Archive for the ‘Clearwater’ Category

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.

Read Full Post »

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.

Read Full Post »

College Visit Day

Pinellas County high school students can take a day off from classes on Oct. 14 to visit St. Petersburg College campuses. Open to high school juniors and seniors, these events count as an official college visit day. At each event students can:

  • Explore different majors … and the careers they lead to
  • Take a tour of our beautiful campuses
  • Learn about the free resources to help students succeed
  • Find out how to apply to SPC
  • Enjoy free refreshments
  • Ask for an official college visit letter to take back to their school as confirmation that they attended the event.

Choose the campus location nearest you. Get more information and reserve your spot online today:

Read Full Post »


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.

Read Full Post »

More than 80 representatives from the local manufacturing industry and related organizations attended the summit on Feb. 25 at the St. Petersburg College Clearwater Campus.

More than 80 representatives from the local manufacturing industry and related organizations attended the summit on Feb. 25.

More than 80 representatives from local manufacturing industry and organizations attended the Legislative Manufacturing Summit on the Clearwater Campus Feb. 25. The event, sponsored by Synovus Bank, was hosted by Sen. Jack Latvala (R-Clearwater) and Rep. Kathleen Peters (R-St. Petersburg).

Attendees heard from a distinguished panel who shared information about upcoming Florida legislative bills that would affect manufacturers throughout the state. The bills address such issues as sales tax exemptions, taxation of facility leases, incentives for manufacturers wishing to enter or expand their facilities into Florida, scholarships for teachers to work in manufacturing during the summer, export assistance for Florida manufacturers and educational grants, certifications and articulation agreements.

After the panel presentations, participants divided into teams and were guided by SPC’s Collaborative Labs personnel in prioritizing recommendations they would like to make to the Florida Legislature.

Latvala and Peters thanked attendees for providing their recommendations about how to address manufacturing issues. The goal is to enable Florida to grow as a leader in the manufacturing industry.

Read Full Post »


Regina Calcaterra, New York Times best-selling author of this year’s One Book, One College selection Etched in Sand, spoke to a packed room of more than 150 people at the Clearwater Campus on Wednesday, Jan. 28.

“It’s an honor for me to be here, as it would be for any author,” Calcaterra said.

Calcaterra appeared at four SPC campuses Jan. 28-29 to discuss her memoir, participate in Q&As and sign copies of her book.

SPC student Nan Jeong, 38, speaks with Calcaterra during her book signing.

SPC student Nan Jeong, 38, speaks with Calcaterra during her book signing.

Etched in Sand follows Calcaterra and her four siblings through their tumultuous childhood framed by an alcoholic, abusive, and often absentee mother. The inspiring coming-of-age story, with themes of tenacity, hope, resilience and unconditional love among siblings, spent many weeks on the New York Times bestseller list.

An engaging speaker, Calcaterra elicited gasps, tears and applause as she discussed how she and her siblings “survived on the fringes of society” and “broke the cycle of abuse” in one generation.

Calcaterra spoke about the teachers and professors who helped her lift herself from a life of poverty, homelessness and abuse to become a strong, accomplished woman. Those mentors repeatedly told her, “The only way out of poverty is through education,” Calcaterra said.

Calcaterra, an attorney for the state of New York, served as Executive Director of two New York State commissions, and is a former Chief Deputy to the Suffolk County (N.Y.) Executive.

Through a survey, college employees chose Calcaterra’s book as the featured title of SPC’s common reading program. The goal of the program is to get everyone at the college reading and discussing the same selection. Past books on the reading list have included Water for Elephants, The Art of Racing in the Rain and The Last Lecture.

See more photos on the college’s Facebook page.

Read Full Post »

Brad Jenkins at the opening of the Collaborative Center for Emerging Technologies

A beaming Brad Jenkins at the opening of the Collaborative Center for Emerging Technologies in August, 2012

Not many people get the liberty to develop a manufacturing training facility and show it off to the federal Secretary of Labor.

