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Archive for the ‘Seminole Campus’ Category

Fast-Track to FallOn July 21 at five campus locations throughout Pinellas County, St. Petersburg College will host Fast-Track to Fall events to help students finish enrollment requirements before the fall term begins.

During extended hours from 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., college staff will be on hand to help students wrap up any outstanding items, including:

  • applying to SPC
  • submitting transcripts
  • taking the College Placement Test
  • registering for classes
  • paying tuition

“The purpose of these events is to let applicants know that they can get everything done in one visit,” said Patrick Rinard, Associate Vice President of Enrollment Services.

The admissions and registration processes recently changed so students can register quickly and more conveniently, Rinard said. Students now see an advisor when they register to make sure they are on track.

10502125_765178160199200_1561435716025633752_n“With all hands on deck, this day should significantly move the needle toward a fall enrollment increase,” Rinard said.

SPC locations hosting Fast-Track to Fall events include:

  • Clearwater Campus, 2465 Drew St., Clearwater
  • Seminole Campus, 9200 113th St. N, Seminole
  • SPC Downtown Center, 244 Second Ave. N, St. Petersburg
  • St. Petersburg/Gibbs Campus, 6605 Fifth Ave. N, St. Petersburg
  • Tarpon Springs Campus, 600 Klosterman Road, Tarpon Springs

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The future is now on St. Petersburg College’s Seminole Campus.

The recent opening of the Innovation Lab in the library at the campus drew more than 100 people, including a who’s who of college, community and tech leaders.

Creative learning environments like the lab, often called makerspaces, are growing in popularity. In SPC’s lab, instructors, students and library card holders can use the latest technology tools, including a 3D printer, Cublets KT06 modular robots and the Korg littleBits circuits in seconds kit. With the Monolith 3D printer, made locally by Free Fab 3D, users can create virtually any object through a wide variety of computer programs. In fact, much of the printer itself was created on a 3D printer.

The Cubelets modular robotics kit lets users build surprisingly complex robots out of simple parts that fit together like building blocks. The Korg littleBits kit is a do-it-yourself synthesizer used to compose original electronic music in mere seconds.

The lab also includes an iMac and a desktop running Ubuntu Linux, giving users a taste of different operating systems and the programs they offer, such as Apple’s newly released Swift programming language.

One of the computers in the lab is dedicated to podcasting and audio experiments, and has a professional grade microphone and mixer. All of this was made possible by SPC librarian Chad Mairn’s vision, a $3,500 college innovation grant and help from Seminole Campus Provost Jim Olliver.

Guests at the morning and evening grand opening parties included SPC President Bill Law, Seminole Vice Mayor Thomas Barnhorn, Seminole City Council member Patricia Plantamura, and Lance Eppley and Fri Rider, the designers of the Monolith 3D printer. Mo Eppley of the St. Pete Makers, also attended. St. Pete Makers is a non-profit group seeking to bring a high-tech makerspace to St. Petersburg.

The innovators demonstrated what the lab’s 3D printer was capable of, showing off many complex designs that were created on the Monolith such as a bearing printed as a single piece. Most importantly, members of the community – young and old – filled the lab and spilled out into the hall during the grand opening parties.

One guest, a 12-year-old Android app developer, volunteered to teach a workshop on mobile development. Mairn was quick to accept and noted that the lab will host a wide variety of workshops and guest speakers. Among them will be the creator of a makerspace in Taiwan who will connect with guests via teleconference on the lab’s smart TV and webcam.

The lab will host its first workshop on June 12, 10 a.m. – noon, on how to create a LibraryBox, a palm-sized computer designed to serve files in areas with no Internet access. The workshop is free and open to the public.

The Innovation Lab is currently seeking volunteers to help run the lab. You can apply online or by contacting Chad Mairn at 394-6917.

Check out our Facebook gallery of the Innovation Lab opening. Read coverage of the Innovation Lab in, the Tampa TribuneTMCnet.com and 83degreesmedia.com.

