Office of Development News RSS Feed
Oceans of Opportunity

By Sara Smith

Richard “Dick” and Mary “Jane” Schnoor were the kind of people who moved through life in a quiet, gentle manner. They were members of the Cocoa Beach Sail and Power Squadron and attended lectures given annually by Florida Tech professor and head of the department of marine and environmental systems (DMES) George Maul.

“I would see them there every year,” Maul recalls, “and so I invited them to the DMES lectures on campus. They started coming to those and pretty soon were getting to know the students. When we held receptions the evening before graduation, Jane would show up with a plate of cookies to share.”

So began the Schnoors’ friendship with Florida Tech. The Schnoors had a lifelong interest in marine science, sailing and environmental issues. They moved to Florida where Dick worked at NASA from1964 to his retirement in 1986. Jane taught and worked as a guidance counselor at Cocoa Beach High School. They traveled around the world but did so simply, staying in hostels and enjoying a modest lifestyle. Both were commodores at the Cocoa Beach Sail and Power Squadron,and they both had been elected to national office. When Dick passed away in 2011, Jane wanted to do something for the students at Florida Tech, so she worked with the Power Squadron to establish the Cocoa Beach Sail and Power Squadron Richard H. Schnoor Memorial Undergraduate Scholarship, which has been awarded annually to a rising DMES senior.

When Jane passed away in August 2013, her name was added to the scholarship as well as a much broader gift. In their trust, the couple left Florida Tech a bequest totaling more than $1 million to establish The Mary Jane and Richard H. Schnoor Fellowship in Atmospheric and Marine Science. The bequest will establish an endowed fund that will support graduate students every year in perpetuity.

“There are substantially fewer scholarships available for graduate students, especially at the master’s level,” said Maul. “This was really needed and will encourage more work to be done in the fields of oceanography and marine science.”

As befits the Schnoors modest way, Maul recalls they said very little about the planned gift—though Jane did confirm the legacy gift over coffee one afternoon with Shelley Johnson, director of development. Johnson was delighted to be able to convey the university’s gratitude. “The magnitude of the gift reflects how strongly the Schnoors felt about the work being done at Florida Tech,” she said. “Year after year the earnings from the endowment will fund graduate fellowships. Since the original gift is never spent, the Schnoors’ legacy to Florida Tech will benefit talented students for generations to come.”

The couple’s estate plan included contributions to a number of schools, including New York University, Cornell University, the University of Dayton and St. Louis University. But Florida Tech, distinguished among the other recipients by not being one of the Schnoors’ alma maters, had a special place in their hearts. “Jane believed in finding solutions to environmental issues now and in the future,” said Johnson. “Marine science was something that was in their soul.”

Love of family, university inspires endowments

By Lisa M. Onorato

Endowments are gifts that keep giving and for two university colleagues, they are also a way to honor their loved ones.

In memory of his wife’s passing, Dr. Stackpoole initiated the Susan Stackpoole Endowed Fund for College of Aeronautics Faculty, Programs and Lab Enrichment. The endowment is designed to assist in faculty development, academic program development and aeronautics laboratory enrichment. Dr. Stackpoole has also designated the endowment as the beneficiary of his life insurance policy. “Susan was adjunct faculty and loved teaching,” said Dr. Stackpoole. “She believed in this college,” he said. “I hope that people who loved her as much as I do will contribute.”

Dr. Virender Sharma recently set up the Mrs. Krishna Devi Sharma Fellowship Endowment for Chemistry students in memory of his late mother. Royalties from his books “Oxidation of Amino Acids, Peptides, and Proteins” and “Mossbauer Spectroscopy: Applications in Chemistry, Biology, Industry, and Nanotechnology,” will go toward the endowment. In the introduction to his book on proteins, Dr. Sharma discusses his struggles with the loss of his mother and discusses how her illness prompted him to delve into a new area of research. Dr. Sharma, who relied on scholarships and assistantships he received during his time as a student, said he wants to give back. “I couldn’t have done this or be where I am today without them.”

For more information on the Stackpoole endowment, visit For information on the Sharma endowment, please visit or call the Office of Development at (321) 674-6400.

Alumni’s experience lives on through endowment

By Lisa M. Onorato

From his active roles on the Campus Activities Board, to a senior program manager and recruiter for Intel, Kim Bozik, ’87, has always had Florida Institute of Technology student’s best interests in mind. In honor of his alma mater, he recently created the Bozik Family Endowment. Endowment gifts are invested, with the principal amount permanently remaining intact and earnings used annually for the purposes of donor wishes. “I just wanted to give back to the school that gave me so much,” Bozik said.

As a student, Bozik was heavily involved with the CAB, serving as a promotions director and chief of staff. Much of his work was dedicated to engaging students and enhancing student life through events. “I was one of the first student leaders on campus. We changed campus from a student life perspective,” Bozik said. “We succeeded in getting the first budget for CAB and brought Cyndi Lauper and Jimmy Buffett to FIT and got regular live events at the Rathskeller.” He also worked on Homecoming festivities and orientation in a leadership role. After graduation, Bozik worked for a year on campus as the student activities coordinator before entering his engineering career.

