Category Archives: Announcements


SEU to Hold News Conference to Announce Innovative Aviation Partnership

seu newsLAKELAND, Fla. – Southeastern University (SEU) will hold a news conference Wednesday, November 14, at 11 a.m. at Lakeland Linder International Airport to announce plans to partner with International Aero Academy (IAA) to offer a student-centric, cost-effective aviation program to meet the growing worldwide demand for pilots.

United Express operated by Trans States Airlines will also be announcing a unique career pathway program in conjunction with SEU and IAA.

The worldwide pilot shortage is a reality. Boeing is projecting a worldwide shortage of nearly 800,000 over the next 15 years, due to a large percentage of the professional pilot population reaching retirement age. Another factor is the rapidly expanding airline industry in Asia, which is fueling demand and competition for professionals.

This innovative partnership will allow students to complete their private pilot license and their commercial multi-engine and flight instructor ratings during their initial eight months of enrollment. This will allow them to work as flight instructors in their first year – building flight hours and earning wages – while accelerating their post-graduate careers.

Both SEU President Kent Ingle and IAA CEO and President Steven Markoff will give remarks at the news conference.

Full details will be released at the news conference.

For more information, or to attend, contact Dana Davis at 863-667-5020, 863-712-1997, or


About SEU

Southeastern University (SEU) is a Christ-centered institution of higher learning. Founded in 1935 and located in the Central Florida community of Lakeland, Southeastern offers more than 80 degree programs including bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees. Southeastern’s reach expands beyond the Lakeland campus, with a comprehensive online learning program and more than 100 extension site programs nationwide. The university is accredited by the Southern

Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. Official program launch is pending SACSCOC approval. Learn more at


About IAA

International Aero Academy (IAA) is a Lakeland, Fla.-based FAA-certificated 141 ab initio and accelerated flight school with authority to issue foreign M1 student visas for vocational training. With a focus on training the next generation of domestic and foreign professional pilots, IAA has a growing fleet of aircraft, its own modern 12,000-square-foot maintenance facility with dedicated maintenance professionals, and over 11,000 square feet of office, onsite dormitory housing for students and training space. IAA is owned and managed by former senior executives of international, major, regional, LCC and cargo airlines. For more information about IAA, visit or call 863-401-3592.


Polk State to inaugurate Dr. Angela Garcia Falconetti as College’s 5th President

Polk State College PSC_Strong_BLK_2Color

Winter Haven, November 8, 2018 — Polk State College will inaugurate Dr. Angela Garcia Falconetti as the institution’s fifth President on Thursday, Nov. 15, 2018, with an investiture ceremony at 4 p.m. in the Winter Haven Campus Health Center, 999 Ave. H N.E. The public is invited and encouraged to RSVP to Kristie Tapley at 863.297.1071 or


Falconetti assumed the role of President in July 2017, bringing nearly two decades of service in higher education administration at the state and national levels to Polk County’s local state college.


“I am honored to serve Polk County, and I am thankful to Polk State for welcoming me with open arms. I am thrilled to work together in moving our institution forward into a successful future for our students, faculty, staff, and greater community,” Falconetti said. “Student success is our success, and I am excited for this very special event, which will allow our institution to continue transforming lives through the power of education and philanthropy.”


While the investiture ceremony is free to attend, the Polk State College Foundation is accepting donations to Dr. Angela Garcia Falconetti’s Scholarship fund to benefit students. Donations may be made online at


“This is a phenomenal opportunity to give students the gift of a quality higher education, while honoring Dr. Falconetti and celebrating Polk State’s bright future under her extraordinary leadership,” said Ashley Bell Barnett, Polk State District Board of Trustees member and Treasurer of the Polk State Foundation Board of Directors.


Falconetti holds a bachelor’s degree with specializations in Communications and Education Cognate from New York University, and both a master’s degree and a doctorate in Educational Leadership from the University of North Florida. Additionally, she completed an endowed post-doctoral fellowship in Community College Leadership with the University of Texas at Austin.