SPC student Chris Demmons, who writes for SPC’s student newspaper, Sandbox News, provided this report. Read his story in Sandbox News.

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Event

The Seminole Community Library will be the location of the grand opening of the SPC’s new Innovation Lab next week.

YOU’RE INVITED:
SPC employees and the public are invited to the grand opening
Tuesday, June 3
11 a.m. to noon and 6 to 7 p.m.
Seminole Community Library at St. Petersburg College
9200 113th St., Seminole, LI 201.

The lab serves as a creative environment, often called a makerspace, that will provide people with common interests like computers, technology, science or digital arts a location to socialize and collaborate on ideas and learn new skills. Visitors to the SPC location will be able to learn how to program different devices, such as the Raspberry Pi, the Arduino Genuine Mega 2560 Board and the ProtoSnap LilyPad Development Board.

The lab offers:

  • 3-D printer
  • FreeFab3D Monolith 3D Printer built locally using other 3D printers
  • littleBits Synth Kit
  • Arduino Genuine Mega 2560 Circuit Board Experimentation Kit
  • Avid Fast Track Duo Audio Interface with Pro Tools Express
  • An iMac, 2 Linux computers, and 1 Windows computer
  • A variety of Open Source Software applications for 3D printing, design etc.
  • MaKey MaKey: Original Invention Kit
  • Cubelets KT06 Kit
  • ProtoSnap LilyPad Development Board
  • 2 CanaKit Raspberry Pi Ultimate Starter Kits
  • Apollo Precision Tools 53-Piece Tool Kit
  • Parallax Programmable Boe-Bot Robot Kit
  • Elenco Deluxe Learn To Solder Kit
  • Samsung 32-Inch 1080p LED HDTV with Logitech TV Cam HD for Skype Calls
  • Chromecast
  • Online File Distribution System for access to project files, open access resources, etc.
  • Reference collection including books and magazines

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The public is invited to the grand opening of the Innovation Lab
Date: Tuesday, June 3
Time: 11 a.m.-noon and 6-7 p.m.
Where: Seminole Community Library at St. Petersburg College
9200 113th St, Seminole, LI 201

Beginning in June, budding creators and innovators can share ideas, create robots, learn or sharpen programming skills and build objects using 3-D printers at St. Petersburg College’s new Innovation Lab. The space, located in the Seminole Community Library, provides a modern, technologically advanced version of your dad’s garage, so to speak.

The lab’s grand opening is June 3 in room 201 from 11 a.m. – noon and 6 to 7 p.m. at SPC’s Seminole Campus. The event, at 9200 113th St., Seminole, is open to the public.

These creative learning environments, often called makerspaces, are growing in popularity, said Information Services Librarian Chad Mairn, who received a $3,500 Innovation Grant from the St. Petersburg College Foundation to start the lab.

“For years we’ve been more consumption oriented, but now the trend is moving towards creating while discovering things yourself,” said Mairn. “With these technology tools, you can design and build things, learn, and share ideas instead of passively consuming information.”

The space will provide an area where people with common interests like computers, technology, science or digital arts can socialize and collaborate on ideas and learn new skills. In SPC’s lab, which is open to the public, visitors can learn how to program different devices, such as the Raspberry Pi, the Arduino Genuine Mega 2560 Circuit Board and the ProtoSnap LilyPad Development Board.

Instructional Technologist Nancy Munce shows off the cookie cutter she created in SPC’s Innovation Lab.

Instructional Technologist Nancy Munce shows off the cookie cutter she created in SPC’s Innovation Lab.

“That lab is going to be phenomenal,” said Instructional Technologist Nancy Munce, who used the 3-D printer to create a cookie cutter she designed from scratch. “Those printers are still wickedly expensive; too expensive to have at home. The potential to learn valued skills is remarkable.”

Munce saw Mairn’s enthusiastic Facebook post about the lab and took him up on his offer to get involved. She was looking to prepare cookies for a friend who was graduating from the University of Florida’s College of Veterinary Medicine.

She figured out how to use Adobe Illustrator to create an outline for the cookie cutter and then used a 3-D CAD (computer-assisted design) program for the rest.

