Nathan M. Bisk (1940–2017) worked in finance, became an attorney and pioneered distance learning to help struggling students—from cassette tapes to online education. Bisk Education grew into the leading online program management company in the country. Nathan served on the board of trustees at Florida Tech, as well as on the board of overseers of Florida Tech’s Nathan M. Bisk College of Business, which was named in his honor, and was significantly involved in several philanthropic organizations around Florida. The Bisk family has contributed over $7 million to Florida Tech since 2006.
Charles and Ruth Clemente Voyager
Charles and Ruth Clemente
Charles Clemente (1935–2021) was formerly the CEO of America Online (AOL). After retiring, Charles became a consultant to many Fortune 100 companies and several leading international corporations, and he served on the board of trustees for Florida Tech, gifting the university $5 million in total. The Charles and Ruth Clemente Center for Sports and Recreation, also known as the Clemente Center, was opened in 2001.
Community Foundation for Brevard Voyager
Community Foundation for Brevard
The Community Foundation for Brevard was established in 1981. It has provided significant help in the areas of the arts and culture, health, education, animal welfare, community and social services and the environment—including over $6 million to Florida Tech since 1981, both directly and through donor funds, such as the Kenneth R. Finken and Dorothy Hallam Finken Endowment Fund, based at the Community Foundation. These include several medical research grants to find the cause of—and a cure for—Alzheimer’s disease, cancer and other pervasive diseases.
In June 1997, the F.W. Olin Foundation announced its decision to award Florida Tech a $50 million grant, describing Florida Tech as a “diamond in the rough” and “a center of academic excellence.” It was the largest gift the foundation had ever bestowed. Florida Tech’s missions and goals align so well with the foundation’s that partnership makes sense. As a result of this incredibly generous grant, the justly renowned F.W. Olin Engineering Complex and F.W. Olin Life Sciences Building were opened in 1999, and the F.W. Olin Physical Sciences Center was opened in 2005.
Gordon L. Nelson Voyager
Gordon L. Nelson
Gordon L. Nelson is a chemistry professor and longtime dean at Florida Tech. He received his master’s and doctorate degrees from Yale University. Gordon’s background is in physical organic chemistry, and much of his research (he has over 200 publications) has been in the flammability of polymers, particularly engineering plastics. As a result of his extensive experience, Gordon has participated extensively in the creation of standards for fire safety. In 2015, he was elected a fellow of the American Chemical Society. In 2021, Gordon pledged $5.1 million—the largest individual donation to Florida Tech in its history—to support the university’s strategic investment in biomedical and health research and education. Most of his gift will establish an endowment to sustain innovative research conducted in the building and to ensure that it remains at the forefront among facilities of its kind at top universities in the country.
Jerry Keuper Voyager
Honorary Voyager. While the direct financial contributions of Jerome “Jerry” Keuper (1921–2002) made to Florida Tech are significant, it is his lasting impact that makes him worthy of inclusion as an honorary Voyager member of the Ad Astra Society. Jerry was the founder and first president of Florida Tech, which was then known as Brevard Engineering College. Under Jerry’s guidance, Florida Tech grew from 225 students in 1958 to more than 7,500 in 1983, and his spirit is in every part of the Florida Tech campus. His vision, his drive to succeed and his unparalleled optimism made Florida Tech possible. The Jerome P. Keuper Administration Building is named in his honor.
John (Jack) Hartley Voyager
John (Jack) Hartley
John Thomas “Jack” Hartley (1930–2018) was chairperson and CEO of Harris Corp., today L3Harris Technologies Inc., until his retirement in 1995. He continued to be part of the Harris board of directors until 2002. Jack received an honorary Ph.D. from Florida Tech in 1994, was named to the Florida Tech board of trustees and worked relentlessly to make Florida Tech one of the nation’s outstanding private universities. Jack contributed nearly $10 million to Florida Tech. His generosity was responsible for the John and Martha Hartley Room in the student union building; Hartley Hall, a residential facility; and the John Thomas and Martha Hartley Scholarship, which continues to benefit students at Florida Tech.
Julius Montgomery Voyager
Honorary Voyager. Before the Civil Rights Act made equal employment opportunity the law, Julius Montgomery (1926–2020) was making history in 1956 as the first Black professional in the U.S. space program. It seems only natural that he would go on to integrate Florida Tech just a few years later. The school, still in its early days as Brevard Engineering College, rented classrooms from the Brevard County School District. When officials learned that an African American was enrolled, they issued an ultimatum: if African American students were allowed to attend classes, the school could no longer use the classrooms. Julius agreed to withdraw to keep the fledgling university functioning for the other students, and once the school found a permanent home, Julius was welcomed with great joy. He later became the first Black city council member of Melbourne, Florida. Florida Tech acknowledged the profound sacrifice that Julius made by awarding him an honorary doctorate before his death in 2020, and the Alumni Association presents the annual Julius Montgomery Pioneer Award to a deserving candidate.
L3 Harris Corporation Voyager
L3 Harris Corporation
L3Harris Technologies Inc. has its roots in both the entrepreneurial spirit of the Industrial Revolution and the earliest days of the space program. L3Harris’ heritage is drawn from two companies—one with a proud history of more than a century of technology and communications leadership (Harris Corp.), the other a younger company (L3 Technologies) composed of some of the most successful aerospace and defense contractors in history—and is one of Florida Tech’s most treasured partners. Their generosity has built the L3Harris Commons, the L3Harris Student Design Center and the L3Harris Center for Science and Engineering, as well as L3Harris Village student housing.
Phillip W. Farmer (1938–2018) was chair, president and CEO of Harris Corp., now L3Harris Technologies Inc., from 1995 to 2003. In 1994, he joined the board of trustees at Florida Tech, where a residence hall (Farmer Hall) was built and named in his honor. Additionally, he funded a $1.5 million endowment to create the Farmer Scholars Program, which awards a full, four-year scholarship annually to a Florida resident who demonstrates outstanding academic performance and personal character. Over his lifetime, Phillip contributed over $12 million to Florida Tech.
Rob L. Phebus, Jr. and Deborah Phebus Voyager
Rob L. Phebus, Jr. and Deborah Phebus
Robert L. Phebus Jr. graduated from Florida Tech in 1974, going on to become Ford Motor Co.’s financial director in Venezuela, Brazil and Taiwan and CFO of Ford Motors in South Africa. He chairs the Florida Tech board of trustees, and was awarded the university’s highest honor, the Jerome P. Keuper Distinguished Alumni Award, in 2013. Rob and Deborah established the Phebus Family Endowed Scholarship Fund to support students based on outstanding academic achievements and service to the community through involvement with campus life and student activities. In 2015 the Phebuses committed $5 million to Florida Tech, the largest individual donation to date in the university’s history. With the F.W. Olin Foundation matching gifts to Florida Tech, and thanks to the matching gift programs at both Ford and American Express, where Deborah worked, they realized that their gift could effectively triple in value.
Pioneer - $1 million +
Allen S. Henry Pioneer
Allen S. Henry
Allen S. Henry (1940–2019) started his professional life at Collins Radio Co., now Collins Aerospace, a company that worked closely with NASA on the Apollo program. In 1972, he moved to Melbourne Beach, Florida, where he began to work at Harris Corp., now L3Harris Technologies Inc., eventually becoming president of the electronic systems sector. He briefly retired in 1996, then became the chair, CEO and president of Broadband Communications Products Inc. prior to its acquisition by Uniphase Corp. Over his lifetime, Allen contributed $4 million to Florida Tech, funding a faculty chair in the College of Engineering and Science, a major scholarship and a presidential student award that provides support for students with unplanned and difficult financial problems.
Bjørnar and Bjørg Hermansen Pioneer
Bjørnar and Bjørg Hermansen
Bjornar Hermansen (1943–2015) was born in Norway and moved to America in 1983 with his wife, Bjorg, and his strong entrepreneurial spirit drove him to start several successful companies. His vision helped change the nature of Port Canaveral and the cruise industry. He was incredibly well read and very cultured in the arts and fine food, especially French wine. The Bjornar K. Hermansen Ocean Engineering Professorship fully supports a faculty member each week, and the Bjornar Hermansen Scholarship—established by his wife of 50 years, his children and grandchildren—provides financial aid to students to honor his memory.
Carl and JoAnn Bottcher Pioneer
Carl and JoAnn Bottcher
Carl and JoAnn Bottcher built a legacy of helping young people further their education and devoted themselves to people with special needs. They have given thousands of kids access to the Brevard Symphony Orchestra and have made it possible for several young people to attend college. The Carl and JoAnn Bottcher Endowed Scholarship Fund supports students in the College of Engineering and Science who show significant promise and potential for achievement but have limited financial means.
Dale Dettmer Pioneer
Dale Dettmer obtained his B.S. from Purdue University in 1967 and his M.S. from Florida Tech in 1971, both in electrical engineering. He received a J.D. with honors from the University of Florida in 1973 and is a member of the University of Florida Law Review. Dale, an active Brevard County attorney, focuses on business law, real estate and estate planning. He is a past chairperson and a member of Florida Tech’s board of trustees, and he has served as chair of the board of the Health First Foundation and the Community Foundation for Brevard. His gifts to Florida Tech include the establishment of the Dettmer Family Scholarship, an annual sponsorship for An Evening of Hope in support of The Scott Center for Autism Treatment.
Daniel Dahle Pioneer
Daniel Dahle was a professor at Florida Tech, then Brevard Engineering College (BEC), in the 1950s and ’60s. He was the first chairperson of Florida Tech’s Department of Chemistry, and when he retired, he became the first faculty member to be named professor emeritus. Daniel attended Chalmers University of Technology and American University and received his master’s and Ph.D. in chemical engineering.
Dee Negroni-Hendrick Pioneer
Dione “Dee” Negroni–Hendrick (1933–2017) was a talented photographer and an avid world traveler. She was an active supporter of the arts and education. She carried on the work of her late father’s Foosaner Foundation, contributing to the Renee Foosaner Art Gallery, the Foosaner Art Museum, the Brevard Symphony Orchestra, the Historic Cocoa Village Playhouse, Community Band of Brevard, the Henegar Center, Brevard’s Negroni-Hendrick Mobile Library, SOS Children’s Villages and Florida Tech.
