St. Petersburg College will hold its 136th commencement ceremony at 9 a.m. Saturday, May 12 at Tropicana Field, One Tropicana Dr., St. Petersburg College. Approximately 1,300 of the 1,949 graduates are expected to participate.

The youngest graduate is 16 years old, the oldest is 68 years old and 19 graduates are over the age of 60. Sixty-seven percent of the graduates are female.

With this graduating class, St. Petersburg College will have awarded 169,426 degrees since the college – Florida’s first community college – was founded in 1927.

SPC will award:

  • 1,042 Associate in Arts degrees
  • 342 Associate in Science degrees
  • 265 Bachelor of Applied Science degrees
  • 251 Bachelor of Science degrees
  • 72 certifications

Joey Bower, winner of the 2017-18 Apollo Award, and Amanda Hunt, recipient of the Alumni Achievement Award, will address their fellow graduates and guests.

Bower received an A.S. degree in Technology Management in 2017 with a 3.55 GPA. Bower is an active volunteer and donates his time to The Family Café, which exists to connect individuals with disabilities and their families with information, training and networking opportunities. He is also active with Cure Congenital Muscular Dystrophy, and is the Chairman of the School Advisory Council for the Nina Harris School.

“Imagine being the parent of a special needs child, working full-time, who decided to go back to school at 40 years old. Not only did I finish my degree, but I graduated Cum Laude,” Bower said.

Hunt will receive her B.A.S. degree in Management and Organizational Leadership and has a 4.0 GPA. She is a member of the College Entrepreneur’s Organization and Aletheia Christian Club.  Hunt won the 2017 Jane Till Nonprofit Startup Competition and received funding to start her charity organization, United by Love. As a dedicated volunteer, Hunt serves at the St. Vincent De Paul soup kitchen, organizes her local church youth group and empowers children through Global Celebration.

“I am extremely grateful for all that I have gained, learned and experienced from my time at St. Petersburg College. I will enter the nonprofit community knowing that I now have the skills and knowledge that align with the passion I have always had: to love people and help them however I can.”

Spring 2018 Graduation Infographic

St. Petersburg College (SPC) is ranked second in Florida and sixth in the nation, among associate colleges, for sending students abroad, according to the Institute of International Education (IIE) 2017 Open Doors Report. Over the last year, more than 140 SPC students have traveled to other countries.

Study Abroad report

Dr. Ramona Kirsch, Director of the Center for International Programs, celebrated the report naming SPC among leading institutions for study abroad education and emphasized the importance of out-of-classroom experience for students.

“When I arrived at SPC a little more than five years ago, SPC was not even on the radar for study abroad,” said Kirsch. “Now, in just a little over five years, we have increased study abroad participation by 113 percent.”

SPC has a broad range of study abroad programs throughout the world. The upcoming 2018-19 programs include:

  • Veterinary Techology students will be working to assist troubled sea turtles in Australia
  • Students will discover what makes India a cultural and religious force
  • Social psychology in a global context will be explored in Ireland
  • Students will be working with varying ecosystems and scuba diving in Israel
  • Students will be studying World Literature and Culture in Japan
  • High school students will say Bonjour Québec as they study International Relations and do service learning activities in Canada

Learn more about SPC’s study abroad program online or email studyabroad@spcollege.edu

Hundreds attended the April 21 grand opening of the Clearwater East Community Library at St. Petersburg College.

Clearwater East Community Library at St. Petersburg College Grand Opening

Years in the making, the joint-use facility at the SPC Clearwater Campus marks the college’s third such partnership with municipalities. Other library partners include the cities of St. Petersburg and Seminole.

“This is a facility where we convene the dialogues and strengthen the bonds that make this a world-class community and SPC an outstanding institution of higher education,” said SPC Clearwater Provost Stan Vittetoe.

“This is a monumental day for all of us,” said Clearwater Library Director Jennifer Obermaier. “Today we celebrate our partnership with St. Petersburg College. Through this facility, we can change lives: of children, families and students young and old. Today we celebrate knowledge, information, learning and imagination.”

Grand Opening of the Clearwater East Community Library at St. Petersburg College

The $15 million project was cooperatively funded by St. Petersburg College and the City of Clearwater.

SPC Board of Trustees Vice Chair Katherine Cole noted how the new library epitomizes the vision of the college and SPC President Tonjua Williams to create a “Community of Care.”

Other speakers included City Manager Bill Horne and SPC Senior Vice President for Instructional and Academic Programs Anne Cooper.

In his remarks, Clearwater Mayor George N. Cretekos noted that students of all ages will experience a college environment when they attend the library and reminded attendees to “read a book tonight.”

See more photos on the college’s Facebook page.

