2014: A Look Back
This year saw the FTAA continue its outreach to students with our Real World 101 program and the launch of Grad Bash. We also worked with student groups for Homecoming, hosted our Legacy Breakfast and introduced a recognition program for participants in the Brazil Scientific Mobility Program—all part of our Panther4Life initiative to let students know they are and always will be Panthers!
From the starter’s gun at Thursday night’s Homecoming 5K through to the last note the band played at Saturday night’s Homecoming Awards Gala, Homecoming 2014 was sensational.
FIT Homecoming Fest had a more relaxed vibe this year as our headline act was roots reggae artist SOJA. Having just returned from a successful European Tour and coming off a # 1 record on the Billboard Reggae Chart, SOJA were on the top of their game for the large crowd in downtown Melbourne. With an estimated crowd of 12,000–15,000 enjoying the concert, and other activities in the downtown area, it was a great night for both the FTAA and music lovers.
Participation in the 5K almost doubled from the previous year, and the addition of team awards proved to be a great success. The Florida Tech ROTC team took the first place award followed closely by the Nathan Bisk College of Business’s SMART team. I was unable to defend my victory from last year, in the 45–49 age group, but came in a close second and enjoyed the new race course immensely. Our friends at Meg O’ Malley’s Irish Pub once again hosted the post-race party and provided free beer and food to the delight of all the race participants.
Bino Campanini settles in to Dallas
The football team’s game against Tarleton State of the Lone Star Conference provided Panther fans an opportunity to watch their team play in AT&T Stadium—the home of the Dallas Cowboys. A party of 50+ travelled to Dallas from Melbourne and toured the stadium the day before the game and had the rare opportunity to spend time on the field throwing passes and sitting in the locker room.
On game day 150+ alumni from the greater Dallas area attended the alumni reception held in the Club Lite room and cheered on the Panthers to an exciting victory. On a personal note, a visit to Dealy Plaza and the Sixth Floor Museum was memorable as was the opportunity to sit on a genuine Texas bull.
The past couple of years have seen major changes on the FTAA board of directors with 19 new members joining the board and many longtime members terming out. This year also saw a transition in our leadership with the election of Duane De Freese as FTAA president. De Freese installed a new vision and purpose to the FTAA that has challenged board members. One goal is to raise $150,000 to renovate and upgrade the FIT Alumni House. I am pleased to report the board has accepted the challenge, and we are making great progress on many fronts.
It is important to know that 100% of our FTAA board members made contributions of their time, talent and treasure to Florida Tech in 2014 and continue to support the efforts of the Office of Alumni Affairs. 2014 was a banner year for the FTAA and 2105 promises to be even better!
December 16 was a very sad day for all of us in the Office of Alumni Affairs as we lost our dear friend and colleague Diane Deaton. She will be missed not only by our office but by all the present and past members of the Florida Tech Alumni Association Board whom she worked with over her many years with Alumni Affairs.
But Diane’s reach went well beyond just working with alumni. She was well known throughout our campus through her work on the President’s picnic as well as a wide variety of other activities. She was an FIT graduate as well as an adjunct faculty member and worked closely with student groups on campus.
Diane served Florida Tech well for 20+ years. She was instrumental in the growth and reach of the Florida Tech Alumni Association and her contributions are innumerous. She epitomized the Panther4Life motto and she will be sorely missed but never forgotten.