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St. Pete College announces five finalists for new president, interviews scheduled for May

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by
Dr. Bill Law

St. Petersburg College has narrowed the list in its search for a new president, replacing the retiring Dr. Bill Law.

The college’s search and screen committee announced five finalists Monday, each scheduled to visit the campus through next month to meet with faculty, staff, students and members of the community.

Members of the SPC board of trustees will interview the candidates, through five special meetings scheduled for May.

An announcement of the final choice is tentatively set for a special meeting at 9 a.m. June 9. All interviews and meetings will be at the St. Petersburg/Gibbs Campus Music Center, 6605 Fifth Ave. N.

Finalists, interview times and dates include:

Edward Bonahue, Ph.D., Provost and VP for Academic Affairs, Santa Fe College, Gainesville — 4 p.m. May 4.

Stan Vittetoe, Ph.D., Provost, St. Petersburg College, Clearwater — 4 p.m. May 9.

Tonjua Williams, Ph.D., Sr. vice president, Student Services, St. Petersburg College, St. Petersburg — 4 p.m. May 16.

James Henningsen, EdD, President, College of Central Florida, Ocala — 4 p.m. May 22.

Frank A. Biafora, Jr., Ph.D., Dean and professor, College of Arts and Sciences at University of South Florida St. Petersburg — 4 p.m. May 26.

The winning candidate will become SPC’s seventh president, replacing Law, who has held the post since June 7, 2010. Law announced his retirement in November, and will step down July 1.

Law played a crucial role in the development of the Douglas L. Jamerson, Jr. Midtown Center, which opened August 2015 in South St. Petersburg, with a commitment to provide educational equity in a traditionally underserved community.

Among Law’s other achievements include working with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Aspen Institute, offering expert testimony to Congress, and serving on the Florida Task Force on Community College Baccalaureate Education. Law is also co-chair of the SPC Strategic Issues Council, a foundation of the Achieving the Dream Initiative.

During Law’s tenure, SPC was recognized as one of 30 community colleges in the nation to be part of the Pathways Project led by the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC). He also launched The College Experience, which received a Chancellor’s Best Practices Award in 2014 and as a Model of Excellence by University Business Magazine in 2015 for its effect on student success rates four First-Time-In-College (FTIC) students and minority males.


Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.

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