The Palm Beach County Board of County Commissioners has approved a proclamation declaring Jan. 12, 2020 as Palm Beach State College Day to commemorate the 10-year anniversary of the institution’s latest name change and its impact as an educational pillar in the community.
Commissioner Melissa McKinlay presented the proclamation during the commission meeting Jan. 7. On hand to accept it were a group of PBSC trustees, staff and Palmer, PBSC’s Panther mascot.
McKinlay, who recently used her leftover campaign funds to create a scholarship for students, lauded Palm Beach State and the Florida College System for their work to provide quality and affordable education despite what she said is “a very challenging legislative environment” for them. “I look forward to working with our legislative affairs team and your legislative affairs team to make sure you get the funding that you need to continue to do what you do.”
The proclamation highlights pivotal moments and achievements for the College, which changed its name from Palm Beach Community College on Jan. 12, 2010 to reflect its new degree program offerings. The College began offering its first baccalaureate degree, the Bachelor of Applied Science in Supervision and Management, in fall 2009. Five hundred students were accepted in the program, and 340 enrolled in courses that semester.
Today, in addition to the BAS in Supervision and Management with concentrations in General Management, Health Management, Entrepreneurship and Project Management, the College also offers a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and a Bachelor of Applied Science in Information Management with concentrations in Database Administration, Security & Network Assurance (IT Forensics) and Project Management. To date, PBSC has awarded 2,776 bachelor’s degrees.
The College hopes to add additional bachelor’s degrees in high need areas. Last summer, trustees voted to seek approval from the State Board of Education to offer a Bachelor of Science degree in Cardiopulmonary Science and a Bachelor of Science in Human Services. If given the green light from the State Board of Education and then the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, its accrediting body that also must approve the measure, the programs could begin as early as this fall.
Barbara Miedema, chair of the PBSC District Board of Trustees, spoke on behalf of the College. President Ava L. Parker, J.D., was in Tampa at a meeting with the state education commissioner and unable to attend. She highlighted the College’s $1.1 billion economic impact on the county and its students. Just this past fall term, the College awarded nearly 3,000 degrees and certificates, and 900 went to first-generation college students. “We truly do inspire hope and transform lives. It’s not just what we say. It’s what we do,’’ she said. “Without Palm Beach State College so many students would not have the ability to go to college, and we train them not just for the jobs of today, but for the jobs of tomorrow and, particularly in allied health fields.”
PBSC opened in 1933 as Palm Beach Junior College and as Florida’s first public community college. As its programs and course offerings expanded, the College changed its name to Palm Beach Community College in 1988.
Serving 49,000 students annually, Palm Beach State College is the largest institution of higher education in Palm Beach County, providing bachelor’s degrees, associate degrees, professional certificates, career training and lifelong learning. Established in 1933 as Florida’s first public community college, Palm Beach State offers more than 130 programs of study at locations in Lake Worth, Boca Raton, Palm Beach Gardens, Belle Glade and Loxahatchee Groves.
From left: PBSC Trustee Darcy Davis; County Commissioners Mack Bernard and Melissa McKinlay; Palmer the Panther, PBSC Trustee Barbara Miedema, Rachael Bonlarron, PBSC executive director of community engagement special assistant to the president, and County Mayor Dave Kerner. Photo courtesy of Palm Beach County Public Affairs