Lake and Sumter Style Magazine
7:21 pm EDT
Friday, September 18, 2020

LSSC Celebrates 2018 Alumni and Hall of Fame Winners

Lake-Sumter State College has over 25,000 alumni and friends who are doing great work and making positive impacts in our community and beyond,” says Dr. Laura Byrd, Associate Vice-President of Institutional Advancement and Executive Director of the LSSC Foundation.

“This year’s winners are all great examples of this commitment to this college and our local community. I look forward to the opportunity to recognize their achievements.”

That opportunity is set for Thursday, October 18, when the LSSC Foundation will recognize 10 individuals at a ceremony and awards dinner.

This year’s winners include:

Distinguished Alumni Awards

Heart of a Volunteer Award

Presented to an LSSC alumni who generously volunteers their time, talent, or resources to LSSC’s events, programs, and outreach initiatives.

David Jordan ‘96

Chief Deputy

Lake County Tax Collector


“LSSC provided me a comprehensive viewpoint from an entirely different vantage point. From this evolved and fresh perspective, my worldview changed dramatically. I would have to say with confidence LSSC is where I learned how to learn. Learning is a lifestyle.”

Community Engagement Award

Presented to an LSSC alumni who has made notable contributions to the advancement of LSSC through impactful engagement and visibility in the community.

Tracey McIntyre Belton ‘80

Senior Vice President, Investments

Belton Financial Group of Raymond James


“This is and should be the first place that students go for their first two years of college education. The number of professionals in this community that attended LSSC is quite large and a testament to the quality. I feel compelled to give back to a community that has given me so much. We all live a better life if we give back.”


Professional Achievement Award

Presented to an LSSC alumni who demonstrates excellence, has achieved success in their professional career, and gained the admiration and respect of their colleagues.

Ken Carpenter ‘77

Sr. VP of Trusts & Investments
United Southern Bank

“My accounting instructor Dr. Joe Rhiles easily had the greatest impact on my life.  He recognized my affinity and aptitude for accounting and recommended that I pursue it as a career.  He had a friend who was the head of the highly regarded Finance and Accounting Dept. at UWF and directed me to the program…Having grown up locally, I hope that I can serve as an example of what is possible for current students who choose to attend LSSC.  I felt like I was very prepared when I arrived at UWF and attribute that to my educational foundation at LSSC.”

Valor Award

Presented to an LSSC alumni who has demonstrated exceptional courage in the face of danger as a service member in the U.S. Armed Forces, law enforcement officer, first responder, or firefighter.

Jerry Smith ‘03

Executive Director

Lake EMS

“I think a lot of people focus on the right-after-high-school student, but I was an adult student. And Lake-Sumter (State College) being part of the community, made me feel comfortable restarting my college career.”

Jerry Smith graduated from Lake-Sumter before going on to Warner Southern College for a Bachelor’s Degree in Organizational Management. He was named interim Director of Lake EMS in 2012, then fulltime, receiving consistently high ratings. His award is for exceptional service with Lake EMS.


Scholar Award

Presented to an LSSC alumni who has demonstrated continual commitment to the field of education and works to instill a passion for learning in others.


Karen Colucci ‘79

Instructor & Coordinator, Master of Arts Program in Exceptional Student Education

University of South Florida


Karen’s nominator writes, “Karen served as the SGA President during her time at LSSCC and was highly involved in clubs and sports team. She has dedicated her life to further educating herself and others.”

Her research and professional interests focus on teacher education, case-based instruction, instructional technology, partnerships and mentor development. Prior to joining the faculty at USF, she taught students with varying exceptionalities, emotional and behavior disorders, and learning disabilities at the elementary and middle school level.

Graduate of the Last Decade (GOLD) AwardPresented to an LSSC alumni who has graduated in the past ten years and distinguished themselves through excellence in their profession, service to the community, and a continued commitment to supporting LSSC.

Grant Gannaway ’16 ‘17

Customer Relations Manager

Vann Gannaway Chevrolet


“LSSC provided me with the knowledge and skills that were necessary to begin my career. The College gave me the push that was needed to advance in both my personal and professional life…It is such an honor to receive this award. I am excited to continue to give back to the College that gave me so much. I am who I am today because of Lake-Sumter State College.”

Hall of Fame Awards

Faculty Award

Presented to a current, former, or retired LSSC faculty/staff member who has noteworthy accomplishments during their career at LSSC while exercising exemplary service to the advancement of LSSC.

Sybil Brown

Assistant Professor of Mathematics

Lake-Sumter State College


“I began my full-time teaching career at Lake Sumter Community College 13 years ago.  Under the direction of my department chair, Thom Kieft, I was given an opportunity to develop professionally and participate in activities that benefit the college such as our annual Mathlympics competition which brings some 100 area high school students to the college for a math competition.  My colleagues and I were encouraged to discuss, scrutinize, and implement strategies to hopefully improve student success.  In this innovative environment, I flourished as I felt the freedom to incorporate new ideas in my classrooms.  As a new faculty member, this environment fueled a passion to constantly assess what I was doing and seek ways to improve.”

“This award means that I am joining a prestigious group of folks who have transformed the lives of many people.  But, I cannot rest on any accomplishments I’ve earned, as I am eager to continue to work hard to help those I am fortunate to serve in my capacity as a faculty member at Lake-Sumter State College.”

Sybil Brown was named Professor of the Year in the Florida College System in 2009 by the Association of Florida Colleges.

Staff Award

Presented to a current, former, or retired LSSC faculty/staff member who has noteworthy accomplishments during their career at LSSC while exercising exemplary service to the advancement of LSSC.

Claudia Morris ’10 ‘16

Executive Assistant to the President

Lake-Sumter State College


“I came to LSSC in 2000 timid and shy and I am proud that my experiences as LSSC have helped shape me into the outspoken and career-driven person I am now.”

Claudia’s nominator writes, “During her time at the Foundation, Claudia worked tirelessly to build relationships with individuals in the community to garner support for the College. Over the years, she has been instrumental in organizing many of the College’s signature community events including the Annual Gala, Distinguished Alumni dinner, and others. Claudia’s deep understanding of LSSC, its systems, its impact, and its value make her an excellent salesperson for the LSSC experience.”

Trustee Award

Presented to a current or former member of LSSC’s Board of Trustees who has gone above and beyond in their service to the college and commitment to the advancement of LSSC and its mission.

Emily Lee

District Board of Trustees

“I am deeply touched and honored to be a recipient of this award. My work in the community and serving on this Board has been very rewarding.”

Emily Lee served as the Director of Children’s Services for Lake County before retiring and founded the Early Learning Coalition.

Emily’s nominator writes, “Emily’s heart lies in bringing unity and encouragement to the community. She is a person who does not need to receive accolades but would rather see the benefits of her labor. Emily has the ability to work alongside others and utilize their skills for the betterment of the group.”

Athletics Award

Presented to an LSSC alumni, current or former coach, administrator, or community member who has contributed positively and significantly to LSSC’s Athletics department and its student athletes.

The Huether Family

John Huether and his family have been involved in LSSC Athletics for 20 years. The family’s three sons, JD, Bubba and Tommy, attended LSSC and all participated on the baseball team. Their company, Gulfpoint Construction, has contributed over $75,000 in donations and in-kind contributions to assist in the construction of the Athletic Complex. The Huether Family is also a generous sponsor of the annual LSSC Athletic Golf Classic supporting scholarships for student athletes.