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SPC Graduates 1,778

Graduation | Education | Students

The youngest was 17; the oldest, 68.

PINELLAS COUNTY – St. Petersburg College graduated 1,778 students during its fall ceremony.

About 700 of them crossed the stage at the two graduation ceremonies Saturday (Dec. 10) at First Baptist Church of Indian Rocks.

SPC President Bill Law welcomed guests and celebrated the accomplishments of the many students who were graduating with honors.

“The graduation ceremony is a time to honor you – the graduates – as well as a time to honor those who have helped make this college the great institution it is today,” Law said.

The term’s youngest graduate was 17 years old and the oldest was 68 years old. Seventeen graduates were older than 60; 67 percent were female.

Lindsey Velde and Samantha Spoto addressed fellow graduates and guests during the 9:30 a.m. ceremony. Velde earned an associate in arts degree and Spoto earned a bachelor of applied science in veterinary technology.

Jacob Thompson and Tara Hunter-Dexter addressed fellow graduates and guests during the 1 p.m. ceremony. Thompson is a dual enrollment student who earned an associate in science degree in digital arts, media and interactive web design. Dexter earned a bachelor of applied science in health services administration.

Thompson was the Web Arts and Visual Media Club president and managed many student video projects during his college career.

“I have given this a lot of thought and I’ve come to the conclusion that the entire point of college isn’t to teach us things to think about, but to instruct us on how to think about things,” Thompson said.

With this graduating class, St. Petersburg College has awarded 158,775 degrees since the college – Florida’s first community college – was founded in 1927.

At the 132nd commencement, SPC awarded:

  • 800 associates in arts degrees
  • 370 associates in science degrees
  • 237 bachelors of applied science degrees
  • 314 bachelors of science degrees
  • 85 certifications

Hunter-Dexter gave a speech that highlighted her triumphs through serious life challenges, including a stint of homelessness and the death of her mother.

“Throughout my academic career I’ve had some of the most motivating and compassionate instructors here at SPC and for that I am grateful. I’m also grateful for the (SPC) Foundation scholarships that were awarded to me during my time here at St. Petersburg College,” she said. “St. Petersburg College gave me the opportunity, in the midst of my adversity, and afforded me the tools and support needed to succeed. I’m proud to stand before you as a SPC graduate and a graduate of the health services administration program.”

For information about SPC, go to

St. Petersburg College | Graduation | Education | Tampa Bay Reporter

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SPC Graduates 1,778
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SPC Graduates 1,778
The youngest was 17; the oldest, 68.
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