Bozik said that his leadership roles on campus added greatly to his “well-rounded” experience at FIT and gave impetus to the Bozik Family Endowment. In addition to meeting academic standards, COE students up for the Bozik endowment must demonstrate leadership in campus life activities such as The Crimson, Yearbook, Campus Activities Board, Student Government Association and the like. “Of course academics are important,” he said. “But my intent is to promote and reward students who go above and beyond and have an input on the campus and community at large.” As a recruiter, Bozik said companies often consider student leadership in the hiring process. “As a person who hires people, it factors in. It shows that an applicant can pull a team together to solve a problem.” As a current Alumni Board member, he is working to bring Intel recruiting events to campus. “I got a world-class education at FIT, and I want to bring even more industry recognition to the university”

Bozik encourages his fellow Alumni to support endowments. “All endowments can be funded by anyone—you don’t have to be a large donor to continue to make a difference in areas you care about.”

For more information on endowments, contact the Office of Development at (321) 674-6400.

Ways to Give - Retirement Plan Gifts

If you’ve ever considered a gift to Florida Tech from your retirement account, you should know there are options available to you which offer tax benefits. One is to name Florida Tech as the beneficiary of your IRA, 401 (k) or other qualified plan. You can choose to either leave all or designate a portion of your plan balance to the University.

Retirement plans are subject to estate taxes after your death, and under current tax laws your heirs may pay more than 30 percent in income taxes on funds bequeathed to them. If you choose Florida Tech, a tax-exempt charity, as your primary beneficiary your gift will generate no income taxes and the University is eligible to receive the full amount. As an alternative you can use your retirement plan to pay an income to your heirs for life, with the remaining funds supporting the University after their death.

Also consider making a distribution from your retirement account, which could satisfy your required annual minimum distribution and simultaneously be a charitable gift to Florida Tech. Depending on current tax laws, individuals may benefit from this gift format. Dr. Martin E. Glicksman, Allen S. Henry Chair & professor in the College of Engineering, Department of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering, and his wife, Lucinda, recently made such a gift to the University. Their gift benefits the College of Engineering and supports the MAE Department. “My wife suggested that our gift could establish a MAE Graduate Seminar budget, allowing the Department to choose a wider variety of speakers, besides local folks and students. This would enhance the breadth and quality of the seminar series,” Dr. Glicksman said. “Gift giving for us is a pleasure that we are fortunate enough to enjoy.”

For more information, please consult with your financial advisor, or contact the Office of Development at (321) 674-8962.

COE Graduate Pays It Forward

By Lisa M. Onorato

For some, the college years rate among the best experiences in life. That sentiment rings true for one College of Engineering graduate, but not for the reasons you might think. Stephen Craig, who graduated in 2012 with a B.S. in Civil Engineering, says he counts the time he spent as vice president of the student American Society of Civil Engineers student chapter as part of his top college memories. “I benefitted greatly from being able to work so closely with other students,” he said. “I learned engineering in a practical sense—more than I learned in labs and classrooms.”

As an officer of the ASCE, Craig also worked closely with Paul Cosentino, Ph.D. “I remember meeting ‘Dr. Cos” during orientation, and we talked for two-three hours,” said Craig. “We are both from Pittsburgh, and went to the same high school. His sister went to school with my aunt. There is a lot of pride when you’re from Pittsburgh!” Part of Craig’s responsibilities as ASCE vice president was to raise money for the team to travel to regional and hopefully, national, competitions. Money raised helped pay for expenses related to building supplies and travel expenses.

In 2011 during his tenure as vice president, the Concrete Canoe team qualified and competed at the National Championships. It was then that Craig dug deep, embracing a new challenge: fundraising. Though he didn’t have any experience raising money, Craig said he felt the connection to his peers was a huge motivator. “The least I could do was raise money for my friends so we could accomplish our goals,” he said. “I really believed in my teammates and their design and work ethics.”

Working closely with Dr. Cos and Gretchen Sauerman, director of corporate giving, over the course of the year, Craig helped raise $35,000 to fund the trip Nationals. He also assisted in getting the group coverage in the local media, which he said, increased awareness and donations. “I was very persistent, to the point of being annoying,” he joked. He said he used his passion for the ASCE to fuel the challenge of raising money, and in the process developed new skills. “Having to speak to so many different people and organizations to ask for money gave me so much confidence,” he said. Confidence, he said he continues to display in his current position as a construction field engineer for CB&I in Charlotte, N.C. “I can talk to just about anybody, regardless of their level, from CEOs to directors.”

However, Craig hasn’t forgotten his roots, and is a current donor to the ASCE chapter. “I have such fond memories of ASCE and FIT,” he said. “Plus, a lot of my friends are still active in the organization.”

