Enhancing student access, success and the quality of their experience are the most treasured values of Dr. Tonjua Williams, St. Petersburg College’s 7th President. The first in her family to attend college and earn a degree, Dr. Williams will tell the story of how her own personal background growing up in poverty in Midtown St. Petersburg and 31 years of experience at
St. Petersburg College led her to a new vision for the College – and community – creating an Educational Ecosystem that leads to economic prosperity and growth.
Expanding on this vision, Dr. Williams will share:
• What is the Educational Ecosystem?
• Why is this work important?
• Why is St. Petersburg College at the core?
• How do we move forward together to break down barriers to educational access and attainment?
Dr. Williams has risen through the ranks in a variety of academic and administrative roles, including Senior Vice President for Student Services and Provost of the Tarpon Springs Campus. St. Petersburg College is Florida’s oldest community college and one of its largest – serving 49,000 students across 12 learning sites.
Dr. Williams is recognized nationally as an expert in student development and strategic planning that transforms departments and institutions. She is a highly compelling presenter at the local, state, and national levels and has served as a Retention Management System (RMS) Associate Trainer and consultant for Noel Levitz, as well as a resident faculty member for the Center for Community College Engagement High Impact Practices, Men of Color Institutes, and Entering Student Success Institutes.
She holds a Ph.D. from Barry University in Higher Education Administration with a specialization in Educational Leadership. She has participated in several leadership programs including the prestigious Aspen Presidential Fellowship for Community College Excellence.
Dr. Williams’ passion is to help others overcome obstacles and succeed in life. As a recipient of community outreach services and a member of “the village,” she understands the importance of reaching out to others and helping them realize their full potential.
Dr. Williams is active in her community and has received many awards and recognitions – most recently the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development’s John E. Roueche International Leadership Award, the Tampa Bay Business Journal’s Businesswoman of the Year award, and also this year was named one of the top 25 women in higher education by Diverse Issues in Higher Education for making a difference in society by tackling some of higher education’s toughest challenges, exhibiting extraordinary leadership skills and making a difference in the community.