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UNF Alumni Recognized During Annual Awards Ceremony

The UNF Alumni Association announces the recipients of its alumni awards, honoring several notable graduates for their exemplary service and contributions to the University. The virtual Alumni Recognition Awards Ceremony will take place at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 10, via Zoom.

Honorees include Dr. Barbara A. Darby, former president of the FSCJ North Campus and Nassau Center; Monica V. Hernández, assistant vice president of Structured Finance Middle Office Groups at Deutsche Bank; Katelyn T. Wildes, case manager and discharge planner at Brooks Bartram Crossing & Brooks University Crossing; and Susan Schantz, member of the UNF Foundation Board.

“With over 90,000 alumni worldwide, the UNF Alumni association is proud of the prodigious achievements and continued success of our Osprey family,” said Jessica Cummings, president of the University’s Alumni Association Board. “Our 2021 award recipients continue the tradition of professional success and community service reflecting positively on our University and its graduates.”

Dr. Darby is the recipient of the highest award given to a UNF graduate by the Alumni Association, the Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award. This award recognizes alumni who have made significant contributions to their profession, community and/or society, having consistently maintained the pursuit of excellence as a representative and graduate of the University.

Dr. Darby began her career as a staff nurse in various hospitals in New York City and Jacksonville, soon moving into supervisory and management positions. In 1988, she was appointed as an instructional program manager for nursing at what is now Florida State College in Jacksonville. In 1989, she became an assistant instructional dean for nursing and nursing-related programs. In 1994, she became Dean of Instruction and Campus Dean for Health Services Program. In 1998, she was named the president of the FSCJ North Campus and Nassau Center, a position she held until her retirement in 2015.

Dr. Darby was one of founders for the annual Urban Education Symposium: Reclaiming Young Black Males for Jacksonville’s Future. She has served the Jacksonville community through her participation and leadership in many organizations. She served as a board member and board chair for Leadership Jacksonville; as an Advisory Board of Directors member for the Eartha M. M. White Legacy Fund; as a member of the Jacksonville Symphony Board; as a member of the Community Advisory Council for WJCT public media; as a board member for the City Rescue Mission; as a member of the Board of Trustees for Memorial Hospital; and as a member of the board for Volunteers in Medicine. She currently serves as a member of the Kids Hope Alliance Board.

Hernández is the recipient of the Alumni Service Award, presented to alumni who have demonstrated continuous outstanding volunteer service to the University and/or meritorious public service. She is committed to supporting diversity and inclusion initiatives at Deutsche Bank, where she served as co-chair of the Jacksonville Multicultural partnership Employee Resource Group in 2016 and 2017. She was also appointed as president of the First Coast Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in 2019.

Hernández is a 2009 graduate serving on the board of the University of North Florida Student Affairs Community Council and University of North Florida International Business Flagship Program Business Advisory Council (BAC). In 2020, she was selected to be part of Leadership Jacksonville’s 2021 cohort.

Wildes is the recipient of the Young Alumni Achievement Award, presented for outstanding professional achievement, contributions to the community and exemplary service to the University. As a UNF student, Wildes attended Hicks Honors College and participated in the Presidential Envoys student ambassador program between 2017 and 2018. She had the opportunity to study abroad in Iceland with UNF’s Sociology department and graduated magna cum laude in 2018 with her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology, concentration in Social Welfare and minor in Professional Education. Her work at Brooks Bartram Crossing & Brooks University Crossing provides needed education and support to patients and families.

Schantz is the recipient of the Honorary Alumni Award, given to friends and supporters for exemplary service to the University. She has been a consistent and generous contributor of her time and finances to the University of North Florida. In her service to the University, Susan serves as a valued member of the UNF Foundation Board and as the Chair of the Grants Committee and member of the Executive Committee. Since 2006, she has made significant gifts to the UNF Writing Center, Foundation Unrestricted Fund, Public Service Program, and, most recently, the COVID Student Emergency Relief Fund. She also previously served as a member of the College of Arts and Sciences Dean’s Leadership Council.

Registration for the Awards Ceremony can be completed online via the website.