Valencia College has just won another award. This Orlando-based community college system with five campuses, an annual enrollment of nearly 61,000 credit-seeking students and 35 associate's degrees, 81 certificate programs and three bachelor's degrees first came to the forefront when it received the inaugural Aspen Institute prize for "Community College Excellence" (besting a thousand applicants). Then it was recognized by Excelencia in Education for its promotion of academic success for Latino students.

The most recent accolade went directly to President Sandy Shugart, who received one of three McGraw Prizes in Education intended to recognize "outstanding individuals who have dedicated themselves to improving education through new approaches." Shugart has served since 2000 at the helm of the college system. He's the author of a management book: Leadership in the Crucible of Work: Discovering the Interior Life of an Authentic Leader. And he's a singer and songwriter with three CDs of music, a frequent speaker who's likely to break out into poetry or song during his presentations.


Recently, Campus Technology interviewed Shugart to understand the history and extent of Valencia's innovations. This story has been edited for length from the original interview.