LEADERSHIP AWARD (ALUMNI)
Wilson G. Bradshaw, Ph.D.
Growing up in segregated West Palm Beach, Dr. Wilson G. Bradshaw learned early the value of hard work and education. He got his first job as a seventh grader delivering prescriptions for Frederick’s Pharmacy, the city’s only black pharmacy. He never imagined, however, that he would impact the education of tens of thousands of students.
Bradshaw, one of five children raised by his mother, graduated from Palm Beach High School in 1967 and attended Palm Beach Community College for two years, earning his Associate in Arts degree. He transferred to Florida Atlantic University and worked campus jobs to pay for tuition. He earned both bachelor's and master's degrees in psychology from FAU. Like many others who start at a community college, he was the first college graduate in the family. He went on to earn a doctorate in psychobiology at the University of Pittsburgh.
Bradshaw returned to Florida in 1981 as an assistant professor of pharmacology and toxicology in FAMU’s College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. In 1984 he joined the faculty at FAU as an associate professor of psychology and began rising through the rank of higher education. He was dean of graduate studies when he left FAU to become vice president and dean for graduate studies and research at Georgia Southern University and then provost and vice president for academic affairs at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania. He was president of Metropolitan State University in St. Paul, Minn. for seven years before being named the third president of Florida Gulf Coast University in 2007.
Bradshaw leads FGCU at a time of significant enrollment and campus growth. Since opening its doors in 1997, the university’s enrollment has surged from 2,500 to more than 11,000 students today. The introduction of new academic programs also is on the rise, with currently more than 80 programs leading to bachelor’s, master’s and other advanced graduate degrees. The academic programs are supported by a campus of 70 buildings as well as more than 1,000 faculty and staff. Environmental sustainability and civic engagement are hallmarks of the institution’s mission.
Bradshaw is active in civic, educational, and philanthropic initiatives in FGCU’s Southwest Florida region and beyond. He also has always dedicated time to serve as a mentor to others. He is chair of the Alliance of Educational Leaders Board of Directors and is a member of the following: Naples Botanical Gardens Board of Directors, Lee County Education Foundation; Searching for Solutions Institute, Inc. Board of Directors; Campus Compact’s national Board of Directors, and American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) Board of Directors.
He has received numerous awards including the Florida Campus Compact Founder’s Award and 2009 Man of the Year by Gulfshore Life. Bradshaw and his wife, Jo Anna, have three adult sons.
LEADERSHIP AWARD (STUDENT)
Erin Hayes is dedicated to improving the lives of the underserved in the community. Her work with the Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society has allowed her to explore different needs in the community and organize ways to help the cause.
Haye's journey with Phi Theta Kappa began in 2008 when she participated in activities such as beach cleanups, toy drives and the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life. She attended a weeklong intensive exploration of the honors study topic "The Paradox of Affluence: Choices, Challenges and Consequences" at San Francisco State University. Witnessing the disparities between those of extreme poverty and extreme wealth within the city, Hayes knew that something had to be done. The knowledge that she gained from this experience influenced her to run for the position of Phi Theta Kappa-Delta Omicron chapter president, and she was elected.
In 2009, Hayes introduced the Cause of the Month, in which PTK would give an entire month to researching and raising awareness and funds to support a specific cause. September's Fight Against Hunger brought in over 250 nonperishable food items that were donated to The Lord's Place in West Palm Beach and $118 to Heifer International, an organization that provides livestock to a family in a third world country. November's Poverty Awareness allowed 28 students to volunteer at The Lord's Place, serving hot meals to the homeless men and women in Palm Beach County. Erin also arranged for the chapter to make several visits to a local nursing home during the holidays, help build a home with Habitat for Humanity and clean up a highway with Palm Beach County's Adopt a Highway program. Hayes, along with 500 other members of Phi Theta Kappa, traveled to Grapevine, Texas to restore a public park back to its original condition in a project called "Keep Grapevine Beautiful."
Hayes received her Associates in Arts degree in 2009 and graduated with academic distinction. She is currently enrolled in PBCC's Bachelor of Applied Science degree in public safety administration with plans to pursue a career in public administration. She currently works as a part-time police dispatcher for the Palm Springs Police Department and plans to continue working toward the betterment of the community throughout her lifetime.