Ed & Cheryl Scott Pioneer
Ed & Cheryl Scott
Edward W. Scott was an executive in the U.S. government for 17 years and served seven attorneys general and three secretaries of transportation. After becoming more deeply involved in computer systems, he co-founded what became the 12th largest software company in the world before it was acquired by Oracle. Edward founded the Center for Global Development; Friends of the Global Fight against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria; and the Center for Interfaith Action on Global Poverty; and he co-founded the advocacy organization DATA with Bill Gates and George Soros. DATA has now joined forces with the ONE Campaign, which Bono co-founded. Among his global philanthropic gifts, Edward and his wife, Cheryl, funded the creation of The Scott Center for Autism Treatment—a research and treatment facility located on the main campus of Florida Tech. Edward holds a degree in philosophy, politics and economics from Oxford University, has an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from Florida Tech and serves on Florida Tech’s board of trustees.
Edyth Bush Charitable Foundation Pioneer
Edyth Bush Charitable Foundation
The Edyth Bush Charitable Foundation provides innovative civic solutions “to help people help themselves and alleviate human suffering.” Edyth Bush was a community activist before she established the foundation. She and her husband, Archibald Granville Bush, were early investors and eventual directors of what would become 3M. Because of their hard work and excellent management of the company, they amassed a solid fortune and became philanthropists. When Archibald died, Edyth moved to Florida and established the Edyth Bush Charitable Foundation, which has provided $1 million to Florida Tech since 1974 in support of buildings, mechanical engineering and the library.
Emil Buehler Pioneer
Emil Buehler (1899–1982) was an aviation visionary, architect and engineer. Born in Alpirsbach, Germany, he worked as an architect in New York, operated his own school of aeronautics at New Jersey Teterboro Airport, ran a seaplane at the Hudson River and helped to build what is now Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport. Emil’s philanthropic commitment has significantly helped thousands young people pursue their dreams in aviation. Established in 1984, the Emil Buehler Perpetual Trust granted Florida Tech $670,000 in 2010 to fund two Seminole Level 5 flight training devices (FTDs) for Florida Tech’s Emil Buehler Center for Aviation Training and Research, located at Melbourne Orlando International Airport. The trust has given $3.5 million to Florida Tech since 2006.
James M. Ortega Pioneer
James M. Ortega
James M. Ortega was born in Havana, Cuba, in 1932. He is best known as the author of numerous books on information science and computers. James had several professorships and held positions with the National Bureau of Standards, the National Science Foundation and the Science and Technology Centers Advisory Committee. In 2004, James gave $150,000 to Florida Tech for a new 32-inch telescope that allowed the university to collect nearly twice the amount of light and access double the number of objects in space. The telescope was the largest in Florida and was named the Ortega telescope in his honor. He and his wife, Sara, later funded the Ortega Endowment and in 2009, their estate gift, totaling nearly $2.5 million, established a professorship in astronomy, as well as support for the Ortega Fellowship for graduate students in astronomy, the Ortega Scholarships for undergraduate students in astronomy and the Ortega Lecture Series.
John Evans Pioneer
John Evans (1904–1979) came to Melbourne, Florida, in 1923, eventually acquired extensive land holdings and made his fortune in real estate development. He gifted his property at U.S. Route 192 and Evans Road—the parcel that is now Melbourne Square Mall—to Florida Tech. It was sold to build the John H. Evans Library, named in his honor. John was awarded an honorary doctorate in science from Florida Tech in 1975. He provided funding for the building of Evans Hall, which was named for his wife, Florence, who predeceased him in 1978. The value of his contributions exceeded $4 million. John was also the first treasurer of the Sebastian Inlet Commission and spearheaded the fundraising to build Holmes Regional Medical Center.
José Martinez-Diaz Pioneer
José Martinez-Diaz, Ph.D., BCBA-D
Dr. José Martinez-Diaz, youngest of two children, was born in Cienfuegos, Cuba in 1950. His father was part of the business leadership in his community. José grew up surrounded by a family interested in understanding the wider world beyond his hometown, represented to him most clearly by his father’s outstanding collection of music of all genres. Later, José pursued a similar life-long passion for music.
As a child, he was deeply concerned about the treatment of a neighbor classified as ‘loco’, and found that he, too, was misunderstood and isolated as a child. Both events were significant in shaping his life. His empathy led to a lifelong desire to help others. José also witnessed the violent upheaval in Cuba when Castro came to power. His family lost everything they owned, and, at the age of 11, he immigrated to the United States with his sister and a single suitcase. They stayed with relatives in Miami until his parents were able to leave Cuba months later and join them.
He began his education in America with little knowledge of English. He excelled in all things academic, and José eventually embraced applied behavior analysis as a compassionate and effective science-based strategy to make a difference. He spent the entirety of his professional career pursuing excellence in his chosen field.
In 1989, he became involved in the credentialing of behavior analysts in the state of Florida seeking to establish especially high standards of excellence. In 1998, José established the first degree-granting masters and later a Ph.D. program in behavior analysis at Florida Institute of Technology (FIT), leading to a fully accredited School of Behavior Analysis (SOBA) within the College of Psychology and Liberal Arts; initially teaching all classes himself. He created a program in applied behavior analysis in Orlando, Florida, as well, and an online graduate-level hybrid program across the country. José also founded ABA Technologies, Inc., a private on-line learning company dedicated to excellence in offerings related to behavior analysis. ABA Tech currently partners with FIT, providing online certifications, continuing education, and a master’s degree in behavior analysis. José also assisted in the creation of the Scott Center at FIT, dedicated to serving children across the autism spectrum, and their parents.
He served on multiple professional boards at the state and national levels. José received lifetime achievement awards, and various other acknowledgements of his inspirational teaching and service.
Through his company, ABA Technologies, Inc., Dr. Martinez-Diaz provided significant financial support to SOBA and the Scott Center, in partnership with FIT. This dedicated, charitable giving for students and faculty has persisted for over a decade, a tradition with SOBA that his wife, three sons, and the dedicated team at ABA Technologies, Inc., are continuing.
Lawrence “Larry” E. Mertens Pioneer
Lawrence “Larry” E. Mertens
Lawrence “Larry” E. Mertens (1929–2017) was Florida Tech’s first marine biology instructor and significantly contributed to Florida Tech. Larry designed and ran the first summer field course for underwater photography in the Bahamas and became the instructor for the university’s first course in optical oceanography. Additionally, he was the first Florida Tech faculty member to author a college-level textbook on in-water photography. In 2015, Larry and his wife, Margarete, established the Lawrence and Margarete Mertens Endowed Fellowship to benefit graduate students in the College of Engineering and Science. Larry’s estate included a gift of $1 million to build a facility in support of ocean and marine sciences, but his total giving exceeded $2 million.
Lettie Pate Whitehead Foundation Pioneer
Lettie Pate Whitehead Foundation
Lettie Pate Whitehead Evans (1872–1953) was an American businesswoman (she was the first woman to serve on the board of directors of Coca-Cola, and did so for more than two decades) and a philanthropist who donated millions of dollars to hundreds of organizations in her lifetime. The Lettie Pate Whitehead Foundation was created by her son, Conkey Pate Whitehead, in his will. Since it was established, the foundation has awarded more than $718 million in grants to universities nationwide—including Florida Tech.
Link Foundation Pioneer
The Link Foundation supports educational institutions in different communities and doctoral fellowships in the areas of endeavor that were pursued by Edwin A. Link, who built his first airplane simulator in 1929 and formed the Link Aeronautical Corp., where he made flight training affordable to everyone. The foundation’s goals are to foster the theoretical basis, practical knowledge and application of energy, simulation and ocean engineering and instrumentation research. Since its establishment, the foundation has given over $1 million to Florida Tech. Programs supported include fellowships for doctoral students in the United States and Canada who are engaged in the field of modeling and simulation for training operators of complex systems.
Marilyn C. Link (1924–2018), the sister of inventor and aviator Edwin A. Link, was a teacher and educator; became a sales executive in the airline industry and earned her Commercial Pilot License; and, ultimately, worked at the Smithsonian Institution, where she edited several publications for children. Moreover, Marilyn was an advisory director of Wachovia Bank (now Wells Fargo) and a trustee of Florida Tech, where she offered her guidance, support and perspective for almost 35 years. Her hard work and passion were recognized by many different organizations. She was awarded the Lady Hay Drummond-Hay Trophy from the Women’s International Association of Aeronautics, the Frank G. Brewer Trophy from the National Aeronautic Association, the University Aviation Association Award and a Doctor of Humane Letters honorary degree from Florida Tech.
Marjorie C. Hayes Pioneer
Marjorie C. Hayes
In 2006, Paris Michaels ’76, ’83 MBA—a graduate of the College of Aeronautics and, at the time, a doctoral student in that college—met with an old friend from Washington, D.C., Marjorie Hayes, and suggested Florida Tech as an institution worthy of her support. The Marjorie Hayes Scholarship, which provides funds each year for eligible flight students in the College of Aeronautics, and a flight simulator laboratory (the Marjorie Hayes Simulator Lab) facility within F.I.T. Aviation, was created for faculty and students. Marjorie’s many financial contributions totaled $1.3 million and are still helping to develop students at Florida Tech.
Northrop Grumman Pioneer
Northrop Grumman Corp. has long championed the need for STEM education, making its partnership with Florida Tech a natural pairing. Its education strategy focuses on engineering- and technology-based programs and initiatives that excite, engage and educate students and serve as professional development resources for teachers. It dedicates 50% of its education funding to resources or programs that support social justice through diversity, equity and inclusion. At Florida Tech, both the Northrop Grumman Scholarship in Engineering Studies and the Northrop Grumman George M. Skurla Engineering Scholarship provide funding for students in the College of Engineering and Science, while the Northrop Grumman Student Design Endowment is a major gift to support the college’s student design projects.
Richard H. and Mary Jane Schnoor Pioneer
Richard H. and Mary Jane Schnoor
Richard H. Schnoor worked at NASA and in many space programs; his wife of 57 years, Mary Jane, was a teacher and guidance counselor at Cocoa Beach High School. The Schnoors had a continuing interest in marine science, navigation, oceanography and environmental issues. Through the Schnoors’ decadeslong involvement in the Cocoa Beach Power Squadron, a boating education organization, members of the squadron were frequently welcomed aboard Florida Tech’s research vessel. When Richard passed away in 2011, Mary Jane suggested to the squadron that a fitting memorial to his memory might be a scholarship for a rising student in the field, and the Richard and Mary Jane Schnoor Undergraduate Scholarship in Environmental Science, Meteorology, Ocean Engineering or Oceanography was established. Her name was added to the scholarship after her passing in 2013. Over their lifetime, the Schnoors contributed $1 million to Florida Tech.