“I poked around and somehow figured it all out,” said Munce. “Basically this saved me from having to cut three dozen cookies by hand.”

In addition to the printer, the lab will have:

  • FreeFab3D Monolith 3D Printer built locally using other 3D printers
  • littleBits Synth Kit
  • Arduino Genuine Mega 2560 Circuit Board Experimentation Kit
  • Avid Fast Track Duo Audio Interface with Pro Tools Express
  • An iMac, 2 Linux computers, and 1 Windows computer
  • A variety of Open Source Software applications for 3D printing, design etc.
  • MaKey MaKey: Original Invention Kit
  • Cubelets KT06 Kit
  • ProtoSnap LilyPad Development Board
  • 2 CanaKit Raspberry Pi Ultimate Starter Kits
  • Apollo Precision Tools 53-Piece Tool Kit
  • Parallax Programmable Boe-Bot Robot Kit
  • Elenco Deluxe Learn To Solder Kit
  • Samsung 32-Inch 1080p LED HDTV with Logitech TV Cam HD for Skype Calls
  • Chromecast
  • Online File Distribution System for access to project files, open access resources, etc.
  • Reference collection including books and magazines

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Evelyn Madera

Evelyn Madera was born in New York and lived in one of the poorest, gang-populated neighborhoods in Brooklyn. Her parents came from the Dominican Republic to pursue a better life. But with only an elementary school education, they couldn’t help her understand the value of an education.

“Being a doctor, lawyer or even leaving the neighborhood seemed unrealistic,” she said. “When you don’t have the information you need or any support, you can’t really see past what’s in front of you.”

After getting kicked out of high school for skipping classes she looked for help at local outreach programs in New York.

“They were all the same — full of unwanted students — discarded by society and misunderstood,” she said. “If it weren’t for a few caring people, I would have given up on getting an education.”

These personal life experiences — successes and failures — fueled her passion for helping others. Today, she works with students in the Seminole Campus Student Support Center as a Student Support Advisor. She remembers what it was like to walk in their shoes. She also remembers the people that made a difference in her journey.

Recently her office received an Innovation Grant, the Red Tape Free Zone, which will provide resources to help them connect with students at their point of need. Their mantra: it’s the people, not the program that makes the difference.

Jessie Demarest came to the Student Support Center to borrow textbooks. Evelyn connected her with a tutor and met with her every week to encourage her. Today, she volunteers in the office and is inspired to help others in the same way she was helped.

“It’s just amazing to me to see all this change in myself,” said Jessie. “The tutors help me understand, but the Student Support Center helps me feel like I can handle things. My grades sky rocketed and continue to fly. I’ve even decided to join the student government and plan to represent the Student Support Center there.”

The people who made a difference

Madera’s story is not unique. The same help she got from dozens of SPC faculty and staff when she was a single mom trying to improve her life serve as a reminder of how much of a difference one person can make.

Shirley Crumbly, Women on the Way

The Women on the Way program provided her with a much needed scholarship.

“The Director, Shirley Crumbley, has a big heart and is always reaching out to help the ladies in the program succeed,” said Madera. “She helped me with my essay for a Foundation Scholarship. Her guidance with that first scholarship enabled me to get many other scholarships along the way.”

Larissa Brown, Student Support Services Advisor

As Madera’s father’s medical condition worsened she struggled to hold it all together. Larissa Brown took the time to listen and help her find solutions.

“She was very connected to the resources in the community and was able to find me the help I needed to take care of my dad at home while I was away at school and work,” she said. “As a result, my dad had insurance, a nurse, health supplies, Meals on Wheels and a home health aide.”

When Madera’s father died during her final term before graduation, Brown and the High Achievers Club were there.

“I remembered feeling numb and calling Mrs. Brown,” said Madera. “She was so amazing — she took her time and helped me find a funeral home. She was the advisor for the High Achievers Club and they all went to my house to cook for me and my family after the funeral.”

