Upcoming “Festival of Fine Arts Series” Events Bring Theatrical, Musical, Visual Arts to FSC


LAKELAND (November 29, 2018) – The 59th season of Florida Southern College’s outstanding “Festival of Fine Arts” series continues to delight members of the community with an array of performing and visual arts events. The following offerings will be presented through the end of January:

Kiss Me, Kate
Opened Nov. 15, continues Nov. 29-Dec. 2, 7:30 p.m. (Sundays at 2:30 p.m.)

Passions run high as a leading lady and her actor/director ex-husband battle onstage and off in a production of William Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew. With romance, comedy, sophistication, and behind-the-scenes hijinks, the Tony Award-winning musical Kiss Me, Kate combines the irreverent humor of two brilliant writers, Shakespeare and Cole Porter, who provided the music and lyrics. Among the show’s ever-popular numbers are “Another Op’nin’, Another Show,” “I Hate Men,” and “Brush up Your Shakespeare.” Directed by Paul Bawek with musical direction by Bradley Vieth, the run of this show is being performed at the Loca Lee Buckner Theatre. Tickets are $18 for adults and $9 for students.


’Tis the Season: The Christmas Gala

Dec. 8, 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
FSC’s Department of Music performs a collection of holiday favorites, featuring choral, instrumental, and string groups, along with other special musical selections. Among the featured seasonal highlights will be “Sleigh Ride,” “The Christmas Song,” music from The Nutcracker (orchestra and a trio of dancers from FSC’s dance program, choreographed by Erin LaSala), “O Holy Night” (three pianists, vocal soloist, and choruses), and “It’s Christmas,” a Christmas carol audience sing-along with FSC’s Symphony Band. Join us for a spectacular evening of traditional tunes and surprises. Tickets for this event at Branscomb Auditorium are $8 for adults and $4 for students. Florida Southern is proud to have Heath Funeral Chapel join the College in presenting this popular event for our community.
Annual All-Student Exhibition

Opened Nov. 16, continues through Dec. 7

This celebration of recent works created by Florida Southern College art majors showcases the exceptional skills of talented freshmen, sophomores, and juniors in all media. It features ceramics, paintings, digital illustrations, prints, and sculptures. This exhibition in the Melvin and Burks Art Galleries is free to the public.

John Briggs: Casting for the Unknown

Jan. 18-Feb. 22 (Opening reception Jan.18, 7 p.m.)

Delve into the mysterious coastal landscapes of John Briggs in the Melvin and Burks Art Galleries. Simultaneously realistic and uncanny, familiar and eerie, the works in the artist’s latest series are inhabited by inexplicably nude fishermen casting nets in open water, inviting viewers to question the simplicity of the paintings. What exactly is going on here? How are the paintings connected? Is there a deeper meaning or symbolic story underlying these intriguing works? This exhibition in the Melvin and Burks Art Galleries is free to the public.

Florida Dance Theatre Presents: Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker
Dec. 15, 7:30 p.m., and Dec. 16, 2:30 p.m.
In celebration of their 25th anniversary, the members of Florida Dance Theatre (FSC’s company-in-residence under the direction of Carol Erkes) bring their classic holiday tradition of Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker to the Festival of Fine Arts. This timeless holiday masterpiece will be performed by the troupe’s dynamic dancers in a production featuring colorful scenery, dazzling costumes, and entrancing choreography. Bring your family and enjoy the music, dance, and spectacle of this perennial holiday treasure. This special event will be presented at Branscomb Auditorium. Tickets are $25 for adults and $15 for students and children under 12.

Imperial Symphony Orchestra presentation: A Night at the Opera, Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute)
Jan. 19, 7 p.m.
The Imperial Symphony Orchestra’s unique annual A Night at the Opera project welcomes opera professionals to Lakeland for a two-week rehearsal/performance schedule. It brings nationally and internationally renowned guest singers such as Joshua Kohl, Maria Kanyova, Eric Lindsey, and Teresa Castillo together with local professional, community, and FSC singers, as well as production staff and members of the ISO. Together, they will perform Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute) in English, exuding the fantasy and fairy-tale side of the composer in this extraordinary – and magical – opera. This special event will be presented at Branscomb Auditorium. Tickets are available through www.imperialsymphony.org

Julian Gargiulo, Pianist
Jan. 30, 7:30 p.m.

