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 of land 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 College (now, 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 (PHSC).
Leading with 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. 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 retired on June 30, 2015. An extensive national search resulted in the District Board of Trustees selecting Dr. Timothy Beard as the next president of PHSC. Formerly PHSC's vice president of student development and enrollment management, Dr. Beard became the College's fourth president on July 1, 2015.
After more than four decades of service, the College has conferred nearly 37,000 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 approximately $45 million, PHSC employs more than 450 full-time 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, launched in 1975 by 17 local business leaders, now has more than $39 million in assets, support scholarships, program enhancements and faculty and staff development funds. 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 soccer, softball, volleyball and cross country/half marathon. 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 50th 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.
Through a process that invited the suggestions of PHSC administrators, faculty, staff and students, five core values key to the College's success were identified. In April 2021, the PHSC District Board of Trustees refined the values that have, indeed, been inherent to the College's progress since its founding in 1972—both grounding PHSC and spurring our expansion.
PHSC Core Values:
Excellence: Continuous improvement in teaching, learning, operations and service through innovation, responsiveness, and rigorous data analysis create the expectation for and delivery of exceptional educational, workplace and community achievements.
Integrity: Civility, stewardship, accountability, and a commitment to safety create an environment of transparency, trust, and respect at all levels within the college and with our community stakeholders.
Success: A commitment to student and employee engagement, development, and achievement creates a holistic focus on the competencies and skills that will empower students and employees to make positive decisions for educational attainment, career advancement, and personal growth.
Equity: Intentional actions taken to ensure the fair treatment of all and the commitment to make necessary interventions to advance underserved individuals and groups through inclusion and measurable support create a diverse and rewarding educational and workplace culture.
Community: Engaging, serving, and partnering with our community creates a mutually beneficial relationship that expands and enhances the educational, entrepreneurial, and economic opportunities to improve our quality of life.