Neil Keith, SPC Student Support Services Counselor

Testing in the Career Center indicated that Evelyn should consider a career in counseling but she was unsure as she was leaning more towards becoming a college professor. She went to Neil Keith for advice.

“We talked about how I use to stand on the stoop in front of my building in Brooklyn and give little speeches on how gangs were bad and that they should get out of that life,” said Madera. “He asked me how I felt when I did that and that I should listen to that feeling.”

Soon afterwards, she became a peer mentor for SPC’s Summer of Success program where she practiced public speaking and developed lesson plans for student activities on time management, goal setting and organization. After volunteering as a peer mentor for several more terms, she realized she had found her passion.

“We have an obligation to acknowledge the responsibility and power we hold when a student is asking for our help,” said Madera. “We can always make a difference and even if you don’t reach everyone, one person that you reach may reach others and we may never know the true impact.”

Dr. Linda Hogans, Executive Director, Retention Services

When Madera, then a student at SPC, shared her dream to become an advisor with Dr. Linda Hogans, she told her it was possible but only if she would prepare. Dr. Hogans counseled Evelyn to research the requirements necessary to be an advisor and be ready when an opportunity came.

“Sometimes you meet individuals who are in high positions and the way they present themselves seems a little unapproachable,” Madera said. “But Dr. Hogans was far from that. She was so kind and I could tell she really was listening to me.”

While Madera is no longer a student, she continues to drive herself to learn all she can so she can help everyone that passes through her door.

“For my students I just hope that when they meet with me they leave with more answers than they have questions — that they feel empowered to succeed in school and in life,” she said. “I hope that they change the world.”

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St. Petersburg College’s Seminole Campus and the City of Seminole/Seminole Community Library celebrated their partnership with a ceremonial ribbon-cutting for the new Environmental Path. The ceremony also included the planting of two live oaks to signify the enduring partnership and dedication of a bench along the path donated by the Friends of the Seminole Library.

Cutting the ribbon along with Seminole Campus Provost Jim Olliver are Library Director Michael Bryan, Mayor Leslie Waters, Student Government President Jonathan Jacques and a host of faculty, staff, friends and city officials:

ribbon cutting

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Taylor Hajash and his girlfriend, Chelsie.

Taylor Hajash and his girlfriend, Chelsie.

Taylor Hajash, a lifelong video game fan, has become a licensed Nintendo game developer partly due to an award he received in a St. Petersburg College competition.

The path to the license began when Taylor, 25, a student in the Digital Media program, bought a tablet for his girlfriend, Chelsie.

“She was always playing these games she’d purchase and would then get annoyed when, after playing for 15 minutes, she’d have to spend a bunch of money to buy coins or extra lives if she wanted to keep playing,” he said. “I thought that was ridiculous. So I started looking into how to make my own games that she could play.”

As his game began to take shape, he applied to be a licensed Nintendo game developer. Several months and several contacts later, he had no response from the corporate gaming giant.

Then, on April 22, he competed in the 2014 SEmmy Awards, an annual competition open to all SPC and high school students. After winning the award for Best Video Game Creation category for his game Super Cuttlefeesh, a puzzle platform game for cell phones and tablets, he sent pictures of the award and screenshots of his game to Nintendo.

Proposed Super Cuttlefeesh cover art by Taylor Hajash.

Proposed Super Cuttlefeesh cover art by Taylor Hajash.

Within eight hours, Taylor received a phone call from Nintendo’s Indie Development Representative. The representative approved him over the phone to become a licensed game designer for the company.

Taylor said winning the award help open the doors with Nintendo.

“I think I wasn’t high on their priority list and that’s why I wasn’t hearing back from them,” he said. “But as soon as they found out I won an award, they jumped on the opportunity to bring me aboard.”

He has been funding the project himself but is working to get funding for further development.

“Between software, computers, hardware, music and stuff like that, I’ve spent about $15,000 of my own money so far,” Taylor said.

“My biggest hurdle is now behind me,” he said. “I’m hoping to have Super Cuttlefeesh out on the Wii U by the end of summer and start development on my second game shortly after.”

