At 25, Fall 2023 graduate Anthony Vitiello says his Associate of Arts degree in English is only the beginning. After he completes his bachelor’s degree at Florida International University, he wants to go all the way, eventually obtaining a Ph.D.

“My desire is to leave my mark on this world by teaching the children and young adults of tomorrow how to read, write, and communicate effectively,” says Vitiello. Ask his professors and fellow students at Broward College and they all agree that Anthony has already left his mark. His perseverance and his disciplined approach to his studies is a source of inspiration.

At an early age, Anthony was diagnosed with spastic cerebral palsy and single-sided deafness, forcing him to spend countless days in the hospital and receive dozens of complex surgeries. He routinely missed months out of the school year. Unable to graduate high school alongside his classmates due to attendance policies, he instead completed a G.E.D.

But the setbacks continued for Anthony, the youngest of five children of a struggling single mother and a family income below $20,000.

“Because of the medical difficulties and barriers stemming from financial need, the most feasible way for me to carve out a path forward in post-secondary education was to get an affordable two-year degree at a place like Broward College, and then transfer to a four-year university from there. Broward College afforded me the opportunity to showcase my skills and study under elite faculty, while providing me a path to an affordable education,” says Vitiello.

Once he was at Broward College, Anthony put forth maximum effort, becoming a model student with an undeniable gift for writing. He achieved the highest honors for his A.A. in English from Broward College, boasting a 4.0 GPA and emerging as a finalist for The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Transfer Scholarship, the nation’s most prestigious transfer scholarship.

Engaging actively in organizations such as the Bob Elmore Honors College, Phi Theta Kappa, and Sigma Kappa Delta during his tenure at Broward College, Anthony's academic prowess blossomed under the guidance of Dr. Chris Gage in the English Department, who describes Anthony as “one of the most remarkable and generally impressive people I know.” Anthony is a three-time recipient of the Robert Meeker Writing Award, twice in non-fiction/essay and once in poetry.

Anthony did not allow his mobility and hearing issues to cause him to lose faith, and neither did the dedicated College professors he encountered in addition to Dr. Gage. “Dr. Omaira Hernandez-Fernandez and Mrs. Quin Hearn, my Spanish and Math Professors, accommodated me personally when I was having trouble writing or needed extra time to navigate the work,” says Vitiello.

When asked to reflect on his time at Broward College, Anthony saves the most praise for Dr. Gage. His appreciation for his mentor exemplifies the College’s commitment to transforming the lives of students.

“I am eternally grateful for his mentorship, guidance, and friendship, a friendship which I will carry with me into my professional career,” says Anthony. “I wouldn’t have a degree hanging on my wall if not for the influence of Dr. Gage, and I believe it’s my destiny to take the torch from him and carry it forward.”

The Associate of Arts is designed to provide students with the academic and professional skills necessary to succeed in a bachelor’s degree program as well as in their careers. Interested in earning you’re A.A. degree? Learn more on our website.


Commencement Associate Degree Broward College Students