Dorcas T. Blue joins Office of Development

By Lisa M. Onorato

Dorcas T. Blue joined the Office of Development in November as Assistant Vice President, Foundations. She has more than a decade of experience in fundraising, including posts at the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America and United Cerebral Palsy of New York City. She has experience on “both sides of the grant,” having most recently been a program director with the Fairfield County Community Foundation in Connecticut. Dorcas was recruited by Susan St. Onge, senior vice president of development, who also recruited her to Yale-New Haven Hospital, where the two worked together at a $100 million capital campaign.

After accepting an invitation to visit campus, Dorcas said she knew FIT was a perfect fit. “I was struck by how fond the community is of FIT, how supportive and passionate staff is, and how dedicated faculty and staff are to the students and the growth of the university,” she said. “I was most impressed with how the university officers and trustees envision even more great things ahead for FIT. Their commitment and drive is inspiring.”

As AVP, Foundations, Dorcas’ work consists of querying foundations and matching FIT research and programs with funding opportunities. “The feedback I’ve received from current funders on the relationship with FIT has been very positive. I will continue to build on those existing relationships while pursuing new funding for the amazing work being done here.”

Donor Spotlight: George Maul

By Lisa M. Onorato

Most on campus know George Maul, professor of oceanography and DMES department head, by his research, educational accolades, easy smile and approachability, but he is also a generous philanthropist. In addition to being a university supporter since 1995, Maul is an active supporter of the Boy Scouts and his church—where he donates time, talent and treasure.

Partial to gifts that give in perpetuity, Maul has been critical in helping endow several Florida Tech funds. Endowments are invested, with the principal amount permanently remaining intact with the university and earnings used annually for the purposes the donor wishes. For a minimum of $25,000, paid over an agreed-upon period of time, an endowment can be established and named as the donor wishes. For more information, visit

One of Maul’s current philanthropic goals is to see the Deering-Irlandi Fellowship endowed. Elizabeth Irlandi, associate professor of oceanography and marine benthic ecologist, died in 2011. Beloved as both a professor and mentor, Irlandi touched the lives of many graduate and undergraduate students.

“She always had her door open to students, and she was always willing to stop what she was doing and talk to you,” recalls Nancy Sloan ’05 M.S., ’10 Ph.D. “She was my encourager.” For more information on the Deering-Irlandi Fellowship, visit “The prosperity of this country depends on generosity,” said Maul. “I graduated college without debt, and I’d like to help other students do the same.”

Michael Seeley Joins Office of Development

By Lisa M. Onorato

Michael Seeley joined the development team as vice president in September. He comes on board as President Anthony J. Catanese and executive staff gear up for the next capital campaign.

Seeley most recently served as executive director of development and alumni relations at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. Prior to that, he was senior director of development at Yale-New Haven Hospital. In both positions, he played a major role in capital campaigns, including CWRU’s $1 billion capital campaign and Yale-New Haven’s campaign for completion of the $467 million Smilow Cancer Hospital.

Recruited by Susan St. Onge, senior vice president for development and chief development officer (who supervised Seeley at both CWRU and Yale-New Haven), Seeley said the university’s focus on cutting-edge technology was a huge draw. “I’m a computer scientist by training, so I loved the idea of being at an engineering and technical school—I feel very at home here,” he said. He has been most impressed with the university’s commitment to its students. “From the senior staff to the deans and especially the faculty, the synergy between the university and its students is far-reaching. Faculty are truly excited about their work and communicating it to the next generation.”

Since joining Florida Tech, Seeley has traveled around the U.S. meeting alumni. “It’s been great interacting with alumni and hearing their stories and experiences,” he said. Seeley admires how much the university has achieved in its 55-year history and looks forward to continuing to make Florida Tech a world-class institution that also remembers and celebrates its significant progress and explosive growth. “With how far we’ve come, it’s hard to imagine that 60 years ago this institution simply didn’t exist. I encourage alumni to come back to campus and reacquaint themselves with the university and faculty. You’ll be so impressed.”

Seeley said there are myriad ways for alumni to help shape the future of their alma mater, from advocacy to mentoring to gifts for programs and scholarships. “Connecting someone’s passions to reality here at Florida Institute of Technology and making a difference—that’s the magic of this job. The satisfaction of positively impacting the lives of others, especially our students, is something I share with our donors and supporters.”

Planned Giving - Sometimes Getting in Touch With Your Past is All You Need to Look to the Future

By Lisa M. Onorato

The Picornells both attended Florida Tech in the 1980s, but they didn’t meet until about six years after graduation. Patricia graduated in 1985 with a degree in electrical engineering, and Francisco earned a B.S. in 1985, an M.S. in 1986 and an MBA in 1988. “We had a lot of the same friends, but we never met,” says Pat. “We were eventually introduced by mutual friends, and just thought how funny it was that we both went to FIT.”

