Archive for the ‘Campuses’ Category

Since the Seminole Community Educational Ecosystem began three years ago, nearly 2,000 elementary, middle and high school students have visited St. Petersburg College to help hone their focus on their academic end goal – a college credential that will change their lives.

The educational ecosystem in Seminole stemmed from a grassroots effort in 2013 among five school principals and their School Advisory Committee members who wanted to reach beyond the traditional role of SACs. The educational ecosystem is based on research and best practices that champion the idea that it takes a community to educate a child.

“It’s about engaging the community in the educational process,” said Jesse Coraggio, Vice President for Institutional Effectiveness and Academic Services at SPC. “It’s the idea that educating the youth in the community shouldn’t be the response of just the school district or just the college; it really should be the response of the community and only together are we going to be successful.”

Coraggio helped spark the ecosystem idea when he was a SAC volunteer SAC at Bauder Elementary School, where his daughter attended. He and other parents wanted to explore how groups could work together across grade levels to prepare students and facilitate key transitions, such as those between elementary and middle school, middle school and high school, and high school and college.

As part of the program, fifth-graders visit SPC for “Picture Yourself Here” events, designed to inspire them to think about college at an early age. High school juniors and seniors attend SPC “Majors Fairs” and other programs with their parents to help explore, investigate and decide on college choices, and navigate the steps to successfully enroll and register.

The ecosystem idea has gained momentum and is now sparking conversations among SPC, communities and schools in Clearwater, south St. Petersburg and Tarpon Springs.

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This week, St. Petersburg College honored Dr. Vilma Zalupski for her dedication to the college, even into her retirement, and her continued support of Women on the Way, the college’s resource and support center for female students.


Dr. Vilma Zalupski takes part in the dedication of the Clearwater Campus Women on the Way center, which was renamed in her honor.

About 50 college administrators, faculty and students gathered Tuesday, Jan. 26, at the Clearwater Campus to take part in a reception for Zalupski. The event also served as a dedication where the campus’ WOW center was renamed in her honor.

Zalupski holds strong ties to the college. Her rise to the top began with a degree in counseling that led her on a path to become the college’s Dean of Women. Later named Clearwater Campus Provost, she is the first woman in Florida to have served as a community college provost.

Working closely with Women on the Way in its infancy, Zalupski has seen it grow into a program able to change the course of women’s lives. Even though she is now retired, she remains a WOW benefactor.

“I live in Tampa. If I lived closer… I would volunteer. But I do what I can. You know what they say, ‘Old soldiers never die’,” Zalupski said.

One thing WOW promotes is interconnectedness. That is, the ability to come together and achieve success through the help and determination of others.

“Working within WOW, and my career in general, I always made it a point to know everyone: how many kids they have, what they are going to school for, their hardships,” she said. “That general interest kept me connected to what was important.”

Words that have inspired Zalupski in her mission to help others: “It is in identifying yourself with the hopes, dreams, fears and longings of others that you may understand them and help them.” – Wilfred A. Peterson (Art of Awareness), March 2005

To Zalupski, WOW offers women a way to succeed beyond their expectations. Through scholarship initiatives, clothing programs and general support, the program offers students a shoulder to lean on.


Rebecca New, an SPC WOW member and education major, and WOW Coordinator Shirley Crumbley

“I know plenty of women who would not be able to go to school full time without the help from scholarships that WOW has given us,” said Rebecca New, an SPC WOW member and education major.

Some of the other unique opportunities WOW has given students involve textbook lending, workshops, class planning and access to resources for tutoring, housing and shelters.

And it does not stop there.

“They do this thing called Adopt-a-Family for Christmas,” New said. “The ladies in WOW literally bought my son a bike!”

SPC President Bill Law said WOW is a shining example of the college’s message to and goal for its students.

“The school promotes out-of-class support, interaction and help, as well as a genuine college experience to give students a push towards success,” Law said. “WOW is the best example of that model.”

Law reiterated that a plan is in place to put a WOW center on every campus.

WOW already has expanded to SPC Midtown, said WOW Coordinator Shirley Crumbley. The organization is scheduled to get centers at the Seminole, St. Petersburg/Gibbs and Tarpon Springs campuses by 2017.

As a leading lady behind WOW’s success, Zalupski feels it is a dream come true to see the program expand.