Ruth Funk Pioneer
Ruth E. Funk (1922–1975) was an artist, designer, teacher and arts philanthropist. She began her relationship with Florida Tech in 2003, when she was part of Dream Weavers textile arts exhibition. Over the years, she donated hundreds of kaleidoscopically colored ethnic textiles and wearable art from around the world and jewelry and cultural artifacts of artistic and historic value to Florida Tech. She also enriched Evans Library’s holdings of art and design material by almost 500 volumes. Ruth was instrumental in helping Florida Tech’s arts programs, and she helped create the Ruth Funk Center for Textile Arts, formerly a gallery and exhibition space on the Florida Tech campus. She wrote two books, Cloth and Culture: Couture Creations by Ruth E. Funk and Dolls Etcetera.
Sarkis Acopian Pioneer
Sarkis Acopian (1926–2007) was born in Iran. In 1945, he moved to the United States, became an engineer (in 1957 he invented the Acopian Solar Radio, the first solar-powered radio ever developed) and founded Acopian Technical Co. Sarkis was also an avid pilot and skydiver. His philanthropy was known worldwide, and Sarkis’ widow, Bobbye S. Acopian, established the Sarkis Acopian Endowed Chair in Environmental Education in his honor.
T. Dwayne and Mary Helen McCay Pioneer
T. Dwayne and Mary Helen McCay
T. Dwayne McCay, Florida Tech’s president and chief operating officer, and Mary Helen McCay, director of the National Center for Hydrogen Research at Florida Tech, designated a $1.25 million estate gift to Florida Tech. Dwayne started his Florida Tech career in 2003 as provost and chief academic officer, becoming president of Florida Tech in 2016. He also holds a joint appointment as professor in physics and space sciences and mechanical and aerospace engineering. Mary Helen has led an interdisciplinary team of researchers focused on providing innovative solutions to the renewable energy sector. Both Dwayne and Mary Helen were inducted into the Florida Inventors Hall of Fame. Dwayne has been awarded 16 patents, and Mary Helen holds 24 patents—22 for laser induced surface improvement and its applications. Dwayne has over 100 technical publications to his credit, including two books, while Mary Helen has published more than 130 technical articles and serves as reviewer on eight peer-reviewed journals. Half of the McCays’ gift will be used to enhance academic programs at the Florida Tech College of Engineering and Science, and half will be used in support of the Catholic Campus Ministry.
The University Financing Foundation (TUFF) Pioneer
The University Financing Foundation (TUFF)
The University Financing Foundation (TUFF) is a developer and advisor focused on creating vibrant physical environments for institutions of education and research. TUFF's gift to Florida Tech of $1 million in 2020 marked a long and positive history in which TUFF supported the efforts of the university to grow. TUFF assisted in building L3Harris Village student housing, Panther Dining Hall, Panther Aquatic Center and the L3Harris Center for Science and Engineering. This gift honors T. Dwayne McCay, Florida Tech’s president, who worked closely with TUFF from the start, and former vice president of financial affairs Jack Armul. This gift demonstrates how strongly TUFF values the mission of Florida Tech and its impact on the nation and the world.
Walter and Hortense Nunn Pioneer
Walter and Hortense Nunn
Walter Nunn, professor of electrical engineering and world-renowned expert in electromagnetic theory, arrived at Florida Tech in 1969 and spent many years as a faculty member, bolstering the knowledge and touching the lives of thousands of students from his microwave laboratory and classroom. The original equipment, much of it built by students, was somewhat primitive. “Of course, we didn’t have room for it inside our building,” Nunn said, “so we put it together on tables in the parking lot.” Walter passed away in 2005, and his wife, Hortense, passed in 2017. Her bequest established a faculty chair dedicated to advancing research and education in electrical engineering.
Walter Gatti Pioneer
Tensor Engineering, founded in 1958 by Walter J. Gatti, has played an integral part in the construction of most of the major steel structures built in the United States. Walter spent over 60 years in his field and personally supervised the structural steel fabrication detail and field erection drawings for over 3,300 bridges. Walter and Dorothea Gatti’s $240,000 gift in 1999, matched by the F.W. Olin Foundation, funded its first cohort of students in 2001. Today, that fund is over $750,000, and 10 students were named Gatti Scholars.
Edward W. Snowdon received a Bronze Star for his service in the D-Day invasion and the Battle of the Bulge. After the war, he worked for the Charles L. Wagner Opera Co. and, finally, for Young and Rubicam, the global marketing and advertising giant. His wife, Lee Hill Snowdon, served on the board of her family’s charity, the Hill-Snowdon Foundation, and was the primary decision-maker for several years after her father died. When she and Edward moved to Florida, Lee began funding Florida organizations. The Snowdon Fellowships at Florida Tech are funded by a gift, in perpetuity, from the Edward W. Snowdon and Lee Hill Snowdon Administrative Fund, and the funds are matched by the F.W. Olin Foundation. Scholarship recipients must be deserving graduate students in the Department of Ocean Engineering and Marine Sciences.
F. Alan Smith Apollo
F. Alan Smith
F. Alan Smith obtained his bachelor’s degree from Dartmouth College in 1951 and an MBA from the Tuck School of Business in 1953. Throughout his life, or for more than 30 years, to be more specific, he has held different leadership positions in which he has succeeded such as Executive Vice President of Finance of General Motors and President and General Manager of General Motors of Canada, Ltd. Additionally, he served on the Board of Directors of 3M Corp.
Smith has served on Florida Institute of Technology’s Board of Trustees since 1996 and, in 2007, founded the “F. Alan Smith Distinguished Lecture Series”, in which corporate executives speak to students, faculty, and community leaders at Florida Tech. The lecture series includes topics such as innovation in the automotive industry, self-driving cars, the Hyperloop high-speed rail, and advances in ridesharing, among others.
Henry L. and Grace Doherty Charitable Foundation, Inc. Apollo
Henry L. and Grace Doherty Charitable Foundation, Inc.
The Henry L. and Grace Doherty Charitable Foundation Inc. was established in 1948 in New York. The foundation primarily promotes the marine sciences and education and assists institutions engaged in oceanographic activities. At Florida Tech, the Doherty foundation funds the annual Henry L. and Grace Doherty Visiting Professorship in the Department of Ocean Engineering and Marine Sciences. Twenty visiting professors have held the position since it began.
Jim Thomas Apollo
Jim Thomas ’72 is known for helping lead MapQuest through its initial public offering. His creative and pragmatic leadership in technology-related public and private companies earned him numerous technology and entrepreneurial awards. In 2005, Jim was named to the university’s board of trustees and served for nearly a decade, helping guide Florida Tech through an important period of growth and development. He has also received Florida Tech’s highest alumni honor, the Jerome P. Keuper Distinguished Alumni Award, which recognizes alumni whose career accomplishments honor the university’s legacy of excellence.
Kern Family Foundation Apollo
Kern Family Foundation
In 1959, Robert D. and Patricia E. Kern founded what became Generac Power Systems, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of complete engine-driven power generator systems. After selling a division of Generac in 1998, the Kerns established the Kern Family Foundation. The Kern Family Foundation’s mission is to empower the rising generation of Americans to build flourishing lives anchored in strong character, inspired by quality education, driven by an entrepreneurial mindset and guided by the desire to create value for others. The foundation has funded research at Florida Tech to develop an entrepreneurial mindset among engineering students.
Ralph Evinrude Apollo
Ralph S. Evinrude (1907–1986) was the son of Ole Evinrude, inventor of the outboard motor. Ralph joined his father’s business, the Elto Outboard Motor Co., and built it into Outboard Marine Corporation (OMC), eventually becoming president, director and chair of the company. Ralph was married to Frances Langford, a singer and movie actress popular during the 1940s. Ralph oversaw three philanthropic foundations: two that donate to schools, hospitals and community organizations, and a third that supports recreational boating. Ralph gave over $750,000 to Florida Tech between 1972 and 1983.
Robert L. Long Apollo
Robert L. Long
Robert L. Long (1937–2006) worked for Eastman Kodak Co. for 30 years as an engineer and, finally, as vice president. Upon retirement in 1992, Robert worked as a strategy planning consultant to several CEOs and investors, and he served Florida Tech as a trustee from 1999 to 2006. He is remembered as an “intelligent individual who listened intently and displayed an uncanny ability to cut right to the heart of the issue being discussed,” says former Florida Tech professor Roger Manley. With his wife, Phyllis, he endowed the Robert L. Long Professorship in Ethics at Florida Tech. This position allows the Bisk College of Business to provide focus for Florida Tech’s longstanding interest in standards of conduct and moral judgment used by organizations’ leadership to make business decisions. The fund provides compensation and benefits for the professor designated as chair in ethics, including the chair’s travel, advertising and publication coverage.
Whit and Martha Cotten Apollo
Whit and Martha Cotten
Whitworth Wilson Cotton, Jr. was born on February 5th, 1938, in Petersburg, Virginia. From the young age of 3, he began tinkering with things and never stopped. Starting in early childhood, to the surprise of those around him, he took apart clocks and radios, only to later put them back together again.
With his smarts and “whits” about him, he joined the Navy and served in Japan. He spoke fluent Japanese and other languages. He made electronics, engineered radio boards and fiber optics. His work involved recording conversations in the jungle which ultimately helped end the Vietnam war.
After the Navy, he married Martha DeNeen, She had a daughter, Deneane, whom he raised as his own. They had a son Whitworth III and a daughter Martha-Carole. Their grandson, Jayden Rhys Whitworth Hottenstein, was born with striking Scottish blue eyes. Martha passed away in May 2015.
His work changed the world. His time was spent inventing and was driven by electronic engineering. He designed a chip that went to space and contributed to the moon landing. His passion to create cable helped make high-speed internet possible. He worked for industry-leading companies like Stromberg Carlson, Harris, JDS Uniphase, and BCP (Broadband Communication Productions).
He attended Florida Institute of Technology to finish his master's degree in advanced technologies.
His free time was consumed with family. Often playing music, especially the classical piece Pachelbel especially for the ears of his daughter. He raised mallard ducks earning his nickname, “Duckman” as the ducklings would follow him and come when he called. The family even owned a duck phone that quacked when it rang.
He was a giver, supporting the Orlando Philharmonic, The Museum of Art and the needs of those in poverty. He founded a children’s center with his church. He believed in giving back to the community and service to God.
He was a true renaissance man. He challenged financial professionals, used his carpentry skills to construct a tree house and family home, became a beekeeper making sweet honey candy, sang folk songs while playing guitar, proudly wore his eclectic ties, invented things that changed our world, and all with a kind, gentle heart.
A testament to his lifelong “whit-isms” was a sign in his garage “SPEED LIMIT 186,000 MPS It’s not just a good idea, it’s the law.” It is the speed of light.
He stood by what he defined as the most important things in life, wisdom, insight, courage, finding the strength in God and inside yourself.
Whit passed on September 27, 2021, but left a legacy forever at Florida Tech by establishing the Whit and Martha Cotten Scholarship.