Last seen at the Festival of Fine Arts in January 2017, this incredible piano virtuoso and Steinway Artist is back by popular demand to share his inimitable style, irrepressible humor, and brilliant musicianship. A delightfully unconventional concert experience that is guaranteed to entertain and educate, this special event will be presented at Branscomb Auditorium. Tickets are $18 for adults and $9 for students.

For more information or to purchase tickets for Festival of Fine Arts events, please visit www.flsouthern.edu/ffa, phone 863-680-4296, or visit the Branscomb Auditorium Box Office between 2 and 6 p.m., Monday through Friday.

About Florida Southern College

Founded in 1883, Florida Southern College is the oldest private comprehensive college in Florida. The College maintains its commitment to academic excellence through 70+ undergraduate programs and distinctive graduate programs in business administration, education, and nursing. Florida Southern has a 15:1 student-to-faculty ratio; is an award-winning national leader in engaged learning; and boasts 30 NCAA Division II national championships. It is ranked among the Top 20 Regional Universities in the South by U.S. News and World Report; named a Top Baccalaureate College by Washington Monthly; and included in The Princeton Review’s 384 Best Colleges, The Fiske Guide to Colleges 2018, and Forbes magazine’s America’s Top Colleges Guide. The College is committed to the development of the whole student through vibrant student life programs that prepare graduates to make a positive, consequential impact on society.  FSC is conveniently located within an hour’s drive of both Orlando and Tampa. FSC is home to the world’s largest single-site collection of Frank Lloyd Wright architecture and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 2012. Named the “Most Beautiful Campus in the Nation” for two consecutive years by The Princeton Review and one of the nation’s “Ten College Campuses with the Best Architecture” by Architectural Digest, Florida Southern is an internationally-recognized place of beauty and academic excellence.


Linder opens new state-of-the-art facility in Concord, NC





(PLANT CITY, FL  November 26, 2018 )  Linder Industrial Machinery has opened a new, state-of-the-art facility located in Concord, North Carolina.

The 44,000-square-foot building comes equipped with twelve service bays, a modern open floor plan and work stations, and a high-tech parts and warehouse efficiency system.

“This new location will afford us the opportunity to build upon the growth Linder has achieved in the market while enhancing our ability to provide the full-service support our customers need,” said John Coughlin, President & CEO.

The new facility is centrally located at:

5733 Davidson Hwy

Concord, NC 28027

Phone: (980) 777-8345

Fax: (980) 777-8378


About Linder Industrial Machinery

Established in 1953, Linder Industrial Machinery is recognized as one of the nation’s premier heavy equipment dealers. Linder, along with its’ dedicated team of employees are committed to being a valued business partner to customers by offering a quality new, used and rental equipment across eighteen branch locations in Florida, South Carolina, and North Carolina.


Polk State College to Unveil Steelcase Education Active Learning Classroom

Polk State College PSC_Strong_BLK_2Color

Lakeland, Fla., November 27, 2018 — Polk State College will unveil its Steelcase Education Active Learning Classroom on Friday, Dec. 7, at 10 a.m. on the Lakeland Campus, offering tours of the transformed makerspace that uses design and technology to boost student engagement.

Polk State is one of only 16 institutions in North America to receive a Steelcase Education Active Learning Center Grant in 2018 to create an active learning classroom. The classroom is utilized by Polk State’s Education baccalaureate program, further enhancing the College’s ability to produce highly-skilled teacher candidates to fill Polk County’s workforce needs.

“As colleges are charged with producing teachers equipped to handle the demands of the 21st century classroom, it is critical to maintain a hands-on, collaborative learning environment that promotes exploration, critical thinking, and scientific, quantitative reasoning,” Polk State President Angela Garcia Falconetti said. “This grant recognizes that Polk State’s Education baccalaureate program fosters this type of atmosphere, and the creation of the Steelcase Education Active Learning Classroom will allow us to further enhance our best practices.”