Falconetti began her career as an academic advisor and has served in a variety of roles focused on areas including student services, academic affairs, economic development, resource development, and institutional research. She has also served at the national level as the Special Assistant to the first Deputy Assistant Secretary for Community Colleges in Washington, D.C.


Prior to being named President of Polk State, Falconetti served as the Vice President of Institutional Advancement at Virginia Western Community College, and as the Executive Director of the Virginia Western Community College Educational Foundation, Inc.


“The College is incredibly fortunate to have Dr. Falconetti, whose experience and energy has greatly impacted our institution in just her first year,” Polk State District Board of Trustees Chair Dan Dorrell said. “We are excited for the continued growth of Polk State under the leadership of Dr. Falconetti, who has proven her great commitment to our institution and the greater community.”


Falconetti currently serves on the boards of the Central Florida Economic Development Council, CareerSource Polk, Polk Vision, Lakeland Economic Development Council High Skill Initiative, Lakeland Area Chamber of Commerce, Winter Haven Economic Development Council, Greater Winter Haven Chamber of Commerce, and Winter Haven Hospital.


“I am deeply devoted to serving our community and Polk State College,” Falconetti said. “I extend my sincerest thanks to students, faculty, staff, the District Board of Trustees, alumni, donors, and everyone who makes a Polk State education possible for our students. Remember – student success is our success, and I could not be more thrilled to work in partnership with the community to ensure access to affordable, quality higher education in Polk County.”


About Polk State College


Located in Winter Haven, Florida, and established in 1964, Polk State College is a multi-campus institution serving more than 16,000 students with Bachelor of Applied Science, Bachelor of Science, Associate in Arts and Associate in Science degrees, as well as a wide range of certificate and workforce training options. The College also operates three charter high schools.


Polk State’s advantages include small class sizes; hands-on learning; dedicated faculty; day and night classes; online options; affordable tuition; excellent financial aid; and a diverse community and vibrant student life, including fine arts opportunities, clubs, and intercollegiate athletics.


Lakeland Christian School Appoints New Director of Advancement

Lakeland, FL: Lakeland Christian School is pleased to announce that Matt Diaz has been appointed as the new Director of Advancement. He will assume the position held by Steve Wilson for the past 16 years.

Matt is a Polk County native and a graduate of Santa Fe Catholic High School. After serving as a two-year starter at Florida State University, he played 11 seasons of professional baseball, primarily with the Atlanta Braves.

During his playing years, MattE and his wife Leslee started and ran the Diaz Family Foundation with the mission of glorifying God by aiding orphaned and disadvantaged children in Polk County, Florida, and throughout the world.

Upon his retirement from professional baseball in 2014, Matt joined the Atlanta Braves pre-game and postgame telecast on Fox Sports South as a contributing commentator. He also served as a baseball analyst for MLB Network Radio on Sirius XM in addition to his day-to-day work as an Investment Advisor Representative at Core Wealth Advisors in Lakeland.

MattE and Leslee have three children—Nathan, Anna and Jake—who attend LCS. They are founding members of Redeemer City Church in Winter Haven, a church plant of Trinity Presbyterian Church.

“After falling in love with Lakeland Christian as a parent, and then beginning to see behind the scenes as a baseball coach, I cannot be more excited to be part of this school,” MattE said. “I will miss the relationships with my financial planning clients and the people at Core Wealth Advisors, but I am so excited for the relationships this role will provide in keeping Lakeland Christian as one of the premier Christian schools in the country.

You can reach MattE at


Pediatric Pain Management Expert Joins Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital

St. Petersburg, Fla. – November 1, 2018 – Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital named Giovanni Cucchiaro, M.D. as director of the Chronic Pain Program in the Department of Anesthesia and professor of anesthesiology and critical care (pending academic review) with the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. His expertise includes pediatric anesthesia, pain management and palliative care and he most recently served as the director of pain and palliative care services at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.