Mariner - $250,000 +
Alfred A. “Al” Nuttall Mariner
Alfred A. “Al” Nuttall
Alfred A. “Al” Nuttall is a retired chemical engineer who helped found FAR Research Inc., an organic chemical manufacturing firm. From 1992 to 2015, Al held several roles, culminating as president andCEO of FAR, where he orchestrated the company’s acquisition, bridged the ownership change and, ultimately, oversaw divestiture of the firm. Since retiring, Al has become involved in Florida Tech. He and his wife have established the Alfred A. & Beverly H. Nuttall Scholarship Fund for undergraduate chemical engineering students from Florida. Al has also been a speaker on campus and has coached students in interviewing to better prepare them for launching their careers.
Alvin L. Kaltman Mariner
Alvin L. Kaltman
Alvin “Al” L. Kaltman ’64 M.S. has given over $235,000 to Florida Tech. At the invitation of Ray Work, acting dean of what was then Brevard Engineering College, Al also taught a general college chemistry course. His work not only developed the search algorithm for the prototype of what became GPS, but he also designed the first game analysis programs used by several NFL teams. His career included stints as a senior executive vice president of MBNA and group vice president of GEICO Corp., as well as president and CEO roles with two companies. Al was inducted into the Florida Tech Career Hall of Fame in 2019.
American Refining Group Mariner
American Refining Group
American Refining Group Inc., (ARG) based in Pennsylvania, has a rated capacity of 11,000 barrels per day and processes light sweet paraffinic crude. ARG stocks are converted into high-quality waxes, lubricant base oils, gasoline and fuels, as well as a wide variety of specialty products. ARG is also committed to being a responsible corporate community member. With a philanthropic spirit that is cultivated corporately and encouraged in its employees, ARG focuses its charitable giving on education, economic development, human services and health care. The organization has funded major research projects at Florida Tech.
Batchelor Foundation Mariner
The Batchelor Foundation, established in 1990 by George E. Batchelor, makes grants to support children, animals and the natural environment in Florida. George’s distinguished aviation career spanned close to six decades and involved every aspect of business ownership and investment, from passenger and cargo airlines to aircraft maintenance, leasing, insurance, overhaul and repair. Prior to his death in 2002 at age 81, George donated millions of dollars, both anonymously and through the Batchelor Foundation, to nonprofits. Foundation support like this is vital to help Florida Tech maintain educational, research and institutional excellence; provide the resources to create new university programs and build new facilities; and offer financial aid to talented students with limited financial resources.
Bobbie Dyer Mariner
Bobbie Dyer is division president of Dyer Mortgage Group of Melbourne and an important civic leader in Brevard County. Bobbie is known to the Florida Tech community for her support of The Scott Center for Autism Treatment’s Evening of Hope and the university’s athletics fundraiser, A Sporting Affair. She serves on the board of trustees and has focused needed attention and support for the mental health of college students at Florida Tech. In 2021 Bobbie made a $50,000 commitment and established provisions in her estate for a permanent endowment to Florida Tech, naming a College of Aeronautics classroom in honor of Michael Demchak—her father-in-law and a former associate professor and flight instructor at Florida Tech—who died at age 58 in a tragic plane crash into Lake Washington.
Boeing Corporation Mariner
Boeing Co. is the world's largest aerospace company and leading manufacturer of commercial jetliners, defense, space and security systems, and service provider of aftermarket support. Boeing products and tailored services include commercial and military aircraft, satellites, weapons, electronic and defense systems, launch systems, advanced information and communication systems, and performance-based logistics and training. Boeing is a proud corporate partner of Florida Tech, providing private philanthropy in support of student and faculty development, sponsored research, internships and cooperative education programs, event and program sponsorships, and in-kind donations.
Caroline Rossetter Mariner
Caroline Rossetter contributed over $400,000 to Florida Tech, most of which she gave through her estate upon the sale of the Rossetter House.
Caroline Rossetter was born in Jacksonville, Florida, in 1898 and then moved to Eau Gallie six years later where she helped her father run the family's oil business and became the Standard Oil Agent for Brevard. After her father passed away in 1921, Caroline took over her father's business and struggled through the Great Depression. Caroline also became the first woman to hold the position as Oil Agent in the United States and held the position for 62 years. She also opened the first gas pumps in Brevard County.
Once Caroline moved from the oil industry she became president of Rossetter Properties, which put an emphasis on helping the citrus, cattle, and the farm industries grow in Brevard. She was also a director of Sun First Bank from 1973 to 1979 and was on the Florida Tech Board of Trustees from 1993 until she passed in 1999. Caroline was a founding member of the Brevard Art Museum and the first and longest active member of the Brevard Art Club. She dedicated the house she lived in from 1904 to 1999 to be a museum and is now today known as the Historic Rossetter House. During the later part of the twentieth century, "Carrie" as she was known, contributed to educational institutions including Florida Tech and many other schools and community organizations.
Central Florida Kidney Centers, Inc. Mariner
Central Florida Kidney Centers, Inc.
Central Florida Kidney Centers Inc. (CFKC) had one of the first three dialysis units in Florida. CFKC is a locally managed and operated nonprofit organization with nine Central Florida facilities that are overseen by a volunteer board of directors. CFKC has a caring, knowledgeable staff of physicians, nurses, dietitians, social workers and technical staff who work together to actively participate in treating and counseling pediatric and adult patients. Florida Tech trustee Dale Dettmer has also served on the board of CFKC.
Christine Antoinette Mead Mariner
Christine Antoinette Mead
In 1981, Christine Antoinette Mead, a longtime resident of Micco, Florida, set up a $300,000 testamentary trust, including a life estate, to benefit her friend Ethel C. Powell. In 1987, Florida Tech announced the establishment of a $300,000 trust—the Christine Antoinette Mead Athletic Scholarship—to aid student athletes.
Coca-Cola Foundation Mariner
Over the past three decades, the Coca-Cola Foundation has grown from a local foundation into a global philanthropic organization. Since its inception, the foundation has supported learning both inside and outside the classroom. The foundation’s strategies are focused on sustainability and include women’s empowerment and entrepreneurship. Since 1969, the Coca-Cola Foundation has given nearly $300,000 for an endowment to support students annually at Florida Tech. Founded in 1999, the Coca-Cola Scholarship Endowment offers financial aid to female or minority students who are majoring in engineering at Florida Tech. The F.W. Olin Foundation matches Coca-Cola’s funds.
Founded in 1933 as a radio company in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Rockwell Collins left its mark on history, from establishing communications with Rear Admiral Richard Byrd at the South Pole to helping forge today’s global positioning system. It also provided the communications equipment used by every American astronaut traveling through space, including the footage of the first step on the moon. UTC Aerospace Systems, founded in 2012, designed the spacesuits worn by America’s first astronauts during the Mercury program. As Collins Aerospace, the combined talents of both organizations are committed to honoring their strong legacies while creating comprehensive strategies to propel the industry into the future. . Collins Aerospace, which focuses its charitable giving on STEM education, provides internships to Florida Tech students, and its Green Communities Grant Program funded native, lagoon-friendly landscaping at Florida Tech’s new Alumni Center.
David A. Kriegman Mariner
David A. Kriegman
David A. Kriegman ’70, ’72 M.S., is president and CEO of Z2B LLC, a consulting company that provides strategic and operational advice to help companies achieve their growth goals. He is author of Zero to a Billion: 61 Rules Entrepreneurs Need to Know to Grow a Government Contracting Business and is a frequent speaker at industry and corporate events. David established a scholarship commitment to Florida Tech in his will. The scholarship is for students who make a significant contribution to the Florida Tech student body or community.
Donald Edgar “Don” and Joy Creech Mariner
Donald Edgar “Don” and Joy Creech
Donald Edgar “Don” Creech (1935–2000) had a natural engineering talent and a pioneering spirit, leading to many lifetime achievements in a variety of interests and a profound understanding of electrical and mechanical technology. Because of World War II and the Korean conflict, military and family commitments prevented Don from pursuing the engineering degree he had hoped for. However, his natural skills helped him begin his career as an engineer in the communications field with Western Electric in Michigan and Illinois, then GTE Planning and Development in Tampa. He retired in 1987. In 1997, he enrolled in college with the intention of obtaining the engineering degree he had always wanted, but he died before he could complete it. In honor of Don’s desire to help deserving young people seeking an engineering degree (particularly, electrical engineering), Don’s widow, Joy, established the Don Creech Memorial Scholarship Endowment for electrical engineering students who are Brevard County residents.
Douglas M. Schuler Mariner
Douglas M. Schuler
Douglas M. Schuler ’72, ’91 M.S., is a senior control engineer and computer control specialist for Westinghouse Corp. He has worked on projects in the United States, Canada, Algeria and China, where next-generation nuclear plants are being constructed. In 2013, he established the Douglas M. Schuler Endowment to provide scholarships to electrical and computer engineering majors. He has invested in senior design projects and is a major donor to the L3Harris Student Design Center, providing funds for equipment. He currently resides in the Boston area.
Edward S. Delaplaine II and Todd M. Wilson Mariner
Edward S. Delaplaine II and Todd M. Wilson
Edward S. Delaplaine II and Todd M. Wilson are both retired engineers, having met at Case Western Reserve University's engineering school. Todd went on to form his own engineering firm, while Edward worked on microgravity projects for the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research. Upon learning about the fascinating research of Florida Tech professor Mark Bush, they became regular donors to Bush's program and in 2005, they accompanied Bush to the Galapagos Islands. While there, they and Bush’s wife, Virginia, helped collect pollen samples from a remote and unpopulated micro-island and flamingo nesting site known as Bainbridge Rocks. They describe that experience as “one of the most memorable things we have ever done.” They are both involved in volunteer work and many philanthropic endeavors, including Delaplaine Foundation Inc., the Severn River Association and the Delaplaine Arts Center in Maryland.
Fred E. Sutton Mariner
Fred E. Sutton
With a master’s in finance, Fred E. Sutton worked for the largest architectural–engineering–planning firm in the southeastern U.S., with clients like Disney World and ITT Levitt. In 1972, Fred and his brother, Harrold, co-founded Sutton Properties, now one of the largest family-owned real estate development firms in Brevard County, where they own and operate 1 million square feet of commercial, residential and industrial properties. In 2019, Fred contacted Florida Tech with a desire to lead a room-naming campaign to build an endowment for The Scott Center for Autism Treatment. Although he does not have a family connection to autism, he is a close friend of Scott Center founders Ed and Cheryl Scott and was touched by the impact the Center has on families in the community. Based on his challenge, The Scott Center raised over $700,000 in its first year to launch an endowment that will sustain its programs in perpetuity.
