FSU Foundation

FSU Celebrates Donors of New Honors Program and Inaugural Cohort of James M. Seneff Scholars

Photo of James and Martha Seneff with group at celebratory event

James and Martha Seneff with inaugural cohort of the FSU College of Business’ James M. Seneff Scholars on Saturday, Sept. 28, at a celebratory event hosted by President John Thrasher and First Lady Jean Thrasher at the FSU President’s House in Tallahassee. (Pictured from left) Back row: Cole Bakotic, Andrew Colvin, Kenneth Frazier, Michael Ramsey, Dexter Bell; Second row: Cameron Strickler, Matthew Williams, Christian Glover, Carlos Rodriguez, Alexander Suriano; Third row: Ivy Van Dyke, Judith Wieland, Matthew Hader, Katherine Newcomb, Mary Katherine Marasco and Sophia Metallo; Front row: FSU Board of Trustees member Mark Hillis, College of Business Dean Michael Hartline, James M. Seneff, Martha Seneff, FSU First Lady Jean Thrasher, FSU President John Thrasher and FSU Board of Trustees Chairman Ed Burr.

By: Barbara Ash, College of Business | Published: September 30, 2019

Florida State University honored alumnus James M. Seneff and the CNL Charitable Foundation Saturday at a celebration hosted by President John Thrasher and First Lady Jean Thrasher at the FSU President’s House. During the event, Seneff (BUS ’68) presented 16 students with medals signifying their elite status as James M. Seneff Scholars in the College of Business’ James M. Seneff Honors Program.

The James M. Seneff Honors Program, established through a $2 million gift to the college earlier this year by the CNL Charitable Foundation, honors Seneff, its founder, who also is founder and executive chairman of Orlando-based CNL Financial Group  (CNL), a private investment management firm. The $2 million award is part of a total $5 million gift, $3 million of which created the James M. Seneff Fund for Preeminence at the college.

“Florida State and the College of Business have made tremendous strides, particularly in recent years, and the CNL Charitable Foundation and I are pleased to do what we can to help both continue their upward trajectory,” Seneff said. “We believe the key to moving the college to the next level is its ability to attract the brightest minds and provide them with the most innovative, cutting-edge and relevant education. We are hopeful our gifts will accomplish that goal.”

James M. Seneff Scholars are a new community of top undergraduate business students who benefit from an especially rigorous curriculum. The program stresses innovation, leadership, networking, collaboration and forging lifelong professional connections. It also provides travel and research options and expanded internship and experiential-learning opportunities. The James M. Seneff Honors Program dovetails with the university’s Honors Program and Garnet and Gold Scholar Society, allowing students to gain educational benefits in other disciplines beyond the business school.