Troy Moon, Pensacola State College
Like all other graduations that have occurred over the past few months, this one was a little different.
But different in a good way if you think about it.
The 2020 Pensacola State College President’s Leadership Institute graduation ceremony on July 22 didn’t take place at a local restaurant as usual and as scheduled. Instead it was held in the College’s Student Center on the Pensacola campus, and graduates got to feast on a visually beautiful and scrumptious hors d’oeuvres spread created by the PSC Culinary students, led by program head – and graduating class member – Chef David Langham.
Sure, graduates sat at their own little tables in the Student Center, or maybe with an invited loved one or friend who they’ve already been in close contact with during the COVID-19 pandemic. But as sacrifices go, there really wasn’t much of one, other than the ability to get off campus for a bit and getting a graduation photo together. (Disclosure: I was a member of the graduating class too. My first college graduation ever!)
The 2019-2020 President’s Leadership Institute session began in late August and class members met monthly for a series of leadership and team-building workshops, many of which featured guest speakers with proven leadership capabilities and strategies. Participants also read various books on leadership and worked in groups to issue book reports.
The PSC President’s Leadership Institute is a nine-month professional development program that helps PSC administrative employees and faculty acquire skills and knowledge to better understand the challenges of leadership and management, as well as the workings of the College and the 28-member Florida College System.
The PLI program began in 2014 and is offered every two years. The PLI 2019-2020 Graduates are:
Saundra Colville – Academic Advisor
Melissa Davis – Librarian, Warrington Campus
Ruth Davison – Director, Student Conduct
Juanita Edwards – Director Educational Talent Search
Jennifer Hill Faron ─ Dean, Milton Campus
Tracie Smith Hodson ─ Director of Development and Community Engagement, WSRE
Roland Hyacinthe ─ Network Analyst
Melissa Jernigan ─ Workday Testing/Training Specialist
MaKenzie Johnson – Coordinator, Student Engagement and Leadership
David Langham – Assistant Professor, Culinary and Hospitality Management
Hailey Lotz – Coordinator, Booster Club Operations-Athletics
Mary Mabins – Coordinator, Marketing and Information
Marcy Matthews-Bethea – Student Services Specialist
Linda McKay – Instructor, Nursing
Troy Moon – Writer, Content Specialist, Editor
Darren North ─ Assistant Department Head, Math
Greg Oliver ─ Maintenance Manager
Susan Perankovich – Director, Nursing and EMS
Barbara Rodriguez – Academic Department Head, Business
Debra Ryals ─ Associate Professor, English and Communications
Mitzi Sowell – Interim Department Head, Allied Health
Donovan Tennimon ─ Student Services Advisor
Deven Walther-Thead ─ Coordinator, Recreation and Leisure
Wanda Wood ─ Student Services Specialist
John Woods ─ Academic Coordinator, Veterans Upward Bound
Class facilitators were Lisamarie Bartusik, Rameca Leary, Rob Gregg and Scott Bemiss.
“The ability to learn in greater depth the different facets of the College and the faces that represent all of our amazing departments has been enlightening,” said Lotz, who has been with the College since 2017. “Not only do I have a deeper appreciation for what everyone does, I have found that it has been most helpful in creating new partnerships and ideas that would have not been possible. In one word … networking. I have made connections and dare I say friends that I feel will benefit the College and the experiences we create for our students and visitors.”
A highlight for the class was a January overnight trip to Tallahassee, where PLI members met with leaders from the Association of Florida Colleges, The Florida College System, the state Department of Education and area legislators.
“This year has been challenging because of the disruption of normal College operations,” said PSC President Ed Meadows. “Nevertheless, the PLI Class of 2020 is comprised of exceptional individuals who will help carry PSC into the future with enthusiasm, high energy and compassion for those we serve – our students.”
PHOTO: The 2020 Pensacola State College President’s Leadership Institute class during their visit to Tallahassee.