The Early Days
In the mid-1960s, community leaders lobbied to bring publicly supported higher education to Pasco and Hernando counties. In 1967, the Florida Legislature founded Pasco-Hernando Community College—the 28th and final link to the state's system of community colleges. Shortly afterward, a 100-acre parcel on Blanton Road in Dade City was purchased for $125,000 to establish PHCC's first location, now known as the East Campus.
Dr. Milton O. Jones, a St. Petersburg Junior College dean, was named PHCC's first president in 1972. Charged with serving a diverse, 1,200 square mile district, Dr. Jones and 11 dedicated employees worked around the clock to establish the new college—holding classes in schools, storefronts, churches, libraries and neighboring Saint Leo University.
Expanding Higher Education
The College's East Campus in Dade City, was dedicated by Florida Gov. Reuben Askew in 1975. The West Campus in New Port Richey was established in 1977 on 140 acres of pristine property donated by rancher Alric C.T. Pottberg. PHCC secured 100 acres on U.S. 98 in Brooksville for the North Campus, the first Hernando County location, in 1977. The Spring Hill Center opened in 1979 to serve central and western Hernando County, later closing to make way for the permanent Spring Hill Campus on U.S. 19. The new nine-building Spring Hill Campus was established in the fall of 2010. After the Porter family donated 60 acres of prime real estate in southeast Pasco County, the College broke ground on a fifth full-service campus. The multi-storied, urban style Porter Campus at Wiregrass Ranch opened in January 2014, enrolling more than 1,600 students. In December 2012, the College was reaccredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to offer baccalaureate degrees. On January 21, 2014 the College's District Board of Trustees (DBoT) revised the College's mission to include offering bachelor's degrees and voted to officially change its name to Pasco-Hernando State College.
Three Leaders, One Vision
Since the College's inception, three consecutive leaders developed resources, fostered community involvement and inspired academic excellence. The College's founding president, Dr. Milton O. Jones, served the College for 22 years, retiring in 1994. Dr. Robert W. Judson, Jr., a vice president with two decades of tenure at the College, became the first African-American community college president in Florida. Upon Dr. Judson's retirement in 2005, Dr. Katherine M. Johnson, formerly president of North Carolina's Nash Community College, was named PHSC's third president. The College thrived under the leadership of all three presidents. During Dr. Johnson's administration, the College opened both the Spring Hill and Porter campuses and transitioned to a state college. After more than a decade of dedicated service, Dr. Johnson has announced her retirement effective July 1, 2015. A national search for the College’s fourth president is currently underway.
After nearly four decades of service, the College has conferred more than 35,000 degrees and certificates. Many alumni live and work in Pasco and Hernando counties, including physicians, attorneys, college professors, teachers, nurses, law enforcement officers and countless other professionals. With an operating budget of $38 million, PHSC employs more than 450 full and permanent faculty and staff members and serves approximately 15,000 students annually.
The District Board of Trustees (DBoT) is comprised of nine Pasco and Hernando county community leaders appointed by the governor of Florida. The PHSC Foundation, with $34 million in assets, supports scholarships, program enhancements and faculty and staff development. Community and business leaders are appointed by the DBoT to serve on advisory boards and provide guidance on curriculum and program development.
Leadership, professional development and interest-based clubs are popular at PHSC. More than 50 clubs and organizations encourage students to support community service projects, explore interests and promote social interaction. Events expand awareness of the arts, culture, history and current social issues. Students enjoy opportunities to participate in regional, state and national events and competitions. The College's nationally recognized intercollegiate athletic program features men's baseball and basketball and women's softball, volleyball and cross country. Students are encouraged to participate in a variety of intramural sports, activities and exercise programs, most offered at no charge.
As the College embarks on its 41st year of service, PHSC continues to embrace our "Open Door" policy and our mission to provide affordable, quality higher education to the residents of the district we serve.