Brad Jenkins did just that in September 2012, when U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis visited the Clearwater Campus to announce $500 million worth of federal workforce training grants.

As part of her visit, Solis toured the $1.2 million Collaborative Center for Emerging Technologies, a training facility that Jenkins helped develop as an open manufacturing factory and work environment. The building is the crowning achievement of Jenkins’ 40-year career at St. Petersburg College.

Jenkins will retire this month and be honored at the Board of Trustees meeting Jan. 20.

“Forty years is a long time,” said Jenkins, who began his career at SPC as a full-time instructor and is departing as Associate Dean of the Engineering Technology and Building Arts Department. “I’ve got my fingerprints on a lot of things.”

Meeting the needs of the manufacturing industry

Since Jenkins was named program director of Engineering Technology and Building Arts in 1979, more than 1,800 students have earned certificates and degrees under him.

Over the past three years, enrollment in manufacturing programs at SPC has climbed 20% thanks in part to federal and state workforce training grants the college has received.

The workforce grants and training at the CCET help meet a growing skills gap that leaves thousands of manufacturing jobs unfilled each year. Through the career training program announced by Secretary Solis, St. Petersburg College and partnering colleges received a $15 million grant to build the Florida TRADE Consortium, a statewide training system for advanced manufacturing jobs in high demand.

Over the years, manufacturing has evolved dramatically and now relies heavily on advanced technologies and automation, requiring specialized training. Jenkins wanted such training to take place in the CCET with “everything out in the open like an actual manufacturing floor” so it was realistic. He was given carte blanche to build and equip the workforce training center as he saw fit.

“Can you believe I got that chance?” quipped Jenkins. “Not many people get that sort of deal. We’ve got a unique situation here that worked out pretty well.”

Now, companies frequently visit the CCET, as they look to relocate to the Tampa Bay area and train a new workforce. The name, Collaborative Center for Emerging Technologies, was inspired by the large role the college plays in working with employers.

“I looked at a lot of other facilities in the state that had advanced manufacturing in the name, but this made more sense because we work so closely with industry and local partners,” said Jenkins, who has also built working relationships with the National Science Foundation.

In fact, Jenkins served as co-principal investigator for two NSF grant initiatives: the Florida Advanced Technological Education (FLATE) Center and the Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (S-STEM). While at SPC, he also helped secure and administer nine other major workforce training grant programs from various agencies.

Award-winning innovator

Jenkins was named the 2012 Educator of the Year by the National High Impact Technology Exchange Association for his work on developing SPC’s Associate of Science degree in Engineering Technology. The first of its kind in Florida, the degree serves as a national model and has been adopted by 10 other colleges in the state.

“The higher education community across the state as well as business and industry leaders respect Brad as one of the premier technology educators,” said Clearwater Provost Stan Vittetoe. “His work has ranged from telecommunications to manufacturing and biomedical electronics. He has been at the forefront of technology education for many years, and has been recognized by national organizations for his contributions in this area. In addition to his teaching responsibilities Brad has led numerous state and federal grants on behalf of the college and has insured that SPC would remain on the leading edge of technology.”

Through his extensive industry connections, Jenkins has personally helped dozens of students land jobs. To Jenkins, giving people real skills is what makes the difference and has made his time at SPC so gratifying.

“You feel like you are giving somebody something to live on, that’s much better than $8 an hour,” Jenkins said. “You give them a career and a way to advance. You won’t necessarily make $20 an hour right when you leave us, but you will have the skills to work your way up.”

In retirement, Jenkins looks forward to spending more time with his grandchildren. His first granddaughter was born six months ago to a family that is vastly outweighed by boys, by a measure of 8 to 1.

He also plans to travel and continue his work with the NSF to bring more colleges into the fold of grants and workforce training programs.

“Brad took me under his wing when I first started with the college five years ago,” said Gary Graham, director of the Florida TRADE Consortium. “We both had a manufacturing background and were able to speak “manufacturing”. He is a wonderful colleague, mentor, and friend. SPC will miss his tremendous knowledge and expertise.”

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 184 other followers