Their fondness for the university continued through the years. Francisco served on the Alumni Board from 2002 to 2004. And three years ago, Pat earned her pilot’s license. “I was running into the kids and instructors, and it really brought back some camaraderie,” she recalls.

So in 2009, the Picornells decided to invest in the future of Florida Tech by sharing some of their own success. In their will, they designated the university as a beneficiary of their IRA funds. Today, Pat is a certified financial planner and wealth advisor at UBS Financial Services. She says though some might feel overwhelmed at the prospect of putting their estate together, it’s actually a pretty simple process. “Any sort of planned giving is an easy component of estate planning. And, isn’t it nice to know that while alive you get to decide what happens to your stuff?”

“As we get older, it’s our intention to increase our gift,” she continues. “I’m so proud of what FIT has brought to the community.”


Florida Tech Planned Giving Opportunities

  • Bequests
  • Charitable Gift Annuities
  • Life Insurance
  • Retirement Plans
  • Charitable Remainder Trusts
  • Charitable Lead Trusts
  • Real Estate

Planning your estate is an opportunity to transfer assets to the people and organizations you care about most, in the proper amount and with the proper timing—all in the most tax-efficient way possible. Call the Office of Development at (321) 674-8962 or visit for more information.

Alumnus Establishes Endowment to Study Water Resources

Water, water everywhere, and not a drop to drink. That phrase, coined more than 200 years ago, in the Rime of the Ancient Mariner, captures eloquently the issues facing civil engineers working in the field of Water Resources.
One alumnus hopes Florida Tech graduates will help address the humanitarian crisis. “Water is power,” said Amvrossios “Ross” Bagtzoglou, MS, ‘87, Civil Engineering. “Too much causes flooding and too little causes drought.” Recently, Bagtzoglou pledged $125,000, to be paid over ten years, to create an endowment for graduate students studying water resources.

Alumni and friends are challenged to match Bagtzoglou’s annual pledge payments, thereby doubling the strength of the endowment. Additionally, Florida Tech has also pledged a tuition remission match of three credit-hours per semester, further enhancing the value of the gift. Already, nearly a dozen supporters have donated to the endowment, and more are encouraged to step up, said Ashok Pandit, professor and head of the Department of Civil Engineering. “Establishing fellowships and research-related endowments creates instant credibility and prestige for the research being conducted in our department, both among peers and prospective students,” said Pandit.

When fully endowed, the fund will top $250,000. “We are most grateful for this visionary gift from Dr. Bagtzoglou, as well as the alumni, faculty and friends who have contributed to our annual challenge,” said Pandit. For more information, or to make a gift to the A. C. Bagtzoglou Civil Engineering Fellowship Endowment for the Study of Water Resources, please email Gretchen Sauerman at, or call (321) 674-6162.

L to R Standing: COA Dean Ken Stackpoole, Dwayne McCay, Executive VP and C.O.O, COE Dean Fred Ham,
Department Head for Civil Engineering Astok Pandit. Seated L to R: Ross Bagtzoglou, ’87 M.S. and
President Anthony J. Catanese.

L to R: COE Dean Fred Ham, Ross Bagtzoglou, ’87 M.S., President Anthony J. Catanese and Department
Head for Civil Engineering Astok Pandit.

Ross Bagtzoglou, ’87 M.S. and Department Head for Civil Engineering Astok Pandit.

Balda Family Foundation

By Michelle Verkooy

What inspires you to give back to your community? This kind of question can be a tough one to answer for some, but ask Sarah Balda what inspires her and the Balda Family Foundation, and she will quickly tell you that it is the power of education to change a person's life.

The mission of the Balda Family Foundation is to motivate, inspire and educate academically promising, at risk and underserved youth in Brevard County. Since 2007, the foundation has generously granted $50,000 to FIT in the form of scholarships for students in the College of Engineering and the College of Aeronautics.

Sarah Balda
Sarah Balda

It may appear that the foundation simply doles out financial assistance and that is the end of the story, but it is not.  "We want to get to know our scholarship recipients, foster a relationship with them, provide motivation and encouragement as they continue along their path of education, it's like being part of our extended family," said Sarah Balda.

By doing what is right for today and tomorrow’s generations of leaders, the Balda Family Foundation is leading the way to educating Brevard’s best and brightest and FIT is honored to be part of that partnership.


Recipients of the 2011 Balda Family Foundation scholarships meet with members of the Balda family. From left to right: Rick Balda, Jr.; Brandon Fontaine, student recipient; Jonathan Kucharyson, student recipient; Danielle Roy, Student Recipient; Dan Balda.