Friends of Rowing Mariner
Friends of Rowing
The following alumni worked relentlessly over a decade to develop this fund toward building a rowing center to support Florida Tech's Men and Women's Crew Teams. In 2022, these funds were used to create the Bill Jurgens Rowing Quasi-Endowment. This endowment fund will support rowing in perpetuity or until such time as a rowing center is being constructed at which time the corpus of this fund may be used to support the construction of that facility with appropriate naming to honor Bill Jurgens.
The Donors are
$50,000 or more
$25,000 - $49,999
Douglas M. Schuler
Casey & Donna Baker
Eve (Gsteiger) Duddy & John Duddy
Henry and Sally Holzbach
Nancy (Gardner) Orbell
Tom De Luna
$4,900 and below there are 50+ individuals who have contributed to the Bill Jurgens Fund.
George M. Skurla Mariner
George M. Skurla
George M. Skurla (1921–2001) joined what was then Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corp. in 1944, and he became an aeronautical engineer, eventually directing Grumman’s operations at Kennedy Space Center. He was responsible for overseeing the production of the lunar modules for the Apollo program, and he oversaw operations for the design and production of the F-14 Tomcat and the A-6 Intruder aircraft. George was elected president of Grumman in 1985 and retired the next year after 42 years with the company. He served on Florida Tech’s board of trustees, and the aeronautics building was named after him. Florida Tech also bestows the George M. Skurla Outstanding Alumni Award upon a graduate who has demonstrated a record of accomplishment in the aviation/aerospace industry and has brought recognition to his or her educational experience at Florida Tech. George gave over $300,000 to Florida Tech, including the establishment of the Northrop Grumman George M. Skurla Engineering Scholarship.
George W. Jenkins, Jr. Mariner
George W. Jenkins, Jr.
George W. Jenkins Jr. (1907–1996) was once asked how much he would be worth if he had not given so much away. His response: “Probably nothing.” George started working at his father’s general goods store in Georgia at age 12, eventually moving to Florida and working for Piggly Wiggly, moving from clerk to store manager. In 1930, he used the $1,300 he had saved to get a new car and open his own store: Publix. He innovated the supermarket experience by including automatic electric doors, fluorescent lighting, air conditioning and frozen food bins. Publix Food was ahead of the curve when, in 1984, the chain introduced the ability for customers to pay for products using debit cards. The George Jenkins Memorial Scholarship was established in 1996 to help full-time undergraduate students with demonstrated academic excellence who need financial assistance.
Gertrude E. Skelly Charitable Foundation Mariner
Gertrude E. Skelly Charitable Foundation
Gertrude E. Skelly (1918–1995) was a “Woman Accepted for Voluntary Emergency Service” (WAVE) during World War II, which spurred her interest in the nursing profession. She established the Gertrude E. Skelly Charitable Foundation in 1991 to provide medical care and educational opportunities for those who cannot otherwise afford them. It was also her wish to continue in the tradition of her parents, who had a strong interest in education, medicine and health care. All foundation grants must affect multiple individuals and meet some educational, medical or emergency need. The Gertrude E. Skelly Fellowship, valued at nearly $1 million, supports students in the Department of Ocean Engineering and Marine Sciences.
Gordon and Joy Patterson Mariner
Gordon and Joy Patterson
Gordon Patterson, a professor in the School of Arts and Communication, is Florida Tech’s historian. He authored the important College History Series documenting the origins of the university and has won six awards from the National Endowment for the Humanities. He is a former director of the Florida Historical Society and the Florida Humanities Council. Gordon’s wife, Joy, is an English instructor in the School of Arts and Communication and developed the Florida Tech Writers’ Den, which offers important peer tutoring in writing to students. The Pattersons have made a generous commitment to the health and vitality of the university’s botanical garden—a “living learning lab” for students and a beautiful place of contemplation and reflection—which has now been named in their honor.
Henry P. and Willma B. Clausen Mariner
Henry P. and Willma B. Clausen
The Henry Paul Clausen Scholarship was established in 1997 and provides financial aid to students through the general endowment fund. Henry and Wilma’s gift is valued at over $100,000.
Homer R. Denius Mariner
Homer R. Denius
Homer R. Denius (1914–2006) was an electrical engineer who, with George Shaw, co-founded defense contracting company Radiation Inc., believing that telemetry and its ancillary components were the wave of the future. Homer’s company designed and manufactured telemetry equipment for the early rockets and grew vigorously with the development of the U.S. space program. In the mid-1960s, Homer oversaw the merger of the Radiation Inc. and Harris Intertype Inc., which became Harris Corp. and today, is L3Harris Technologies Inc. Homer was an avid and effective supporter of the local educational community, providing generous financial support to Florida Tech, serving on and eventually becoming chair of its board of trustees. The Homer R. Denius Student Center is named in his honor.
James G. Kennedy Jr. Mariner
James G. Kennedy Jr.
James G. Kennedy Jr. (1907–1997) was the founder, president and chair of James G. Kennedy & Company Inc. in New York City, which does construction and renovation of major nonresidential buildings. Named for his father, the James G. Kennedy Sr. Library Endowment supports Evans Library resources in the fields of engineering management, information sciences and business, and it provides students with work opportunities in system design and information management.
Jim and Elizabeth “Jonnie” Swann Mariner
Jim and Elizabeth “Jonnie” Swann
Jim Swann is a developer of shopping centers, industrial spaces, planned communities and thousands of apartments and residential areas across Brevard County. Elizabeth Swann, known as Jonnie, was named a Florida Tech trustee in 2003. For many years, they have been instrumental in improving the university and the community. Their numerous philanthropic accomplishments include helping build the Brevard Zoo and supporting the United Way of Brevard, the Brevard Neighborhood Coalition, the Women’s Center and the Nature Conservancy. In 2017, Jim and Jonnie received the Bjorg and Bjornar Hermansen Legacy Award at the Florida Today Volunteer Recognition Awards ceremony. The award is named in part for another Florida Tech trustee, Bjornar Hermansen, who passed away in 2015.
John and Shirley Slack Mariner
John and Shirley Slack
John Slack (1944–1991) knew early in life that he wanted to serve his county. After college, he served in the Air Force for several years, then worked at the National Security Agency (NSA), ultimately holding several executive-level positions. Following his NSA service, he was assistant secretary of defense for intelligence during the Carter Administration. After retirement from government service, John moved to Florida and became a successful entrepreneur, bringing fresh life and success to multiple defense electronics organizations. He proudly served on the board of trustees for Florida Tech for 20 years, and he and his wife, Shirley, are longtime donors to the university—the bronze panther statue in front of Panther Dining Hall was their gift to the campus—and are supporters of Florida Tech’s Scott Center for Autism Treatment. Shirley also established the Shirley Mataxis Slack Engineering Scholarship for Women Athletes, which supports female athletes in the College of Engineering and Science.
John and Susan Hopkins Mariner
John and Susan Hopkins
John and Susan Hopkins understand the important role grandparents can play when a child has autism because their granddaughter, Elizabeth, was autistic. They say Florida Tech’s Scott Center for Autism Treatment services had a profound effect on Elizabeth, helping her develop the skills necessary for a richer and less-challenged life. Susan and John have served as honorary co-chairs for our The Scott Center’s Evening of Hope event. The funds raised from the event go toward research, treatment, subsidies and The Scott Center’s WISH scholarships, which provide early intervention treatment for children with autism and related disorders to families that otherwise could not afford it.
Kresge Foundation Mariner
The Kresge Foundation is a private, national foundation that works to expand opportunities in America's cities through grantmaking and social investing in arts and culture, education, environment, health, human services and community development. The foundation is particularly interested in the environment and funded research on sea-level rise in Florida, and it has donated over $200,000 to Florida Tech.
Lockheed Martin Corporation Mariner
Lockheed Martin Corporation
Lockheed Martin Corp. is a global security and aerospace company that employs approximately 110,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services. As part of its efforts to educate and inspire tomorrow’s scientists, engineers and mathematicians, Lockheed Martin’s approach to STEM outreach includes support for programs, events and campaigns that focus on student achievement, teacher development and gender and ethnic diversity. Lockheed Martin is a proud corporate partner of Florida Tech, making direct grants and donations and offering internships and cooperative education programs.
Martin E. Dandridge worked at Northrop Grumman Corp. for 40 years, eventually becoming president of its Melbourne division in 1991 and retiring as executive vice president for its Integrated Systems in 2007. Martin served on Florida Tech’s board of trustees, as well as the Astronauts Memorial Foundation. Martin is a member of the Ad Astra Society, a lifetime giving society that consists of individuals who have given a minimum of $10,000 to Florida Tech.
Michael H. “Mike” Williams Sr. and Jr. Mariner
Michael H. “Mike” Williams Sr. and Jr.
Michael H. “Mike” Williams Sr. founded the Melbourne-based M. H. Williams Construction Group Inc. in 1987, providing design, administration, project supervision, project management and technical expertise for a wide variety of corporate projects. His son, Mike Williams Jr., joined the company in 2005 and is now its president. Mike Sr. and his son believe in giving back to local communities through charitable donations, sponsorships and volunteer work, giving financial support to the Brevard Zoo, Nana’s House and The Scott Center for Autism Treatment at Florida Tech.
Michael “Mike” and Patricia “Pat” Scafati Mariner
Michael “Mike” and Patricia “Pat” Scafati
Michael “Mike” and Patricia “Pat” Scafati met and married in Massachusetts, but Mike’s military career brought him to Melbourne, where he taught in Florida Tech’s ROTC program. They liked the area and remained through the late ’60s and early ’70s, and kept a home here, even after Mike became a financial advisor at Edwards Financial and moved to St. Louis, finally retiring from the company after 40 years. But he always enjoyed returning to Melbourne and served over two decades on Florida Tech’s board of trustees. The Scafatis have funded the Michael and Patricia Scafati Scholarship for students in the Bisk College of Business, one of the largest of Florida Tech’s endowed scholarship funds.
Nelson Cambata Mariner
After graduation, Nelson Cambata ’78 began working for the family business. He is now the chairperson and CEO of Cambata Aviation, an international company employing over 7,000 people worldwide, and StarPort Aviation in Sanford, Florida. Nelson is a board member for Business Executives for National Security and a member of the President’s Circle for the Experimental Aircraft Association, the Green Jacket Club and the Explorers Club. In 2013, he received the Florida Tech Skurla Award, given to alumni who excel and proudly represent Florida Tech in the aviation industry, and he has been a generous donor over the years.
