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St. Johns River State College

St. Johns River State College is a public college in Northeast Florida with campuses in Palatka, St. Augustine, and Orange Park. Founded in 1958 (for organizational purposes) as St. Johns River Junior College, it is a member institution of the Florida College System and one of several colleges in the system designated a "state college", meaning they can offer more four-year bachelor degrees than traditional two-year community colleges. It is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Notably, Florida School of the Arts, Florida's first state-sponsored arts school, is housed within the Palatka Campus.

St. Johns River State College
Official logo
Former names
St. Johns River Community College
TypeState college
ChairmanDiane P. Leone
PresidentJoe Pickens
Academic staff
109 [1]
Students10,514 (2017)[2]
Location, ,
United States
CampusPalatka campus 93 acres (0.38 km2)
St. Augustine campus 165.2 acres (0.669 km2)
Orange Park campus 95.68 acres (0.3872 km2)
Total: 353.88 acres (1.4321 km2)
 • Baseball
 • Softball
 • Volleyball
AffiliationsSouthern Association of Colleges and Schools, Florida College System


According to the college's Web site, the first president, Dr. B. R. Tilley, was appointed in 1958 and the college opened its doors that year;[3] however Walter Smith states that Tilley was appointed in 1959 "to plan for the opening".[4] Initial classes were held in a Baptist church, until it could build its Palatka facility; the school later expanded with campuses in Orange Park and St. Augustine in order to serve Putnam, St. Johns, and Clay Counties. It was founded simultaneously with Collier-Blocker Junior College, for negro students, and nominally absorbed the institution in 1964, although none of the faculty and few of the students moved to St. Johns.[5] Between 1966 and 2011, when it adopted its current name, it changed its name to St. Johns River Community College. The adoption of its current name coincided with its designation as a state college that can offer a greater number of bachelor's degrees to its academic programs.[6] The current president of the college is Joe Pickens. He took over from Dr Robert L. McLendon, Jr., who had served as president of the college from 1972–2008.

In 2012, a wall was created with portraits and other mementos of Collier-Blocker.[7]

The Thrasher-Horne Center for Performing Arts opened on the Orange Park campus in 2004.[8]

Florida School of the ArtsEdit

Florida School of the Arts (colloquially known as FloArts) is an accredited arts school under the umbrella of St. Johns River State College. It is located in the F building of the Palatka Campus. It was first opened in 1976, designed to be an intimate setting where students received close and individual attention. Florida School of the Arts offers course concentrations with accredited Associate in Science and Associate in Arts degrees in the fields of Visual Art (Fine Art, Graphic Design/New Media, Photography), Acting, Dance, Musical Theatre, and Theatre Production/Design (Costume Design, Scenic/Lighting Design, Stage Management).

Campus locationsEdit

Student Center at Palatka Campus

Notable alumni and attendeesEdit

Alumni Notability
Lenny Curry Mayor of Jacksonville, FL
Ed Hickox Current Major League Baseball umpire
Howie Kendrick Current Major League Baseball second baseman
Lake Ray Current member of the Florida House of Representatives
Bill Swaggerty Former Major League Baseball pitcher
Rick Surhoff Former Major League Baseball pitcher
Pat McMahon Former College Baseball coach at Mississippi State and Florida


  1. ^ "St. Johns River Community College; 2010 Facts at a Glance" (PDF). St.Johns River State College. 2010. Archived from the original (PDF) on November 27, 2010. Retrieved February 6, 2011.
  2. ^ "St. Johns River State College; 2016 - 2017 Foundation Annual Report" (PDF). St.Johns River State College. 2017. Retrieved March 3, 2018.
  3. ^, retrieved May 3, 2016.
  4. ^ Walter L. Smith, The Magnificent Twelve: Florida's Black Junior Colleges, Winter Park, Florida, FOUR-G Publishers, 1994, ISBN 1885066015, p. 186.
  5. ^ Smith, p. 209.
  6. ^
  7. ^, retrieved May 3, 2016.
  8. ^ Thrasher-Horne Center announces completion, show dates

External linksEdit