A total of 2,746 students earned 2,887 degrees from SPC this term, President Bill Law told the crowd of well-wishers. Graduates ranged in age from 16 to 75, with 28 graduates over the age of 60. Two of the graduates were celebrating the momentous occasion on their birthdays. Check out all the graduation stats.
With this graduating class, the college has awarded 154,693 degrees since the college was founded in 1927.
Among other milestones, SPC celebrated the following:
- 10,413th student to earn an Associate in Science degree in nursing
- 9,792th baccalaureate graduate
- 2,390th baccalaureate nursing graduate
- 1,065th baccalaureate elementary education teacher graduate
Before diplomas were handed out, the college’s Apollo and Alumni Achievement award winners addressed fellow students and guests.
Clearwater Campus student Courtney Kent received the Apollo Award, the highest honor a two-year graduate can achieve. Clearwater Campus student Amy Bhatt was named the Alumni Achievement Award winner, bringing home the highest honor for a four-year SPC graduate.
Kent served as president of the Clearwater Campus Student Government Association and was St. Petersburg College’s first Financial Assistance Services Peer-Advisor. He participated in Phi Theta Kappa and is a Student National Education Association member. Kent has a 3.69 G.P.A.
“St. Petersburg College is a community within a community,” said Kent. “And unlike some communities who build walls of exclusion… We build relationships that encourage, promote and enhance the benefits of inclusion.”
His goals are to graduate from SPC with a B.A.S. in Management and Organizational Leadership and obtain a budgeted position within the education community of Pinellas County.
Bhatt graduates with a B.A.S. degree in paralegal studies with a 4.0 GPA and was SPC’s 2015 Alumni Association Apollo Award winner. During her time at SPC, she served as Vice President of the SPC Legal Studies Society, President of the Honors College Student Consortium, a National Model United Nations Delegate, an Acting Representative for the Florida Model Legislator and a Member of the Golden Key International Honor Society. Also, as Co-Chair of the SPC Pre-Law Committee.
“I am convinced that our great visionary executives and wonderful professors, have made St. Petersburg College a great college,” said Bhatt. “My professors supported and guided me. They inspired me to boldly go where no student had gone before!”
Also honored at the ceremony was SPC’s 2016 Outstanding Alumnus, United States Congressman Gus M. Bilirakis (R). Representative Bilirakis attended St. Petersburg Junior College before earning a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Florida in 1986 and a J.D. from Stetson University in 1989.
He was first elected to Congress on November 7, 2006, and is currently serving his fifth term representing Florida’s 12th Congressional District, which includes all of Pasco and northern parts of Pinellas and Hillsborough counties. Bilirakis remains deeply connected to SPC, where he has an office on the Tarpon Springs campus – he teaches government classes at the college.