Paul and Lois Chell Mariner
Paul and Lois Chell
Paul Chell (1922–2012) received his pilot’s license in 1943 and spent 19 months as a pilot and flight test maintenance officer in the Asiatic–Pacific Theater. He was a test pilot at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and flew 64 types of aircraft and 93 airplane models. He finally ended up at Patrick Air Force Base, today Patrick Space Force Base, before his retirement. Paul and his wife of 65 years, Lois, established two endowed scholarship funds at Florida Tech: the Paul L. Chell Endowment in Memory of Jerome P. Keuper, one for students in the College of Aeronautics and the other for students in the College of Engineering and Science.
Rick Stottler Mariner
Rick Stottler (1935–2010) came to Cocoa Beach in 1958 and opened Stottler Stagg & Associates Architects. He was an avid athlete in softball, basketball and soccer, becoming a soccer coach for Cocoa Beach High School and Florida Tech, and winning two NCAA Division II National Championships. Rick posted an incredible record of 190-66-12 during his 14-year tenure as Florida Tech men’s soccer head coach. The .731 winning percentage is among the best of all time in the history of NCAA Division II men’s college soccer. Rick was very generous in raising money for Florida Tech, and the Rick Stottler Soccer Field at the F.W. Olin Sports Complex is named in his honor.
Thomas E. and Lois R. McNamara Mariner
Thomas E. and Lois R. McNamara
Thomas E. McNamara (1910–2007) was known as a caring and generous individual, who always sought to help young people achieve their goals and give back to their community. He and his wife, Lois R. (1914–2007), donated more than $440,000 during their lifetimes. The McNamaras established the Melissa Lee Crist Honorary Scholarship in 1998 to honor their granddaughter, Melissa Lee Crist ’92, who was injured in a car accident shortly after graduation. The McNamaras also established and endowed the Thomas E. and Lois R. McNamara Scholarship a year later.
Tom J. Folliard Jr. and Mary Folliard Mariner
Tom J. Folliard Jr. and Mary Folliard
Tom J. Folliard Jr. ’89 took his B.S. in business administration and management and joined CarMax Inc. in 1993 as the company’s very first employee, eventually becoming president and CEO in 2006, where he remained for the next decade. Since then, CarMax has grown into the largest used-vehicle retailer. In 2019, Tom and his wife, Mary’92, were the lead donors for the Folliard Alumni Center. The sleek new building is both aesthetically pleasing and energy-efficient, with ecofriendly features at the core of its design and goals, setting the standard for sustainability, collaboration and alumni events. Both Tom and Mary were athletes during their years at Florida Tech.
United Way of Brevard County, Inc. Mariner
United Way of Brevard County, Inc.
United Way, as we know it today, was developed in the early 20th century, when business and labor leaders joined together to reduce the number of charitable appeals by conducting a single efficient fundraising drive. United Way of Brevard County was started in 1957 by a group of concerned individuals who wanted to help people in need. Today, United Way of Brevard and Florida Tech have a close working relationship. Florida Tech mounts annual fundraising campaigns on behalf of United Way, and United Way has been an organizational supporter of Florida Tech for many years.
William "Randy" Muns Mariner
William "Randy" Muns
William “Randy” Muns ’78, ’80 M.B.A., lettered in baseball for four years while at Florida Tech. Randy’s love for the game was evidenced by his generous support for the new baseball field, the Andy Seminick-Les Hall Field, and his gift helped Florida Tech reach its fundraising goal of lighting the baseball field. He now heads Advanced Global Resources LLC, a management consulting firm. During his 25-year career, he has participated in over 20 acquisitions and sales of technology companies in both public and private transactions. Randy also serves on Florida Tech’s board of trustees.
William C. Potter Mariner
William C. Potter
William C. Potter is a retired attorney, serving as president of Potter, MacLellan, Griffith & Jones P.A. (the city attorneys for Melbourne and Indialantic, Florida) from 1984 to 1999, then working for Holland & Knight LLP until he retired in 2002. William also served as chair of Florida Tech’s board of trustees from 1990 to 1997, and he chaired the search committee to hire a new president for Florida Tech in 1998. William has established the William and Wendy Potter School of Business Scholarship for students who demonstrate scholastic achievement, leadership qualities, exceptional character, high motivation and a commitment to the community.
Gemini - $100,000 +
Anthony J. “Tony” Catanese Gemini
Anthony J. “Tony” Catanese
Anthony J. “Tony” Catanese is a university administrator, author and former Florida Tech president who spearheaded the university’s growth to be recognized as a tier 1 national university. During Tony’s tenure as leader of Florida Tech, the school’s student body rose from 3,600 to more than 16,000. Athletics expanded to 22 varsity teams, and the endowment doubled to $66 million. Tony is the recipient of the Trailblazer Award from Rotary International, the Diversity Champion Award from the Urban League, the Golden Eagle Award from the Boy Scouts of America and the Chief Executive Leadership Award from the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education. He is part of the Eckerd Brevard Walk of Fame, the Junior Achievement Hall of Fame and the Space Coast Sports Hall of Fame.
Balda Family Foundation Gemini
Balda Family Foundation
The Balda Family Foundation’s mission is to motivate, inspire and educate academically promising, at-risk and underserved youth in Brevard County through educational opportunities and college scholarships. The foundation was established in 2007 by Ricardo A. Balda and his four adult children. Ricardo emigrated from Ecuador to the United States in 1955 at age 14 with his parents and four siblings and was the first in his family to receive a college degree. The Balda family places a strong emphasis on academic excellence and understands the important role education plays in permanently lifting people out of financial hardship. Since 2009, the Balda Family Foundation has supported dozens of outstanding Florida Tech students.
Carol M. Craig Gemini
Carol M. Craig
After college, Carol M. Craig become a naval flight officer despite suffering from chronic motion sickness and an initial fear of flying. Carol was the first female aviator to join her P-3C Orion squadron, and she transferred her military discipline and expertise to her entrepreneurial career. Carol is the founder and CEO of Craig Technologies, an engineering, technology and manufacturing business with over 400 associates across 20 states serving both government and commercial customers. Carol is pursuing a Ph.D. in systems engineering at Florida Tech. After learning that her son, Danny, was born with a rare genetic disorder, Prader-Willi Syndrome, Carol founded the Danny Craig Foundation to raise and administer funds for multiple organizations that focus on researching children’s medical disorders and improving the quality of life of children with special needs. Carol is a member of Florida Tech’s College of Engineering and Science Advisory Board, and her support helped launch the football program at Florida Tech.
David L. and Theresa “Terry” G. Clayton Gemini
David L. and Theresa “Terry” G. Clayton
David L. Clayton ’83, ’86 MBA., served on the Florida Tech board of trustees from 2001 to 2008. David worked for 16 years at Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution, where he held different positions, including research and development manager. David’s wife, Theresa or “Terry,” spent her professional career in education as an elementary teacher and specialist, and she worked for more than 26 years in the Indian River County School District. David and Terry established the David L. and Theresa G. Clayton Fellowship at Florida Tech in support of students in the Department of Ocean Engineering and Marine Sciences
Edward H. Kalajian Gemini
Edward H. Kalajian
Edward H. Kalajian taught every civil engineering student in Florida Tech’s history until his retirement in 2018—literally tens of thousands of our alumni are changing the world today because of him. Edward joined Florida Tech in 1971 to launch the ocean engineering program. In 1974, he created the civil engineering department. Most recently, he served as the associate dean for what was then the College of Engineering, taught a graduate course in geotechnical engineering and taught undergraduate courses in soil mechanics and foundations. To honor Edward’s indelible career and years of service, the university has established the Edward H. Kalajian Endowed Professorship. Endowed faculty professorships are crucial for recruiting and retaining the highest-quality faculty, the best minds and the most creative researchers—which attracts the best students.
Erik Edward Joh Gemini
Erik Edward Joh
Erik Edward Joh has been a member of Florida Tech’s board of trustees since 1998 and has served as the board’s secretary. Erik is special counsel at Hinman, Howard & Kattell’s Boynton Beach office, focusing on estates, trusts and wealth planning. Erik uses his knowledge of tax law and charitable giving rules to counsel individuals, families, institutions and charitable organizations in trust and estate matters. Erik is a trustee of the Gertrude E. Skelly Charitable Foundation, which supports students in the Department of Ocean Engineering and Marine Sciences.
Francisco "Kiko" and Pat Picornell Gemini
Francisco "Kiko" and Pat Picornell
Francisco “Kiko” Picornell ’85, ’86 M.S., ’88 MBA, arrived on campus in the early 1980s from the Philippines. His wife, Pat ’85, also earned her B.S. in electrical engineering from Florida Tech. Today, Kiko is a partner at a firm that appraises machinery and equipment specializing in aircraft, while Pat is a certified financial planner, wealth manager and avid pilot. Kiko and Pat’s legacy gift benefits the College of Aeronautics and the university’s aviation programs in perpetuity—they used a portion of their IRAs to make an estate gift to Florida Tech. They designated the university as the beneficiary of $100,000 from each of their IRAs upon their death.
Frank Leslie Gemini
Frank Leslie ’68 M.S. (1938–2021) began his engineering career working on Polaris ballistic missile-launching submarines. Frank moved to Florida in 1965 to work for the RCA Missile Test Project in the systems analysis division that Jerome P. Keuper, founder of Florida Tech, had headed about three years earlier. Frank earned his M.S. in space sciences from Florida Tech. In 1978, he joined Harris Corp., now L3Harris Technologies Inc., as a communications systems engineer. After retiring from Harris in 1999, he became an adjunct professor in Florida Tech’s then-named Department of Marine and Environmental Systems, where he developed and taught the renewable energy course for seven years at the senior/graduate level. Frank designed and installed wind and solar equipment on the eight-story Roberts Hall student dormitory, created a solar trailer system that raises a small wind turbine to 35 feet, added a small hydropower demonstration system to the Botanical Gardens stream and served as advisor to the sustainability Green Campus Group. He is a member of the Florida Tech Quality of Life committee.
George A. Maul Gemini
George A. Maul
George A. Maul, professor emeritus of oceanography at Florida Tech, earned his Ph.D. in physical oceanography from the University of Miami in 1974. From 1994 through 2014, George served as head of what was then the Department of Marine and Environmental Systems at Florida Tech, where he created the undergraduate and graduate meteorology programs and the graduate earth remote sensing program. George’s awards and recognitions include the College of Engineering Teacher of the Year by the Florida Tech Student Government Association in 1997, the U.S. President’s Volunteer Service Award in 2010, the College of Engineering Faculty Excellence Award for Service in 2012 and the Faculty Senate Excellence Award for Service in 2015. George was also elected to Omicron Delta Kappa, Phi Beta Delta, Sigma Xi and the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi; was elected a fellow of the Marine Technology Society in 1999 and a fellow of the American Meteorological Society in 2003; and had the singular honor of being named the 2016 Florida Academy of Sciences Medalist.
