Pasco-Hernando State College’s (PHSC) winter commencement, held on Thursday, December 14 included presentations of two $10,000 donations to scholarships provided by Rao Musunuru, M.D., chair, PHSC District Board of Trustees and renowned local cardiologist. The two scholarship donations were given to the PHSC Foundation in honor of Florida Senator Wilton Simpson and Pat Mulieri, Ed.D.
Florida Senator Wilton Simpson, speaker for the morning ceremony, was recognized for his efforts in supporting PHSC students. Dr. Musunuru contributed $10,000 to the Gloria and Wayne Simpson endowed scholarship fund that Sen. Simpson established in 2014 in honor of his parents. Sen. Simpson also was inducted into PHSC’s Legislative Hall of Fame, designed to recognize the distinguished members of the district’s legislative delegation supportive of PHSC and its open door policy. Prior Legislative Hall of Fame inductees include Sen. Jack Latvala and former Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives Will Weatherford.
Simpson, a 1996 PHSC alumnus and former PHSC trustee, owns Simpson Environmental Services and Simpson Farms. Sen. Simpson was first elected to the senate in 2012, and served as chairman of the community affairs committee until 2016. Subsequently, he was re-elected in 2016 and serves on a number of committees, including the education committee, appropriations subcommittee on transportation, tourism and economic development; and the Joint Legislative Budget Commission. In 2016, he was appointed to serve as the Senate majority Leader of the Republican Caucus.
Patricia Mulieri, Ed.D., PHSC Professor Emerita and the afternoon commencement ceremony speaker, also was recognized for her dedication to PHSC and the residents of our district by Musunuru with a $10,000 contribution to the newly established Patricia Hans Mulieri and James Mulieri Scholarship fund. Mulieri, and her husband, James, are contributing an additional $15,000 for a $25,000 total scholarship fund reserved for PHSC students, 30 years of age or older with an interest in pursuing a degree in education.
Mulieri received her master’s in education from Hofstra University, New York and a doctoral degree in education from Nova University. In 1979, she began her 26-year career at the college helping students improve reading and writing skills in what was then called the learning lab. Soon afterwards, she began teaching composition, humanities and a variety of other courses at PHSC. Elected to the Pasco County Commission in 1994, she successfully juggled her responsibilities as a professor at the college and her duties as commissioner until she retired from PHSC in 2005. She served as a commissioner for 20 years.
Monica Baione, 30, of Port Richey, student speaker for the morning commencement, received an AS in human services. Her message to the assembly included appreciation for faculty and staff with particular mention of Linda Chamberlain, Psy.D., professor of human services. “Your consistent open door policies and encouragement have absolutely attributed to the success of the students in this room today. Although our paths have only crossed briefly, the impact and footprints you have left in our lives will be carried within us forever,” said Baione. To the family and friends in the room, she said, “Your unconditional love and unwavering support gave us a solid foundation to grow from. We may be the ones who completed the classes and assignments to get to graduation today, but you all were the backbone that kept us strong throughout the process.” Her final message to the graduates, “The path is yours to choose. When choosing, I hope you will remember this as my most sincere recommendation to all of you: Choose to be brave. Have 20 seconds of courage, and then go and be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire.”
Isaiah Lisbon, Jr., 20, of Richland, Fla., student speaker for the afternoon ceremony, earns his AA degree. His message to the assembly began with a quote from American writer on business management practices, Tom Peters: “True leaders don’t create followers, they create more leaders.” Lisbon claimed himself a follower, but while a student at PHSC learned that “being a leader wasn’t about telling people what to do, but to be a leader means guide others, and lead by example so that they may become successful leaders too someday.” He encouraged graduates to continue their journey. “The journey has been long, and it has been tough, but we cannot stop now. If you have just graduated with your associate’s degree, pursue your bachelor’s degree. If you have just graduated with your bachelor’s degree, pursue your master’s degree. Your education is a vital factor that will assist you throughout your occupational expedition,” said Lisbon.
Approximately 334 degrees and certificates were conferred at the ceremonies. An estimated 1,233 summer and winter graduates were eligible to participate. For more information about PHSC’s programs and services, visit www.phsc.edu.
Photo Caption: (simpson.jpg) From left: PHSC President Timothy L. Beard, Ph.D., Senator Wilton Simpson, and Rao Musunuru, M.D., PHSC chair, District Board of Trustees.
Photo Caption: (mulieri.jpg) From left: PHSC President Timothy L. Beard, Ph.D., Patricia Mulieri, Ed.D, PHSC professor emerita, and Rao Musunuru, M.D., PHSC chair, 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.