Archive for April, 2010

St. Petersburg College was named “Outstanding Business of the Year” Friday by the U.S. Green Building Council’s Florida Gulf Coast Chapter, a sustainable building organization whose membership covers 15 counties from  Citrus County to Collier County.

The award recognizes a business that demonstrates a commitment to green building initiatives and a culture of sustainability through the services or products it provides and the way which it conducts day-to-day operations.

“Environmental issues are no longer a fad, but rather a mainstream philosophy,” said Jason Green, SPC’s Sustainability Coordinator. “Now more than ever, the college has the opportunity to provide the leadership needed to help guide the community to a more sustainable future.”

The college began to cement its environmental reputation in late 2008.

Since that time, it has opened two of the most environmentally friendly buildings in the Tampa Bay area.  The buildings, St Petersburg/Gibbs Campus’ Students Services building and Clearwater Campus’ Natural Science, Mathematics and College of Education building, were both awarded the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification by the USGBC.

The LEED Green Building Rating System™ is a nationally accepted certifier of high performance and environmentally sensitive buildings.

Three other SPC buildings are under various stages of development and will be built to meet a LEED Silver certification or higher.

Additionally, SPC developed an Associate of Science in Environmental Science Technology and a Bachelor of Applied Science in Sustainability Management; an online LEED for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance 2009 examination training course; an online and face-to-face solar energy generation, installation and inspection training course; and soon will offer nearly 50 other environmentally-focused continuing education/certification programs.

SPC recently installed its first solar energy system, a thin film solar blanket for use as a teaching tool.  This system, along with other energy conserving initiatives, have resulted in a cost avoidance savings of over $500,000; preventing 1,888 metric tons of carbon dioxide from polluting the air, equivalent to removing 310 cars from the road, supplying electricity to 235 homes for one year, or planting 42,729 trees.

Among many other initiatives, SPC is developing a natural habitat park/environmental center for passive recreation, observation, and education. SPC has initiated an Energy Star purchasing policy, a native plant policy and exclusively uses “green cleaning” products.

SPC also hosts four active environmental clubs and a chapter of USGBC Students.

Additionally, Ken Buschle, an SPC alum, received the Chapter Member of the Year award, which goes to an individual who demonstrates dedication to chapter growth and betterment, commitment to educating the membership base on progressive initiatives, or enthusiasm about green building practices in others.

To learn more about SPC’s sustainability initiatives, visit www.spcollege.edu/sustainability.

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Banking professor Irv DeGraw of the College of Technology and Management was quoted recently in the Sarasota Herald-Tribune in a story about why it takes real estate short sales so long to close. Read about it at:


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           The St. Petersburg College softball team has again qualified for the state tournament ,and the baseball team  appears headed for a second-place finish in the Suncoast Conference and will have to play its way into the state tournament.

          The tennis team is participating in the state tournament this weekend at Hillsborough Community College.  A top three finish will send it to the national tournament May 3-8 in Tucson, Ariz.

          The softball team is one of four from the conference to advance to the state tournament, which begins April 30 in Auburndale.  The team lost a key doubleheader with State College of Florida, Manatee/Sarasota two weeks ago to just about end any hopes of winning the conference. The team is 32-13-1 overall and finished 13-5 in the conference, one game behind State College of Florida, Manatee/Sarasota.  

          The baseball team trails State College of Florida, Manatee/Sarasota after losing a two-game series. SPC is two games behind with three games to go. The regular season ends Monday and the playoffs will begin later in the week. If it finishes second it will meet the fifth-place finisher in the conference. The winner will then take on the survivor of the game between the third and fourth-place teams in a best-of-three series.  The winner moves to the state tournament, which begins May 6 in Lakeland.

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Bill Law named new president of St. Petersburg College

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St. Petersburg College has acquired 12 acres of land from Pinellas County, and will use it as the site of a new Veterinary Technology building, according to Tampa Bay Newspapers:  


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     William D. Law Jr., president of Tallahassee Community College for the past eight years, was selected today as the new president of St. Petersburg College. He replaces Carl M. Kuttler Jr., SPC’s longtime president who retired at the end of 2009.

      The vote by the college’s five-member Board of Trustees was unanimous. Law was selected from a slate of four finalists, a list that had been culled from an initial field of 25 candidates.

