Every year, Seminole campus kicks off the holiday season with the ritual hanging of ornaments and greenery in the UP building. Here’s Dr. Olliver’s speech explaining what each ornament means:
1998 – “Baby’s First Christmas” – The Seminole Campus opens in August, all shiny and full of promise. Each year, we’ve selected someone who was here for that tumultuous first year to hang the ornament. This year, Judi Frock, one of the original 1998 class members, will do the honors.
1999 – “Eye Candy” – Blessed with wonderful faculty and staff, beautiful facilities, and incredible technological resources, the Seminole Campus becomes SPJC’s “Eye Candy” site. Our successes are enhanced by the presence of our colleagues in Instructional Technology, eCampus, ITVS, and Project Eagle. Rich White, who heads up our SE facilities team, will hang the 1999 ornament.
2000 – “Keep on Rockin’ Seminole” – The traditional celebration of the ornaments begins as one of our adjunct instructors enters belatedly, informally, and silently to place a rocking horse ornament on the tree. While these are some rocky times as we enter our cluttered phase (out of space in both our new building and in the portables), it’s mostly smooth sailing as we grow in numbers of students, faculty, and staff. Bryan Casey, Financial Assistance Counselor at SE, hangs the 2000 ornament.
2001 – “Seminole Stands United” – A year of transition for the Campus and the Country. As we prepared to move into the new building (The Congressman C.W. Bill Young University Partnership Center otherwise known as UPC), we got caught up in the college wide name change, faced budget cuts, and added faculty and new students (principally through our UPC partners). We faced many challenges as a campus but overshadowing all our local issues, was the 9/11 Tragedy and our need to come together in support of our nation. This year’s ornament, “Seminole Stands United,” bears witnesst to our resilience, focus, and dedication to our campus and country. Earl Fratus, SE/eCampus government instructor, will hang the 2001 ornament.
2002 – “New Friends, New Spaces” – The UPC Building was completed, new departments joined the Seminole family, and enrollment spiked 28%, the highest percentage increase of any campus. This year was too big for just a single ornament, so representatives from AIS, UPC, and the Commons staff were asked to hang three bear ornaments. At the Seminole Campus, things are not too hot or cold, they are just right. The staff members chosen to hang the ornaments this year are Barbara Smith, AIS; Susan Fell, UPC Coordinator; and Mike Carnahan, WITS.
2003 – “A New Star is Born” – A new pharmacy and dental building was announced, thus a new star was born. In August, our new multi-purpose building, the Seminole Community Library opened, housing a new café, gallery, classrooms, offices, and array of library and support services. Chosen to hang the 2003 ornament is Lena Seay, part of our CSS team.
2004 – “From Your Grateful Students” – Fall enrollment jumps up 24%, leading all college sites in percentage growth. The eCampus grows another 4000+ SSH, making it the largest site in terms of the number of new students enrolled. Seminole campus reaches critical mass as activities, services, programs, and staff all expands. Through it all, our excellent faculty serve to energize and sustain us. Hanging the 2004 ornament is eCampus/SE faculty member Jan Ballantine, whose Speech course was named as one of the best in America by the Instructional Technology Council of the AACC this year.
2005 – “The Nexus” – Fall enrollment of both the Seminole and eCampus are again first and second in terms of growth, up 13% and 14% respectively. The new UF Pharmacy building and Dental Clinic have opened. New services, like a Reading/Writing Center in the recently renamed Learning Commons, quickly make the promise of a full-service site a reality. The campus e-Letter is renamed “The Nexus,” reflecting the importance of connections among our departments and personnel as we grow. Nowhere was this more evident then when we named a new Associate Provost and eCampus Director. The consolidation of Seminole and eCampus operations creates an even greater synergy and effectiveness. In recognition of these connections, Lynda Womer and Jim Connolly will hang the 2005 ornament.
2006 – “1 of 4, of 1” – Along with another record year of enrollments comes a shift in expectations and perceptions on Campus. We survived the “garage band” days in the late 90’s and the quest for “critical mass” in the early part of the decade, but in 2006, there was a sense that we’d arrived at a subtle shift from righteous striving to a sense of entitlement to office space, more classes, and more traditional services. We’ve become “1 of 4, of 1”; one Campus, of four full-service Campuses, of one College. One outcome of this new “1 of 4, of 1” reality is that when the new student services program was announced, Seminole was finally in the mix. Chosen to hang the 2006 ornament is Davie Gill, South County Coordinator for the Male Outreach Initiative.
2007 – “Remembering our Natural Self” – We had more of everything: students (up 17 %!), faculty and staff, activities, parking, problems, etc. A new tenant, Congressman CW Bill Young, moved his local office here. We also lost some good friends as AIS and Network Services moved out to provide space for us to grow. A new tradition was launched the “King of the Hill” intramural soccer tournament. A quiet milestone passed on September 3rd – the 10th anniversary of the campus’ groundbreaking. Hard to believe that ten years ago, this campus was nothing more than a pile of dirt and that expectant mom, Tammy Biblehauser, was about to become the proud mom of a baby boy named, Luke. Luke was the first Seminole baby born after the groundbreaking of the campus and as a result, earned a full scholarship to the College. While we’ve grown into a full service campus brimming with programs and activities, we still have that natural side of us just to the north; the future home of our next big project, The Natural Habitat Park and Environmental Center. Hanging the ornament, is a guy who sees a lot of that natural terrain, Greg Gibson (or “Gibby”), our Seminole Campus landscaper.
