Category Archives: Member Announcements


Polk State College To Celebrate 117th Commencement Ceremony Dec. 14

Polk State College’s 117th commencement ceremony will take place Thursday, Dec. 14, at the RP Funding Center in Lakeland and it will be President Angela Garcia Falconetti’s first.

Falconetti, along with nearly 500 graduating students, are eagerly awaiting the upcoming event.

“I am highly anticipating commencement as it is the culmination of everything we do here at Polk State College,” Falconetti said. “Each student is a testament to the institution’s ability to provide access to affordable, quality higher education to our community, and I could not be more proud of our graduating class.”

A total of 1,157 students qualify to march in the upcoming commencement ceremony. More than 90 percent of those are Polk County residents.

Here’s a more detailed look at Polk State’s 117th graduating class:

  • 270 students will receive degrees from one of Polk State’s baccalaureate programs:
  • 166 will receive the Bachelor of Applied Science in Supervision and Management degree
  • 64 students will receive the Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree
  • 33 will receive the Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice degree
  • 7 will receive the Bachelor of Science in Aerospace degree
  • 632 students will receive the Associate in Arts degree, which is fully transferable to any institution within the State University System.
  • 254 students will receive the Associate in Science degree, which prepares students to directly go into the workforce in fields including nursing, engineering technology, and diagnostic medical sonography.
  • 19 students will graduate Summa Cum Laude with a grade-point average (GPA) of 3.9 or greater; 40 will graduate Magna Cum Laude with a GPA between 3.75 and 3.89; and 160 will graduate Cum Laude with a GPA between 3.5 and 3.74.
  • 9 students will graduate with a 4.0 GPA.
  • 3 students will receive the College’s Honors Program distinction on their diplomas: Cielo Perez, Brianna Mundell, and Leticia Hernandez. These students have completed a minimum of 18 credit hours in courses with Honors Program designation and achieved a grade-point average of 3.2 or greater.
  • The youngest graduate is 17 and the oldest is 63.
  • In addition to Florida, there are graduates from Alabama, California, Georgia, Illinois, Michigan, New York, and Ohio.

Nearly 500 students will participate in the upcoming commencement ceremony, which will start at 6:30 p.m. at the RP Funding Center located at 701 W. Lime St.

The ceremony will feature remarks by Polk State District Board of Trustee Cindy Hartley Ross, who will also receive the College’s Distinguished Alumnus Award. She received her Associate in Arts degree from Polk State in 1979 and studied Special Education at Troy State University.  Gov. Rick Scott reappointed Ross to serve on the Polk State District Board of Trustees in 2015, after she served for 12 consecutive years from 1999 to 2011. During that time, she served as chair and vice chair. She has also served on the Polk State College Foundation Board of Directors, as president of the Polk State Alumni Association, and has represented the College at
the state and national levels in trustee-related organizations.

Ross’s involvement with the Polk State College Foundation began in 1999 when she
encouraged the Republican Women’s Club to endow a scholarship for students. She has since been instrumental in the creation of additional scholarships that continue to transform the lives of students through the gift of education.

Ross has been married to her husband, U.S. Congressman Dennis Ross, since 1983. Their two adult children, Shane and Travis, are both Polk State alumni, having graduated in 2012 and 2014, respectively. Additionally, more than 15 members of Ross’s extended family have graduated from Polk State.


Members on the Move – Henkelman Construction, Inc.

Henkelman Construction, Inc. is very pleased to announce the addition of Christopher Lutton to our firm.  Christopher will join our team of Project Managers, specializing in Health Care facilities.  Christopher received his Bachelor of Building Construction with Honors from the University of Florida. Forty years of experience have given Christopher an appreciation for both sides of a contract, serving in the past as both an owner’s representative and as a representative in the arena of Construction Management.   His insight and experience is an asset to our team of professionals.



The Lakeland City Commission voted today to keep the electric fuel charge the same for Lakeland Electric customers for the next fiscal quarter (January/February/March 2018). After listening to a presentation at the Monday, December 4th Utility Committee meeting, staff recommended holding the fuel charge at its current rate based on 12-month fuel forecasts in both the natural gas and coal markets, and due to a surplus of funds in the fuel rate reserve.

The fuel charge will remain 3.875¢ per kilowatt hour (kWh). Multiplying that charge by 1,000 kWh, which is typically the minimum a residential home utilizes in a month, the cost equals $38.75 per 1,000 kWh for fuel.

Maintaining the fuel charge at its current rate during the winter months will help our customers keep their electric costs low. In fact, by holding the fuel charge at its current rate, Lakeland Electric will continue to have some of the lowest electric rates in the state. As with most electric utilities that generate their own power, the cost of fuel is directly passed onto the customers. This makes it an important part of Lakeland Electric’s ever ongoing effort to keep our customer’s electric costs low.

Residential Rates Based on 1,000 kWh Current Rates – Effective Jan, 2018
Base Charge* (see below for breakdown of charges) $63.02 $63.02
Fuel Charge              $38.75 $38.75
TOTAL: $101.77 $101.77


*Base Rate
Customer Charge $  9.50/month
Energy & Smart Grid charges $50.99/1000 kWh
Environmental Charge $  2.53/1000 kWh           
Total Base Charge          $63.02/ 1000 kWh




Florida Southern College will present its traditional Christmas Gala on Saturday, December 9, with two live performances to celebrate the season.

This year’s edition, Joys of the Season, will be presented at 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., in Branscomb Auditorium. Guests will also be treated to pre-concert music in the auditorium’s Honeyman Pavilion.

“We are eagerly putting together the finishing touches for this highly anticipated Christmas Gala!” said Paula Parsché, chair of the Department of Music at FSC. “We look forward to greeting our many patrons from the community for this spectacular celebration of the season. Please come and join us in our joyous holiday fun and festivities!”

Highly anticipated each year, the Christmas Gala is produced by the college’s Department of Music as part of its Festival of Fine Arts and has become a beloved holiday tradition throughout the community. This year’s Gala features both large choral, instrumental, and orchestral ensembles and smaller ensembles offering a wonder-filled array of musical favorites performed by Department of Music students and faculty, joined by special guests from FSC’s musical theatre and dance programs.

“The marvelous performances by our talented student performers and faculty traditionally launch the holiday season each year for the college community,” said President Anne Kerr. “This year’s Christmas Gala continues a treasured tradition that showcases FSC’s exceptional fine arts programs as they share the joy of the Christmas season through song, dance and inspired musical arrangements.”

Tickets are $8 for adults and $4 for students. For more information, visit or call the Branscomb Auditorium box office at 863-680-4296 from 2 to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday, or go to


Track Municipal Run-Off Election Night Results Online

Polk County Supervisor of Elections, Lori Edwards, invites voters in the cities of Lakeland and Winter Haven to follow up-to-the-minute election night coverage at for the December 5th Municipal Run-Off Elections beginning at 7 pm. will provide continuously updated Municipal Run-Off Election night results for all Run-Off races as the polls close and votes are counted.  “We believe this is one more way we can enhance the voting experience,” said Ms. Edwards.

Results can be found at beginning at 7 pm.  For more information visit, or call the Elections Office at 863-534-5888.