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midtowngrandopening3More than 1,500 people joined the celebration on Saturday, Aug. 1 for St. Petersburg College’s grand opening of the new Douglas L. Jamerson, Jr. Midtown Center at 1300 22nd St. S.

The new 49,000-square-foot, state-of-the art center is named in honor of the late Douglas L. Jamerson, Jr., a longtime legislator and a Florida Commissioner of Education. Jamerson, a graduate of St. Petersburg College, was one of the most prominent politicians in the state of Florida and a fierce advocate for education. He passed away in 2001.

View pictures of today’s event on our Facebook Gallery.

“What a wonderful way to honor the work and life of Douglas Jamerson,” said St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman.

In honor of their contributions to the community SPC President William D. Law, Jr., and the Board of Trustees, presented six honorary Bachelor of Arts in College and Community Services degrees to:

  • Goliath Davis III, former Deputy Mayor of Midtown Economic Development, City of St. Petersburg
  • Bruce Grimes, Real Estate and Property Management Director, City of St. Petersburg
  • Joseph H. Lang, President of Baynard, McLeod and Lang, PA, and SPC’s Board of Trustees Attorney
  • The Rev. Louis M. Murphy, Sr., Mt. Zion Progressive Missionary Baptist Church
  • The Rev. Wayne G. Thompson, First Baptist Institutional Church
  •  The Rev. Clarence A. Williams, Greater Mt. Zion A.M.E. Church.

SPC Trustee Deveron M. Gibbons spoke of how Jamerson mentored him over the years, recalling that he still carries with him Jamerson’s advice: “It’s not how powerful you can become – it’s how many people you can empower.”

Jamerson’s family received a standing ovation from the packed audience.

Rev. Murphy, who gave the invocation, said the new center brings “hope” and “opportunity” to the community.

Niki Johnson, President of the Midtown Center Student Government Association (SGA) and Alexis Clavizzao, President of the Downtown SGA, shared with the crowd their joy over the new center and how they believed it would have a profound impact on the community.

“I encourage everyone today to take advantage of the opportunities available to you and spread the name of SPC across the world,” Johnson said.

The event included presentations by prominent local officials and community activists, and a block party. Attendees toured the facility, built by locally owned LEMA Construction, and were able to take advantage of a slate of college services, such as academic and career advising, and assistance with registration and financial aid. The event – which was sponsored by Duke Energy and supported by LEMA Construction – also included complimentary lunch, multiple vendors, a “Kids Zone,” and live entertainment.

Guest speakers included:

  • Rick Kriseman, Mayor, City of St. Petersburg
  • Alex Glenn, President, Duke Energy, Florida
  • Trustee Gibbons
  • President Law, Jr.
  • SGA leaders Johnson and Clavizzao
  • Kevin Gordon, Provost, Midtown Center, St. Petersburg College
  • The Rev. Thompson, The Rev. Murphy and The Rev. Williams

Multiple other civic and community leaders were in attendance, including but not limited to: St. Petersburg Council Members Wengay Newton and Karl Nurse; Pinellas County Commissioners Kenneth T. Welch and Pat Gerard; St. Petersburg Police Chief Anthony Holloway; Theresa “Momma Tee” Lassiter; and former St. Petersburg Mayor Bob Ulrich.

The new center includes graphic art installations that tell the story of the rich history of Midtown, and 22nd Street – affectionately nicknamed “The Deuces.” Community members walked the halls and shared their memories of eating at Geech’s BBQ, working at the old Mercy Hospital, and dancing nights away at the old Manhattan Casino.

St. Petersburg College has long been dedicated to providing educational opportunities in Midtown. The original 10,000-square-foot Midtown Center at 1048 22nd St. So., opened in 2003 as part of a $2 million St. Petersburg Housing Authority’s HOPE VI project. It has been renamed the Cecil B. Keene, Sr. Student Achievement Center, in honor of the late educator and SPC Board of Trustees member, who died in 2008.

In 2012, as demand for classes and community involvement grew, SPC’s Board of Trustees approved a $14 million expenditure to build the new three-story building on land leased from the City of St. Petersburg. The new center includes multiple classrooms, two science labs, three computer labs, a book store, a community room, and a career center.

The center is already being used by students and the community, and is open for classes for the Fall 2015 term, which begins Aug. 17.

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001 SPC MIDTOWN CENTER Day

St. Petersburg College will host a ribbon cutting and block party to celebrate the grand opening of the new Douglas L. Jamerson, Jr. Midtown Center beginning at 11 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 1, 2015, at the center at 1300 22nd St. S. The event is free and open to the public.

