William D. Law is stepping down as president of St. Petersburg College.
Law made the announcement today at the end of the monthly meeting of the college’s trustees.
In a letter presented to board chair Lauralee Westine, Law said that his “six and one-half years here has been fulfilling and rewarding” and assured the board he would do everything in his power “to facilitate the process of finding the next president.”
Law’s resignation is effective June 30, 2017.
In the coming weeks, the board of trustees will outline the process to ensure a smooth transition to new leadership, according to a preliminary statement released by the school.
Smooth transition or not, Law’s abrupt resignation caught most at the college off guard.
“We were very, very, very surprised this morning,” said one trustee.
Board members were quick to praise Law’s tenure.
“President Law has been instrumental in creating an environment at the college where student success is paramount,” said Westine. “While his leadership and friendship will be missed by our college community, our focus on student achievement will not waiver. We will be ever grateful for Dr. Law’s transformative dedication to St. Petersburg College.”
Another board member, Deveron Gibbons, called Law “a strong, capable, knowledgeable leader.”
“We are a better college because you came here. I remember your interview, here on this campus and you promised us that you were going to get certain things done …and you’ve done that,” Gibbons said. “I appreciate you and all that you’ve done.”
Law became St. Petersburg College’s sixth president on June 7, 2010. He was tasked to fill the shoes of Carl Kuttler, a larger-than-life figure on and off campus. Before his appointment, Law had been the well-regarded president of Tallahassee Community College.
Law has become well known as an advocate of economic and workforce development, student success, and community outreach. He currently serves on multiple local, state, and national boards.
A release from the school touted Law’s effort to increase student success that has allowed him to work at state and national levels and has provided opportunities such as consulting with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Aspen Institute, providing expert testimony to the U.S. House of Representatives, and serving as a member of the Florida Task Force on Community College Baccalaureate Education.
Law was a vocal champion of the creation of the Douglas L. Jamerson Jr. Midtown Center, which opened in August 2015 to high acclaim for its community focus and commitment to providing educational equity.
Under Law’s leadership and guidance, SPC was selected as one of only 30 community colleges in the nation to participate in the prestigious Pathways Project led by the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), and the development of the College Experience. The College Experience was awarded the Chancellor’s Best Practices Award in 2014 for its effectiveness in improving student success rates, particularly among First-Time-in-College (FTIC) students and especially FTIC minority males.