West Orange Chamber of Commerce Facilitating Opportunity
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Wed, August 19, 2015

Two Orlando colleges have the most innovative presidents in America, according to Washington Monthly

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Two Orlando colleges have the most innovative presidents in America, according to Washington Monthly's annual college guide

They are John Hitt of the University of Central Florida and Sandy Shugart of Valencia College. The DirectConnect Program at UCF, created in 2005, is still putting these two universities and its presidents in the spotlight 10 years later. That's because more students are benefiting from the program that guarantees acceptance into UCF after completing an associate degree at Valencia or another local community college. More than 20,000 students have participated in UCF's experiential learning programs, which includes DirectConnect. This program is one of a kind in the U.S., and received national coverage on Aug. 20 in a PBS NewsHour segment that gets about 1.4 million nightly viewers.

This isn't the first time UCF or Valencia College have made a national list. These types of rankings put Orlando schools in the spotlight, which can lead to more students living, learning and working here after graduation. Just last year, Valencia's high number of international students resulted in a $19 million economic impact from an increased demand for housing, goods and services, and an increased number of people spending money at local businesses and attractions.

Meanwhile, UCF's nursing, accounting and sports business management programs were recently named among the top in the U.S. For other related stories, see here.

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