COA students soar to new heights with Aerostar partnership

By Lisa M. Onorato

A B737-800 Flight Training Device shell gifted to College of Aeronautics (COA) by Q4 Services has led to a partnership that will have a ripple effect beyond Florida Tech for years to come. According to its website, Q4 “performs visual system upgrades and modifications, relocations, repair and refurbishment of all manner of simulation hardware. “ “We had initially planned to use it as a demo,” said Martin Rolls, Manager of Development and Technology at Q4.  “But we just got too busy. “

After the shell sat at Q4 for a while, Dave Santo, co-owner and founder of Aerostar Training Services, LLC, took notice and suggested that Q4 donate the device to FIT. However, after several meetings in early 2011 between the two companies and FIT Office of Development and COA Associate Professor Peter Dunn, it was apparent the benefit of the $800k simulator was going to extend far beyond the gift-in-kind itself. What emerged was a one-of-kind hands-on learning opportunity for COA students in the form of a partnership with Aerostar.  Aerostar and FIT now offer two advanced pilot training classes, one in Jet Transition and one in Commercial Type Rating.  The educational opportunity for students is groundbreaking, as FIT is the only college to offer this type of training as part of an academic program.

For Mr. Santo, this partnership with FIT provides the answer to a question he and his co-partner Royce Jones have often asked themselves: “What can we to do take our resources and experiences and give back to the future of aeronautics?” Mr. Santo said he and Mr. Jones have both had fabulous careers in the industry, but are aware of the difficult path from student to pilot. “There were no mentors to guide me to schools like FIT,” he said. “This advanced training will allow FIT students to stand out much more than their competitors in interviews,” Mr. Santo said.  Professor Dunn agrees that the partnership offers FIT students the edge in the professional world. “Partnering with a school that can provide advance training truly paves the way for a career as an airline pilot or in business aviation,” Professor Dunn said. “Having a Type Rating is the crown jewel of pilot training.”

A Gift that Pays You in Cash!

In today's unsteady market with the volatility of the economy and the low interest rate environment, a defined income stream for life is attractive.  A charitable gift annuity (CGA) is a simple contract between you and Florida Institute of Technology that offers a tax-advantaged way to provide income for yourself or someone you love.  The amount of the payment is determined at the time the gift is made and will not fluctuate with the market.  A CGA can even be established to benefit a friend or relative.  Florida Institute of Technology follows the recommended annuity rates published by the American Council on Gift Annuities (ACGA). 

For more information, contact:

Office of Development

150 W. University Blvd. Melbourne, FL 32901
Phone: (321) 674-8962 | Fax: (321) 674-6150

This information is not intended to be legal or financial advice. Consult a professional advisor to be sure that your estate or financial needs are addressed.


John and Susan Hopkins in front of the Scott Center

Do you know an autistic child?

Probably. “I attended a political lunch about two years ago with roughly 100 people in attendance.  The audience was asked if they had a family member, friend or know someone who had an autistic child.  Virtually everyone in the audience raised their hands,” said John Hopkins, grandparent of an autistic child and supporter of the Scott Center for Autism Treatment.  The Scott Center, located on the Melbourne campus, is dedicated to providing the highest quality treatment, training and applied research to enhance the functioning and improve the quality of life of children with autism and related disabilities in Central Florida. Once the diagnosis of autism or related disability is given, hope is what the family searches for.

Mr. Hopkins understands this search.  If you have ever spoken to Mr. Hopkins, after the latest golf hole-by-hole replay, he speaks about something else close to his heart - his granddaughter.  The stories are peppered with the typical adventures of grandparenthood and the challenges facing families with autistic children.  His granddaughter benefitted from the Scott Center facilities and staff and Mr. Hopkins refers to the center as “world class.” Even though Mr. Hopkins is not an alumn, he is one of the original committee members on An Evening of Hope, a fundraiser that supports the Scott Center.  “I encourage people to attend the Evening of Hope. Florida Tech has done an outstanding job developing a great facility.” The next Evening of Hope is April 21, 2012 at the home of Joe Flammio, Florida Tech Board of Trustees member. The event features a cocktail reception, live auction and the chance to win a Rolex donated by Kempf’s Jewelers in Indialantic, Florida.

Tickets are on sale now until the day of the event for $25 each and are available at Kempf’s Jewelers, The Scott Center and online at The drawing will be April 28, 2012 at 1p.m. at Kempf’s Jewelers. Sponsorships are also available.

For more information, call Colleen Middlebrooks at (321) 674-8106 or email at

Home again…DRS Gifts-in-Kind find a place at FIT

When DRS consolidated its four facilities in 2010, the company found itself with a large surplus of equipment and supplies.

The thought of disposing of the items “tore through the heart” of DRS’ Tom Reid, Senior Manufacturing Engineer, so he reached out to the Office of Development who then connected him with the College of Engineering.  “I knew the equipment would be of wonderful value to the students,” said Stephanie Hopper, Director of Laboratories.

