On Saturday, June 11th, 2022, The Pensacola State College Distinguished Alumni Awards Gala celebrated the achievements of outstanding PSC alumni.
Five honorees were recognized for exemplary leadership, career accomplishment and impact on their community and the College.
Dr. Paul Szuch has devoted his life to education. His own entry into higher education came in the 1960s when Szuch earned an Associate of Arts degree from then Pensacola Junior College. His educational journey continued for decades, culminating in Szuch serving as president of the Lamar Institute of Technology in Beaumont, Texas. He served honorably as Lamar Institute’s president from 2006 until his retirement in 2016. Under Szuch’s leadership, Lamar Institute of Technology achieved many milestones, including the establishment of dual enrollment programs and a Distance Learning Academy.
Szuch also led increases in state funding and private giving at the Texas institution and added numerous academic degree programs. Upon his retirement, the Texas State University System Board of Regents renamed the Lamar Institute of Technology multipurpose building as the Paul and Connie Szuch Multipurpose Center in honor of Szuch and his wife, who served as an unofficial ambassador for the school and was a valued and active member of the Beaumont community.
The Board of Regents also noted that Szuch had “presided over an academic renaissance at Lamar Institute of Technology.” His first teaching job came in 1968 when he joined Escambia High School’s faculty as a business education instructor and assistant baseball coach. Szuch then spent a year at the University of Southern Mississippi as a Fellowship Graduate Instructor. From 1970 to 1978, Szuch was a business instructor at Okaloosa- Walton Community College, where he was chair of the Business Department.
He also taught briefly at the University of West Florida before taking a leadership position in 1989 at Pasco-Hernando Community College in New Port Richey. Szuch remained at Pasco-Hernando, which later became Pasco-Hernando State College, until 2006. He served in numerous positions at the college, including Assistant Dean of Instruction, Provost, Vice President of Academic Affairs and Vice President of Education Services. After PJC, Szuch received a Bachelor of Science degree in Management/Business Education from the University of West Florida. He earned his Master of Education in Business Education from the University of Southern Mississippi and later his Doctorate of Higher Education degree from Nova Southeastern University.
Marie Young is a Pensacola legend who has dedicated her life to education and the community. She has served on the Pensacola City Council and was the first African American woman to serve on the Escambia County Board of County Commissioners. But even before she was an elected official, Young had already built a legacy of service – having taught in the Escambia County School District for more than 40 years. “I loved teaching and always strived to be a great teacher,’’ she said. “My goal was to make sure my students were becoming the best that they could be.”
She eventually became a school administrator and, later, a principal. Young is a Pensacola native who graduated from Booker T. Washington High School in 1951 at age 15. She attended Booker T. Washington Junior College graduating in 1953. The College would merge with Pensacola Junior College in 1965. Young is a lifetime member of the PSC Alumni Association Board of Directors and is a Lifetime Charter Member. She was voted to the Emeritus Board position in 2020. After Booker T. Washington Junior College, Young earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education at age 19 from Florida A&M University. She later received her master’s degree in elementary education from Atlanta University.
Young’s entry into politics came in 1997 when she was elected to the Pensacola City Council. Three years into the term, she was appointed by then-Florida Gov. Jeb Bush to fill the District 3 Escambia County Commission seat that had become vacant. She would be elected to the position in 2004 and was re-elected in 2008. Following her retirement in 2012, the Escambia County Commission honored Young’s legacy with the naming of the Marie K. Young Wedgewood Community Center and Park in the Wedgewood community. Her community involvement is vast. Young has served on boards for the WSRE-TV Foundation, the Council on Aging of West Florida, the Area Housing Commission and the Community Equity Investment Board.
Young met the Rev. James S. Young at his church, Mount Canaan Baptist Church, in the late 1950s. They were married in 1960. Rev. Young was a prominent area civil rights crusader who died in 2018. Young’s commitment to service and the community has been lifelong. “I think it is important to be a servant to your fellow man,’’ she said. “I’ve been blessed with a servant’s heart and want to serve others. You can’t be an effective leader unless you show some real concern for other people.”
When Gregg Beck’s father died in the late 1960s, the 17-year-old left school to get a job and bring a paycheck home to the family. But he wasn’t going to give up on his education, so he enrolled at Pensacola Junior College High School in 1967. “This enabled me to work during the day and go to school at night,’’ Beck recalled. “During the time I went to PJC, I maintained a work schedule of 60 hours a week for $60 a week. My first job was as a bag boy at Pleez-ing Food Store.”
