August 24, 2011
To inspire and provide a role model for the incoming students during Convocation 2011, the Rollins Community honored a Central Florida alumnus whose extraordinary commitment to bettering the world earned him the recently re-introduced Young Alumni Achievement Award.
Clayton Ferrara (Class of 2009) stood humbly on stage as Gregory Derderian (Class of 1980 P’12 P’12MBA), officer of the Rollins Alumni Association, recognized him for his environmental education and fundraising for the Oakland Nature Preserve and his work with I.D.E.A.S. (Intellectual Decisions on Environmental Awareness Solutions). Ferrara has raised over $100,000 in grants over the past two years to transform the Oakland Nature Preserve, where he serves as director of education.
Recently invited by the Department of Energy to contribute to K-12 curriculum for sustainability education, Ferrara has written an environmental book called Our Green Earth that will be distributed in 6,000 backpacks to needy children in the Seminole County Public School District. He also owns his own business, TerraFirma, which functions to empower the local community with science, education and environmental appreciation.
“Clayton embodies the power of the Rollins experience,” said Sharon Carrier, associate vice president for Alumni Relations. “He combines a passion for biology and the environment with an ability to lead and inspire others in environmental education, stewardship and advocacy. His example demonstrates the remarkable difference that Rollins alumni make in their communities.” Carrier added that the Young Alumni Achievement Award for Central Florida represents the first of many opportunities planned to recognize alumni in various other categories and geographic regions.
"I was very thankful to have gotten the award,” said Ferrara, who believes that his time at Rollins not only provided him with an education but with the ability to apply that education to his passions. "Rollins showed me the importance of using the tools of my school, my connections and my education to open my own doors." Ferrara continues to open many doors for the sake of his philanthropic contributions and has proved to be a shining example of global citizenship and responsible leadership.By Kristen Manieri