The complete list of SEmmy winners:

Best Website Design
Marina Rambo- “Marina Rambo Web and Graphic Design”
Best Video Game Creation
Taylor Hajash- “Super CuttleFeesh”
Best Editing
Ali Shahriari, Christian Costello, Zack Murray-“ Nuthing’ But Crunch-Doritos Commercial”
Best Camera
Fillipe Bergson- “Hunger”
Best Direction
Ali Shahriari, Christian Costello- “Coming Up Short”
Best Digital Graphics
Heather Rambo, “Painting with a Twist” Brochure
Best Digital Imaging
Scott Dunn-“Swiss Watch”
Best Song
Ryan Blank “Same Things”
Best Thematic Composition for Film or Game
Steven Scott Berry (ft. Doug Leto) “Hype”
Best Interactive Music/Sound “Zone” Design
Dylan Mixer “Kaja”
Best Internet Media-High School
Charles Lambert-“Video Game Hobby “- Dixie M. Hollins
Best Video Production-High School
Michael Stover, Karolina Zuchowski, Marta Wilczynsk- “Masked”- Shorecrest Preparatory School
Best Digital Graphic Design-High School
Elaine Page, “The Fuze Campaign”- Dixie M. Hollins
Chelsea Mcmanus, “Wizard of Oz Diptych” – Dixie M. Hollins
Dylan Maczis, “The Mirror”- Dixie M. Hollins

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Officials from Duke Energy and St. Petersburg College join SPC students Gentian Kruja and Morgan Fouss as they flip the switch on the solar energy panels installed at the Seminole Campus.

It was a beautiful day to showcase solar energy. On Thursday, April 10, officials from Duke Energy and St. Petersburg College flipped the switch on the Seminole Campus’ array of solar photovoltaic panels, highlighting a collaboration that began with a $500,000 SunSense grant from the energy company.

“This partnership is a perfect fit,” said Seminole Provost Jim Olliver. “This project encourages students to get involved with solar energy and supports SPC’s commitment to sustainable design.”

SPC is the first and only state college to receive Duke Energy Florida’s SunSense Schools Post Secondary School Award. Previous recipients include the University of Florida and the University of Central Florida.

The energy company provided $515,803 for two solar installations at SPC – a 50 kW ground-mounted, free-standing structure on the Seminole Campus and a 50 kW array atop walkways at the Clearwater Campus. The installations join two other solar energy projects on SPC’s Clearwater Campus. Find out more about SPC’s use of solar energy and how students are involved.

“Through the SunSense program, this solar project at St. Petersburg College is playing a key role in our efforts to educate our customers on renewable energy production,” Joseph Pietrzak, Senior Program Manager for Duke Energy Florida.

LCD monitors on each campus show how much energy is produced by the arrays, and engineering and environmental technology students use the information for research. Since it was installed in December, the Seminole array has produced 18,488 kWh, enough to power 3.4 million smartphones, offset the use of 1,633 gallons of gasoline and power 770 electric cars. Follow the energy production and installation here.

“It’s going to be a new world,” said James Fenton, director of the Florida Solar Energy Center, created in 1975 by the Florida Legislature to serve as the state’s energy research institute. “This is no longer the most expensive way to make energy.”

Students from Lealman Intermediate School also attended the event and participated in educational solar activities. Students used handheld solar panels to power small motors and measure energy output.

“The young people here are going to be driving these vehicles powered by solar,” said Fenton, referring to the two alternative energy vehicles Duke brought to the event.

“My hope is that other students, current and future, will be inspired to learn more about solar energy and build a better future,” said SPC student Gentian Kruja, president of the Student Chapter of The Florida Engineering Society at SPC. After he graduates next month, Kruja plans to attend the University of Central Florida to study computer engineering.

“Through the data collected, students are not only learning about how different conditions of weather and seasons can affect the energy produced, but also how energy efficiencies are determined,” said Morgan Fouss, who will receive her A.S. degree in Environmental Science Technology from SPC next month and plans to attend law school. “We’re glad this investment was made on our campus and hope it’s just one more step in making SPC and specifically the Seminole Campus a model for sustainability practices.”

