The St. Petersburg Times has reported a new requirement for Bright Futures scholarship recipients. All recipients must submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form in order to receive the funds.
Archive for June, 2011
Board of Trustees Chairman Ken Burke was appointed to the 21st Century Commission on the Future of Community Colleges on Thursday, June 30.
Burke is the only appointee from Florida and is the only trustee on the 36-member commission convened by the American Association of Community Colleges. He is a graduate of St. Petersburg College and has served on the Board of Trustees since June 1999.
“This is only the third time in 110 years that a group like this is forming,” Burke said. “I have looked at what the other commissions have done and they both had major impacts on community colleges. I think this group’s task is positioning ourselves for the next 50 years. I am thrilled to be part of this group.”
Burke said the group will gather for the first time Aug. 12 in Washington, D.C. The commission is expected to issue its report in April.
Sixty-three former administrators, teachers, coaches and athletes who were instrumental in the history of Gibbs Junior College were honored June 30 in the inaugural induction ceremony for the Hall of Fame.
The hall was created by the Gibbs Junior College Alumni Association to honor those who served the institution between 1958 and 1966.
Special recognition was offered to Robert Williams, a science instructor who overcame disabilities to earn a college degree and then teach at Gibbs. A special physical achievement recognition certificate has been created in Williams’ name, and will be awarded in the future to Gibbs students who had to overcome physical disabilities.
“This event honors our inductees, recognizes our supporters and sponsors as well as promotes the efforts of the Gibbs Junior College Alumni Association to keep the legacy alive by raising funds to sustain our general scholarship program,” said W.H. “Bill” McCloud, a 1963 graduate of Gibbs Junior College and a member of the Hall of Fame Committee.
Gibbs Junior College was an all-black institution that started in 1957. It was located on the campus of Gibbs High School in South St. Petersburg. During its brief existence, it served thousands of students from around the Tampa Bay area. It was disbanded in 1967 and merged into St. Petersburg Junior College; most of its faculty and staff were absorbed into SPJC’s campuses.
The college ranks 14th in the nation in the number of associate degrees awarded during the 2009-10 academic year, according to Community College Week.
Every June, the weekly newspaper lists the top 100 community colleges in terms of associate degrees awarded. It displays both two-year and four-year institutions; SPC ranked 14th overall, and eighth among four-year institutions.
Among Florida community colleges, SPC ranked fourth, behind Miami-Dade, Broward, and Florida State College of Jacksonville.
SPC graduated 3,279 associate degree candidates, a 12 percent increase over the previous year. Miami-Dade graduated 9,090; Broward, 4,903; and Jacksonville, 4,209.
SPC also was ranked highly among community colleges awarding associate degrees to minority students. The college was ranked 19th in the country, graduating 567 minority associate degree-seeking students, an increase of 14 percent over the previous year.
Among African-American associate degree seekers, SPC ranked 57th in the nation, with 262 graduates. That represents a 13 percent increase over the previous year.
The rankings were in Community College Week’s June 13 issue.
Victoria Humphrey is Miss University of Miam 2011. But not so long ago she was one of the kids in SPC’s College for Kids program. On Friday, she came back to College for Kids to deliver a message about character to a roomful of youngsters at Curlew Creek Elementary School in Palm Harbor.
Humphrey, a resident of Palm Harbor and a graduate of Palm Harbor University High School, remembered her sash and tiara, and she delivered a short but powerful message about the traits necessary for developing a strong and positive character.
Afterward, she had the youngsters break into smaller groups to work together on small character-themed posters. She brought a box full of stickers to hand out, too.
“I know they don’t want to listen to a long speech, so I try to keep it short and fun, and make sure the kids are involved in my presentation,” she said.
Humphrey interacted with the children for about an hour. She recalled that she spent three summers in the College for Kids program when she was in elementary school.
Humphrey is a freshman in the University of Miami’s General Honors Program, where she is a Hammond Scholar. Before winning the Miss University of Miami title, she was Florida’s Junior Miss 2010.
She was a National Achievement Scholar, AP Scholar with Distinction, and a varsity cheerleader at Palm Harbor University High School.
This summer she is back in Palm Harbor, living with her family and working at Publix, where she worked during high school.
The dedication of the new Michael and Evelyn Bilirakis Building on the Tarpon Springs Campus not only provided a new home for the Bilirakis College of Education; it also made room for a number of purposes in the building that formerly housed the College of Education.
The old building, known as the CE Building, is finding new purpose as a home for classrooms, offices and a new psychology lab, according to Provost Conferlete Carney.
“In general, we are moving social science and psychology classes and offices, as well all the Early College and Dual Enrollment (ECP/DE) operations, into what was known previously as the Bilirakis College of Education Building,” Carney said. “As part of the psychology operation, Drs. Joseph Smiley and David Liebert are planning to develop a psychology lab in the building, which will provide unique and new opportunities for our psychology students.”
Also, the building will host classes in sociology, history, economics, and college experience, and the Early College Program will have a dedicated classroom.