“Without her, WOW wouldn’t be as strong as it is today, and without her I probably would not have stayed at SPC for my bachelor’s,” New said.

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L to R: Bill Law, President, St. Petersburg College; Gregory Wright, Community Affairs Manager, Duke Energy Foundation, Florida; Melissa Seixas, Government andCommunity Relations Manager, Duke Energy Florida; Dale Oliver, Chairman, SPC Board of Trustees.

St. Petersburg College and Duke Energy are joining forces to stimulate the workforce and community.

Duke Energy is helping to develop the area’s workforce by providing $30,000 in scholarship support to SPC students.

The gift to the SPC Foundation will benefit students who are the first in their family to pursue a college credential and will be specifically earmarked for students attending SPC’s Midtown or Downtown campuses.

“Duke highly values this partnership with St. Petersburg College and the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of students in St. Petersburg,” said Melissa Seixas, Government and Community Relations Manager for Duke Energy Florida, at a recent recognition by the College Board of Trustees.

Seixas described the partnership as “a multi-layered relationship.”

In August, Duke provided $10,000 and a team of volunteers to help support the grand opening of the college’s Douglas L. Jamerson Midtown Campus.

A long list of local dignitaries and more than 1,500 area residents joined the event to celebrate the opening of the 49,000-square-foot, state-of-the art center.

Located at 1300 22nd Street, South in St. Petersburg, the Jamerson Center was named in honor of the longtime legislator, Florida Education Commissioner and St. Petersburg Junior College alum.

“We appreciate all Duke does for St. Petersburg College and for the entire community,” said College Trustee Deveron Gibbons.

Learn more about Duke Energy Foundation.

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It might have been any other Saturday at the college’s St. Petersburg College/Gibbs Campus. But not for Wallace Thomas Johnson.


Area resident Wallace Thomas Johnson receives a plaque honoring him as SPC Athletics’ number one fan from Dr. Tonjua Williams, senior vice president of Student Services, and campus provosts Jamelle Conner and Mark Strickland.

On Jan. 23, students and staff at St. Petersburg College awarded him a plaque, acknowledging him as SPC Athletics’ number one fan.

Prior to the men’s basketball game between SPC and State College of Florida, Johnson, 69, stood under an SPC Titans’ canopy, an area he has called home for most of his tenure as a SPC volunteer. He smiled as he handed a student a hot dog – a kind smile that said, “I’m here and being here is happiness.”

A computer science instructor, Johnson taught as an adjunct faculty member at SPC for 13 years. During that time he was offered a job with Florida Power in South Carolina, where he worked for three years. He eventually returned to Florida and found his passion for SPC sports.

“I live close to the college,” he said. “You know, one day I heard some noise in the gym, I walked in, and boy was I hooked.”

He has shown his love of SPC sports in many ways. He’s donated thousands of dollars for signs, chairs, tables and other odds and ends for the teams. And he’s a regular at any SPC game – whatever the sport – that he can possibly attend where students and staff greet him as Mr. Johnson or Tom.

“Volleyball is my favorite, but the basketball team is awesome as well,” he said. “They always put on a good show.”

Trouble struck, however, when he learned he had stage four lung cancer. He has since been going through chemo treatments to fight the disease.

“I just keep going,” he said.


SPC sports fan Wallace Thomas Johnson and SPC Head Baseball Coach Ryan Beckman

Dedication and kindness are words that define Johnson, his fans at SPC said. Seeing him push through his illness every day to support something he loves has had a positive effect on the entire SPC community.

“Thank you, Mr. Johnson,” said Davie Gill, Student Life and Leadership Coordinator and Athletic Director at SPC. “I don’t think he realizes how much he impacts the students and players, but we are grateful.”

The college also named the corner where he has pitched the SPC Titans’ canopy for so many games “Tom’s Corner” in honor of the wonderful things he has accomplished.

“It’s nice to see a dedicated fan,” Gill said. It’s even more special, he added, considering the challenges Johnson faces to attend the games.

Johnson shows no sign of slowing down. The chemo treatments keep him somewhat shaky at times, but he shrugs it off, ready for the day.

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Prominent intellectual, best-selling author and provocative talk-show guest Dr. Cornel West heads a line-up of prominent African Americans who will address social justice issues at the Heritage Lecture Series during the 2016 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration in St. Petersburg.

