St. Petersburg College received two gold awards as the “Best of the Best,” according to the Tampa Bay Times 2020 rankings.

SPC was voted best local college and best nursing college. The Best of the Best Awards celebrate businesses and organizations loved by the Tampa Bay and North Suncoast communities. Learn more here.

Founded in 1927, SPC is Florida’s first two-year college and the first to offer bachelor’s degrees. The college offers more than 110 degree and certificate programs, including many high-demand, high-skill industry-recognized workforce certifications.

SPC’s College of Nursing has been training registered nurses for six decades. It offers nationally accredited nursing programs, including an Associate in Science program and a nursing bachelor’s program, which is offered online.

Image of two college mascots, St. Petersburg College's Titus the Titan and the University of Central Florida's Knightro the KnightSt. Petersburg College and the University of Central Florida have partnered to offer a new program, which launched this Fall 2020 term. The Transfer Connect program will allow students who are interested in staying in Pinellas County the opportunity to earn an Associate in Arts degree from SPC and then transfer to complete a bachelor’s degree from UCF Online.

Sheryl Mundorff, SPC’s Student Success and Transfer Coordinator, says this partnership broadens the horizons of Pinellas County students who may not otherwise have the means to travel out of town for college.

“As we try to promote higher education for all students in Pinellas County, we want to offer them every option available and not be limited to just one institution,” she said. “SPC has always been a strong online institution, so to be able to partner with another strong online program is a benefit to everyone involved.”

The program is not a guaranteed admissions articulation, so students will still need to meet the transfer admission requirements for UCF. Transfer Connect students will be assigned a UCF academic coach, Shannon Harmon, who will help them on their journey from SPC to UCF, but Mundorff said they will also be assigned an SPC advisor based on their degree/area of study to oversee their curriculum.

“Our advisors will work with them to make sure they meet UCF’s requirements while they’re studying at SPC,” Mundorff said.

Interested students should contact Mundorff at mundorff.sheryl@spcollege.edu or meet with their advisor to fill out the UCF student survey.

“We are very excited about this new partnership,” Mundorff said. “We look forward to working together to enhance institutional enrollment and continue to build solid partnerships across the state.”

St. Petersburg College is taking a more in-depth examination of its own culture in terms of equity, starting with a recent collegewide event for employees that encouraged meaningful discussion, self-examination and understanding of the topic.

SPC President Dr. Tonjua Williams said that the July 31 Live Equity event and work to promote equity within the college is important because the students it serves have so many varying needs.

“We look at groups, but when you get down to equity, it’s down to the individuals,” Williams said. “We can’t assume that because a student is part of one group that they are all the same.”

A commitment is more than words

Almost 400 employees joined Williams in the online conversation that lasted throughout the morning. Ensuring equity is part of the college’s mission and outlined as one its values. However, SPC is working to guarantee that equity at the college is part of the everyday experience for students and employees, not just words.

Part of that commitment involves the creation of the role of an Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Director at the college. Dr. Devona Pierre, Ed.D., stepped into the position this month. Pierre previously served in the Office of Diversity, Inclusion and Equal Opportunity at the University of South Florida.

“We will work to ensure equity by reviewing our policies, procedures, and practices,” Pierre said. “Additionally, I hope to work collaboratively with the college community to identify priorities, our vision and strategic initiatives.”

Hard questions and thoughtful conversations

The Live Equity event, led by Erik Smith, managing member of Inclusivity, LLC, offered many opportunities for attendees to listen, share and elevate understanding of equity through virtual breakout sessions.

“Whereas, equality means setting one standard for all, equity requires us to be willing to engage and invest time to understand individual circumstances,” Smith said. “The work that you’re doing is unprecedented, and you’re leaning into a space that others run away from. I applaud you – it’s very important work.”

The breakout sessions, which were preceded by presentations of data and information, allowed small groups to discuss the topics, including the question, “What can we do to support our SPC community?” Participants came back with ideas regarding listening, open-mindedness and self- awareness. They also challenged their colleagues. “Be honest with ourselves, embrace differences, show awareness and sensitivity. Be aware of your own implicit bias. Ask what we can do to help,” they said.

