Darrell Jensen (left), Joan Hartt, and Jamie Bateman

AVON PARK, Fla. – Nov. 13, 2020 – During the South Florida State College (SFSC) Foundation Showcase and Fundraiser on Saturday, Oct. 24, Joan Hartt was inducted into the 2020 Legacy Society for her service to the Foundation and to the College. Jamie Bateman, SFSC executive director of institutional advancement, and Darrell Jensen, SFSC Foundation vice president, made the presentation.

“Because of our donors, we have been able to provide countless student scholarships and other means to support SFSC,” said Bateman. “The Legacy Society was established to recognize those donors who have gone above and beyond in supporting SFSC and our Foundation.”

This is the second year that such an honor has taken place. Joe Davis Jr. and his wife, Gloria Davis, were inducted into The Legacy Society in 2019.

Hartt has served the Foundation and the College for several years. In 1999, she was appointed to the SFSC District Board of Trustees, a position that she held until 2011. She currently serves on the SFSC Foundation Board of Directors.

“I can’t think of anybody more deserving for this wonderful recognition than my dear friend Joan Hartt,” said Dr. Catherine P. Cornelius, SFSC president emerita. “She’s been such a stalwart supporter of our College for 35 years or so. She gives of her time, she gives of her talent, she gives of her wonderful advice, and also, of course, her financial contributions have been a great asset to the College. Joanie also provides all the decorations for the SFSC Foundation Christmas Luncheons and the Galas and the other activities that benefit the College, the students, and the Foundation. In addition to all her other wonderful donations, she has established a scholarship in memory of her son, Ralph.”

But Hartt’s most visible contribution has been the time and care she has taken in decorating the Hotel Jacaranda in Avon Park. Since 2007, Hartt, her daughters-in-law, and a team of volunteers have transformed the hotel into a holiday wonderland at Christmastime and continued that labor of love into the fall and spring. In 2015, Hartt and her daughters-in-law began re-decorating 20 guest rooms on the second and third floors of the hotel. Each room has been decorated with its own theme.

“At Christmastime, it takes us about 10 days to decorate the hotel,” said Sheila Hartt, who assists in decorating the Jacaranda. “My mother-in-law loves this hotel and she loves Highlands County. When she was growing up, her father was a hotel manager in Sebring. I think this has just always been in her blood. And she just loves it. It brings her a lot of joy in making people smile.”

“We’re blessed to have Joan Hartt come to the Hotel Jacaranda and decorate,” said David Brunns, Hotel Jacaranda general manager. “We have tons of guests that come by and want to see the different changes of season. Soon we’ll be decorating for Christmas. Everyone comes in and takes holiday pictures with their families. It’s all because of Joan and her helpers.”