St. Petersburg College Board Trustees Tackle Student Engagement and Fundraising

The St. Petersburg College Board of Trustees recently addressed initiatives to enhance student engagement and celebrated a record-breaking $12 million in fundraising efforts. The college’s strategic approach to improving academic and social support for students, which has shown a 10% improvement, was a focal point of the meeting. Alongside this, discussions about the First Time Titans program and the implementation of a buddy system revealed an 89% retention rate and underscored the importance of early engagement for student success. The board also discussed legislative updates, including a $80 million investment in the Florida college system from the state.

At the recent Board of Trustees meeting, attention was devoted to the college’s First Time Titans program, designed to provide a comprehensive first-year experience for students. This initiative includes cohort classes and faculty mentorship and incorporates experiential learning opportunities and individual and group engagement activities. The program’s objective is to ensure students are well-guided through their initial college semester, addressing both academic preparedness and the transition challenges from high school to college.

The board members engaged in discussions about the number of unprepared students entering the college and the success rates in gateway courses. Questions were raised about the effectiveness of interventions and the need for continuous improvement in these areas.

Another innovative strategy discussed was the implementation of a buddy system at two schools. This initiative was credited with an impressive 89% retention rate and received positive feedback from participants. The board underscored the importance of such peer mentoring programs, acknowledging the challenge that students often do not seek help until their second semester. They also recognized the need to incentivize peer mentors to maintain active support for new students.


The student affairs team was acknowledged for their efforts in providing comprehensive orientation and case management for students, which has been pivotal in enhancing student engagement and support.

In tandem with these student-focused initiatives, the board celebrated the fundraising achievements of the college’s foundation, which has successfully raised a record-breaking $12 million. This milestone included contributions from donors and alumni. Additionally, the foundation discussed its quiet phase campaign in preparation for the college’s 100th anniversary, setting an ambitious internal working goal of $30 million, with considerations to potentially raise the target to $40 million. The funds raised are earmarked to support various college programs, scholarships, and innovation grants.

The board also highlighted the importance of alumni engagement in fundraising efforts and commended the foundation board and volunteers for their role in expanding the college’s influence. The transformation of the foundation’s role from adversarial to supportive was noted with appreciation.


During the meeting, Dr. Williams provided a legislative update, drawing attention to the $80 million investment in the Florida college system, which allows colleges to join the state’s health insurance plan. This development was met with excitement by the board due to the potential positive impact on the college’s budget and employee benefits. Dr. Williams also discussed House Bill 403, which proposes changes to specialty license plates for Florida collegiate license plates, presenting an opportunity the board was eager to explore.

Furthermore, the board considered the approval of funding for specific programs and initiatives, as well as a new House Bill related to the collaboration between board members and colleges. Dr. Williams also provided updates on the college’s Strategic Plan, which includes efforts to facilitate student transfers and secure employment post-graduation.

The board members expressed their full support for Dr. Williams’ efforts in Tallahassee and pledged to advocate for budget items to mitigate the risk of potential vetoes.


Note: This meeting summary was generated by AI, which can occasionally misspell names, misattribute actions, and state inaccuracies. This summary is intended to be a starting point and you should review the meeting record linked above before acting on anything you read. If we got something wrong, let us know. We’re working every day to improve our process in pursuit of universal local government transparency.

Dr. Tonjua Williams
College Board of Trustees Officials:
Jason Butts, Deveron M. Gibbons, Katherine E. Cole, Thomas Kidwell, Rebecca Turner (Executive Admin. Services Specialist/Board Clerk)

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