Boca Raton, Fla., – August 30, 2013—Bluegreen Corporation (“Bluegreen Vacations”), a leading vacation ownership marketing, sales and hospitality company, today announced that it will honor the late Michael Gaudiosi by providing scholarships in his name to hospitality students at the University of Central Florida (UCF). Michael was general manager of the company’s Orlando, Fla., resort, The Fountains, from July 2012 until his death in December 2012.
Bluegreen is committing $15,000 over three years, offering two $2,500 scholarships a year, to students enrolled in UCF’s Rosen College of Hospitality Management. The leadership team at Bluegreen believes a scholarship is the best way to keep Gaudiosi’s memory alive.
Regional Director Howard Kitchen spearheaded the initiative, after spending weeks thinking about ways in which Michael’s legacy could live on. Howard contacted UCF, and then brought the idea to the company’s charitable giving committee for review.
“There was just something about Michael,” Howard said. “He could walk into a room and talk to anyone and put them at ease. At the same time, he could—in an elevated circumstance—carry himself well in the corporate environment. That’s not easy to come by,” Kitchen said.
Ellen Devine, Executive Assistant to the President and CEO of Bluegreen and member of the company’s Charitable Giving Committee had the pleasure of meeting Mike just after he came on board.
“We clicked right away – he understood the giving back/philanthropic side of business and he was extremely open to once again hosting our annual charity retreat at The Fountains in September of 2012,” Ellen said. “I remember going to breakfast during the retreat and seeing him take a broom to start mopping the floor by the eatery – I knew then he was a keeper and- more importantly- dedicated to helping others. We are so sorry that he left us so early but are thrilled that we can preserve his memory with this wonderful scholarship opportunity.”
Bluegreen’s Chief Hospitality Officer, Gary Byrd, had been a friend of Michael’s for years before Michael joined the company. Gary remembers Michael fondly and said people were naturally drawn to him because of his character.
“His most enduring trait was that he was one of the rare individuals that always gave more than he asked from people, and he gave it to everyone,” Gary said. “Michael used to spend hours training his team to improve them. He was one of the most self-sacrificing people I’ve ever met. He couldn’t help himself.”
Michael’s wife agrees with that assessment. “Michael was truly dedicated to his work,” Julie Gaudiosi added. “He loved what he did, and I loved that about him.”
Lori Shuff, Director of Development for the Rosen College of Hospitality Management at UCF, says the school is incredibly appreciative of the gift. This scholarship, along with the others awarded to UCF students at the Rosen College, will be presented at a formal ceremony in February 2014.
“Scholarships like this one are very meaningful to everyone here at the college,” she said.