County Commissioners Declare Jan. 12 Palm Beach State College Day

(L-R) PBSC Trustee Darcy Davis, County Commissioner Mack Bernard, County Commissioner Melissa McKinlay, Palmer the Panther, PBSC Trustee Barbara Miedema, PBSC Executive Director of Community Engagement Rachael Bonlarron and Palm Beach County Mayor Dave Kerner.

The Palm Beach County Board of County Commissioners recently approved a proclamation declaring Jan. 12, 2020 as Palm Beach State College Day to commemorate the 10-year anniversary of the institution’s latest name change and its impact as an educational pillar in the community.

Commissioner Melissa McKinlay presented the proclamation during the commission meeting Jan. 7. On hand to accept it were a group of PBSC trustees, staff members and Palmer, PBSC’s Panther mascot.

McKinlay, who recently used her leftover campaign funds to create a scholarship for students, lauded PBSC and the Florida College System for their work to provide quality and affordable education despite what she said is “a very challenging legislative environment” for them. “I look forward to working with our legislative affairs team and your legislative affairs team to make sure you get the funding that you need to continue to do what you do,” she said.

The proclamation highlights pivotal moments and achievements for the college, which changed its name from Palm Beach Community College on Jan. 12, 2010 to reflect its new degree program offerings. The college began offering its first baccalaureate degree in the fall of 2009. Since then, the college has added a number of baccalaureate degree programs. To date, PBSC has awarded 2,776 bachelor’s degrees.

The college hopes to add additional bachelor’s degrees in high-need areas. Last summer, trustees voted to seek approval from the Florida Board of Education to offer a bachelor’s of science degree in cardiopulmonary science and a bachelor’s of science degree in human services. If approved, the programs could begin as early as this fall.

Barbara Miedema, chair of the PBSC Board of Trustees, spoke on behalf of the college. She highlighted the college’s $1.1 billion economic impact on the county and its students. Just this past fall term, the college awarded nearly 3,000 degrees and certificates, and 900 went to first-generation college students.

“We truly do inspire hope and transform lives. It’s not just what we say. It’s what we do,’’ she said. “Without Palm Beach State College, so many students would not have the ability to go to college, and we train them not just for the jobs of today, but for the jobs of tomorrow, particularly in allied health fields.”

PBSC opened in 1933 as Palm Beach Junior College and as Florida’s first public community college. Serving 49,000 students annually, Palm Beach State College is the largest institution of higher education in Palm Beach County, offering more than 130 programs of study at locations in Lake Worth, Boca Raton, Palm Beach Gardens, Belle Glade and Loxahatchee Groves.