FORT PIERCE — City of Fort Pierce Mayor Linda Hudson was recognized today with the Indian River State College Distinguished Alumni Award. The award is presented annually to an outstanding graduate who has achieved a high level of success in his or her chosen career and is an exemplary role model for students. The honor was conferred during the College Awards Ceremony, where Hudson served as the event’s featured speaker.

“IRSC alumni are actively involved with both their communities and their professions, setting higher standards, improving relationships, and bringing about change for future generations,” said Dr. Edwin R. Massey, IRSC President. “No one embodies this spirit more so than Mayor Linda Hudson, and we are pleased to present her with this year’s Distinguished Alumni Award.”

A native of Fort Pierce, Mayor Hudson graduated from Indian River Junior College in 1964 with an Associate of Arts degree. She furthered her education at the University of Florida, graduating in 1966 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and History. Hudson then pursued a career in association management in Chicago, Illinois, and after marking a 25-year career, retired in 1994 as a vice president with the Illinois State Medical Society.

Hudson then returned to her hometown of Fort Pierce where she became active in several civic and cultural organizations. In 2012 she was elected Mayor of the City of Fort Pierce—the first female elected to that office—and ran unopposed for reelection in 2016. She currently serves as President of the Treasure Coast Regional League of Cities and is past Chair of the Treasure Coast Council of Local Governments. She earned the Florida League of Cities Home Rule Hero Award in 2015 and again in 2017 for her advocacy efforts with the state legislature. Mayor Hudson is active in community service and, among other commitments, serves as Vice Chair of the St. Lucie County Executive Roundtable, an organization that seeks to build a community where every child succeeds.

In her address to students, Mayor Hudson reflected on the journey that brought her back to Florida and the importance of service to others. “Education never stops,” says Hudson. “If you’re open to it, you can learn something from every person you meet, every job you perform, and every experience. Lifetime learning comes from the conviction that you don’t know everything, and from an attitude that learning from every situation is your job.”

These student award and scholarship presentations were also made during Thursday’s Awards Ceremony:

IRSC Distinguished Scholars: Awarded to 154 students, nominated by their instructors or College administrators or staff members, whose academic standing and participation in extracurricular activities are decidedly above average.

“Superlative” Distinguished Scholars: Conferred to an IRSC Distinguished Scholar who is the most outstanding in their particular Meta Major. Andrew Potawsky of Stuart for Arts, Humanities, Communications and Design ; Malin Wallen of Ft. Pierce for Business; Jeffrey Norus of Port St. Lucie for Public Safety; Charlotte Morganson of Ft. Pierce for Education; Lauren Tokarz of Vero Beach for Health Sciences; Samantha Hernandez of Stuart for the Honors Program; Jordon Norus of Port St. Lucie for STEM; Rachelle Mirville of Port St. Lucie for Social and Behavioral Science and Human Services; and Jerad Driskell of Ft. Pierce for Industry, Manufacturing, and Construction.

2018 All-Florida Academic Team: Selected for their outstanding academic achievement, leadership and service to their communities: Courtney Perrett of Ft. Pierce; Tori Meyer of Port St. Lucie; Brian Barral and Samantha Hernandez of Stuart; Wyatt Deihl and Rylee Lopez of Okeechobee; Jaden Kline of St. Cloud; Chastity Haxton of Englewood; Courtney Perret of Durban, South Africa; Malin Wallén of Stockholm, Sweden; and Flavia Rostetter of Kerzers, Switzerland.

Academic Award: Presented to Jaden Kline of St. Cloud and Christina Paolino of Port St. Lucie for superior academic achievement plus outstanding qualifications in such areas as intellectual curiosity, responsiveness to the challenges of learning, interest in research, and the ability to use an association of ideas to stimulate personal thinking.

Community Service Award: Awarded to Henoc Beague of Fort Pierce, who, while enrolled at IRSC, has successfully performed meaningful service in the off-campus community in Indian River, Martin, Okeechobee, or St. Lucie counties.

General Excellence Award: Presented to Emily Zambito of Vero Beach, a part-time student who has done outstanding academic work, contributed meritorious service to the community, and set a fine personal example.

Leadership Award: Leadership Award: Awarded to Lillian Jimenez for her demonstration of exceptional leadership both in and out of college. Jimenez serves IRSC Campus Coalition Government (CCG) Vice President, is Chair of the Helping Hands Committee, and participates in new student orientations, and on the Campus Safety Task Force. Jimenez is a Florida College System, (FCS) IRSC Student Representative and also represents the more than 800,000 FCS students as the FCS Student Government Association Secretary. For 2018-19, she will serve as IRSC CCG President and FCS Student Government Association Vice President.

Special Achievement Award: Awarded to Matthew Misiano of Port St. Lucie who, through personal initiative, has achieved special recognition and commendation locally, or at the state or national level or has overcome odds to persevere through their education goals.

Also recognized today were the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Undergraduate Transfer Scholar and recipients of the Association of Florida Colleges scholarships and Performing and Visual Arts Transfer scholarships.


Instructional Innovation Award: Presented to Richard Dewey, MA, Department Chair, Assistant Professor, Criminal Justice Department; Kate Bradford, JD, Assistant Professor, Criminal Justice Department; Kimberlie Massnick, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Criminal Justice Department; and Leigh Clay, MS, Academic Facilitator/Curriculum Developer, Criminal Justice Department for improving the quality of course materials and eliminating textbook costs for students with the development and introduction of Open Educational Resources (OER) for online, blended, and face-to-face classes in the six technical core courses required for Associates and Bachelor’s level Criminal Justice degrees.

Pioneer Award: Awarded to the IRSC Culinary Institute for its innovative instruction, workforce preparation, community partnerships and service, national and international recognitions, and commitment to student success. Accepting the award were Professors William Solomon and Deborah Midkiff, Academic Coordinator Lisa Lamarre and students of the Institute.

River Award: Conferred to the IRSC Campus Coalition Government (CCG) for its work on campus as the coordinating body representing 2,675 student members in 72 different organizations. CCG’s focus on its central mission of student engagement resulted in hundreds of hours of community service. Over the past four years the CCG is responsible for 40,775 community service hours – more than any other institution in the Florida College System. IRSC CCG members are: Kelly Wise, President; Lillian Jimenez, Vice President; Charlotte Morganson, Secretary; Heather Hunt-Gonzalez, Treasurer; and Franklin Hunt-Gonzalez, Parliamentarian.

President’s Cup: Presented to the IRSC Workday Implementation Team for its multi-year, multi-department work in major technology upgrades that touch every operating aspect of the College. The team is a national leader in implementing a first-of-a-kind enrollment and student services product that is cloud based and mobile friendly. Paul O’Brien, Vice President of Institutional Technology, and Meredith Coughlin, Assistant Dean of Enterprise Systems, accepted the award for the team.

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