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Students fish seining (netting) and going through their catch at Howard Park.

Students fish seining (netting) and going through their catch at Howard Park.

From cave rappelling to fossil gazing, the Science Adventurer’s Club at St. Petersburg College makes experiential learning fun and interactive for all students.

The Science Adventurer’s Club is one of three student science clubs at the Clearwater Campus. In this environment, students who are interested in natural sciences can participate in research projects, field trips, lectures and community service activities. They do not have to be science majors to participate—all that is required is a passion for learning an interest in all things science.

The club got its start about three years ago when students were dissatisfied that there wasn’t an extracurricular opportunity for students to enjoy science together in a social environment.

“On several occasions, students in my science classes made comments about how they wished there was some place they could hang out and speak with other students about science,” said Monica Lara, Instructor of Natural Science at the Clearwater Campus. She is one of the club’s four faculty advisors, along with Clearwater Campus instructors Carl Opper, Erin Goergen and Mike Stumpe.

Science clubs at SPC include:

  • Environmental Consulting Society – SPC Downtown
  • Environmental Science Club – Seminole Campus
  • Sustainability Club – Tarpon Springs Campus
  • Science Adventurer’s Club – Clearwater Campus
  • Undergraduate Science Research Society – Clearwater Campus
  • Tri-Beta National Biological Honor Society – Clearwater Campus

Lara’s teaching assistant, Michael Goltz, who often was present when these conversations took place, asked whether she would be willing to serve as a club advisor if students started a new club. Goltz, who ended up serving as the club’s first president, has remained connected to the club even though he is now a student at the University of South Florida.

“I agreed to it because I thought it would be a lot of fun and that there had been a lot of people hinting that it was something they would be interested in,” Lara said. “It supplements a lot of what we discuss in class and helps it make more sense.”

Lara said the club also fosters a collaborative culture among the students. In this environment, students primarily learn from each other. As they share their experiences, they teach one another best practices on how to go about taking on various tasks and projects.

“We do have some fun, adventurous trips, but the main focus is that students have to do the science,” she said. Through the club’s many field trips, including rappelling into the Dames Caves in Citrus County, students learn about geology, sea level rises and drops, ecology and conservation.

In addition to field trips, students also participate in volunteer projects such as science fairs, beach and reef cleanups, and Marine Science Day at the University of South Florida. These opportunities and experiences allow students to network with professionals in the field and prepare them for the workforce or graduate level work.

Students also benefit from the club’s partnership with Lara’s out-of-class research group and Reef Monitoring, a 501(c)(3) non-profit research organization that she helped establish with SPC instructor Heyward Mathews in 2005.

“I enjoy getting that experience as it is helpful in preparing me for a potential career in science,” said Shannon Senokosoff, 29, a biology major and vice president of the Natural Science Adventurer’s Club. Since graduating with a degree in art from the University of South Florida, he was not satisfied working as a motion graphics designer and decided to go back to school and pursue his passion for biology at SPC.

Students in the Science Adventurer’s Club go rappelling during a field trip to the Dames Caves.

Students in the Science Adventurer’s Club go rappelling during a field trip to the Dames Caves.

“Getting out there, getting involved in the community through volunteer work and conservation, it puts you in a position where you’re interacting with people that might have positions in different organizations like the Florida Wildlife Commission,” Senokosoff said. “It helps build those connections.”

Lara said the hands-on experiential learning serves as a way to get students to understand what science is really about by doing it and not just hearing about it in a classroom.

“Getting those kinds of experiences – that experiential learning – really sticks with them for the rest of their lives,” she said.

 

Want to learn more?

The Science Adventurer’s Club meets every other Tuesday at 5 p.m. in the marine biology lab (NM 161) at the Clearwater Campus.

