Florida State alumna Ann McGee (B.A. ’70, M.A. ’71) found her calling as a public speaker as soon as she competed in her first speech tournament with the FSU Debate Team. She has been able to utilize her speech-giving skills and her degrees in Communication as the President of Seminole State College.
She explains, “When I first came to Seminole State College twenty years ago, the community was eager to learn about the college. The joke was that my first 120 days consisted of 120 speeches. That wasn’t far from being wrong.”
McGee arrived at Florida State after she transferred from St. Petersberg College and wanted a way to feel connected with the FSU community and to further her public speaking skills. With guidance from Coach Mike Cornett, McGee began to compete in tournaments that focused on oral interpretation, persuasive speaking and debating. She traveled with the team up and down the east coast and sometimes went on spontaneous trips, as Coach Mike was also a pilot.
McGee shares, “Many times [Mike] would walk into our Tuesday class and announce that anyone with $2 for gas could fly with him to Perry. I was always first in line. We would fly down to Perry, land on a dirt landing strip, and then fly back.”
Cherishing her passions for giving speeches and for helping young people who are unsure about their future, McGee always knew that she wanted to be a teacher. She interned at various schools and found that the elementary school kids wore her out and that the high school kids were too wild. However, she realized after teaching an introductory speech course during her senior year at FSU that college was where she belonged.
As McGee was wrapping up her time at Florida State, she landed a position as a speech and English teacher at Florida Keys Community College, the smallest community college in Florida. Today, she serves as the President of Seminole State College, which has over 30,000 students.
McGee was recently presented the Chief Executive Leadership Award from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education. This award is given to institutional heads, presidents, chancellors, system heads or other chief executive officers who demonstrate the ability to actively support advancement, create a vision and inspire others, establish a positive image for his or her institution while leading it to higher levels of success, increase his or her institution’s stature in the community and encourage innovation and risk-taking among employees. McGee will accept the award on February 15 at a ceremony in Nashville, TN.
She says, “I am humbled to receive this award and don’t look at it as something that is being given to me personally. Rather, I am receiving it on behalf of all the donors and supporters of Seminole State College who believe in our students and want to help us change lives.”
To learn more about the Communication programs offered by Florida State, follow this link.