LEADERSHIP AWARD (INDIVIDUAL)
Seven years ago, Sharon Gill walked away from a high-paying job as chief executive officer of a successful law firm she established with her attorney husband to launch and manage a food and clothing pantry inside a small church room. She never looked back.
From that modest beginning, she envisioned a larger, more inclusive center to help individuals and families in need. She created Oasis Compassion Agency, a nonprofit community-based agency that assesses client’s bigger needs, such as job skills training, a plan for moving toward economic stability and job placement. Since its establishment in 2003, Oasis Compassion Agency in Greenacres has served over 4,200 families, representing over 12,000 women, men and children.
As president and CEO, Gill has dedicated herself to the agency’s mission. From the moment people volunteer at Oasis, they know what is expected because Gill communicates and demonstrates by her own actions that everyone who comes in the door is to be treated with respect and dignity. When Oasis was about to run out of money in 2006, she didn’t give up. She resolved to get into the community and speak to someone new at least once a week, sometimes once a day. This plan resulted in several speaking engagements at area businesses, churches and foundations many of which began supporting Oasis financially. This also expanded the organization’s number of volunteers to about 100.
Her vision for Oasis is always expanding as she builds on the Agency’s experience and refines the process for managing clients. For example, she added client accountability for attending agreed upon training classes, assessed the services the Agency needed to provide (enlarging a series of PC-skills classes and adding an English Language/American Cultural Norms class so Spanish-speaking clients can function in the community) and expanded her relationships with Palm Beach County through speaking engagements and joining the Lantana Chamber of Commerce.
She has personally processed client applications, from the homeless living in John Prince Park to the elderly, fixed income men and women who needed extra food. She has picked up donations of food and clothing in her own vehicle among other things.
Gill also is active in the community, serving on the board of the Crossroads program at Palm Beach Community College, the Greenacres Business Council, Palms West Chamber of Commerce and the Florida Regional Minority Business Council.
She has received several awards including the 2007 Good Samaritan Award finalist (American Red Cross); 2008 Giraffe Award Winner (Women’s Chamber of Commerce Palm Beach) and the 2009 Local Heroes Award Winner (Bank of America).
LEADERSHIP AWARD (ORGANIZATION)
Faith*Hope*Love*Charity, Inc. - Stand Down House
Faith*Hope*Love*Charity, Inc. is a nonprofit organization founded in 1994 by Roy J. Foster and the late Don Reed. The organization provides family support services to active-duty military personnel and veterans, including emergency monetary assistance, legal service referrals and family counseling.
In May 2000, the doors of Stand Down House were opened. Stand Down House provides a multi-tiered program with emergency/ transitional housing and supportive services to assist homeless veterans struggling with alcohol/drug addictions, lingering effects of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), mental and physical limitations. Currently, the Stand Down House provides housing for 45 veterans.
Roy Foster's motivation for opening Stand Down House is clear: after a six-year hitch in the Army, where he first began drinking and experimenting with drugs, he spent the better part of a decade living on the streets battling his demons. He found that as he struggled to get clean, there were no programs that helped veterans with their recovery and aid their assimilation back into society. As Foster settled into a life of sobriety, eventually becoming a substance abuse counselor, he laid the groundwork for a program tailored specifically to help his brothers-in-arms break the cycle of hopelessness.
Named for the military command that gives soldiers time to rest after combat, Stand Down House has aided more than 900 veterans with life-changing help. The results of the program are extraordinary: 93 percent of its residents found employment and 84 percent are now living on their own.
In 2009, Faith*Hope*Love*Charity, Inc. expanded its services to include community-based outreach through "First Stop - Veterans' Resource Center," serving veterans that are at risk, returning Operation Enduring Freedom/Operation Iraqi Freedom, veterans and families of active duty armed forces that are in the at-risk population for homeless or other risk factors.
The program focuses on offering veterans specific services at no charge through referrals to community resources for substance abuse treatment, housing, medical, PTSD, on-site basic computer skills, job search / vocational training, referral to employment counselors, agencies and other related services. In addition, information concerning Social Security Benefits SSI & SSDI, State Medicaid and Veterans Benefits are provided and referred to the appropriate agencies.
Faith*Hope*Love*Charity, Inc. recognizes the needs of the veterans' community and will continue to serve as the need arises.