MCC Graduate Leaves With Profound Love of Learning

(Bradenton, Fla., Dec. 8, 2006) - Manatee Community College (MCC) summa cum laude graduate Michael John Zdorow, 28, has been chosen as the student speaker at Dec. 15 commencement exercises. He came to MCC with only one goal - getting a degree as quickly as possible - a state of mind he now labels "tunnel vision." In MCC classes, he discovered an openness to new and diverse ways of thinking about the world.

"I realized there was so much knowledge all around me in those classrooms, and that I could understand other points of view and make mine understood. The light came on. I was inspired to learn and I don't ever want to stop learning," said Zdorow.

Zdorow was a member of history, political and environmental clubs and the Phi Theta Kappa international honor society at MCC and is an associate pastor at North Port's Trinity United Methodist Church.

Both MCC and the area church seemed unlikely destinations when Zdorow graduated from Manatee High School. He became a plumber but his faith led him to seek a different profession across the world. Half-Ukrainian, Zdorow said he knew "kitchen Russian" and he and his wife, Jennifer, went to that country as missionaries. A native Floridian, Zdorow saw snow for the first time in Russia.

The couple helped establish a Methodist church and he began seminary studies in Estonia. The need for more funds for the church brought the Zdorows back to this area. Unfortunately, the visit coincided with devastation caused by Hurricane Charlie and their efforts were hindered. An appointment to the North Port church as an interim measure set Michael Zdorow on a new path that led him to MCC in July 2005.

Zdorow now plans to major in history at the University of South Florida (USF) Sarasota-Manatee and then transfer to Asbury Theological Seminary in Orlando to pursue a master's degree in divinity.

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