E. Ann McGee, Ed. D., has been a Heart of Florida United Way volunteer and donor ever since being selected as President of Seminole State College of Florida (formerly Seminole Community College) in 1996. During her tenure, Ann has overseen significant growth in enrollment, degree programs and campus expansion. The college, which serves more than 32,700 students, ranks as Seminole County’s third largest employer.
She currently serves as Secretary for the Heart of Florida United Way Board of Directors and is also active on many other local and national boards. Ann has a passion for community colleges which extends back to her enrollment at St. Petersburg Junior College when she was 16.
Believing in life balance and adventure, she spent two days on an aircraft carrier, complete with a carrier landing and take-off; attended the Air Force’s Air War College; and most recently climbed the mast of a 400-foot sailing yacht while cruising off St. Lucia. In the quiet moments, she likes to relax with her family and take long walks on the beach — any beach.
We recently spoke to Ann about her community volunteer service.
How and when did you first get involved with United Way?
My first memory of United Way was when I came to this community 17 years ago and saw how important United Way was not only to our community, but also to the students and staff at then Seminole Community College.
I was amazed when I learned how many of our students depended on the services of United Way to help them continue as students. Shortly after that, I was asked to join the United Way Board and I replied with an enthusiastic “YES”!
Can you share one United Way story that made a memorable impact on you?
In holding campaigns at Seminole State College, we always involve the staff and students in helping us to run the campaign and make it meaningful to our constituents through their stories.
One specific story — told by a long-time faculty member — really impressed me. He and his wife were both faculty members at the College who had married late in life and had a young child. They also had an ailing parent.
In trying to juggle all those responsibilities, it was the services provided by United Way — through various agencies that UW supported — that enabled them to manage their home life, deal with an elderly parent and a young child, and continue in their very productive and necessary careers.
What one thing do you wish more people in our community knew about United Way?
The 2-1-1 [information, referral and crisis helpline] number and the critical intervention services that are provided on a 24-hour basis continue to amaze and impress me. I just wish that more people in our community knew that they had this resource and would access it either before or when they “hit the wall.”
You’re a busy professional but yet you still make time to volunteer. What inspires you to invest your time and resources?
I am inspired not only by the mission of United Way and by the dedication of a very talented staff, but also by the caliber of the volunteers who serve on the Heart of Florida United Way (HFUW) Board. They are incredibly dedicated professionals who give an exceptional amount of their time because they know that HFUW is making such a phenomenal difference in our community! I feel honored to serve such a great organization with such inspired leadership!
United Way is creating opportunities for a better life with help from men and women such as E. Ann McGee. For more information on how to volunteer, please visit United Way’s Volunteer Center at www.hfuw.org/Volunteer.php or contact Matthew Blood, Manager Community Participation, at Matthew.Blood@hfuw.org, or (407) 849-2372.