Building an inclusive culture

“This conversation was very insightful and important,” said SPC PR/Communications Coordinator Marilyn Shaw, who served as one of the breakout session leaders. “It helped me to understand how I can redefine my contributions to the college and focus on telling more stories through an equitable lens.”

At the end of the event, Williams reminded everyone that the college develops its own culture of inclusivity and equity. Communication is key, she said.

“We’re all coming together,” she said. “Communication is the biggest piece and the one with the most challenge. Today we took a giant step forward for equity – the first of many. We’re going to continue to talk about all those things that are there hidden in plain site because we’re a Titan family, and we love and respect each other.”

2020 professors emeritiSt. Petersburg College is thrilled to announce our 2020 Professors Emeriti.

At SPC, an educational leader in the Tampa Bay area for more than 90 years, we honor the legacy of our accomplished professors who are now retired. To do so, the college bestows the title Professor Emeritus on some of the engaging, caring faculty who helped generations of students succeed.

Dr. Matthew Liao-Troth, SPC’s Vice President of Academic Affairs, said that, though no college wants to lose its best faculty, Emeritus status is bestowed to maintain that connection even after a professor has retired.

“Emeritus status is the most important recognition for faculty because it reflects not just their long service, but also the quality of impact that they have had on student’s lives, the community, and the college through their intellectual contributions and service,” Liao-Troth said.

This year’s Emeriti, who come from many different areas, including humanities, the arts, and health care, and are all retired educators who have shown an amazing commitment to their students and the teaching profession. They are all also noted for making great contributions to the community. The group will be honored this month at the college’s annual faculty gathering known as Welcome Titans.

SPC President Dr. Tonjua Williams commended the group.

“These esteemed educators have gone the extra mile in their careers to ensure the success of their students,” she said. “We are fortunate to have gained from their leadership and expertise at St. Petersburg College and are pleased to bestow upon them the title of Professors Emeriti for 2020.”

Please help us celebrate  SPC’s Professors Emeriti for 2020 by sharing your congratulations, well wishes and remembrances by posting on their pages.

2020 St. Petersburg College Professors Emeriti

United Way Suncoast will award the St. Petersburg College Foundation, Inc.  $90,000 in Community Investment funding for the college’s programs, FAFSA: Fill it out! and It’s MY FUTURE! These programs expand efforts to provide one-on-one assistance to families needing assistance with the FAFSA application process. They also provide financial literacy information to current students with a goal of lowering borrowing levels for in-school students and lowering delinquency levels for students who have moved into repayment.

“St. Petersburg College is excited to be able to assist current students, as well as members of the community, increase their financial knowledge. We will reduce barriers to attending college and will give students the tools they need to make sound decisions regarding financing their college education,” said Michael J. Bennett, Associate VP of Financial Assistance Services for St. Petersburg College.

“We are proud to partner with the St. Petersburg College Foundation, Inc. in support of our community impact priority of Asset Development. Our community needs this support now more than ever. We look forward to the impact these dollars will make in serving students and their families,” said United Way CEO Jessica Muroff.

United Way Suncoast recently completed the first year of funding (FY 20) of over $5.6 million in community investments utilizing its new investment process. United Way met with over 400 individuals representing non-profit agencies, funders, business leaders, volunteers, and team members. These key stakeholders helped design and shape a new process to guide investments in the community, leading to greater impact and results for the area’s most vulnerable residents.

Community investments were aligned to priority areas and focused on Asset Development, Early Learning, Financial Stability, Workforce Development and Youth Success across Pinellas, Hillsborough, Sarasota, Manatee and Desoto counties.

“In the true spirit of community and collective impact, United Way Suncoast volunteers did a thorough and thoughtful review of all requests. We are proud to support many high-impact programs that will do so much good across our region. At United Way Suncoast, we never stop advocating for our community. Through our partnerships and expertise, we create bold solutions to our biggest challenges – uplifting lives and achieving equity for generations to come,” Muroff said.

St. Petersburg College will celebrate the completion of the Joseph H. Lang, Sr. Student Success Center with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Friday, Aug. 14.

The ceremony starts at 9 a.m. and will take place at the center at the St. Petersburg/Gibbs Campus, 6605 Fifth Ave. N.

