A total of 2,922 students earned 3,307 degrees from SPC this term, President Bill Law told the crowd of well-wishers. Graduates ranged in age from 16 to 76, with 31 graduates over the age of 60. Thirteen of the graduates received their diplomas on their birthdays. Check out all the graduation stats.
The Class of 2015 also includes the youngest student ever to receive a bachelor’s degree from St. Petersburg College, 18-year-old Richard Ramdohr, of St. Petersburg.
With this graduating class, the college has awarded 147,381 degrees since the college was founded in 1927.
Among other milestones, SPC celebrated the following:
- 10,000th student to earn an Associate in Science degree in nursing
- 8,000th baccalaureate graduate
- 2,000th baccalaureate nursing graduate
- 1,000th baccalaureate elementary education teacher graduate
- The largest group ever of A.A. and A.S. degree students in one term, with 2,286
Before diplomas were handed out, the college’s Apollo and Alumni Achievement award winners addressed fellow students and guests.
Clearwater Campus student Amy Bhatt received the Apollo Award, the highest honor a two-year graduate can achieve. Seminole Campus student James Stanley Lenas was named the Alumni Achievement Award winner, bringing home the highest honor for a four-year SPC graduate.
Bhatt was a member of the Early College Program and graduated with her A.A. degree and a 4.0 GPA.
“In my two years at SPC, I found that this is a great place to learn and develop our ‘academic intelligence.’ But even beyond that, the interaction with faculty and students is phenomenal for developing our ‘practical intelligence’ in dealing with people and working as a team. And I quickly realized that in order to succeed, we need both – academic and practical intelligence. In just two years, I got so much from SPC, that I feel I will never be able to pay it back.”
Bhatt plans to earn a bachelor’s degree in paralegal studies at SPC and would like to attend Stetson University’s College of Law and pursue her ultimate dream of serving on the Supreme Court. Professors at St. Petersburg College inspired students “to succeed every single day,” Bhatt said.
Lenas graduates with a B.S. degree in biology with a 3.65 GPA and is one of six students in the country to be accepted into Bayfront Health’s School of Medical Technology Laboratory Science program. During his time at SPC, Lenas presented research in microbiology at the American Society of Microbiology Summit in 2014 and was named a Biological Research Nominee, an award given to biology program students who complete outstanding research in the field.
“My experience tells me that my education as an SPC student, as well as yours, make us stand out,” Lenas said. “SPC is doing something right because it is producing competitive applicants for a number of careers.”
Lenas touted the college’s “small class sizes, where every instructor knew my name,”
Also honored at the ceremony was SPC’s 2015 Outstanding Alumnus, St. Petersburg Police Chief Anthony Holloway. Chief Holloway attended St. Petersburg Junior College in 1996 before transferring to Eckerd College, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in business management in 1999 and his master’s degree in business administration in 2001.
During his 22-year career with the Clearwater Police Department, Holloway became the city’s first black police captain and eventually its chief in 2010. He was named chief of the St. Petersburg Police Department in 2014.