Beck’s work ethic and entrepreneurial spirit have been with him since he was a 10-year-boy selling dyed rabbits and newborn chicks at Easter and bundles of mistletoe at Christmas. Later, he would operate a coin laundry, a sandwich shop and a clothing store. In 1981, Beck created BECK Property Company/Beck Partners, which has been a dominant commercial broker in Pensacola ever since. The firm’s development/redevelopment projects include 33 Brent Center, Shops of East Hill, 151 West Main Street and Bayou Corporate Center. The company is now run by Beck’s son, Justin Beck. “Jobs are a big deal to me,’’ Gregg Beck said. “You never forget where you worked or who hired you.”
Beck’s path has been varied and eclectic. He joined the U.S. Army Florida National Guard in 1968 while still attending night school at PJC Adult High. Beck worked for U-Haul in Mobile and Dothan in Alabama, and Orlando. He sold dealerships to service station owners and serviced their equipment.
“I have always been a salesman at heart,’’ he said. It was while in Orlando that Beck earned his real estate license. He returned to Pensacola in 1974 and worked with various firms before starting his own company. It was “a hungry kid and a mortgage” that kept him motivated. Beck said he is grateful to PJC, now Pensacola State College, for helping guide him as a teenager. “I really enjoyed going to PJC,’’ he said. “I was so lucky to have some of the best teachers I had ever had. They treated me like an adult.”
Beck has been married to Janice Elaine Smith Beck since 1972. The couple has two children – Justin and Autumn. He is an appointee on the RESTORE Advisory Committee which oversees the distribution of funds paid by BP to recover from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Beck also serves on the Escambia County Zoning Variance Board and supports the Fred Waters Baseball Clinic and the conservation groups – Longleaf Alliance and Conservation Florida.
Mary Hoxeng just seems like a Pensacola native. That’s how deep her involvement and commitment to Pensacola are, even though she and her husband Dave Hoxeng, didn’t move to the area until 2002.
But since their arrival, the media power couple have dedicated themselves to making the community better and stronger. The couple owns four local radio stations – CatCountry 98.7, News Radio1620/92.3, WEBY-ESPN 1330/99.1 and the recently launched Playlist 94.5. Mary Hoxeng is general manager and chief operating officer of all four stations, all of which boast a strong local flavor and community commitment. The Hoxengs have been supporters of the College since their arrival and recently established the Dave and Mary Hoxeng Endowed Scholarship, which will provide educational opportunities for journalism students. She is a PSC Alumni Association Lifetime Charter Member. “I’m a big believer in what PSC does,” Mary Hoxeng said. “And I know how important community colleges are. For some people, community colleges are their only opportunity because they’re affordable.”
Also, Mary Hoxeng serves on the Escambia County Tourist Development Advisory Council, the Escambia County Sheriff’s Foundation Board and the Florida Five Flags Fiesta Commission. She also serves on the board of Five Flags Rotary Club, the Council on Aging of West Florida, ARC Gateway and is the Leadership Pensacola Alumni Board Chair. Mary Hoxeng was previously Membership Chair for Impact 100 Pensacola Bay Area. She is a Rotary Foundation Paul Harris Fellow and was one of the Pensacola News Journal’s 2010 “Women of the Year” award recipients. In 2009, Mary and Dave Hoxeng were honored by the Greater Pensacola Chamber with the “Business Leaders of the Year” PACE award. In 2021, the couple won the “Spirit of Pensacola” PACE Award. Mary Hoxeng grew up in New York City, the youngest of six children and immediately went to work after 12 years of Catholic schools. She would later attend college at night and graduated summa cum laude at age 31 with a degree in Advertising and Communications. She met her husband in 1979 and the couple married in 1988.
Gerry Goldstein’s commitment to Pensacola State College runs deep – deep in the woods. A successful businessman and educator, Goldstein launched the popular annual PSC Quail Hunt, a major fundraiser for the PSC Alumni Association matching funds program. He also hosts the PSC Alumni Association’s Annual Quail Hunt and Pheasant Shoot each fall. Each of the events typically generates enough funds to match another new PSC Alumni Association scholarship. As if that was not enough, Goldstein and his wife, Mitzi Goldstein, along with friends retired U.S. Army Brig. Gen. John Adams and his wife, Dr. Laura Magan, established an endowed scholarship for students in any field of study.