The series, sponsored by the Cross and Anvil Human Services Center, will be held Jan. 11-13 at SPC’s Allstate Center campus, 3200 34th St. S. The event is free and open to the public, but advance registration is required.

Joining Dr. West as headline speakers will be Dr. Lani Guinier, law professor at Harvard University and former member of the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division; Charles M. Blow, columnist for the New York Times; Dr. Gerald Horne, author, historian and professor at the University of Houston; and John L. Burris, civil rights attorney and legal analyst for cable news media.

The Heritage Lecture Series, entering its third year, seeks to engage the African American community in recognizing its accomplishments and defining its grievances, educating its young people and challenging its members to carry on Dr. King’s fight for equality. Speakers will focus on the effects of recent changes in law, education and history as they relate to racial justice for African Americans.

The program lineup is:

·         7 p.m. Jan. 11, Dr. Lani Guinier

·         10 a.m. Jan. 12, Charles M. Blow

·         7 p.m. Jan. 12, John Burris

·         6 p.m. Jan. 13, Dr. Gerald Horne

·         7 p.m. Jan. 13, Dr. Cornel West

The Cross and Anvil Human Services Center, 1201 Seventh Ave. S., St. Petersburg, is a partnership between the City of St. Petersburg and the Greater Mt. Zion African Methodist Episcopal Church. It provides academic support services, mental health counseling, comprehensive youth mentoring, veterans’ services, and parental engagement training.

Additional sponsors include: St. Petersburg College, the Juvenile Welfare Board, the Pinellas County Sherriff’s Office, Duke Energy, Pinellas County Schools and the Institute for Strategic Policy Solutions at St. Petersburg College.

Advance registration is required at http://conta.cc/1m1jHGB.

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Clearwater Campus Celebrates 50 YearsThe St. Petersburg College Clearwater Campus celebrated its 50th birthday this week with two campus events. More than 100 former and current Clearwater Campus faculty, staff and community friends attended a VIP reception and presentation on Tuesday, Nov. 17. The event had the feeling of a family reunion as old friends came together to reconnect and celebrate. The second event was held on the Clearwater Campus Quad the following day.

See pictures from both events on our Facebook Gallery.

Florida’s first woman provost

Vilma Zalupski

Former SPC Provost Vilma Zalupski

“It is a true honor to look around and see so many people that I worked with,” said Vilma Zalupski, the first woman provost in Florida, and the longest-serving provost of the Clearwater Campus (1979-1995). “This campus will always be home in my heart.”

She brought tears to the eyes of many of her old friends and colleagues as she spoke of how they hand-planted many of the trees that still stand on the campus today and watered them with little cans and coffee cups.

“As you walk across this campus you see her fingerprints everywhere,” said Susan Demers, Dean of SPC’s College of Policy, Ethics and Legal Studies who emceed the event.

SPC President Bill Law also had memories of Dr. Zalupski: “The thing I remember about you is your fierce commitment to students.”

City of Clearwater officials join in celebration

Clearwater Mayor George Cretekos

Clearwater Mayor George Cretekos

Clearwater Mayor George Cretekos took the crowd back in time to 1965 when bread cost 30 cents, you had to have a dime in your pocket to make a phone call, the Dodgers won the World Series and Medicare became law.

“Things have changed but one thing that has not changed is the commitment of this institution to educate and to help its students become productive members of society and give them a chance to live their dreams,” said Cretekos.

Clearwater City Manager Bill Horne quoted a headline from the Clearwater Sun Archives: “Modest Now But Watch Us Grow.”

Clearwater Sun, May 9,1965

Clearwater City Manager Bill Horne

Clearwater City Manager Bill Horne

The first semester of classes were held during the summer term of 1965. Currently, more than 9,500 students call the campus home. In addition to the growth in numbers of students, the campus facilities continue to expand. Plans are now underway to replace the current campus library with a new Community Library, a partnership between St. Petersburg College and the City of Clearwater.

“We are all excited about the joint-use library project,” said Horne. “I hope you feel that you left a legacy that will continue to move this community forward.”

A walk down memory lane

Dr. Joy Moore, a Clearwater Campus math professor, along with three members of the Badeya Club (Bianca Cage, Keiasha Fisher and Ariel Davis) provided a glimpse back in time with an impressive Motown Medley complete with costumes and choreography.