George S. Shaw Gemini
George S. Shaw
George S. Shaw (1921–2010) was the founding trustee of Florida Tech. He led the board of trustees in its infancy and remained active throughout his lifetime. George was a visionary electronics pioneer who worked to get the United States into space. With his friend Homer R. Denius, George co-founded the defense contracting company Radiation Inc., which designed and manufactured telemetry equipment for the early rockets and grew vigorously with the development of the U.S. space program. Radiation Inc. merged with Harris Intertype Inc., which became Harris Corp. (now L3Harris Technologies Inc.). George felt an urgent need for Florida Tech’s proposed Marine Environmental Technologies Research Center to help solve problems with the waterways and oceans, which he believed hold secrets for improved future health. The George Shaw Marine Environmental Research Fund was established in his honor.
Henry "Chip" Heflich Gemini
Henry "Chip" Heflich
Henry “Chip” Heflich ’73 was attracted to Florida Tech for two reasons: its proximity to the beach and its connection to the space industry. While earning his B.S. in electrical engineering, Chip worked for NASA at Kennedy Space Center on the Saturn V rocket. Chip then founded Genuity, developing corporate internet services, including data center-quality web server facilities—a backbone connecting the data centers to the world. Genuity’s technical innovations were met with rave reviews, and the company was acquired by GTE, which ultimately became Verizon. Genuity’s patented technology caught the attention of Mark Cuban, who recruited Chip to become chief technology officer for Audionet, an early pioneer in internet-hosted videostreaming.It became Broadcast.com and had a record-setting IPO on Wall Street. Broadcast.com was purchased by Yahoo in 1997 for $5.7 billion. Chip continued as chief technology officer at Yahoo until his retirement in 2000. Chip’s support of Florida Tech has included help in a major renovation of the All Faiths Center in 2009. Chip was inducted into the Florida Tech Career Hall of Fame in 2019.
Indiafest started in the 1990s as a celebration of India’s rich culture and traditions, but it has become a symbol of cultural enrichment in Brevard County. Today, it is celebrated with great enthusiasm, demonstrating the unique aspects of India’s culture, history and traditions. Indiafest is a volunteer-run, nonprofit cultural organization known for its charitable efforts, providing over $1 million for a variety of charitable causes—including Florida Tech. In 2011, the organization established the Indiafest Brevard Scholarship Endowment for Brevard County students, and in 2020, named the Panther Dining Atrium with a gift that provided emergency loan support for students.
J. Nelson Fairbanks Gemini
J. Nelson Fairbanks
With a degree in agriculture economics and business, J. Nelson Fairbanks (1935–2019) joined the Florida Sugar Cane League as its vice president and general manager, and he later worked for the United States Sugar Corp., moving up through the ranks to become president and CEO—positions he held until his retirement in 2000. He and his wife were active in many different organizations, helping families in need in the greater Orlando area. Nelson gave $5,000 or more to Florida Tech every year for over two decades.
Jim LaHam Gemini
Jim LaHam has been a CPA and tax expert for almost 50 years. He is the senior tax partner at Berman Hopkins Wright & LaHam CPAs, with offices in Orlando and Melbourne. His firm provides internships and study opportunities for students and is a corporate partner of Florida Tech at the Golden Panther level, as well as a frequent Florida Tech Athletics events partner. Jim is a former member of the Maxwell C. King Center for the Performing Arts board of directors. He has written two books, Financial Planning Revolutionized and True G.R.I.T.: A True Graduated Rational Income Tax System.
Joseph Caruso Gemini
Joseph “Joe” Caruso ’73, ’76 M.S., began his career in the banking industry. In 1984, he founded Omnifirst Capital, a successful private investment firm focused on opportunities in the telecommunications, health care, technology and entertainment industries. Today, Joe is a managing partner in nine companies. Never losing his Panther Pride, Joe established the Joseph Caruso Family Scholarship in 2007. The scholarship fund, which supports active members in good standing of the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity at Florida Tech, was created to give students the opportunity to become successful entrepreneurs and leaders. Through this scholarship, Joe fosters real-life lessons for students to see themselves as the CEO of their lives and careers, while learning the important skills of network building and collaboration.
Joseph William “Joe” Baggs Gemini
Joseph William “Joe” Baggs
Joseph William “Joe” Baggs ’79 (1952–2014) worked for Harris Corp.,now L3Harris Technologies Inc., and Western Technologies Automation Inc. before beginning his entrepreneurial career. He was co-founder and president of Advanced Manufacturing Technologies Inc. and then, Optical Process Automation Inc. Joe was known to dress up as Santa and deliver hefty bonus checks to all employees at Christmas time, and he was co-author on multiple U.S. patents in the fields of micro-electronic fabrication and optical processes. Joe’s generous and steady contributions largely supported lectures in the College of Engineering and Science over the years.
Kenneth P. Revay Gemini
Kenneth P. Revay
Kenneth P. Revay ’82 graduated with a degree in mechanical engineering in 1982. After graduating, he worked for Rockwell International, then held managerial positions and participated in special projects at Lockheed Martin Space and United Space Alliance. Kenneth has been a trustee of Florida Tech since 2013. He holds National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD) Leadership and Governance fellowships and NACD Master Class status. His donation to the school has allowed Florida Tech to offer the Kenneth P. Revay Class of 2018 Scholarship for undergraduate students enrolled in a mechanical engineering program in the College of Engineering and Science.
Kenneth R. Finken and Dorothy Hallam Finken Endowment Fund Gemini
Kenneth R. Finken and Dorothy Hallam Finken Endowment Fund
Kenneth R. Finken (1924–2001) was a graduate of Columbia University and held four patents. He retired from the Government Electronic Systems division of Harris Corp., now L3Harris Technologies Inc. Kenneth, together with his wife, Dorothy Hallam Finken (1917–1987), established the Kenneth R. Finken and Dorothy Hallam Finken Endowment Fund, administered through the Community Foundation for Brevard. Over the last 15 years, Florida Tech researchers have been awarded 19 individual medical research grants via the Community Foundation that have a combined value of nearly $560,000. The Community Foundation is proud of its association with Florida Tech and to be stewards of the Finken family legacy and its support for cause-and-cure research.
Larry Pollack Gemini
Larry Pollack ’85 M.S. is the program manager for the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program of the Chemical/Biological Technologies Directorate at the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA). His technical expertise encompasses field and laboratory chemical analysis (detection and identification) and environmental sample collection. The program was established in 1994 by the U.S. Department of Defense to operate and successfully complete missions in chemical and biological warfare environments. Larry has established both an undergraduate scholarship and a graduate fellowship as legacy bequests that will be available to future students in the College of Engineering and Science’s Department of Ocean Engineering and Marine Sciences.
Mahesh “Mike” R. and Rashmi Shah Gemini
Mahesh “Mike” R. and Rashmi Shah
Mahesh “Mike” R. Shah was born and raised in a small farm village in India. He married Rashmi in 1971 and moved to Zambia, where he worked as an architect; started a hovercraft company in Botswana; and worked for a large multinational Italian construction company. In 1980, Mike and Rashmi founded Southeast Petro in Cocoa, Florida, now one of the largest fuel wholesalers in the southeastern U.S., supplying fuel to over 400 independently owned gas stations and employing over 200 people. Their son Summit is now president of Southeast Petro. The hard work and dedication that the Shahs have demonstrated in their 30-plus years growing the business have resonated throughout the Brevard County community and beyond. Mike is a member of Florida Tech’s board of trustees, and Summit serves on the steering committee for Florida Tech’s board of fellows. Mike and Rashmi, longtime supporters of The Scott Center for Autism Treatment, hosted its An Evening of Hope event at their Merritt Island home.
Malcolm R. Kirshenbaum Gemini
Malcolm R. Kirshenbaum
Malcolm R. Kirschenbaum is a business attorney with extensive experience in banking and real estate law, as well as transportation issues. Malcolm previously chaired both the Florida High-Speed Rail Commission and the Florida Transportation Commission and serves on the Florida Tech board of trustees; he is also the former chair of the Brevard Community College Foundation. Malcolm has supported Florida Tech programs loyally for many years, giving generously to the Panther Fund, An Evening of Hope, athletics, arts and other programs.
Mike McGinnis Gemini
Mike McGinnis ’88 graduated with a degree in mechanical engineering. In 1993, he started Innovative Refrigeration Systems, an industrial refrigeration business, in the one-car garage of his home in Lyndhurst, Virginia. Today, Innovative Refrigeration is a giant in the cold storage and food processing industry. Mike’s commitment to excellence in manufacturing, workmanship and service has given his company an industrial footprint that spans all of North America. Mike hosted four members of the Florida Tech student branch of the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers at the International Institute of Ammonia Refrigeration National Conference in Orlando, Florida. He is also a member of our Ad Astra Society of donors, having made numerous grants to Florida Tech over the years.
Oswald A. Holzer and Ruth Lequear Holzer Gemini
Oswald A. Holzer and Ruth Lequear Holzer
Oswald A. Holzer was a physician who served as a medical officer in the Czech Republic army. After the Nazis invaded his country in 1939, he fled to China, where he met his wife, Ruth Lequear Holzer. The family ultimately settled in Florida. After retiring from medical practice in 1974, at the urging of friend and Melbourne Beach neighbor Jerry Keuper, Oswald agreed to become Florida Tech’s unpaid medical director. During the next six years, Oswald, who was affectionally known as “Bubba,” organized the college’s nascent student health center. Seven years later, in June 1981, ground was broken on the O.A. Holzer Student Health Center. The $65,000 facility was largely financed through the generosity of the Holzer family. In 1984, Oswald and Ruth, known as “Chick,” endowed a chair in medical genetics at Florida Tech and named it the Holzer–Lequear Endowment in memory of both of their parents. In 1985, the school awarded Oswald an honorary doctorate degree.
Pieter S. Dubbelday Family Gemini
Pieter S. Dubbelday Family
In 2014, the family of Pieter S. Dubbelday (1928–2021) established an endowed scholarship fund in honor of the eminent Florida Tech physics and oceanography professor. Pieter earned his doctorate in nuclear physics from the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam and taught at Florida Tech for 20 years (1961–1981). He was known for his intellect, integrity and dedication to his students, who elected him Florida Tech Teacher of the Year in 1980. He also received the Science Faculty Professional Development Award from the National Science Foundation. His achievements include designing and constructing an acoustic tank facility; developing an aluminum-based material that is transparent to sound and has a density equivalent to water; holding a patent for a ferrofluid transducer; and authoring 45 publications. The Dr. Pieter S. and Mrs. Afaf A. Dubbelday Scholarship Endowment in Physics supports students majoring in physics who have financial need and demonstrate high academic merit.
