John C. Bersia, age 62, passed away peacefully on Thursday, March 21st 2019, at AdventHealth Hospice Care in Altamonte Springs of metastatic cancer. He was born November 23, 1956 at Orange Memorial Hospital in Orlando, to Rose-Marie and Alfred Bersia.
He was a 1977 graduate of UCF earning a bachelor’s degree in political science, international relations and French. He then went on to earn a master’s in government and foreign policy from Georgetown University, a master’s in public information administration from American University, and a master’s in international relations from the London School of Economics. He began working at the Orlando Sentinel in 1985, where he would win a Pulitzer prize in the year 2000 for an editorial called “Fleeced in Florida”, exposing the predatory loan practices of Payday loan companies.
In 2001, he began his time at UCF as special assistant to the president for Global Perspectives and hosting a weekly WUCF TV show covering world affairs, human trafficking and diplomacy. Throughout his career, he inspired many students both at UCF and through teaching part time at Rollins College to pursue a life-long love of travel, learning new cultures and the pursuit of humanity focused work.
More recently, John helped to establish the Center for the Study of Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery at UCF, an endeavor that he was incredibly passionate about, and proud of. John truly lived life to serve others. He was kind, compassionate, and had an incredible work ethic. He loved to travel and learn about new cultures around the world.
He is survived by his wife, Renee; his daughter, Mikayla; his mother, Rose-Marie; his sister, Marie-France; and his brother, Steve; nephews Steven, Matthew, and Brandon, along with many other extended family members. Family, friends, and others whose lives John touched are invited to celebrate his life at a service to be held at:
St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church
4001 Edgewater Dr., Orlando, FL
Saturday, March 30th – 12 pm
Reception immediately following in the Social Hall.
In Lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Florida Cancer Specialists Foundation at foundation.flcancer.com/donate or by phone at 941.677.7181 to support other patients in our community with the financial hardships of treatment.
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