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Tonya Harris0

Posted on October 6th, 2016 in Uncategorized

Mrs. Tonya Harris

Mrs. Tonya Harris

To understand the historical significance of Tonya Harris’ place in FSU history, one must understand the time in which her history was forged. It was the late 1960’s and, although the FSU student body was integrated, historically white campuses in the deep south had not yet become a welcoming place for people of color.  FSU was among the progressive campuses but even here we have an integration statue to underscore the significance of brave individuals who first walked the walk of integration.

It is within this framework that Tonya Harris in 1968 became the first black faculty member hired at Florida State University. She received her Bachelor’s degree from Florida A&M University in 1964, then a Master of Nursing from University of Washington in 1968, and prior to her arrival on the FSU faculty, Harris worked as a nurse for the FAMU Hospital and the Leon County Health Department. Originally hired as an instructor in the FSU College of Nursing, she was promoted to Assistant Professor in 1972, where she taught until retirement in 2003.

During her teaching career, Harris also served in the United States Army, earning the rank of Major. During Desert Shield and Desert Storm, she served as a member of a MASH unit that provided health services to the troops on the front-line, and received two Commendation Medals for meritorious service in the Army.

In retirement, Harris has maintained an active presence in the life of FSU, as a docent at the FSU President’s Home and also with the Association of Retired Faculty, where she served as president in 2012-2013.

For service to her country and in recognition of the trail-blazing path she walked for others to follow, the FSU Alumni Association is proud to welcome Tonya Harris into its Circle of Gold.

(Courtesy FSU Alumni Association)


Darryl A. Marshall0

Posted on October 5th, 2016 in Uncategorized

Mr. Darryl A. Marshall, Sr.

Mr. Darryl A. Marshall, Sr.

Mr. Darryl A. Marshall, Sr.

Outstanding Faculty/Administrator – 2016

Mr. Darryl A. Marshall, Sr., is the Assistant Vice President for Financial Aid for the Florida State University (FSU).  He received his Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science from the Florida A and M University, and his Master of Science degree in Higher Education from FSU.

Mr. Marshall’s career at FSU commenced in December 1985, where all 31 years have been in the Office of Student Financial Aid.  He has held several positions during this period of time working tirelessly to ensure that students attending FSU could afford their education and obtain their educational goals.

Mr. Marshall is responsible for the daily operations of $350 million annual financial program which is disbursed to over 25,000 students.  He has a staff consisting of 59 employees with an annual budget of approximately $5 million.  Recently, he spearheaded a plan to help FSU reach its diversity goals by leveraging the use of need based financial aid dollars whereby 75% of targeted students’ cost of attendance will be met with grants and scholarships.  Also, he established a collaborative partnership with the FSU National Black Alumni, Inc., to help match need based grant dollars for recipients of the FSU Black Alumni Scholarship.

Mr. Marshall was appointed by the U.S. Secretary of Education to serve on the Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance from October 2003-2006, and was reappointed to serve a second term from October 2006-2009.  This committee served as an independent source of advice and counsel to Congress and the Secretary of Education.  During his tenure he used this opportunity to advocate for simplification of the financial aid process, access and affordability for students (especially underrepresented and low income students), increased persistence and degree completion, and other vital issues.

Mr. Marshall was appointed to serve on a Florida Blue Ribbon Commission, which was charged to evaluate issues of minority student enrollment and make recommendations to further assist in increasing diversity in our state institutions.  This Commission’s advocacy lead to increased need based state grant aid and the creation of the Florida First Generation Matching Grant Program which is still benefiting many first generation, low income students in the State today.

Mr. Marshall is a member of the National Association, Southern Association and Florida Association of Student Aid Administrators.  He has also served on the National Direct Student Coalition Board of Directors, Private Lenders Advisory Boards, and Guaranty Agencies Advisory Boards.

Mr. Marshall fulfilled his passion in his spare time for over 16 years, serving as an Assistant Basketball Coach at Shanks High School, in his hometown of Quincy, Florida.