“Dr. Cucchiaro brings nearly three decades of training and practice to our institution and will play a key role in providing new and expanded approaches to pain management to the children we treat,” said Mohamed Rehman, M.D., chair of the Department of Anesthesia. “As a pediatric anesthesiologist, pain management and palliative care physician, he will work with teams across our organization to enhance the care of patients with chronic pain by integrating medications with anesthesia techniques and complementary, alternative therapies.”

After earning his medical degree from the University of Milan in Milan, Italy, Dr. Cucchiaro completed an internship at Wilson Memorial Regional Medical Center in Johnson City, New York. Dr. Cucchiaro completed a residency in general surgery at the University of Milan and an anesthesia residency at Health Science Center SUNY in Syracuse, New York. He also completed a pediatric anesthesia fellowship at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Dr. Cucchiaro also holds a masters in international public policy and management from the University of Southern California. His clinical research interests include the safety of short and long term use of opioids, addiction prevention and use of complementary intervention to assist children with acute and chronic pain.


About Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital
Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg is a leader in children’s health care, combining a legacy of compassionate care focused solely on children since 1926 with the innovation and experience of one of the world’s leading health care systems. The 259-bed teaching hospital, ranked as a U.S. News & World Report Best Children’s Hospital, stands at the forefront of discovery, leading innovative research to cure and prevent childhood diseases while training the next generation of pediatric experts. With a network of Johns Hopkins All Children’s Outpatient Care centers and collaborative care provided by All Children’s Specialty Physicians at regional hospitals, Johns Hopkins All Children’s brings care closer to home. Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital consistently keeps the patient and family at the center of care while continuing to expand its mission in treatment, research, education and advocacy. For more information, visit


Saint Leo University-Lakeland to Hold ‘Virtual’ Info Sessions Nov. 8, Dec. 5

saint leo

LAKELAND – Saint Leo University’s Lakeland Education Center will hold a series “virtual” information sessions in the coming weeks. The information sessions will take place at noon and at 6 p.m. on Thursday, November 8, and Wednesday, December 5.

Those interested in finding out more about Saint Leo, what degrees are offered, courses, and more are invited.

Beginning in the Spring 1 Semester, more than 50 undergraduate programs and a variety of graduate programs will be offered by Saint Leo University-Lakeland.

The Lakeland Education Center is at 315 Granada St., Lakeland, FL 33805. The center serves students in Lakeland, Winter Haven, Haines City, and other parts of Polk County as well as Plant City in Hillsborough County. Registration is underway for Spring 1 Semester, which begins Jan. 7, 2019. Spring 2 Semester begins March 4, 2019.

Prospective students and those interesting in more information can RSVP at call or (863) 337-4900.

About Saint Leo University

Saint Leo University ( is a modern Catholic teaching university that is firmly grounded in the liberal arts tradition and the timeless Benedictine wisdom that seeks balanced growth of mind, body, and spirit. The Saint Leo University of today is a private, nonprofit institution that creates hospitable learning communities wherever students want to be or need to be, whether that is a campus classroom, a web-based environment, an employer’s worksite, a military base, or an office park. Saint Leo welcomes people of all faiths and of no religious affiliation, and encourages learners of all generations. The university is committed to providing educational opportunities to the nation’s armed forces, veterans, and their families. Saint Leo is regionally accredited to award degrees ranging from the associate to the doctorate, and the faculty and staff guide all students to develop their capacities for critical thinking, moral reflection, and lifelong learning and leadership.


The university remains the faithful steward of the beautiful lakeside University Campus in the Tampa Bay region of Florida, where its founding monks created the first Catholic college in the state in 1889. Serving more than 13,000 students, Saint Leo has expanded to downtown Tampa, to other sites in Florida and beyond, and maintains a physical presence in seven states. The university provides highly respected online learning programs to students nationally and internationally. More than 93,000 alumni reside in all 50 states, in Washington, DC, in three U.S. territories, and in 76 countries.


Media Contact: Mary McCoy, University Writer & Media Relations,, (352) 588-7118 or cell (813) 610-8416