Saint Petersburg Junior College
In September 1927, Florida's first two-year institution of higher learning — St. Petersburg Junior College — opened in an unused wing of the then-new St. Petersburg High School. Enrollment: 102, taught by a faculty of 14.
Full accreditation followed in 1931. In 1948, the private college became public. In 1965, Gibbs Junior College, which served African-American students, was merged with this ever-expanding institution. Today, the college has nine learning sites throughout Pinellas County.
Dr. William D. Law Jr. became St. Petersburg College’s sixth president on June 7, 2010, following the retirement of Carl M. Kuttler Jr. who served as president for 31 years.
Over the years, the college expanded from two campuses to nine learning sites, and now has one of the most highly acclaimed distance learning programs in Florida. In June 2001, SPJC dropped the "junior" from its name, becoming St. Petersburg College, the first among Florida's 28 public community colleges to transition to a four-year institution. In August 2002, SPC began offering fully accredited baccalaureate programs leading to bachelor's degrees. The college's commitment to its two-year curriculum, which has earned it wide recognition and annually wins it high national ranking, remains as strong as ever.
SPC now offers 24 bachelor's degrees, most in areas that have traditionally been underserved by the Florida's public universities.
SPC, which is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and governed by a local Board of Trustees, has four traditional campuses - in St. Petersburg-Gibbs, Clearwater, Tarpon Springs and Seminole. In addition, allied health courses are taught at the Caruth Health Education Center in Pinellas Park, public safety training is offered through SPC’s Southeastern Public Safety Institute at the Allstate Center in St. Petersburg, and Corporate Training is at the EpiCenter in Largo. Classes convene at two other sites in St. Petersburg as well: the Downtown Center at 244 2nd Ave. N, and the Midtown Center at 1048 22nd Ave. S.
In March 2005, the college's administrative offices moved to 13085 58th St. N, one block north of Ulmerton Road. There, in partnership with Pinellas County, the college occupies 180,000 square feet in a newly renovated building known as the EpiCenter. The EpiCenter includes a facility where area businesses can focus on planning, strategizing, problem-solving, and professional development. The EpiCenter’s support services building, two doors away, was occupied in fall 2004.
As the college grew, and services provided through the EpiCenter expanded, the college's administrative offices had to find a new home. In 2006 they moved about a mile from the EpiCenter. The District Office, as it is known, is at 6021 142nd St. N.
The Honors College, headquartered at the Clearwater Campus, and the St. Petersburg Collegiate High School, located on the St. Petersburg/Gibbs Campus, were established in 2004. The latter is a public charter school for ambitious and motivated high school students aiming to receive a high school diploma and an associate’s degree at the same time.
SPC's Early College Program, established in 2007 on the Clearwater Campus, has tripled in size and has expanded to the Seminole and Tarpon Springs campuses. Serving more than 375 students, the Early College Program is a partnership between SPC and Pinellas County Schools that offers academically talented 11th and 12th graders the opportunity to earn high school and college credits at the same time.
St. Petersburg College stands astride a robust tradition of excellence wrought by dedicated faculty and visionary leadership. Affordable, accredited, comprehensive in its offerings, responsive to community needs and committed to student success, SPC has played an integral role in Pinellas County's pursuit of progress.
Its alumni include two former astronauts, one of whom spent four months on the International Space Station in 2009, the first female aquanaut, war heroes, film stars, Major League Baseball players, judges, CEOs, a rock star, a Merrill Lynch senior vice president, a Davis Cup captain and a co-founder of the Peace Corps. But SPC’s proudest legacy is the difference it has made for hundreds of thousands of men and women who, through their studies, have acquired what they needed to better their lives and thereby enrich their communities.