs including graduate degrees in fields such as entertainment business, film production, and game design as well as undergraduate degrees in computer animation, simulation, and music production. Many Full Sail graduates have gone on to successful careers in the film, music, and entertainment industries. They have worked on award-winning projects such as “The Walking Dead,” “Star Wars, The Force Awakens,” and “Guardians of the Galaxy.” Full Sail has also received accolades from many industry publications, including being named School/College of the Year by the Florida Association of Postsecondary Schools & Colleges in 2011 and 2014.

Barry University operates one of two major law schools in Orange County. Barry University is a Catholic institution founded in 1940 and based in Miami Shores. In 1999, Barry University acquired property on East Colonial Drive, which became what is today known as the Dwayne O. Andreas School of Law. The first attorneys graduated from the school just a year later. In 2007, the school received full accreditation from the American Bar Association. The Andreas School of Law offers numerous opportunities for further study and practical experience. The Juvenile Justice Center trains students to navigate Florida’s juvenile delinquency system while the Center for Advanced Study of Environmental and Earth Law and the Center for Earth Jurisprudence offer training in environmental ethics as well as environmental law.

Students considering pursuing higher education have many great options to choose from in District 5. Our colleges are ideal for students wanting to enter industry after graduation for those in pursuit of or pursue advanced degrees. I am proud District 5 is home to so many great universities. As always, if you have any questions about any county issue, please do not hesitate to contact me or my aide, Edgar Robinson. We can be reached at 407-836-7350 or by email at [email protected].


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