Marti L. Forchion0

Posted on October 5th, 2016 in Uncategorized

Ms. Marti L. Forchion

Ms. Marti L. Forchion

Ms. Marti L. Forchion

Outstanding Alumni – 2016

Ms. Marti L. Forchion received her Bachelor of Science degree from Florida State University (FSU) in 1987.  She has enjoyed a successful 20-year professional career as an Information Technology professional at Black Knight Financial Services.  She has not only excelled in her career, but has given immensely of herself to the community, and has been a great role model for other alumni and students to emulate.

Ms. Forchion is described as “a quiet storm comprised of a gentle spirit and a fierce determination that is the foundation of our FSU community.  Her innovation and creativity is only surpassed by her humility.”  She is the author of “The A+ College Prep Planner – The Ultimate College Admissions Planning Guide for High-School Students (and their Parents)” and creator of the website  Her dream of writing a “navigational guide” of the college admission process came to fruition after the experiences she encountered while preparing her own three children for a post secondary education.  The A+ College Prep Planner is a step-by-step guide that focuses on each year of high-school and encourages 9th – 12th grade students to take an active role in their educational development and future plans to attend college.

As a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Ms. Forchion helps to transform the lives of high school seniors through her commitment to education by serving on the May Week Committee, which focuses on providing collegiate scholarships for our leaders of tomorrow.  In addition, she has been actively involved for many years in student mentoring programs and student leadership programs through organizations such as Take Stock in Children, Junior Achievement, and Jack and Jill of America.  She believes that a college education is an obtainable goal for most students, including first-generation and other under-represented students.

From 2009 through 2012, Ms. Forchion served as the Program Director of the “How to Lead Your Ship” Student Leadership Program, sponsored by the Jacksonville Chapter of Jack and Jill of America.  “How to Lead Your Ship” focused on teaching leadership skills to high school students through a variety of interactive workshops and other activities to encourage them to excel.  It also included local college tours and an annual College Road Trip.

Ms. Forchion is married to Mark Chapman.

Cecily E. Matthews0

Posted on October 5th, 2016 in Uncategorized

Ms. Cecily E. Matthews

Ms. Cecily E. Matthews

Outstanding Student – 2016

Ms. Cecily E. Matthews is originally from Clermont, Florida, a small town in Lake County.  She is majoring in Social Science with minors in Political Philosophy and Education.

Since starting at Florida State University (FSU), Ms. Matthews has worked extensively with the Black Student Union, where she previously served as the Political Education Chair and Secretary; the Pride Student Union; and the Center for Leadership and Social Change.  She is an Intern with PeaceJam Southeast (Tallahassee), where she constructs workshop curriculum for 8th grade, high school and college students.  She is also a Facilitator for the Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership Summit (North Florida/Tallahassee), where she develops connections and networks for rising high school juniors in order to promote team building and leadership development.

Ms. Matthews worked this past summer in Miami teaching 9th and 10th grade English/Language Arts, a Black Lives Matter course, and a course on harnessing talents of poetry and spoken word to become better public speakers.  She currently serves as a National Ambassador for Breakthrough Collaborative and will help recruit more individuals to work as Teaching Fellows.

Ms. Matthews serves on the FSU Student Diversity and Inclusion Executive Committee under the Office of the President, and is a member of the Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc.

Ms. Matthews received the 2016 Sean A. Pittman Award (FSU Division of Student Affairs) for demonstrating outstanding leadership and dedication to the student body, university and community with significant contributions to the welfare and support of African-American students.  She also received the Women’s Student Union 2016 Strength Award, the Breakthrough Miami-College Bound Site’s Outstanding Teaching Fellow, FSU Division of Student Affairs’ 2016 Seminole Torchbearer, and the Black Student Union’s 2015-2016 Most Outstanding Executive Board Member.

Ms. Matthews’ favorite quote is “The desire to reach for the stars is ambitious.  The desire to reach hearts is wise.”  She believes all people deserve access to opportunity, education and equitable justice.

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