The new 45,000-square-foot, state-of-the art center will serve as the college’s flagship campus and community center for south St. Petersburg and will open for classes for the Fall 2015 term, which begins Aug. 17. The new campus is named in honor of the late Douglas L. Jamerson, Jr., a longtime legislator and a Florida Commissioner of Education. Jamerson, a graduate of St. Petersburg College, was one of the most prominent politicians in the state of Florida and a fierce advocate for education.

The event will include a grand opening ceremony, with presentations by prominent local officials and community activists, and a daylong block party, with:

  • Tours of the new facility
  • Live entertainment, including performances by the Mt. Zion Progressive Missionary Baptist Choir, the Lakewood High School Jazz Band and Saxophonist Shawn Brown
  • Free barbeque and refreshments
  • A “Kids Zone” sponsored by the City of St. Petersburg Parks & Recreation Department
  • An appearance by Raymond, the mascot of the Tampa Bay Rays
  • Full registration services
  • Free vouchers for SPC’s “Learn to Earn” career development courses
  • Complimentary career and academic advising
  • Assistance with financial aid services
  • Roughly three dozen vendors and community organizations

The college application fee will be waived during the event, a $40 savings.

Guest speakers will include:

  • Rick Kriseman, Mayor, City of St. Petersburg
  • Alex Glenn, President, Duke Energy, Florida
  • William D. Law, Jr., President, St. Petersburg College
  • Kevin Gordon, Provost, Midtown Center, St. Petersburg College
  • Niki Johnson, Vice President of the Midtown Center Student Government Association
  • Alexis Clavizzao, President of the Downtown Center Student Government Association

In honor of their outstanding service to the community, St. Petersburg College will award six honorary Bachelor of Arts in College and Community Services degrees to distinguished members of the community during the grand opening event.

St. Petersburg College has long been dedicated to providing educational opportunities in Midtown. The original 10,000-square-foot Midtown Center at 1048 22nd St. So., opened in 2003 as part of a $2 million St. Petersburg Housing Authority’s HOPE VI project. It has been renamed the Cecil B. Keene, Sr. Student Achievement Center, in honor of the late educator and SPC Board of Trustees member, who died in 2008.

In 2012, as demand for classes and community involvement grew, SPC’s Board of Trustees approved a $14 million expenditure to build the new three-story building on land leased from the City of St. Petersburg. The new center includes multiple classrooms, two science labs, three computer labs, a book store, a community room, and a career center.

Beginning this fall, programs will be offered in:

  • Advanced Manufacturing (Certificate)
  • Clinical Medical Assisting (Certificate)
  • Computer Support CompTIA A+ (Certificate)
  • Early Childhood Education (Certificate)
  • Entrepreneurship (Associate in Science & Certificate)
  • Human Services (Associate in Science & Certificate)
  • Associate in Arts transfer degree

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Keron Jean-Baptiste

Keron Jean-Baptiste

Keron Jean-Baptiste has been named Associate Provost of SPC’s St. Petersburg/Gibbs Campus.

Jean-Baptiste joined St. Petersburg College in 1999. He has worked in student services for fifteen years. During his tenure, he has served as an Academic Advisor on the Seminole, Midtown, and St. Petersburg/Gibbs campuses. He has also served as a Coordinator of the Information Technology Readiness Academy, College Recruiter, Site Coordinator at Midtown, Senior Staff Assistant in testing, and Student Support Advisor on the St. Petersburg/Gibbs Campus.

For the past year, he has served as the Interim Associate Provost on the St. Petersburg/Gibbs Campus and has been actively engaged in several strategic projects within the College Experience, including development of the new comprehensive advising model.

A former St. Petersburg Jr. College student, Jean-Baptiste earned his Bachelor’s degree in Business Management from National Louis University, holds a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership, and is currently a Doctoral candidate at Nova Southeastern University.

Jean-Baptiste joins the campus leadership team under new Provost Jamelle Connor.

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Karen Kaufman White

Karen Kaufman White

After 31 years at SPC, Karen Kaufman White, Provost of the St. Petersburg/Gibbs Campus is retiring in July.

“I’ve had the good fortune to know Karen White since her first days at “SPJC.” She has always been a patient and focused educator, working on behalf of students and faculty, ready to take on new challenges,” said SPC President Dr. William Law. “Her early work to design and launch the Ethics Program at the College has proven to be a mark of distinction for all of us. Her work to lead our St. Petersburg/Gibbs Campus as a provost at the end of her career has similarly been a beacon of service and support for our students. We wish her well in the next phase of her life.”