An added benefit is some programs that have been housed in portable buildings, including ECP/DE, will have more permanent housing, and that means two portables will be able to be retired, Carney said.
It’s not the first time a new use has been found for the CE building. In fact, its history contains a number of examples.
According to Susan Reiter, Vice President of Facilities Planning & Institutional Services, the CE Building was constructed in 2003 as a gym.
“Before we completed it, we decided to put the Tarpon Springs Library in that building,” Reiter said. “I can show you where the gym floor and the lockers were supposed to be located.”
Later, when the college built the Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art building, the library was incorporated into that building, and the CE Building was transformed from a library into the College of Education.
The college dedicated the new Michael and Evelyn Bilirakis Building, a 40,000 square-foot structure, on April 26. That building is named after former congressman Michael Bilirakis, a longtime supporter of SPC; and his wife Evelyn, a member of the SPC Board of Trustees for nearly 12 years and a member of the Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art on the Tarpon Springs Campus.
The college again has shown the quality of its baseball program with three players chosen in the first 10 rounds of Major League Baseball’s annual draft.
The draft concluded Wednesday night.
The players chosen included:
1. SEAN BUCKLEY, a 6-foot-4, 220-pound Tampa resident, was taken in the sixth round by the Cincinnati Reds. He joined the squad as a redshirt sophomore transfer from the University of South Florida. He plays third base and the outfield. In 51 games, he batted .362, led the team in doubles (18), home runs (10) and RBIs (52). He had 11 stolen bases.
2. JON MATTHEWS, a 6-foot-3, 200-pound outfielder, was taken by the Cincinnati Reds in the eighth round. He came to SPC in January as a transfer from Charleston Southern University. Matthews, who was the first recruit to be signed by Coach Rob Francis, hit .344, and knocked in 40 runs in 50 games. He finished second on the team in stolen bases with 24.
3. BRETT LEE, a 6-foot-4, left-handed pitcher from Pensacola, was taken in the 10th round by the Minnesota Twins. He transferred to SPC from Bishop State Community College in Alabama. Lee led the team in innings pitched (80) and strikeouts (75), and his 3-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio impressed many local pro scouts.
With any community college athletic program, restocking the program is always the toughest job. Coach Francis, who took over the program last year after it was placed on probation for two years when Coach Dave Pano resigned, has focused on attracting players from the home fields of Pinellas County – more than half the players on next year’s roster will hail from SPC’s home county. Francis says credit for finding that good close-to-home talent goes to Ryan Beckman, the team’s recruiting coordinator.
“We firmly believe that this group of 25 freshmen will really be able to make a run at a State Championship in our first year of ‘re-eligibility’ in 2013,” Francis said. “We don’t make excuses about the (probation) situation; we are doing all we can to attract the best players we can find. Half our roster will be Pinellas County kids – when I took this job, we had one player from Pinellas County.”
Looking hard at the talent available in Pinellas County is part of SPC’s role in serving the local community, not just in athletics but in every other way as well, according to Francis.
“The biggest thing, I think, is that the community college is here to serve the community,” he said. “Some of the best baseball players are right here. Why venture beyond? I don’t really understand that. Local kids want to play on the fields where they have played all their lives, and be around their family and friends.
“I think that means a lot.”
Ronnie Dickson, a graduate of SPC’s J.E. Hanger Orthotics and Prosthetics Program, was serving his residency at Prosthetic and Orthotic Associates in Orlando when he heard about a mission to Haiti to help victims of the January 2010 earthquake. He and another prosthetist decided to go along.
He ended up spending a week there in January, fitting seven amputees with prosthetic devices under less than ideal conditions. He and his colleague, Michael Littles, worked 12-hour days in a facility about 10 miles outside of Port-Au-Prince.
Dickson, who at 23 is an amputee himself, writes a column for O and P Edge, a trade journal for the orthotics and prosthetics industry. He devoted one of his recent columns to the experience in Haiti.
From his experiences at SPC to his residency work at a modern facility in Orlando, Dickson was used to dealing with state-of-the-art equipment and materials. That was not the case at the Haitian clinic, Prosthetics of Hope.
“As compared to here (in the U.S.), care was much more a matter of simply getting legs on people,” he said. “We were able to provide cost-effective care, typically fitting older components – anything that we had available. It was not very technically advanced, but I guess it was better than nothing.”
All of the seven patients Dickson treated had lost limbs in the earthquake. Six of the seven had previously been fitted with prosthetic devices, but needed new ones.
Conditions were very difficult, from the available equipment to the heat and lack of air conditioning to the constant media attention. Countless other patients at the facility needed help, but seven patients were all they could handle in the limited time they had available.
As difficult as the work was under primitive conditions, Dickson said the training he received at SPC served him very well.
“One of the great things is that Tampa Bay is saturated with tough competition in this field – everyone has to be better than the other guy, and that made it a great learning environment for the students there,” Dickson said. “I learned from a great many people in the community, and then through SPC I was able to get my job here in Orlando.”