William D. Law Jr.

     “This was a difficult decision, as all four finalists brought interesting credentials and visions to the process, and any one of the four could have led SPC with distinction,” said Terrence E. Brett, the board’s chairman. “William Law possesses the unique set of leadership qualifications and values that we were looking for.” 

       Law noted in his application that he has led three different community colleges. Before assuming the presidency at Tallahassee, he was president of Montgomery College in Texas, an institution he helped found. Before that, he was president of Lincoln Land Community College in Illinois.

       In the 1980s, he was vice president of institutional and program planning at what was then St. Petersburg Junior College.

       “I have been the president of three different community colleges, each one increasingly more complex and sophisticated,” Law said in his application for the SPC presidency. “The opportunity to advance to the ‘top rung’ on the professional ladder at an institution as complex and multi-dimensional as SPC is exciting and enticing.”

      Kuttler announced in mid-2009 that he planned to retire, but he initially declined to set a date for his departure, and indicated that he might remain as president for up to two years to give the college plenty of time to find his replacement.

      As the year neared its end, however, Kuttler said he had decided to leave much earlier than that, finally announcing that his last day on the job would be Dec. 31.

      The Board of Trustees quickly began a search process. It named a 13-member search committee, made up of community leaders as well as members of the college community, to help with the selection process.

      SPC advertised nationally for applicants, and an initial list of 25 candidates was developed.  That list was whittled down several times until a final group of four finalists was selected.

      Besides Law, the finalists included: 

  • Thomas Keegan, President of Peninsula College, Port Angeles, Wash.
  • Paula Marie Gastenveld,  Assistant to the Chancellor for Workforce Development, Academic and Student Affairs, Kentucky Community and Technical College System, Versailles, Ky.
  • B. Kaye Walter, Executive VP/Chief Learning Officer, Valencia Community College, Orlando

       Each of the four finalists made three-day visits to SPC, meeting with students and faculty members and touring the college’s various learning sites.

      The Board of Trustees will now negotiate contract terms with Law.

     Kuttler had led the college as president since 1978. Himself a graduate of St. Petersburg Junior College, as it was then known, Kuttler joined the college as an administrator in 1965. He was considered by many to be one of Florida’s most creative, innovative and entrepreneurial educators, always eager to create partnerships with government entities, other colleges and universities, and local and national businesses and corporations. Those partnerships contributed substantially to St. Petersburg College’s growth and success.

Kuttler led the college into a new era as a four-year school offering baccalaureate degrees, the first community college in Florida to be given such a privilege.


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Astronaut Nicole Stott, who spent four months on the International Space Station last year, has accepted St. Petersburg College’s invitation to deliver the commencement address at graduation ceremonies at Tropicana Field on May 8.

 “We are absolutely thrilled that Nicole Stott has agreed to speak at our spring commencement exercises, and we are looking forward to her visit with great anticipation,” said Acting President Tom Furlong. “We will be presenting her with an honorary degree at that time.”

 Stott’s employer, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), also had to approve her appearance, which they did last week. Since Stott is already in training for another Space Shuttle mission, that approval was not a sure thing.

 A former SPC student, Stott was enthusiastic about visiting the college and made her desires known to NASA.

 “I would be honored to do it,” Stott said in an e-mail to the college in January after the invitation was offered by Furlong.

 Stott grew up in Clearwater and graduated from Clearwater High School. She attended SPC (then SPJC) in the early 1980s because she wanted to learn how to fly and the college offered an aviation program that interested her.

 “When I got out of high school I knew I wanted to do something connected to flying, but I really didn’t know exactly what,” she said in an interview for last summer’s issue of SPC Today, the magazine of SPC’s alumni association. “At Clearwater High they had an introduction to aviation course, and through that I learned about the degree program at SPJC.”

 Although Stott went on to earn an engineering degree at Embry Riddle and didn’t graduate from SPJC, she has remained enthusiastic about the college and remembers her time here with fondness. She even offered to carry an SPC banner on her space mission, which she did. She photographed the banner over a Space Station porthole and e-mailed the photo to SPC after her return.

 She is expected to present the banner to SPC during her visit.

 Details of her daylong visit are now being negotiated.

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