Initially a high-school English teacher and later a civil trial lawyer, White joined SPC in 1984 as Dean of Open Campus, managing what was then the college’s largest campus. During that time she supervised the successful launch of the Applied Ethics Program, including a required course for all degree-seeking students, the first program of its kind in the U.S. Later, she was Instructor-in-charge of the Applied Ethics Department and an adjunct Applied Ethics Instructor.

“Every SPC graduate takes with them a gift from Dr. White in the skills that they learn in PHI 1600 Applied Ethics,” said Susan Demers, SPC Dean of Public Policy and Legal Studies. “Her hard work in crafting the original Applied Ethics course and the legacy of her leadership are the backbone of our department. Her passion for justice, attention to detail, and generous spirit make her the living exemplar of critical thinking applied to life. We will miss her and wish her the best but I hope she knows where home is!”

In 1999 she became the Coordinator for Project Eagle I, a large federal grant aimed at building a national model for increasing access to four-year degrees and workforce training for community college students.

She also served as Special Assistant to the President and Dean of International Programs prior to accepting the position of provost in 2008.

“One could not have scripted a professional journey that would bring more joy and satisfaction than the career that unfolded for me at St. Petersburg College,” said White. “I am forever grateful for the privilege of learning from and working with such wonderful colleagues in serving our community and helping our students succeed.”

Jamelle Conner has been named Provost of the St. Petersburg/Gibbs Campus.

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As baby boomers, the largest American generation to date, begin retiring, they are leaving looming gaps in the workforce. The departures have drawn media attention to the growing number of openings in the Tampa Bay area for public servants, specifically in public safety, policy and utilities.

In the City of St. Petersburg, for instance, nearly a quarter of the police force is currently eligible to retire. And when veteran officers leave, they take institutional knowledge with them.

St. Petersburg College is working closely with cities, counties, municipalities and companies to train and expose its students to the diversity of jobs available in the public utilities, public safety and public policy sectors.

SPC Career Exploration Event

public sector jobsRecently, more than 100 people attended SPC’s Public Utilities Career Exploration event at the Seminole Campus, where they learned about current and future career openings, training requirements, salaries and scholarship opportunities.

The annual career exploration event began a few years ago with a focus on job opportunities for students in SPC’s A.S. degree program in environmental science, but has expanded to include public policy students. The college eventually plans to hold the event twice a year and include students in information technology.

“The event illustrates a strong partnership between educators and local industries to inform students and the public of career opportunities in our region,” said Jason Krupp, director of Workforce Services for SPC. “It is very rewarding to help connect students with real opportunities in a sector they may not have considered otherwise.”

Job openings in public utilities

One of the most diverse departments in any municipality, public utilities positions range from mechanics and equipment operators to lab techs, biologists and chemists to accountants, marketers and attorneys. In St. Petersburg, Water Resources is the city’s largest operation and provides potable water distribution, wastewater (sewage) collection, treatment and disposal, and reclaimed water for irrigation purposes to city residents.

“Because water is a limited natural resource with increasing demand and regulation, there is a strong future need for skilled workers in public utilities,” Krupp said.

City of Seminole to hire SPC public policy students

Seminole City Manager Frank Edmunds recognized this need and recently announced an agreement with SPC to hire one SPC public policy student or graduate each year for the next 10 years. This agreement is a testament of the high-quality instruction and career preparation provided by SPC faculty and staff.

The trainee will work their way through four departments: administration, public safety, community development and public works, to receive exposure to and specialized experience in the various areas of city government.

Public safety training

Over at SPC’s Allstate Center, students can enter a training academy to become a police or corrections officer or firefighter, move up in their career by earning an academic degree or take mandatory and specialized training available for emergency and first responders, military personnel, public safety, emergency management and judicial professionals and even the general public.

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WE-504

Beginning this fall, SPC will offer “Weekend College” on the Clearwater Campus. The program provides students the chance to earn an Associate in Arts or Associate in Science in Business Administration degree by taking classes entirely on the weekends.

The program can help those whose work or family responsibilities keep them too busy to attend classes during the week.

Info sessions for the new Weekend College program will be held from 10 to 11:30 on May 30 and July 11, on the Clearwater Campus, Room ES 104.

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davie-gill-ad-259x300Student Life and Leadership Coordinator Davie Gill has been named Athletic Director, taking over for Mark Strickland, who was recently named interim provost at the Seminole Campus. As it was with Strickland, the position is in addition to other administrative duties.

Gill began his career at SPC in 2000 as a student services officer at the St. Petersburg/Gibbs Campus. He was named coordinator of what was then called Student Activities (now known as Student Life and Leadership) at the campus in 2008.

Strickland served as athletic director for eight years.

 

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