This is SPC’s first-ever hub where students can receive all essential student services under one roof, including registration, financial aid, free tutoring and career advising. The center was made possible through $20 million in funding by the Florida Legislature, plus $5 million contributed by the college. It embodies the college’s focus on community, offering a collegiate, open concept for students, employees and visitors. An indoor/outdoor connection integrates the beautiful lake that sits at the front of the campus. Wannemacher Jensen Architects designed and LEMA Construction built the new 48,000-square-foot center.

“The center is SPC’s first-ever, one-stop student hub where all resources are available under one roof – encouraging student collaboration and a positive learning environment,” said SPC President Dr. Tonjua Williams. “We are so thankful our state Legislature recognized the benefit this will bring to our students, our college and the community as a whole. We especially thank the members of our legislative delegation who advocated for the building on behalf of SPC and Pinellas County residents.”

The center is named in memory of Joseph “Joe” Lang, a longtime supporter of SPC students. He began his time at SPC as a student leader at the St. Petersburg/Gibbs Campus in the late 1950s, and over the next 70 years, proved himself to be a loyal friend of the college. A distinguished local attorney, he served as counsel to the college’s Board of Trustees. He passed away on April 21, 2018 at the age of 80.

If you are interested in attending, please contact Marilyn Shaw, PR/Communications Coordinator, at 727-341-4712 or shaw.marilyn@spcollege.edu as the ceremony will be limited in size to support a safe event for all. Media assets will be provided after the ceremony. Face coverings are required.

St. Petersburg Collegiate High Schools (SPCHS) will host a socially distant, “drive-in” graduation ceremony for 105 graduates from 9-11 a.m. on Friday, Aug. 7, at the SPC St. Petersburg/Gibbs Campus, science building parking lot, 6605 5th Ave. N.

The Collegiate High School located at the SPC Tarpon Springs Campus will also celebrate its inaugural graduating class since opening in fall 2019.

“I am very proud of our very first class of graduating students,” said Dr. Ian Call, SPCHS Tarpon Springs Campus Principal. “Each and every one of these students will have a very special place at SPCHS as part of our inaugural graduating class from SPCHS on the Tarpon Springs Campus.”

“The class of 2019-20 will forever hold a special place in my heart,” said SPCHS St. Petersburg/Gibbs Campus Principal Raquel Giles. “They have faced enormous challenges, but I am beyond confident in their ability to rise above the adversities of life as I have witnessed their courage, resilience and perseverance.”

The ceremony will be streamed via Facebook Live at facebook.com/SPCCollegiateHighSchool so graduates and guests can hear the ceremony from their car. Graduates will have the opportunity to walk across the stage, with their guests socially distant at a designated area. All staff, students and guests will be required to wear a mask.

SPCHS offer students in grades 10-12 the opportunity to simultaneously earn a high school diploma and an Associate in Arts degree.

The first Collegiate High School at the SPC St. Petersburg/Gibbs Campus, which opened in 2004, has consistently been recognized as a high-performing, nationally ranked school. Since opening, it has earned an “A” rating from the State of Florida. The online ranking site Niche recently listed the school as #1 in the 2020 Best Public High Schools in Tampa Area list. In 2017, it received the honorary National Blue Ribbon as an Exemplary High Performing School by the U.S. Secretary of Education. Newsweek named it the 55th best high school in America in 2016. One of only 10 Florida schools to make the list, it held the second ranking in the state.

For more information, visit spchs.spcollege.edu.

St. Petersburg College is a 2020 recipient of a $100,000 grant award to support the launch of the SPC’s Diversity in Energy Initiative in partnership with Duke Energy Florida. The program will target and recruit historically underserved lower-income, minority and female populations for careers in the energy field and connect them to related educational pathways.

“We are proud to be able to exercise our relationships to bring awareness and access across our communities, especially in underserved areas,” said Dr. Matthew Liao-Troth, SPC’s Vice President of Academic Affairs. “This career nationally averages an annual salary of over $77,000, and it is in demand locally and regionally. We expect to have many successful graduates of the program.”

Duke Energy Florida is awarding $655,000 in grants to 19 workforce development and education programs as the region tackles economic disruptions from the coronavirus pandemic. The grants support education and training programs that address the most pressing skills gaps in communities served by Duke Energy Florida, as well as programs to cultivate the energy sector’s future workforce.

