More than 400 graduates of St. Petersburg College crossed the stage during the 128th Commencement Ceremony at Indian Rocks Baptist Church on Saturday, July 25.
A total of 1,085 students earned 1,234 degrees this term, SPC President Bill Law told the crowd of graduates and well-wishers.
“You inspire us with your determination, and we celebrate your accomplishments,” Law said.
Graduates ranged in age from 17 to 72, with 12 graduates over the age of 60.
Of the summer graduates, 61 percent were female and 39 percent were male. Check out all the graduation stats. With this graduating class, the college has awarded 148,615 degrees since the college was founded in 1927. Before, during and after the ceremony, tweets, photos and videos were shared on social media.
Before diplomas were handed out, graduates Ernest Gant and Michael Nash addressed fellow students and guests.
Ernest Gant, Associate in Arts, Business
Gant was awarded the 2014 Student Life and Leadership Award for his work with SPC’s Men Achieving Excellence (MAX) Club and his numerous volunteer efforts. He was also active in Student Government and Phi Theta Kappa and was recently hired as the Outreach Specialist for SPC’s Downtown and Midtown centers.
Gant said he got his second chance at success by attending St. Petersburg College. Once a high school dropout, he graduated Saturday with a 3.9 grade point average and now plans to pursue a bachelor’s degree – at SPC.
“I want you to remember – I was a high school dropout with no plan. I could have gone the wrong way,” Gant said. “However, the team at SPC has helped me understand what Dr. Martin Luther King said: ‘Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.'”
Michael Nash, Bachelor of Applied Science, Technology Development and Management
Nash worked in the Learning Support Centers at the Tarpon Springs and Clearwater campuses and was hired as a full-time employee by Library Services in 2014. His perseverance in his work with other students and his studies and his commitment to care for his family during challenging times make him a model for others.
Nash acknowledged that many graduates, himself included, had to overcome obstacles to earn their college degree.
“You’re here because you were willing to sacrifice all that you were – for what you wanted to become,” Nash said.
President Law thanked the faculty, staff and administrators, as well as the families and friends who helped the graduates achieve their goal.
He also showed his appreciation to the students, who are the heart and soul of SPC.
“Graduates, thank you for choosing this college.” Law said. “We were privileged to serve you.”