By Darryl E. Owens
Beacon College recently honored Florida State Rep. Keith L. Truenow with its highest award during a ceremony for his efforts in securing state funding to help neurodivergent Floridians attend the Leesburg school — the nation’s top-ranked college for students with learning and attention issues.
The Tavares Republican, who represents Florida District 26, helped secure a $500,000 appropriation to provide tuition assistance to Florida-based students with high financial need who desired to attend Beacon College. The college – solely committed to a population of student with dyslexia, ADHD, and other specific learning disabilities – serves 500 collegians, including about 30% from Florida.
“On behalf our students and their families, we are grateful to Rep. Truenow for his commitment to helping our poorest Florida collegians attain a competitive undergraduate education that is truly transforming lives,” said Beacon President George J. Hagerty. “His leadership is helping provide access to students with diagnosed learning and attention issues to an experience that will measurably lead to their life success, independence, and valued participation in Florida’s workforce.”
“I myself have two children — one who graduated high school last year and one who’s in high school this year — and I look at them every day and try to imagine … how they’ll fit in with society, how they make a difference in the future,” Truenow said during remarks at the ceremony. “The future leaders of Florida, of our communities, it all starts here. It may be a few years before that happens, but the foundation that Beacon College offers is a great opportunity and I’m happy to be a part of it and will continue to be a part of it.”
Truenow is only the third person to receive the Beacon Medal in the college’s 35-year history.
“I am so proud to have this school in my district,” he said. “To hear from some of the students directly meant the world to me. President George Hagerty and his team are doing an exceptional job with these highly exceptional students.”
Educational services company Peterson’s ranks Beacon College the No. 1 school for collegians with learning disabilities while U.S. News & World Report ranks the school the No. 3 best regional college in the south.