2008 – “We’re Just Gettin’ Started” – 2008 will likely be remembered for ushering in some of the most challenging economic conditions of our lifetimes. As the country celebrated a historic election, progress continued for the campus as we celebrated a milestone in August with the 10th anniversary of our opening. With a 10% increase in enrollment, it’s encouraging to see the progress Seminole Campus has undergone throughout the years as our buildings, grounds, teaching and service in my opinion still rate a perfect 10. This year also marks the first time since the campus’ opening that we haven’t been undergoing construction of some kind. Fear not though, as the heavy machinery will return shortly to assist in the removal of invasive plants on our northern side because once the dust settles on this current economic malaise, we’ve got some big plans. Hanging our ornament for this year is another one of our campus’ outstanding faculty members, the always thoughtful Professor Robert Reister.
2009 – “Chairs” – In recognition of campus growth, 4 new academic chair positions have been added to our campus in the areas of: science, social science, humanities/fine arts and business. These additional positions are a welcome complement to our existing math and communication chairs in the continued growth and success of our campus programs. Secondly, this ornament represents the addition of actual chairs to several of our classrooms due to continual student population growth with fall enrollment up an additional 24% from the previous year. Good thing the new parking lot was built! So it is now that we ask Karen Miller, the Dean of our Academic Chairs, to hang this year’s ornament.
2010 – “Public Service” – The Habitat Park finally opened, a record number of new faculty members joined the Campus family, and enrollment rose again by double digits and hit an all time high. But among the most significant accomplishments we’ll remember this year is the launch of the Institute for Strategic Policy Solutions and offering of the first baccalaureate program on the Seminole Campus as its core activity. At a time when the country seemed to be more polarized and fractured than ever, an emphasis on rationale discourse and a program to support the best in government service seems like just the kind of leadership initiative where the College and Campus can excel. To hang the 2010 ornament is the lead instructor for the Public Policy and Administration Program, Jeff Kronschnabl and Congressman Young’s chief local legislative aide, Shirley Miaoulis.
2011 – “Woodland Fairy” – Over the course of the year, new faculty, staff, and programs, as well as an additional building were added. As the new College President settled in, special emphasis towards the overall college experience for students along with increased academic support and co-curricular activities spurred on. More significance was devoted to the arts, inspiring an original work of art in the form of an ornament for this year’s, Hanging of the Greens celebration. In conjunction with the fall UP Building art show, a special one-day, art-in-the-park event was held outside in the campus’ habitat park pavilion and boardwalk that featured local artists as they created original works of art. Hanging the 2011 ornament created that day is the artist and SPC Downtown faculty member, Brandy Stark .
2012 – “Forward” – The Seminole Campus has been described as having a sense of community internally and a strong sense of supporting our local community. We are known for being innovative, technologically-advanced, student-focused, entrepreneurial, and responsive. A perfect example of that final attribute occurred this past Sept. when we pulled together and moved from being one site under consideration to hosting the President of the United States and 11,000 of our family, friends and neighbors on the north lawn! All the signs proclaiming “Forward” were trumpeting the anthem of the campus – always looking ahead, always striving to improve, and once again this year, always “under construction.” Hanging the 2012 ornament is the coordinator of the Seminole Campus’ construction projects, Jon White.
2013 – “Amazing What $4.5 Million Can Do!” – On-campus enrollment was up nearly 7% from the previous fall semester, by far the highest enrollment in the college. We started off the new year with some strikingly impressive and notably important new spaces: completed full-time faculty offices, a new space for the Science Dean and Policy Institute, a tiered classroom for the Public Policy Program and Model UN, an expanded Commons (with Math Lab, Writing Studio and an enclosed patio space), a new CETL Center and adjunct faculty workspaces, a fabulous new “Artway,” some upgraded portables (including those for the Veterans Department and Early College Program), a new “quiet room” in the library, a completed Student Activities Center, a new Media Wall in the Digitorium, science labs for Chemistry and Microbiology, and finally a real bookstore you can actually walk around in! The grand total of all these changes really took the campus to the next level, making it truly feel complete. Hanging the 2014 ornament is long-time manager of our new bookstore space and great campus friend, David Gulizio.
2014 – “The ‘Thank You’ Angel” – Seminole records its highest on-campus enrollment ever. Things settle a bit as we grow into or new spaces and face new classroom availability and parking challenges. But through it all, we are thankful – for all the internal caring and collaborative spirit and all the external support and affirmation. It seems a week doesn’t go by without some accolade or another being written about campus faculty, students and staff. We appreciate our colleagues and our partners, and with their help, look forward to new facilities, programs and models of student success. Hanging this year’s ornament is one of those individuals who makes it all happen at Seminole, our Associate Provost, Lynda Womer.