New library details

The 40,000-square-foot library includes 10,000-square-feet of dedicated public space, 15,000-square-feet of dedicated college space and 15,000-square-feet of shared space.

The library is located on the SPC’s Clearwater Campus at 2465 Drew St. in Clearwater. Canerdy, Belfsky + Arroyo Architects of St. Petersburg designed the building and Creative Contractors of Clearwater coordinated construction.

Clearwater East Community Library at St. Petersburg College

Highlights of the new building include:

  • more than 90,000 electronic and print books and audio-visual materials covering a variety of disciplines and subjects
  • more than 100 print journals and magazines of general and academic interest
  • streaming videos, audiobooks, images, citation tools and music
  • thousands of online research databases; group and individual meeting areas
  • computers, scanners, printers, photocopiers and wifi
  • a dedicated program room and a children’s section
  • a drive-through for item return and pickup

Clearwater East Community Library at St. Petersburg College Grand Opening

Enjoy the Titan Trot 5K at St. Petersburg College and help support student scholarships at the college.

The Titan Trot 5K is scheduled for Saturday, April 14, and starts at the SPC Clearwater Campus.  The race begins at 8 a.m. on the campus quad and continues down a trail to Cliff Stephens Park. It’s is open to the community as well as SPC students and employees. Please register online.

All levels are welcome. Run or walk. Can’t make it to race day? Sign up as a “virtual” runner and record your race time for yourself another time. Separate scholarship donations also will be accepted.

Prices for participants are:

  • $10 for current SPC students
  • $20 for SPC employees
  • $30 for the public

All proceeds will fund SPC student scholarships.

SPC’s Faculty Governance Organization (FGO) is hosting the event and would like to thank the businesses and individuals who are sponsoring the 5K including:

• Green Bench Brewing Co.
• Orangetheory Fitness
• Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office
• Publix
• PureMolecular, LLC
• St. Pete Running Company
• USA Ultra Triathlon
• Sears Cleaning Services and Sears Garage Doors
• SPC Natural Sciences Department
• Dr. Eric Carver
• Dr. Katherine Woods
• Dr. Tonjua Williams

Check out our hashtags on social media to keep up with the action leading up to the race: #SPC5K and #TitanTrot2018. Or check out our Facebook event page for updates.

St. Petersburg College (SPC) is pleased to announce a partnership with Community Foundation of Tampa Bay (CFTB), an organization focused on connecting donors, nonprofit organizations and community leaders in an effort to make Tampa Bay a better place to live. Through this partnership, SPC was awarded a $15,000 grant to expand its mental health awareness efforts on campus.

This funding will allow SPC Faculty and Staff to undergo training that will help them identify and support students with mental health issues. In addition, each SPC campus will have a designated mental health awareness ally who will serve as a liaison between students and campus and community mental health resources.

Community Foundation of Tampa Bay

“Our students come to SPC with challenges beyond the classroom experience,” said SPC President Tonjua Williams. “To help them be successful, we’re committed to being a student-ready college by expanding our social support resources for mental health. We’re excited about our partnership with Community Foundation of Tampa Bay.”

“We are very excited to partner with St. Petersburg College,” says Marlene Spalten, President and CEO of the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay. “St. Petersburg College has made an incredibly positive impact in the community and we are honored to continue to support their efforts.”

The Community Foundation of Tampa Bay connects donors with nonprofit organizations and community leaders to create a meaningful impact in the Tampa Bay region and beyond. In 2015, donors with the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay provided over $12 million in grants to causes and organizations within the community.

St. Petersburg College joins LEAP Tampa Bay College Access Network, previously known as the LEAP Hillsborough College Access Network. This organization is a cross-sector network of regional partners who work together to promote their community-wide commitment to college access and attainment in Hillsborough and Pinellas counties, with the goal of ensuring that Tampa Bay has a globally competitive workforce.

(L to R) Marlene Spalten, President & CEO, Community Foundation of Tampa Bay, Dr. Stacy Carlson, President, Pinellas Education Foundation, Charles Hokanson, Vice President, Helios Education Foundation, Laurie Meggesin, Executive Director, Florida College Access Network, Dr. Martin Tadlock, Interim Regional Chancellor, University of South Florida – St. Petersburg, Dr. Michael Grego, Superintendent, Pinellas County Schools, Dr. Tonjua Williams, President, St. Petersburg College, Bill Goede, Tampa Bay Market President, Bank of America, Bob Rohrlack, President & CEO, Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce, Madeline Pumariega, Chancellor, Florida College System

LEAP was founded by a collaboration of 12 Hillsborough County organizations. The network has expanded to Pinellas County, which now includes St. Petersburg College, Pinellas County government, Pinellas Education Foundation, Pinellas County Schools and the University of South Florida – St. Petersburg.

