Pasco-Hernando State College’s winter commencement, held on Tuesday, December 13 included two special recognitions: retiring faculty member and the first PHSC student Shirley Cherry and PHSC Vice President of Administration and Finance Ken Burdzinski.
Shirley Cherry, retiring associate professor of mathematics, was recognized for her outstanding teaching career and her dedication to higher education. The reflections speaker at both the morning and afternoon commencement ceremonies, Cherry began her educational journey in 1972 as the first student to register at the college. Sometimes taking only one or two classes a semester, while juggling raising a family and other financial responsibilities, Cherry persevered and received her associate’s degree in 1988. Then, in 1990 she received her bachelor’s degree, graduating Summa Cum Laude at the University of South Florida. Cherry furthered her education by earning a master’s degree, and returned to teach where her college education began, back at PHSC (then PHCC). With each new class, Cherry would start the first day with the same speech, encouraging her students to push through life’s road blocks. “I have sat where you are sitting now and I know that you can do this.”
Ken Burdzinski, PHSC vice president of administration and finance, was honored with a surprise inaugural Employee Recognition Scholarship, presented by Rao Musunuru, M.D., PHSC board of trustees. “There are many unsung heroes at PHSC who work with great dedication behind the scenes,” said Musunuru. “Throughout his 20-year tenure at the college, Ken has managed a budget that rose from $15.6 million to nearly $53 million and oversaw the building of the Spring Hill and Porter Campus at Wiregrass Ranch. He is a hardworking individual that insured the college’s long-term financial stability and is very deserving of special recognition and appreciation.”
Musunuru personally donated $10,000 to the new Inaugural Employee Recognition Scholarship. The funds will be added to the endowed Burdzinski/Epperson Family Scholarship to benefit PHSC students in need of financial assistance.
Approximately 323 degrees and certificates were conferred at the ceremonies. An estimated 539 summer graduates and 643 winter graduates were eligible to participate. For more information about PHSC’s programs and services, visit www.phsc.edu.
Photo Caption: (Shirley Cherry Graduation.jpg) From left: Milton O. Jones, Ph.D., PHSC president emeritus; Shirley Cherry, retiring associate professor of mathematics and first PHSC student; Timothy L. Beard, Ph.D., PHSC president; and Robert Judson, Ed.D, PHSC president emeritus.
Photo Caption: (Ken Burdzinski and Dr Musunuru.jpg) From left: Ken Burdzinski, PHSC vice president of administration and finance, and Dr. Rao Musunuru, PHSC District Board of Trustees.
Pasco-Hernando State College (PHSC) serves the educational needs and interests of its community by awarding certificates, diplomas, associate and baccalaureate degrees. As a comprehensive, multicampus learning-centered institution, PHSC utilizes various instructional modalities and support services. PHSC provides an accessible, diverse teaching and learning environment rich with opportunities for students to achieve academic success and cultural growth in a global society.