October 28, 2011 — New College of Florida student Jodi Johnson received the LeRoy Collins Distinguished Alumni Rising Star Award during the Association of Florida Colleges Presidential Gala Dinner in Naples, Fla., on October 27. An anthropology major at New College, Johnson achieved her dream of a college degree when she graduated last spring from State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota (SCF). After being a stay-at-home mom, she was inspired to continue her higher education as a role model for her teenage son.
At SCF, Johnson developed her leadership skills as president of Phi Theta Kappa, organizing scholarship workshops and participating in service projects. She also co-founded the Awareness Initiative Program at SCF Venice designed to raise awareness about drug and alcohol dependence. Johnson was one of only 50 college students nationwide to be named a Coca-Cola Academic Team Gold Scholar, and her name appeared in the April 11 special edition of USA Today.
After New College, Johnson plans to attend graduate school and work in a museum, historical society or nonprofit organization focused on humanitarian aid.
The LeRoy Collins Distinguished Alumni Awards were created to honor distinguished alumni from Florida community colleges for the substantial contributions they have made to their college, community, state or nation. The award was named in honor of LeRoy Collins, former governor of Florida, whose leadership was instrumental in establishing a community college system for the state.