Among the cache of office supplies, furniture and industrial equipment was a 5-by-8-foot optics bench. The optics bench went to the Department of Chemical Engineering, where Dr. James Brenner and his students mounted two scanning tunneling and three atomic force microscopes. The bench provides a vibration-resistant and extremely level work area. Dr. Brenner said the optics bench has made the acquisition of research quality images a reality, which has been a key component in rounding out the new Nanotechnology program. Nanotechnology is the science and engineering of features at a very small scale—1 billionth of a meter—and is at the interface between biology, chemistry, physics, chemical engineering, materials science, electrical engineering, and mechanical-aerospace engineering. Another item FIT received was a triaxial environmental controlled shaker table and chamber.  “The thermal, vibration test equipment that DRS donated to the College of Engineering will be most useful for some of the spacecraft-related research currently being carried out in the college,” Said Dr. Fred Ham, Dean of the College of Engineering.  “Gifts like this can make a significant difference in our faculty’s research,” said Dr. Ham.

In addition to the equipment, one employee at DRS is generously donating his time to the university. Mike Scott is an instructor at DRS who has been with the company for 16 years. He recently kicked off a series of free presentations here at FIT— one on the good and bad conditions of soldering and another on manufacturing standards. Mr. Scott said he feels it’s important to expose students to the industry environment they will soon be working in. “Students have no idea of the kinds of standards that rule their world,” he said. “And I really love teaching.”

“Our company has a culture of philanthropy,” said Mr. Reid. “It really spreads out among our employees.”

By Lisa M. Onorato
Development Officer

Mike Scott of DRS leads a presentation on soldering in the Keuper Building. Mr. Scott plans to offer more presentations free of charge to FIT students in the near future.

Photo by Stephanie Hopper

Mike Scott of DRS leads a presentation on soldering in the Keuper Building. Mr. Scott plans to offer more presentations free of charge to FIT students in the near future.

The Fish, The Worm, The Fisherman by Daniel C. DeRosa

Daniel C. DeRosa, a doctoral student of the College of Psychology and Liberal Arts, reminded us that whether death is expected or unexpected, it creates a void.  Many of us seek something to fill that void. 

In the case of Dan’s family, a book of his poetry, titled Love Like Water, was shared and a memorial fund was created in his name. His words provide a sense of comfort to family and friends, reminding them of who he was and how he touched their lives. For so many people, the ability to donate to the fund has offered a way to keep his memory alive.  Dan made an impact on everyone he met, and his work with the children at the Scott Center for Autism Treatment will never be forgotten. His words below speak to us and provide encouragement at this sad time.  A memorial is a perpetual reminder and the Office of Development is here to work with families to create this special way of acknowledging the memory of a passed loved one, like Dan.

The Fish, The Worm, The Fisherman

Some days I feel like a fish,
Staring at the worm,
Recognizing weakness,
Assessing whether I would gain more than I’d lose.

Other days I feel like the worm,
Floating helpless on the hook,
Taking my place in something bigger,
In too much pain to accept my situation.

Then there are the days I feel like the fisherman,
Biding my time,
Watching the scene below,
Waiting for the drama to play itself out,
Certain I can predict the outcome of events yet to unfold.

I strive to be the water,
And allow to pass the time that doesn’t fly
Accept the games that will be played
By those who need the strength of others to get by.
I wish to be strong enough to support the ones that need it
And to be wise enough to grant guidance to those I feel will heed it,
To recognize and leave alone the things that will be solitary,
And wind my way along the days and nights, as life’s own tributary.

By Daniel DeRosa

Lunabotics Senior Design Team

In October, the Missile, Range and Space Pioneers, Inc. (MSRP) donated $5,000 to student design projects at Florida Institute of Technology. The contribution went to support the hybrid rocket project team and the Lunabotics project team who are preparing their projects for competition in the spring.

The hybrid rocket team will fire its rocket near Daytona Beach in an April competition. The Lunabotics team is participating for NASA’s KSC Lunabotics Mining Competition. Members are developing innovative lunar excavation concepts that might be applied to an actual lunar excavation device or payload. Both teams will compete with other Florida Tech student project teams at Florida Tech’s Northrop Grumman Student Design Showcase in the spring.

And here’s a link to the announcement about the gift:

From left: Hector Gutierrez, Jennifer Mori, Rafiuddin Ahmed, Allison Metzger, Matthew Goldstein, Michelle Little.

Boeing Senior Design Teams

The Vermilion Project  is competing in the SAE Aero Design East competition by building a remotely piloted airplane to carry a maximum payload given a specified engine.

From left to right
Back: Kento Takura, Navaneeth Saiprasad, David Jacobsen
Front: Jessica DeVries, Daby Osuji, Seong Un Yang, Hunter Garrett (Team Lead), Anna Hallahan, John Adetoyese-Olagunju, Dr. David Fleming (Faculty Advisor)

TiltRotor Team is building an autonomous tiltrotor aircraft to perform a simulated search and rescue mission.

From left to right
Back: Andrew Ho Lung, Mario Lento, Sahil Rawool (Team Lead), Oung Kyaw Sann, Majorie Lucas
Front: Nicholas Cefaratti (pilot), Namrata Dhingreja, Audryanna Fernandez, Rhys Fernandez, Yethiraj Chamarthi, Dr. David Fleming (Faculty Adviser)

Two New Flight Simulators by the Emil Buehler Perpetual Trust

The College of Aeronautics and the Emil Buehler Center for Aviation and Training recently honored the Emil Buehler Perpetual Trust for a gift used to purchase two new flight simulators. The simulators provide flight training in a safe and cost effective way and offer flexible scheduling for students.