A Pensacola Junior College graduate, Goldstein also is a former member of the PSC Foundation Board of Governors and is a current member of the PSC Alumni Association Board. He is broker/principal of Salomon-Goldstein Properties and is a Visiting Instructor in the University of West Florida College of Business. “PSC gives students the opportunity to find their path. For me, the College gave me the opportunity to fix a bad decision of not taking my education seriously when I should have. It gives students the opportunity to advance in their education while still looking for direction,” said Goldstein when asked about his commitment to the College.
Goldstein spent 10 years on Wall Street in various roles within the investment banking world. Early on he was a short-term money market instruments trader specializing in Banker’s acceptance, Certificate of Deposits and Treasury bills and used the Eurodollar futures market to hedge cash positions. He also collaborated with team members to build two government-trading operations. Before returning to Pensacola in the early 1980s, Goldstein worked on the institutional sales desk at the Merrill Lynch headquarters in New York. At UWF, he created the Master Level Case Competition, a unique program that brought Fortune-rated companies to the UWF campus. Goldstein’s latest academic project is focused on PSC’s College of Business. PSC students who pursue a Dr. Marjan Mazza Bachelor of Applied Science Degree – Business and Management – will be allowed to take the first two courses in UWF’s Master of Business Administration program while still at PSC. Upon completion, students will have a direct path to UWF’s MBA degree and will have finished about 10 percent of the MBA program.
When Pensacola State College opened in September 1948, only 136 students were enrolled in the courses being taught in the Aiken Boarding House at Palafox and Cervantes streets.
Since that inaugural class 74 years ago, more than 118,000 students have earned associate and bachelor’s degrees and workforce certifications from the College. Countless others have taken classes at PSC.
Public officials, astronauts, athletes, attorneys, business owners, designers, entrepreneurs, educators, physicians, and many others are among distinguished PSC alumni.
As we continue to celebrate our 70th anniversary, please join us as we honor some of our most-deserving graduates and former students.
While perusing the first Distinguished Alumni Association Awards program — meet some of Pensacola State’s most accomplished Pirates. This group includes:
- A beloved retired president from Lamar Institute of Technology who dedicated his life to education so much that a multipurpose building was named in honor of him and his wife.
- A beloved retired educator and commissioner who dedicated her life to education and the community.
- A self-made man who lifted himself out of humble beginnings to become a dominant commercial broker in Pensacola
- A local entrepreneur whose foundation for advertising and communications created a scholarship for Pensacola State College’s journalism students.
- A successful businessman and educator who started working as a short-term day trader to becoming a broker/principal and visiting instructor for a university.
Our mantra is “Go Here. Get There.” and yes, all of these individuals attended Pensacola State College. With a rich history of student success, the College remains dedicated and committed to investing in the future by providing an educated and prepared workforce.
Join with me in celebrating the success of some of our most distinguished alumni!
Since 2018, I have been the President of the PSC Alumni
Association Board of Directors. It is my extreme honor and good fortune. Following in the footsteps of past alumni association presidents, I am privileged to work alongside a group of dedicated, enthusiastic and engaged Alumni Association Board members.
When we reorganized in 2013, we set out to design and provide opportunities for alumni to join with our Board of Directors and members and reconnect with the College. With our new directives and support from College leadership, we serve more than 118,000 graduates of Pensacola State College. Together, with our sponsors, patrons and contributors, our combined efforts give back to the College in ways that engage and recognize outstanding alumni and support scholarships for deserving students.
We remain dedicated to building on our traditions and committed to investing in our future. Pensacola State College has a rich history of visionary leadership, student involvement and caring faculty. With these bi-annual alumni awards, we celebrate that history and establish a new tradition for the students and graduates of tomorrow.
To understand the impact that PSC alumni have had on their communities, the country, and their lasting legacies, consider our 2022 honorees who are being recognized for lifetime service, career achievement, and community contributions. We sincerely appreciate the tremendous support from our scholarship contributors, event sponsors, and volunteers. As we look ahead, we invite all to participate in future endeavors.
Again, on behalf of the Alumni Association Board of Directors, we thank you for making this all possible. In partnership with PSC, our alumni and community leaders, we are excited to recognize the achievements of our outstanding alumni and celebrate their accomplishments now and in the years to come.
For more information about our scholarships contact:
Office of Alumni Affairs
Pensacola State College Alumni Association
Hailey Lotz, Executive Director