Saint Petersburg College
t. Petersburg College (commonly referred to as SPC, formerly known as St. Petersburg Junior College or SPJC) is a state college in Pinellas County, Florida. It is part of the Florida College System, and is one of the institutions in the system designated a "state college", as it offers a greater number of four-year bachelor's degrees than traditional two-year community colleges. It is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and enrolls about 65,000 students annually.
St. Petersburg College was founded in 1927 by Captain George M. Lynch, Pinellas County's city superintendent of schools for the city of St. Petersburg, as a private, non-profit institution. It was created in part because of the economic downturn preceding the Great Depression as a way for local students to receive a postsecondary education without having to relocate or pay high tuition. On opening day, the college consisted of 102 students and 14 faculty members, operating from an unused wing of St. Petersburg High School. After one semester, SPC moved its operations to a former high school facility overlooking Mirror Lake, where it remained until January 1942. At this point, the facility was moved into a single building on the corner of 5th Ave. N. and 66th St. N.ï¿½a building still in active use today as the James E. Hendry Administration Building, part of the St. Petersburg/Gibbs Campus. Beginning in 1953, Clearwater High School began providing several higher-education classes in the evenings. After a 1959 study clearly illustrated the demand for a higher-education facility in northern Pinellas county, SPC began planning the development of a second campus located in Clearwater, Florida. In 1962, the college acquired 72.8 acres (295,000 m2) of land in the vicinity of Drew Street and County Road 32 (Old Coachman Road), land which previously contained an orange grove and a waste disposal site. Construction began on February 25, 1964, ground was broken on the new site, and construction began. In May of the following year, students attending the evening classes at Clearwater High School were transferred to the new campus, which then consisted of only five buildings. The new campus was officially dedicated on November 21, 1965.
The mission of St. Petersburg College is to provide accessible, learner-centered education for students pursuing selected baccalaureate degrees, associate degrees, technical certificates, applied technology diplomas and continuing education within our service area and globally, while retaining leadership as a comprehensive, sustainable, multi-campus postsecondary institution and as a creative partner with students, communities, and other educational institutions to deliver rich learning experiences and to promote economic and workforce development.
Notable alumni include Gus Bilirakis, the current U.S. representative from Florida's 9th District; Henry Lyons, the former president of the National Baptist Convention; Jim King, the former president of the Florida Senate; Frank Wren, the current general manager of the Atlanta Braves; Carl M. Kuttler, Jr., the former president of St. Petersburg College; and Nicole P. Stott, NASA astronaut, Daryl L. Bortel, US Air Force, Retired. Jim Morrison of the Doors attended SPC briefly. Bryan LaHair played baseball for SPJC