FACTS about the Simulators

  • FIT, through the gracious donation by the Emil Buehler Perpetual Trust, acquired two Frasca 242 Piper Seminole Level 5 Flight Simulation Training Devices (FSTDs) in May and August 2011.
  • The FSTDs were manufactured by Frasca International, Inc. of Urbana, Illinois. 
  • The FSTD cockpit is made from fiberglass and accurately replicates the flight deck of an actual Piper Seminole aircraft.  It includes the actual Avidyne Entegra integrated avionics system as installed within a Piper Seminole aircraft. 
  • The FSTD is equipped with Frasca’s TruFeelTM electronic control loading system, which provides realistic, variable control pressures throughout the flight envelope.
  • A high-fidelity digital sound system provides significant aural cues to flight, engines, systems, environment, and avionics.  Speaker placement in the cockpit is such that the location of the sound in the FSTD is similar to that in the aircraft.
  • Operable circuit breakers provide a realistic training environment for the student by integrating systems similar to those in the actual aircraft.
  • The FSTD is equipped with Frasca’s TruVisionTM Global visual system.  This visual system is displayed through three LCD projectors onto a cylindrical screen that is approximately 19 feet across and 5 feet wide.  This provides a field of view to the pilots of 180⁰horizontal by 40⁰ vertical.
  • Each Simulator weighs – 845 lbs
  • Will greatly aid the flight students as they progress through their multi-engine training. 
  • Up to 25 hours may be used during the multi-engine commercial course and multi-engine add-on course, mostly for initial familiarization training, emergency procedures, and instrument training. 

Fowler & Heystek Making a Difference 30 Years Later

Little did Clarke Fowler (Ocean Engineering ’80) and Deborah Heystek (Biology ’79) imagine when they met in the Jungle at Florida Institute of Technology in 1975, that they would end up back in Brevard County, married, and becoming active alumni making a difference on campus 30 years later. Both had great experiences at FIT and established enduring friendships while there. “Many of our very best friends today are people we met while at FIT,” says Clarke.

Clarke has worked for Harris Corporation for the past 14 years and currently does avionics development for defense systems. He has continued his involvement with the College of Engineering, participating on its Board of Advisors, supporting various events and serving as a judge for the annual Northrop Grumman Engineering and Science Student Design Showcase. Deborah has worked for a research institute and defense contractors as a software architect doing modeling and simulation (war gaming), and is currently pursuing her dream as an entrepreneur, creating her own line of clothing from South African fabrics. She is a member of the Alumni Board and is very active on the Botanical Garden Committee, which hosts the Botanical Fest each year.  She also serves as an alumni advisor to the Squamish fraternity and created the Squamish Scholarship Endowment to help fund deserving students at Florida Tech.  This scholarship fund is very close to reaching the $25,000 level, where it is fully endowed, and an annual scholarship will be awarded.   “The Squamish Scholarship has been funded by past and present Squamish Brothers and will serve as a legacy to the organization,” says Deborah.

Together, in 2007, they decided another way they could give back to Florida Tech was by establishing a bequest.  The Fowler-Heystek bequest will benefit Engineering, by funding the creation of a student lab in their name.  “We both value the education we received at FIT, and recognize the importance of continued investment in infrastructure, equipment, and technology.  We hope that through our bequest future engineers are inspired in a lifelong passion for science and engineering,” says the couple.

 “FIT is a unique place, and tends to attract rugged individualists.  That may be one of the things I like best about it,” says Deborah.

“My experience at FIT enabled me to pursue a career that I truly enjoy,” says Clarke.

Indiafest’s Commitment to Brevard Funds New Scholarship

From day one, Indiafest’s commitment to philanthropy is well documented as this organization has assisted many local charities and provided aid in disaster recovery both nationally and internationally with the funds raised during the annual event.

This year, the Indiafest committee unanimously decided to donate $100,000 to create the Indiafest Brevard Scholarship Endowment. Nina Gadodia, Indiafest Co-Chairman shared, “The Indiafest committee is proud to help a child achieve a wonderful education. This is one small way to encourage the talent of Brevard to stay in Brevard.

We are extremely grateful for the endowment which enables a local student to experience a high tech education right in their own backyard,” said Florida Tech President Anthony Catanese.

The Florida Tech Office of Financial Aid will award the scholarship to a Brevard County resident who graduates from Brevard Community College (BCC) and transfers to Florida Tech. Additional criteria include commendable academic achievements as well as evidence of community involvement.