“LEAP is the pathway for Pinellas and Hillsborough residents to prosperity,” said SPC President Tonjua Williams. “This collaborative initiative equips the region to be a thriving workforce and to move the economy forward.”

LEAP leadership uses a collective impact model of collaboration to guide coordinated strategies by partners, all geared at increasing attainment of high-quality college degrees and credentials. LEAP’s overall vision aligns with the state’s “Rise to 55” goal for all of Florida, and the national “GOAL 2025” movement, which seeks to have 60 percent of working-age adults holding such credentials and degrees by 2025.

“Our region’s economy is not exclusive to one county, and we have to address major issues like building a talent pipeline to meet our workforce needs on a regional basis,” said Marlene Spalten, President and CEO of the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay, the network’s backbone partner. “Increasing college attainment is vital to this cause, so growing the college access network to include Pinellas County was a natural evolution for LEAP.”

Since launching two years ago, LEAP has made significant strides in breaking down a major barrier to college attainment: financial aid.

Last year, LEAP supported Hillsborough County Public Schools in conquering the Florida FAFSA Challenge, an initiative which strives to boost the proportion of high school seniors completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid by at least five percent over the last school year. The increase in FAFSA completion meant an estimated $3 million more in Pell grants was available in Hillsborough County compared to the prior year.

The Community Foundation of Tampa Bay also announced last year the commitment of up to $2.5 million by Helios Education Foundation and USAmeriBank Foundation to establish a scholarship fund for the FUSE program, one of LEAP’s four strategic pillars. FUSE provides students a guaranteed pathway to a bachelor’s degree at the University of South Florida as they earn their associate degrees.

(L-R) Willy Ormond (Lockheed), Jackie Skryd (SPC), Andre Trotter (Lockheed), Cissy Proctor (DEO), Lara Sharp (SPC), Amy Snyder (BAMA), Natavia Middleton (SPC)

St. Petersburg College (SPC) will work alongside top Tampa Bay manufacturers to launch an innovative workforce training program that is modeled after a premier automotive industry-education collaboration.

Under this new program, participants will receive paid training to become mechatronics and electromechanical technicians. This emerging, high-demand field, involves the synergistic application of mechanical, electrical, and automation skills.

Cissy Proctor, executive director of the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, visited the college last week to formally award SPC with a $1.6 million grant from the Florida Job Growth Grant Fund. The grant is part of an $85 million initiative by Governor Rick Scott and the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity to improve public infrastructure and enhance workforce training in order to promote economic development.

Altogether, projects awarded under the Florida Job Growth Grant Fund are anticipated to create more than 18,600 jobs in the Sunshine State.

“The new Mechatronics and Electromechancial Technician Training Program stood out as a program sure to provide transferable, sustainable workforce skills to those who participate,” said Proctor. “We look forward to the opportunities this funding will bring to the families in the St. Petersburg area.”

The college worked with a number of employers, including aerospace and defense global leader, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics, and international beverage manufacturer and distributor, Monin, to design the program. This industry-led, competency-based curriculum, will ensure participants receive quality training that will help them succeed in a number of high-demand advanced manufacturing positions.

Representatives from Lockheed Martin Aeronautics attended last week’s event on campus, noting the growing demand for skilled advanced manufacturing technicians to advance operations and automation.

“As a result of an expansion at our Pinellas Park facility in particular, we are realizing a need for 80 to 100 technicians to support assembly and fabrication over the next 12-18 months as we move towards peak production over the next several years,” said André F. Trotter, program director and general manager at Lockheed Martin’s Aeronautics Pinellas Park location. “This is exactly the type of educational partnership that allows us to enhance our skilled workforce.”

“We are excited to have a dynamic group of industry and educational partners collaborate on this high-impact workforce training program that will drive our local and state economies and strengthen our community,” added SPC President, Tonjua Williams.

SPC’s Mechatronics and Electromechancial Technician training program is modeled after the Automotive Manufacturing Training Education Collaborative (AMTEC), a premier automotive industry-education collaboration. AMTEC, a National Science Foundation Advanced Technical Education Center, is strongly considered the leader in online, modularized curriculum and industry engagement for automation training. It counts Ford, General Motors and Toyota as content leaders and boasts 55 active college partners that deliver the training. Fifty international companies utilize the training for its competency-based approach to tailor and accelerate learning, adding companies like Boeing and Amazon in recent years.  The growth of new industry partners highlights the demand for new skill development in automation by advanced manufacturers in general. SPC will be the first in Florida to deliver this type of training.

The college anticipates training about 300 people over the two-year grant period. During this time participants can receive paid training.

The program will kick off June 1. Additional details will be available soon at http://www.spcollege.edu/future-students/degrees-training/engineering-manufacturing-and-building-arts.