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Dennis JonesA new tradition was established at St. Petersburg College in February with the inaugural Distinguished Public Service Award Dinner. The Feb. 21 event, staged by the Institute for Strategic Policy Solutions at the Seminole Campus, honored former SPC vice president Dennis L. Jones for his 32 years of public service as a state senator, state representative, civic leader and doctor of chiropractic medicine in St. Petersburg.

Nearly 200 people, including 18 current or former public officials and a large number of SPC administrators and staff, filled the Conference Center at Seminole to honor the work of Sen. Jones and to recognize exemplary public service in general. As Dean Susan Demers of SPC’s College of Policy, Ethics and Legal Studies put it in her role as master of ceremonies, the ancient Greeks considered public service to be the highest calling of mankind, and Sen. Jones epitomized that quality in his career and life.

SPC President Bill Law opened the program by recognizing Sen. Jones for his role in funding and creating the Institute for Strategic Policy Solutions, which serves as a conduit for civic engagement and academic enrichment within SPC and the community, and also represents all 28 members of the Florida College System in the public policy arena.

In summing up Sen. Jones’ career, speakers focused on the important legislation that he had a major role in passing as well as on his skill at building consensus by working across party lines. A humorous note was provided in a video message by former House Speaker Fred Lippman, who served with Sen. Jones in the Florida House for 20 years. Dr. Lippman, now chancellor at Nova Southeastern University, said that the two of them were responsible for passage of more legislation in that period than any other legislators.

Seminole Provost Jim Olliver enumerated highlights of those legislative successes: mandatory child safety seats and driver/passenger seat belts, organ donor designation on driver licenses, Bright Futures Scholarships, “Rails to Trails” using old railroad corridors, Seminole Indian casino tax compact, state poison control registry and judicial reforms to aid small business. Among major projects affecting SPC, Dr. Olliver credited Sen. Jones for helping to secure funding for the Health Education campus, the Seminole Library and the Bay Pines STEM learning center.

Dr. James Winterstein, President Emeritus of National University of Health Sciences, spoke of Sen. Jones’ role in establishing the University Partnership Center, which includes NUHS’ doctor of chiropractic medicine program. And Kim Black, President of the Pinellas Classroom Teachers Association, offered detailed evidence of his commitment to public education.

Perhaps the most significant legislation credited to Sen. Jones is the Florida Beach and Shore Preservation Act, which created a continuing fund to finance repair of Florida beaches after storm-caused erosion. As Dr. Olliver noted, “Pinellas County especially, but every county in Florida that depends on sandy beaches to nurture its tourism industry, is indebted to him for ensuring that there will be continuing funding to keep those beaches healthy.”

To memorialize that accomplishment, the Institute arranged for a section of public beach in Treasure Island to be planted with sea oats after a June renourishment project is completed. The sea oats plants, which also served as table centerpieces and stage decor, were donated by a sponsor of the dinner, Green Seasons Nursery of Parrish. Students from the SPC chapter of the International City Managers Association have volunteered to help with the planting. Other sponsors were the Tampa Bay Times and National University Health Sciences.

Dr. Law concluded the program by unveiling the Distinguished Public Service Plaque, with Sen. Jones’ name as its first entry. It will be hung in the Conference Center foyer.

The Institute initiated the Distinguished Public Service Award to honor exemplars of the true meaning and purpose of public service — individuals who recognize that public service is a special calling and enter into it for the moral and humanitarian benefits derived from serving their country, state and community. The criteria for nomination are:

  • A distinguished career of public service in elective or appointive office — local, state or national OR a distinguished career serving the public interest in the private sector, either in the nominee’s profession or in a volunteer capacity.
  • An unblemished record of integrity and selflessness in public service.
  • A demonstrated spirit of bipartisanship in seeking solutions to public policy challenges
  • Overall, a career that best exemplifies public service and dedicated effort in keeping with the greatness of the United States of America.

With Dennis L. Jones as the first recipient, the bar is set high for future nominees. Hopefully, his example will inspire younger public servants to strive for his high standards.

For more photos from the event, please visit the Institute’s Facebook page.

Watch the event on the college’s YouTube channel.

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