“At Duke Energy, we believe philanthropic giving is important to help our cities, our towns and our communities not only survive the current COVID-19 pandemic, but also grow and thrive,” said Catherine Stempien, state president of Duke Energy Florida. “During these unprecedented times, attracting, training and educating a diverse workforce for the future with the skills employers need can help our communities emerge from this pandemic stronger and more resilient.”

Clearwater Neighborhood Family CenterSt. Petersburg College is partnering with the Clearwater Neighborhood Family Center to offer the third annual Rising Above: Not An Option! Youth Experience. The free event

offers a safe environment to discuss issues, find common ground and produce solutions that even youth can participate in to create a better community. Attendees can join the program virtually on July 22, 23 and 24 from 11:30 a.m. – 1:45 p.m., and anyone interested can register here.

With help from the Collaborative Labs team, SPC will provide multiple presenters, swag from the Clearwater Campus, and virtual tours of SPC’s Clearwater campus’ natural science labs and the Gibbs campus’ arts and music spaces.

The conference sessions, which will be conducted on the virtual platform Hopin, are geared toward a wide audience, 6th graders to adults, with a maximum 200 youth and 100 adults, but performances and keynote speakers are open to 400 participants.

Keynote speakers will be SPC Psychology Professor, Dr. Carleah East, who also leads the college’s Project H.E.A.L. program, which encourages mental health awareness for faculty, staff and students. East will be joined by two other keynote speakers, Micah MP3 Poole of Michael Pool & Associates, LLC, and Lloyd Cooper III of LC3 entertainment.

The three-day event will offer workshops, games, performances, activities, prizes, an essay contest and video contest.

The Clearwater Neighborhood Family Center Special Projects Coordinator Michele Edwards says that since the inception of the event, now in its third year, SPC has been a main supporter and sponsor.

“The majority of our presenters and activities are from the talented SPC Community,” Edwards said. “Our hope is that our youth will look into SPC as a means to further their education, and we are confident that our participants from all over the country and the world will enjoy this Youth Experience.”


St. Petersburg College (SPC) and National University of Health Sciences (NUHS) have collaborated to allow students to complete both a Bachelor of Science in Biology and Doctor of Chiropractic (DC) degree in less time.

The Advanced Scholars Program is a joint recruitment and dual admission effort that creates a coordinated curriculum specifically for exceptional students who maintain a 3.0 GPA or higher at SPC.

“National University of Health Sciences and St. Petersburg College have enjoyed an exceptional relationship for many years,” said NUHS President Joseph Stiefel, MS, EdD, DC. “We have found yet another way to work together for the benefit of our students and our community. Collaboration is the cornerstone to our success, and I look forward to much more with SPC.”

NUHS is one of 17 educational institutions that are part of the University Partnership Center (UPC) at SPC.  The UPC provides students in the Pinellas County area with integrative educational opportunities with students from other schools and healthcare disciplines, and access to a wide variety of services and programs on multiple campuses. This innovative campus-sharing program allows NUHS to offer its Doctor of Chiropractic program through SPC.

“NUHS has been a UPC partner for over a decade now, and they continue to find ways to connect with​ and support the SPC family,” said Catherine Kennedy, Associate Vice President, Academic Affairs and Partnerships at SPC.  “Here is an example of us all coming together to ​benefit students, who can make their last year of their SPC biology bachelor degree also their first year of their NUHS doctor of chiropractic degree, all while studying here in Pinellas County.”

Qualified students will complete three years of undergraduate study or a minimum of 90 semester credits leading toward their Bachelor of Science in Biology with a subplan in cellular and molecular biology at SPC. Before completing their undergraduate degree, students will then start the five-year DC program at NUHS. After successful completion of all coursework in the first four trimesters at NUHS, they can be granted their bachelor degree from SPC.

“Many limited entry programs have additional requirements needed to be admitted, but this partnership will lessen a student’s time to completion for both their bachelor’s degree and their chiropractic degree,” said Dr. Natavia Middleton, Dean of Natural Science and Engineering at SPC. “We welcome any student who feels that they want to pursue their bachelor’s degree in biology, as this partnership will fulfill our commitment of service to Floridians who may not otherwise have had this opportunity.”

For more information or to apply to the Advanced Scholars Program at SPC and NUHS, contact Nikkia Parchment at NUHS at 727-302-6461 or email nparchment@nuhs.edu.