ESU Central Florida Branch

President's Message

 Welcome greeting from Barbara W. Hughes, President...

Welcome to the home page of the Central Florida Branch of the English- Speaking Union.  Many times, I have been asked, "What is the English- Speaking Union and what is its purpose?" The English- Speaking Union is a non-profit, non-political educational organization with the mission to celebrate English as a shared language to foster global understanding and good will by providing educational and cultural opportunities for students, educators, and members.

The organization was launched in England in 1918 on the initiative of journalist Evelyn Wrench and sixteen friends with the aim of promoting closer ties between English speaking peoples from around the world.  In 1920 the ESU won the support of President Woodrow Wilson, and in 1921 the English-Speaking Union was formed with William Howard Taft as its first President. Presently there are sixty-five branches within the United States and branches in more than fifty countries around the world.

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News And Events

2019 ESU Shakespeare Competition Results

On February 25, seventeen students from the tri-county area arrived at The University Club to participate in The English-Speaking Union's annual Shakespeare competition. Vying for the opportunity to win $1,000.00 for First Place, along with an additional prize to cover the cost of travel and the chance to perform in New York City, this year's contenders made for difficult judging decisions. On the panel of judges this year were Anne Hering: Director of Education at The Orlando Shakespeare Theater, Dr. Maurice "Socky" O'Sullivan: Professor at Rollins College, and Brandon Yagel: Education Coordinator at The Orlando Shakespeare Theater.

Left to right: Second Place: Christopher Echevarria, First Place: Marcela Griebler, and Third Place: Joshua Lefkowitz


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2019 Scholars Introduced at The Scholars Reunion

From left: Janine Papin, Tara Whitman,  Jennifer Bennett, Jennifer Gautier and Sarah Porter enjoy food, drinks and conversation. 

The Central Florida Branch held its third annual Scholars Reunion at Marlowe's Tavern in Winter Park, March 27th from 5:00 to 7:00. Former scholars met the "newbies" and lots of conversation ensued with tips to guide the folks going to Oxford, the Globe and Edinburgh's new Theater and Performance program. Drinks, chicken quesadillas, kettle chips and cookies made a festive gathering for around 25 board members and teacher/scholars. This event brings friends together and supports the relationships formed while studying in the U.K. We now look forward to the next of our reunions which is scheduled for October.


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Dr. Sandra Spanier, Professor of American literature at Penn. State University

Central Florida Branch had Dr. Sandra Spanier of Penn. State University to speak on The Hemingway Letters to a large crowd of members and guests at the Winter Park University Club. Professor Spanier has been named the editor of Ernest Hemingway's private correspondences, letters that he never expected to have published. Her talk explaining the adventure of gathering and editing thousands of personal letters to famous people of the 20th century, even Hemingway's notes passed in high school, was simply fascinating. The end result of travels from Idaho to Cuba will be 17 volumes that reveal the real-time life of one of America's most famous authors.


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Central Florida Branch Names Six TLAB Scholars

From left; Paul Dedge, Tara Whitman,J.Marie Bailey, Reta Jackson (Scholar Chair), Jeffery Cook, Jennifer Bennett, and Rick Rodriquez  

Former scholars: Joe Cummiskey and Greg Wedel at the Reception

Donna Miller, Vice President for the Drey Endowment,  and Julie Rankin, Board Director attending Scholars Reception. 


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2018 Drey Scholars Honored at Fall Dinner

From left to right are: Jennifer  Gautier,  Amanda Dickson,  Elaine Wiedemer,  Barbara Ihns,  and Joseph Cummiskey. 


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The English-Speaking Union

Central Florida Branch

Central Florida Branch Landmark Photo

Welcome to the ESU

The ESU celebrates English as a shared language to foster global understanding and good will by providing educational and cultural opportunities for students, educators, and members.

To find out more about our programs click here.