R. Mason Blake Gemini
R. Mason Blake
R. Mason Blake is an attorney who has spent over 30 years in commercial real estate, business, environmental and land-use law. Mason has had an extensive legal career working in Brevard County and served for nearly 15 years as principal counsel for Florida Tech. He has also funded Florida Tech’s Dean Mead Scholarship, which supports an academically excellent Florida Tech undergraduate students in his or her junior or senior year studying for a STEM degree.
Ravindran and Ambika Palaniyandi Gemini
Ravindran and Ambika Palaniyandi
Ambika Ravindran Palaniyandi is a founder of the Women’s Center North Guild, a life partner of the Women’s Center, an activist on behalf of the Space Coast Center for Mothers with Children and a supporter of the Brevard Schools Foundation. Ambika has raised thousands of dollars for Supply Zone for Teachers, and the Jey Pillai Center for Hospice Care in Rockledge is the result of her work and investment. Ambika’s husband, Ravindran Palaniyandi, has been a practicing cardiologist in Brevard County for 35 years. He currently practices at Space Coast Cardiology Consultants and is affiliated with both Cape Canaveral Hospital and Viera Hospital. The Ravindran Palaniyandi, M.D., and Ambika Ravindran Scholarship benefits seniors and grad students with a minimum GPA of 3.0.
Richard “Rick” & Teresa McNeight Gemini
Richard “Rick” & Teresa McNeight
Richard “Rick” McNeight was president of Modus Operandi, a government and military software technology company, from 2012 to 2017 and has served on its board since 2007. Rick has served on numerous business, education and charity boards, including the Florida Tech board of trustees, the Technological Research and Development Authority board, the Astronaut Memorial Foundation board, the Brevard County Workforce Development board and the Space Coast Early Intervention Center board. Rick and his wife, Teresa, established the Richard and Teresa McNeight Endowed Fellowship for graduate students enrolled in the College of Engineering and Science who have an interest in expanding their knowledge of business, management and entrepreneurship.
Scott & Joan Sorensen Gemini
Scott & Joan Sorensen
Scott Sorensen’s father founded Sorensen Moving and Storage to support the growing activity NASA was bringing to Cape Canaveral, Florida. His father died while Scott was in high school, leaving the business to Scott’s mother, who had little experience running a moving company. Before Scott’s senior year in college, his mother asked him to come home and help run the moving company. As luck would have it, Harris Corp. (now L3Harris Technologies Inc.) moved to Melbourne, Florida, in 1978, bringing with it a wave of executives and high-tech workers requiring relocation services, and Sorensen’s company prospered. Scott is one of the donors to the $1.2 million-endowed Founders Club, which helped launch Florida Tech’s football program in 2012, and he is a member of the Ad Astra society of donors to Florida Tech.
Scott J. Seymour Gemini
Scott J. Seymour
Scott Seymour is a 45-year veteran of the aerospace and defense industry. He most recently served as Aerojet Rocketdyne President and CEO until his retirement in 2015. He joined Aerojet in Sacramento, California in January 2010 where he led the successful effort to acquire Rocketdyne from United Technologies Corporation to form Aerojet Rocketdyne. At Aerojet Rocketdyne, he managed a portfolio of products principally serving the space and missile defense rocket propulsion markets.
Prior to joining Aerojet Rocketdyne, Mr. Seymour served in a number of senior leadership positions at Northrop Grumman Corporation including Corporate Vice President and President of Integrated Systems. While at Northrup Grumman, he participated in several Collier Award winning programs.
The aircraft portfolio Mr. Seymour managed included the B-2 Stealth Bomber, RQ-4A Global Hawk, Unmanned Combat Air System (N-UCAS), Broad Area Maritime Surveillance (BAMS), RQ-8A Fire scout, E-8 Joint STARS and the E-2D Advanced Hawkeye. He also led the company’s efforts supporting the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, EA-18G Growler and the F-35 programs.
Prior to joining Northrop Grumman, Mr. Seymour was involved in the manufacture and flight testing of the F-14, EF-111A and F/A-18A aircraft for Grumman Aerospace and McDonnell Douglas. He was a member of the F/A-18A test team that conducted initial sea trials on board the USS America (CV-66) in 1979.
Shay Rowe Gemini
Shay Rowe, owner and general manager of Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, Audi of Melbourne, has been leaving his mark on the local community through his generosity to a variety of local charities, including the Children’s Home Society of Florida-Brevard Division, the KLD Youth Foundation, the Women’s Center, the Boys and Girls Club, PREVENT! and the Health First Foundation. Shay also is a major contributor to Florida Tech Athletics and is a member of our Ad Astra society of donors. Whether hosting a fundraising event at his Melbourne, Florida, dealership, donating cars and drivers to ferry guests to an event, or providing financial support, Shay involved in the community and urges other local business owners to do the same.
Steven "Steve" Freeman Gemini
Steven "Steve" Freeman
Steven “Steve” Freeman ’90, ’92 MBA, is now a Florida Tech trustee, but as a student, he was part of the soccer team that won the NCAA Division II national title. His professional career started as a financial advisor at A.G. Edwards & Sons, Merrill Lynch and, for the past two decades, Morgan Stanley, where he is the current executive director/complex manager. Aside from his professional career, Steve still is actively involved in competitive sports and plays soccer, runs marathons and works out; he says that sports are what helped him “understand the value of teamwork and a competitive spirit.” In 2002, he established the Steve Freeman College of Business Student Support Fund for academically promising students who are interested in contemporary ethics.
Ted & Melissa Parker Gemini
Ted & Melissa Parker
Ted Parker is the founder and CEO of Revolution Technologies, with more than two decades of experience in solutions, contracting and staffing. He is responsible for Revolution’s overall vision and direction and remains very active in day-to-day operations with a strong focus on client development and the supply chain. Ted is actively involved in charitable organizations such as The Scott Center for Autism Treatment, where he is a member of the advisory board. Melissa Parker founded Precision Screening Inc., a background screening, education and employment verification organization where she currently serves clients at both the local and the national levels. Melissa serves on the College of Psychology and Liberal Arts (COPLA) advisory board. In 2015, Ted and Melissa founded the Parker Foundation for Autism and Child Development to take a more hands-on approach to serving families touched by autism spectrum disorder and related disabilities, like their family. They are members of our Ad Astra Society and have given generously to Florida Tech.
Thomas C. Pridmore Gemini
Thomas C. Pridmore
Thomas C. Pridmore (1923–2006) was born in Birmingham, Alabama. His professional career started in 1946, and he worked for some of the major U.S. electronics manufacturers, including Bell Labs, Westinghouse and ITT. In 1963, Thomas moved to Indialantic, Florida, to become an independent electronics manufacturers’ representative and later founded Pridmore Corp., which started in his garage and grew to be a well-respected distributor serving the region’s electronics producers. The Thomas C. Pridmore Endowed Scholarship assists new students majoring in engineering, with preference given to women or other underrepresented populations in the engineering field, students of excellence and electrical or computer Engineering students.
Tim Wakefield Gemini
Tim Wakefield ’89 played baseball at Florida Tech, where he was named the Panthers’ MVP as a first baseman in his sophomore and junior years. Tim set single-season records with 22 home runs, as well as the career home run record at 40. In 2006, the university retired his jersey number, three. Tim then went on to play in the major league as a pitcher. Tim is most remembered for his 17-year tenure with the Boston Red Sox from 1995 until his retirement in 2012. He was the longest-serving player on the team, and when he retired, Tim was the oldest active player in the MLB. Tim was nominated eight times by the Red Sox for the Roberto Clemente Award, presented to the player who best reflects the spirit of giving back to the community, winning the award in 2010. Tim has been active with the Space Coast Early Intervention Center in Melbourne, Florida, and his contributions helped make the Andy Seminick–Les Hall Lighted Field on campus a reality. He continues to lend his time to Florida Tech through his work on the board of trustees. He was inducted into the Florida Tech Career Hall of Fame in 2019.
Tom Hermansen Gemini
Tom Hermansen is a hotelier and commercial property developer, and the managing partner of Ocean Partners Hospitality, which operates five hotels in the Cocoa Beach market. Originally from Norway, Tom arrived in Brevard County in 1983 when his late father, Bjornar Hermansen, founded Premier Cruise Line. After graduating from college and spending nearly a decade in investment banking, Tom returned to Brevard County in 2004 to work in the family real estate development business. In 1990 Tom established the Bjornar and Bjorg Hermansen Scholarship in honor of his parents, supporting deserving undergraduate students.
Travis Proctor Gemini
Travis Proctor ’97 is the CEO of Artemis IT, which he founded as a sophomore at Florida Tech. Proctor graduated at the top of his class with a degree in computer science information systems. Artemis currently employs over 50 people and provides IT managed services and consulting services to clients throughout Central Florida from its offices in Melbourne, Florida. He serves as a board member of several local organizations, including Florida Tech, the Brevard Heart Foundation, the Brevard Achievement Center, the Brevard Symphony Orchestra, the Economic Development Commission of Florida’s Space Coast, the Salvation Army, CivMil and Junior Achievement. In 2006, Florida Tech named Travis the outstanding Graduate of the Last Decade (GOLD) and again recognized him in 2012 as the College of Engineering and Science’s outstanding Graduate. The Proctor Entrepreneurial Endowment Fund provides financial support for entrepreneurship and business education at Florida Tech, especially for business incubator activities and the Collegiate Entrepreneurial Competition for students and faculty.
Vik and Sandy Verma Lobby Gemini
Vik and Sandy Verma Lobby
"The key to life is always about surrounding yourself with the right people. It does not matter where they come from or what god they worship or what their gender or color or caste or creed is. When all you focus on is what is in a peron's head and what is in their heart, youwill see amazing opportunites for your own defining moments."
William G. “Bill” Selby and Marie Selby Foundation Gemini
William G. “Bill” Selby and Marie Selby Foundation
William G. “Bill” Selby (1884–1956) and his wife, Marie (1885–1971), were lifelong philanthropists. Around the turn of the last century, Bill’s father formed the Selby Oil and Gas Co., which eventually merged with Texaco. One year prior to his death, Bill established a charitable trust with $3,000,000 because he wished to help young people who were handicapped by lack of technical education. After Bill’s death, Marie became heavily involved with the activities of the foundation and encouraged giving to a variety of charitable organizations. She often matched a grant from the foundation with an equal gift from her own resources. Over the years, the William G. and Marie Selby Foundation has supported numerous scholarships for Florida Tech students.