November 23, 2011

On Friday, October 28, 2011, the UCF Alumni Association held its annual Black & Gold Gala during Homecoming week at the UCF Arena. The College of Arts and Humanities was pleased to present the following alumni awards:

The 2011 Rising Star Award went to Francis Franqui (pictured at left), who received his B.A. in 2004. He graduated with a degree in Interdisciplinary Studies with an emphasis in Music. From 2001 to 2005, Francis was a member of the Tony and Emmy Award winning theatrical production Blast! where he played piccolo trumpet, lead trumpet, didgeridoos and other wind and percussion instruments. Prior to his current position, Francis was the director of bands at Lake Howell High School where the wind ensemble earned straight superiors at district festival and the marching band earned second place in class 4A at Florida Marching Band Championships in 2010. Currently, Francis is in his second year as the Director of Bands at Winter Park High School in Winter Park, Florida.

The 2011 Professional Achievement Award went to William “Bill” Sheaffer (pictured with Dean José Fernández), who received his B.A. in Philosophy in 1975. Bill is a specialist in criminal trial law and has been in private practice for almost 30 years. He is the principal in the law firm of William J. Sheaffer, P.A., Orlando, Florida. Today, Bill limits his caseload to 10 to 12 cases at a time, but stays busy as the legal analyst for WFTV Eyewitness News and a contributing journalist. He has been honored in Best Lawyers in America for the past seven years in both criminal trial law and white collar crime specialties. Bill also has been honored by the Florida Supreme Court and the Orange County Bar Association for his pro bono work on behalf of children.

Sheaffer is featured in a short video profile from the UCF Alumni Association.