Joanna Norris, Assistant DirectorDepartment of Media Relations and Events(904) 620-2102
Joanna Norris, Assistant Director
Department of Media Relations and Events
University of North Florida will honor two students
with an outstanding record of volunteerism when it hands out close to 1,500
degrees on Friday, April 30, during spring commencement at the UNF Arena on
Mandarin resident Lianne Bronzo, who
will graduate with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a 3.98 GPA, will be
recognized as the recipient of the Senior Service Award, while UNF senior Noel
San Antonio, an electrical engineering major who lives on the Southside, will
be recognized as the recipient of the Albert D. Ernest Jr. Caring Award.
The UNF Alumni Association presents the Senior Service Award
to a graduating senior for outstanding volunteer service to the University or
community. The Caring Award recognizes a student who demonstrates the spirit of
caring, humanitarianism and volunteerism exemplified by Albert Ernest. The
Caring Award will be presented during the 12:30 p.m. ceremony, while the Senior
Service Award will be presented during the 4 p.m. ceremony.
Bronzo’s contributions to the University community are many.
A student committed suicide during her freshman year, which affected her
deeply. She realized that many people aren’t aware of the signs or actions that
one could take to prevent a suicide from happening. As a result, Bronzo helped
form and became a founding member of Active Minds, a student-run organization
that focuses on de-stigmatizing mental health and bringing awareness to mental
health issues, particularly on college campuses.
She held several key positions, serving as the
organization’s president this past year and was recognized by the national
organization for her contributions, with UNF receiving its first 5 Star Chapter
Award for outstanding performance in the areas of administration, communication,
leadership, meetings/events and outreach.
Bronzo has also made significant contributions through the
UNF Honors Program, where she became involved in undergraduate research. She
was selected from several applicants to join a prestigious interdisciplinary
research team and was selected as the Advanced Research Intern for the Honors
Program, where she served as a guest lecturer, mentor and editor.
She also became a volunteer peer mentor to other
undergraduates pursuing research in the social sciences, providing feedback on
drafts and conference presentations, mentoring as many as eight team members at
a time. She did this while completing her own undergraduate Honors thesis and working
with UNF’s On Campus Transition Program, providing social and academic support
to students with developmental disabilities.
San Antonio’s commitment to humanitarianism
began in his village in the Philippines.
Coming from a small village where opportunities were limited, he realized that
education would be the key to his success. It was a long journey from his home
to UNF but this instilled in him the motivation to return to his village and build
a school for the children.
The first school building
was constructed in 2006 and St. Anthony’s school opened to 60 pre-kindergarten
and kindergarten students. Last summer, San
Antonio and five UNF students returned to build a
second building for first- and second-grade children, allowing 80 more children
to attend school. Through his hard work, as well as through the generosity of
many volunteers, these Philippine students not only receive a free education
but also free uniforms and books. San
Antonio’s dream is to one day expand the school to
The ceremony for the Brooks
College of Health and the College of Education and Human Services will be held at 9 a.m.,
followed by a ceremony for the Coggin College of Business and the College of Computing, Engineering and Construction
at 12:30 p.m. The final commencement ceremony for the College of Arts
and Sciences will be held at 4 p.m. All ceremonies will be held at the UNF
The University expects to award 1,654
bachelor’s degrees, 217 master’s degrees and 33 doctorates this term.
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