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Making a Difference Mondays, October 27

Monday, October 27, 2014

Donor Spotlight: Marianne George
Director of Development and Alumni Relations


As I reflect on the reasons that I give to the Polk State College Foundation, I realize that the lesson of giving and thinking of others was instilled in me as a child. My mother taught me compassion for others as she gave of her time, often at great sacrifice to her family, to help those in need.

My father, who lost both parents to cancer before he graduated from high school, shared with me that neighbors had collected money for him to attend summer camp out of state during the summer that his mother was dying, in order to provide some happy memories during a devastating time. He never forgot the generosity of others, and has paid it forward many times over the years. A few years ago, after his beloved golden retriever was lost to cancer, he established a scholarship at the alma mater of his veterinarian, who had worked so valiantly to care for this special family member. He has always been the sort of person to look for opportunities to fill a need and pass on the kindness that has been shown to him.

I was very fortunate to have been raised in a household where both parents went to college. My mother was a nurse and my father was an Accounting professor at Florida State University. I knew that I was college bound, but gratefully, finances were never part of the conversation. I applied to the University of Tampa and was awarded a four-year presidential scholarship. Had it not been for that scholarship and working in several paid positions on campus, my course might have been very different. The knowledge of my good fortune left a permanent impression on me.

When I give to the Polk State College Foundation, I think of the benefit of my upbringing and about the people who gave to the scholarship that allowed me to go to college. I also think about the students helped by our scholarships that I’ve met over the years, many of whom are now alumni. I give in memory of William N. Ryan, the former executive director of the Foundation who hired me nearly twenty years ago. His devotion to his family and his passion for the elementary scholarship program serve as inspiration for me both personally and professionally. Most importantly, I so appreciate knowing that the money I give to the Foundation is going to help students who live and work in our community, and the results are tangible—changing the lives of people and families for generations to come.

Calling all Alumni, Faculty, Staff, Students, Volunteers, and Community Members!


As you know, this is Polk State’s 50th Anniversary of offering affordable higher education opportunities. You don’t turn 50 every day, so the College and Foundation are working to capture some of the fond memories of our nearest and dearest friends and family at to help celebrate this important milestone.

For the Foundation Team, our most rewarding moments are those in which we hear from students about the positive difference that our donors have made in their lives. We also have enjoyed hearing about the memories of camaraderie and laughter from Convocation events over the years. Our proudest moment to date was when we cut the ribbon at the opening of the new Clear Springs Advanced Technology Center that was 100% built by philanthropic funding. And every year we are inspired as we reach our Employee Giving fundraising goal. This is such a rewarding effort, as it is driven by the personal charity of our own faculty and staff who so believe in the mission of the College, that they participate not only with deeds but also with financial support. Collectively, whether by giving $1 a month or $100 a month, so many of our Polk State family members take that extra step in helping our students transform their lives through the power of a higher education.

What’s your story?  Tell it today at!

Student Spotlight: Rosemary Reynolds
Future Teacher Has Lifelong Connection to Polk State

Rosemary Reynolds

The house where Rosemary Reynolds grew up is so close to the Winter Haven campus that her mother used to push her in a stroller around the track. As she got older, she and her parents would ride bikes where the soccer field is now located. She even had her first college classroom experience at the age of eight. Rosemary remembers, “I attended Kids at College during the summers, taking Creative Writing and Digital Design. Last year, my Principles of Financial Accounting I class was in the same computer lab where, one summer, I learned to use PowerPoint!”

Rosemary’s parents instilled a love of learning early in her life. As a homeschooled student, her mother creatively taught her fractions by measuring flour while baking, and singing songs to learn about the rules of the English language. Her father, a high school Business and Technology teacher, taught her about technology and how that can be incorporated into business. With a home focused on learning, Rosemary decided at the age of six to also become a teacher. Her first “students” were her dolls, which she sat in front of a chalkboard while she taught her “lessons.”

At fifteen, Rosemary started dual-enrollment classes at Polk State and graduated with her AA degree in December 2013. During completion of her AA courses, Rosemary joined the Honors Program, and served as president of its Student Council. She also was involved with Phi Theta Kappa. Now enrolled in the Bachelor of Applied Science in Supervision and Management program, she has joined the Golden Key International Honor Society.

Rosemary had her college tuition covered, but the numerous classes she enrolled in caused her textbook costs to rise tremendously. With the help of her advisor, Rosemary applied for, and received, a Foundation scholarship to help cover the cost of her textbooks. She is quick to note how the Foundation has helped her with her educational goals. “Without the help I received from the Foundation, it would have been very difficult for me to cover all the costs of my education. I’m extremely grateful for the help I’ve received from the Foundation; it’s made all of this possible!”

Rosemary is slated to graduate with her bachelor’s degree in the spring of 2015; she plans to continue on to USF for their Masters of Education in Instructional Technology program. “I have been a substitute teacher for over a year with the Polk County Schools,” notes Rosemary. “I ultimately would like to be a college professor, perhaps even at Polk State.”

Executive Director’s Greetings

Greetings Colleagues!

Since our last edition of the Making a Difference Mondays newsletter, approximately 750 community members have stepped onto the Winter Haven and Lakeland campuses to support Polk State students through various seasonal events. Together, the Fifth Annual Wine for Wisdom dinner and Third Annual Joggin’ for the Noggin 5k race have raised approximately $60,000 to support Polk State scholarships and programs. I whole-heartedly thank the many of you who have assisted with the events, participated in them, and supported them—and I am grateful for your patience during the inconveniences in parking and through the class, practice, and game displacements that enabled these fundraisers to take place. Our mission at the Foundation is a collective effort, and I fully recognize that each of YOU remain at the heart of our success!

As the year draws to a close and the Employee Giving Campaign remains on track to reach its $50,000 goal in honor of the College’s 50th Anniversary, I extend my sincere gratitude for your support of this cause. Thank you for demonstrating that charity begins at home with your commitment to the Polk State College Foundation. The positive difference we are making in the lives of students and our community is tangible, and we each play an important role. I greatly appreciate your efforts toward our mission, and your generosity of time, talent, and resources.

All the very best,

Tracy M. Porter
Executive Director