“All that and she teaches math too,” said Clearwater Campus Provost Stan Vittetoe. Vittetoe presented an overview of the growth of the campus, key programs and contributions of faculty, staff and community members. He also noted that Clearwater Campus was the home of two students honored among the top 20 scholars in the nation: Spenser Reed and Alistair Glover.

“You never know where your students are going to land and the impact you are going to have,” said Dr. Patricia Rowell, a Clearwater Campus provost from 2001-2003. “This campus not only had the top echelon of faculty, but we also had a lot of fun.”

Working at Clearwater Campus

Some students loved the Clearwater Campus so much they came back to work there later. Kathleen Griffin, a Clearwater Campus student, later served as Clearwater Campus Associate Provost.

“I love this campus,” said Griffin. “I started here and retired here.”

50 years of Clearwater Campus Associate Provosts: Matt Bowen, Dr.Kathleen Griffin, Jeffrey Davis and Dr. Dave Walthall.

50 years of Clearwater Campus Associate Provosts: Matt Bowen, Dr. Kathleen Griffin, Jeffrey Davis and Dr. Dave Walthall.

Jeff Cesta

Jeff Cesta

Jeff Cesta, Director of SPC’s Dual Enrollment, Early College and Early Admissions programs, graduated from SPJC Clearwater Campus in 1986.

“I was fortunate enough to return to the Physical Education & Athletic departments on the Clearwater Campus as part of my student teaching/internship for the University of Florida in 1988, and began working at the Clearwater Campus in the fall of 1989,” said Cesta. “It’s truly been a wonderful opportunity to work here at SPC Clearwater!”

The Merriam family has had someone working at Clearwater Campus consecutively since the campus opened in 1965.

Pictured from left are Fred Merriam, Rod Keskiner and Lynne Merriam.

Pictured from left are Fred Merriam, Rod Keskiner and Lynne Merriam.

Students attend campus birthday party

Faculty, staff and students came out in force on Wednesday, Nov. 18 to celebrate in the Clearwater Campus Quad. Students enjoyed pot pie, a dish dating back to 1965, birthday cake, key lime pie and ice cream.

Dr. Greg Byrd, Communications Professor on the Clearwater Campus and award-winning poet read a poem he wrote for the event entitled I am SPC-Clearwater.

See pictures from both events on our Facebook Gallery.

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MLK Day of Service

Help spread the word and make a difference by joining the local movement of people who will honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on Jan. 18, 2016 with a Day of Service. The MLK Day of Service Advisory Board is holding information sessions to provide a brief overview of the 2016 MLK Day of Service and how to apply for a service award.

With the help of State Rep. Darryl E. Rouson, D-St. Petersburg, this is the fourth year St. Petersburg College has received funds from the Florida Legislature for the St. Petersburg MLK Day of Service.

As part of the event, participants can:

  • Plan a service project and apply for a 2016 MLK Day of Service Award of up to $5,000 to fund the project
  • Serve as a volunteer in another organization or group’s service project on the MLK Day of Service
  • Organize a service project and have the project posted on SPC’s website
  • Become a donor or sponsor

To apply for a 2016 MLK Day of Service Award, interested groups/organizations are required to attend at least one of the following information sessions prior to submitting an application:

SPC Allstate Campus, 3200 34th Street S., St. Petersburg, Room 110

  • Thursday, Oct. 8, 6-7:30 p.m.

St. Petersburg/Gibbs Campus, 6605 5th Ave. N., St. Petersburg, AD Room 180

  • Saturday, Oct. 10, 10 a.m.-noon
  • Thursday, Oct. 15, 6-7:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, Oct. 24, 10 a.m.-noon
  • Thursday, Oct. 29, 6-7:30 p.m.

Enoch Davis Center, 1111 18th Ave. S., St. Petersburg

  • Tuesday, Oct. 20, 6-7:30 p.m.

Information presented at each session is identical. The sessions are free of charge, but advance registration is strongly encouraged. To register visit: http://conta.cc/1MWc90G. The deadline to apply for a 2016 MLK Day of Service Award is Nov. 6, 2015.

About MLK Day of Service Advisory Board

Dedicated to preserving Dr. King’s legacy of service, the St. Petersburg MLK Day of Service Advisory Board in collaboration with St. Petersburg College seeks to engage thousands of local citizens in a day of service. To learn more visit http://www.spcollege.edu/mlkservice, or call us at 727-392-8222.

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