Hodges University has announced the recognition of Michael Pelland, a teacher at Gateway Charter High School, as its 2011 Founders Award winner – an honor annually conferred upon a Hodges University graduate who has provided outstanding and distinguished service to our community. The award will be presented at the Hodges University Luminary Award luncheon, paying tribute to Sanibel Island natives Francis and his late brother Sam Bailey.
Pelland earned a Bachelor’s degree in Interdisciplinary Studies and a Master’s degree in Professional Studies, both from Hodges.
“I am deeply honored to have been chosen to receive the Founders Award from Hodges University,” said Pelland. “My education from Hodges has allowed me to realize my dream in life of becoming a teacher, and I am grateful every single day that I chose to go back to school to help me make that dream come true.”
“Hodges University is very proud of Michael Pelland and the career that he has made for himself in educating our youth,” said Phil Memoli, Director of Development at Hodges. “He is living proof that earning a degree is possible while juggling all of life’s responsibilities. He served his country, he started his own business, he raised a family and he went to school.
“It’s ironic that we honor him during our Luminary of the Year awards presentation, as recipient Sam Bailey was equally keen on what an education can mean to ones future. For many years before his death, Sam would award $100 to every high school graduate on the Island. Michael is an excellent example of the important of pursuing an education.”
Prior to becoming a teacher, Pelland had a nine-year career in the food service industry as a chef, including serving for five years as cook onboard submarines while serving in the US Navy. After his honorable discharge he joined his family’s funeral business in Massachusetts.
In 1986 he earned an Associate’s degree in Funeral Service Science from the New England Institute of Applied Arts and Science, the country's oldest funeral service college located in downtown Boston, Massachusetts. Michael worked as a licensed funeral director for 13 years in Massachusetts and then for two more years in Fort Myers when he moved to the area in 1997.
In 2004 Pelland started his own lawn care and landscape maintenance business in Cape Coral. He chose to sell the business and return to college, earning two degrees from Hodges University.
He is supported by his wife Marie and his two daughters Melissa and Danielle. Pelland will be honored during the Hodges University Luminary Award luncheon on February 3 at 11am at the Sanibel Harbour Marriott Resort and Spa, and is sponsored by the Sanibel Captiva Trust Company and Sanibel Captive Community Bank. For more information, phone (239) 938-7826.