Ammonia Refrigeration National Conference (IIAR)

In an economically challenging environment, Florida Institute of Technology students value even more the intangible advantages their school affords them.  Recently, Mike McGinnis, Florida Tech Alumnus and Galaxy/Ad Astra Society Member, Class of 88, BS in Mechanical Engineering and owner of Innovative Refrigeration Systems in Lyndhurst, VA, escorted four members of the Florida Tech Student Chapter of ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers) at the International Institute of Ammonia Refrigeration National Conference (IIAR) in Orlando, Florida.

Nick Avery, inaugural winner of the Marvin Yarosh and Jack Wiles Endowed Scholarship (created jointly by Spacecoast ASHRAE and the Canaveral Section of ASME), Jim Susini, Matt Wills and Jennifer Stephens were honored and impressed with the IIAR convention & expo and spoke appreciatively.

Nick said, “Mike McGinnis was very interested in our career paths. We talked to a lot of company reps, each who noted that the refrigeration industry is economically stable, and that they are always looking to hire.  We had a good introduction to the advantages and dangers of ammonia systems too.”

Mike McGinnis echoed that sentiment, "The students were very excited to be at the convention and I enjoyed meeting all of them.  Meeting the gang from FIT brought back great memories of my personal experiences and the benefits of the amazing education that Florida Institute of Technology provided me in 88 and is obviously still providing today!"

Dr. Ray Armstrong $2.5 Million Pledge

Dr. Ray Armstrong $2.5 Million pledge elevates the School of Psychology to new heights

Florida Institute of Technology Trustee since 2004, Dr. Raymond Armstrong Sr. has pledged $2.5 million in support of the School of Psychology to ensure an excellent academic environment.  Dr. Armstrong said, “I pledge to help in every way possible.” Dr. May Beth Kenkel, the school’s dean, said, “We believe that this very welcome gift from Dr. Armstrong will provide the seed to grow a strong funding effort.”

The School of Psychology originated in 1980 to focus on preparing professionals to address some of the most pressing needs of society.  The program reached national prominence with the opening in fall 2009 of the Scott Center for Autism Treatment on the Melbourne campus.

For more information about the School of Psychology, visit http//

An Evening of Hope III

More than 260 people attended An Evening of Hope III, which brought in over $190,000 for the Florida Institute of Technology Scott center for Autism Treatment. The event was held recently at the Lotus Lake, Merritt Island, home of Ed and Cheryl Scott, benefactors of the Center.

A portion of the funds raised will go towards the creation of a resource room for parents and teachers. It will be located on the second floor of the Scott Center.

The Scott Center opened in October 2009. It provides treatment, education and training for persons with autism spectrum disorders and their families from Brevard, Indian River, Lake, Osceola, Seminole and Volusia counties.  The center implements research-based practices, partners with schools and families and collaborates with other professionals in this new facility.

The center’s website is

New Engineering Student Lounge

University leaders, alumni and friends gathered to celebrate the opening of the College of Engineering’s Student Learning Lounge on the second floor of the Olin Engineering Building, made possible by Nelson and Heidi Cambata.

The generous gift of $200,000 transformed the area from a crowded, bare-bones room into a magnificent space for all engineering students to enjoy. The state-of-the-art design includes four collaboration rooms, each equipped with two 42-inch LCD monitors that can display from student laptops or the computers in the room. Two glass-encased study rooms contain a white board and space for group work or quiet study. A large table supports six internet connects and power sources for laptop computers.

When it’s time to relax, the area contains two 42-inch TVs, comfortable sofas and directional speakers in the ceiling to prevent the audio from disturbing others. Between the two TV areas, a cozy library contains reference books, and a large new vending area contains healthy options to grab a snack or hot meal.

Team of Local Physicians and Medical Physicists Volunteer to Co-instruct Course

Florida Tech’s College of Engineering recognizes the team of local physicians and medical physicists who volunteered their time to co-instruct the course: BME 5702 Biomedical Applications in Physiology. In its second year, this course offers students both classroom and hands-on activities with medical professionals from a variety of fields.

At the conclusion of the course, the team gathered to hear final project presentations from 10 student teams, followed by a lively discussion of potential future research on each topic.

Pictured from left, Dr. Hetal Vaishnav, Opthalmology; Dr. Jim McManus, Opthalmology; Dr. Kunal Mitra, Florida Tech Biomedical Engineering Program Director; Dr. Fred Ham, Dean, College of Engineering; Dr. Cesar Jara, Cardiology; Ms. Gretchen Sauerman, Director, Corporate Giving; Dr. Ross Davis, Neurosurgery; Mr. Anand Prabhu, Radiation Physicist; Dr. Ravi Shakar, Radiation Oncology; and Mr. Dajit Saini, Radiation Physicist. Not pictured: Dr. Jill Miller, Neurology; Dr. Daryl Turner, Emergency Medicine; and Dr. Daniel Woodard, NASA KSC.

Office of Development

150 W. University Blvd. Melbourne, FL 32901
Phone: (321) 674-8962 | Fax: (321) 674-6150

facebook  youTube  twitter 

© Florida Institute of Technology