The grant is a two-year partnership between Steelcase Education and Polk State, who are working together to conduct assessments and research on the impact of the newly designed space, which received approximately $67,000 in upgrades.

“We are excited to learn from these innovative and enthusiastic teachers and faculty members,” Steelcase Education Training and Professional Development Leader Marisa Sergnese said. “As we share with instructors best practices for incorporating the active learning environment into their curriculum, their insights will also inform our research, future products, and strategic development to better the educational experience.”

The “360-degree classroom” uses surrounding white boards, flat-screen monitors, and work spaces that allow instructors and students to utilize all areas of the room creatively and interactively. Forgoing desks and straight rows, swiveling seats and easy-to-move tables give students the ability to reposition themselves for various activities and lesson types in the classroom.

“There is no ‘sage on the stage,’” Polk State Director of Education Patricia Linder explained. “The classroom is strategically designed to engage students in the learning process, requiring them to make connections between theory and practice, and ensuring that they acquire the skills they need to be successful future leaders of our classrooms.”

The Steelcase Education Active Learning Center Grant Program has invested approximately $1 million to improve classrooms across North America. Polk State was chosen out of more than 1,000 applications for its unique approach to active learning. Students enrolled in a dozen Education courses will benefit from the upgraded space.

Polk State launched its Education baccalaureate degree program in August 2016 in response to the community’s need for access to local, affordable Education degree options after the University of South Florida exited Polk County. The College’s Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education and Bachelor of Science in Elementary in Education were developed in collaboration with Polk County Public Schools, putting in place built-in measurements for state-mandated standards.

The program will graduate its first class in December 2018 and has already seen great success with students excelling in their courses and field experiences. The program’s first class has maintained an average grade-point average of 3.94, and each student has passed all certification exams for Florida Professional Educator Certificates. Additionally, all six students who have participated in Polk County Public Schools internships have accepted jobs and have started teaching in elementary classrooms.

The College boasts a 96.93 percent job placement and continuing education rate, and with 70 percent of Polk State graduates staying in Polk County after graduation, the Education baccalaureate program is confident that it will see success in placing teachers in Polk County Public Schools classrooms.

“Polk State is dedicated to working closely and collaboratively with local employers to create a pipeline of quality graduates to fill the workforce needs of Polk County,” Falconetti said. “The creation of the Steelcase Active Learning Classroom allows the College to take student engagement to the next level, ensuring that Polk State’s teacher candidates are well prepared for our local classrooms.”

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.


Saint Leo University Names New Vice President of Academic Affairs

stleoFormer Dean of College of Arts and Sciences Begins New Role

  1. LEO, FL – Dr. Jeffrey D. Senese, president of Saint Leo University, has announced the appointment of Dr. Mary T. Spoto as vice president of Academic Affairs, effective immediately. Spoto, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, has served as the acting vice president of Academic Affairs since Senese was named president in July.

“Mary is a proven leader with strong support from our faculty and staff,” Senese said. “Her leadership experience in academics will be of great value as we move boldly and confidently into an even more successful future at Saint Leo University.”

A Tampa, FL, native, Spoto has served in several roles during her 25-year history with Saint Leo. Before serving as dean, she was the chair of the Department of English, Fine Arts, and Humanities, now referred to as the Department of Language Studies and the Arts. She also is a professor of English.

As dean, Spoto has been a leader in the development of the university’s general education program, University Explorations, designed with specially created courses to help students recognize the importance of the liberal arts to their larger learning.

Spoto expanded the fine arts programs at the university and leading the development of new academic programs such as the Bridge Program for second-language learners and the master’s programs in creative writing and psychology.

She earned her Bachelor of Arts, Master of Arts, and doctoral degree in English from the University of South Florida.

“One of the things I’ve admired the most about Saint Leo is its strong focus on teaching,” Spoto said. “We are a university that truly exists to help students learn and gain the knowledge and skills that will help them in their careers and will guide them in life. In my new role, I plan to continue developing and strengthening this focus in partnership with our faculty and deans to create more innovative and distinctive programs, making academics a hallmark of the university for years to come.”

About Saint Leo University

Saint Leo University (www.saintleo.edu) 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 nearly 12,000 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.