Board Approves Naming Honors & MCC Lakewood Ranch Contracts

In a March 19 meeting, the Manatee Community College (MCC) District Board of Trustees approved the college's Naming Committee recommendations in honor of three local benefactors.

A new black box studio theater in the remodeled Music and Theater Building scheduled to open at MCC Bradenton in the 2008-09 academic year will be called the David S. and Anne V. Howard Studio Theatre. Sarasota resident Esther Mertz gave a gift to honor nationally acclaimed actor and Sarasota resident David Howard and his wife, Anne, whose children attended MCC. 

The family of now-deceased Dozier Hilliard, of Bradenton, gave a gift in honor of his involvement with getting Manatee Junior College (the college's original name) located in Bradenton. The second floor of the MCC Bradenton PDC will be called the Dozier B. Hilliard Business Wing.

Room 836 in the MCC Venice PDC will bear the name - In Memory of Denise Amber Lee, Key Agency Inc. Lee, a former Key Agency employee, attended MCC as a dual enrollment student. Key Agency Inc. is owned by Foundation Board of Directors' member Annette Dignam and her husband, Tom, who volunteers on several Foundation committees. The company annually contributes to Foundation events and the Adopt-a-Teacher scholarship.  

In other business, trustees approved design and construction contracts with Fawley Bryant Architects Inc. and Tandem Construction for a Medical Technology and Simulation Center at MCC Lakewood Ranch. Construction on the 40,000 square-foot building, the second building at the Lakewood Ranch site, is expected to begin in February 2009 and be completed by March 2010.

The board also approved renewal of a five-year $1.67 million contract with SunGard Collegis to provide computer services. The new contract term is for two years with three renewable one-year terms. SunGard's first five-year contract in 2003 with MCC was for $1.74 million.

Using data provided by Florida Division of Community Colleges Chancellor Dr. Willis N. Holcombe, MCC President Dr. Sarah H. Pappas presented trustees with information about the positive impact that community colleges make on higher education and economic development contrasted with serious budgetary challenges faced by the colleges. The percentage of state funding of college operating budgets dropped from nearly 80 percent in 1988-89 to less than 70 percent in 2007-08 while enrollment at community colleges grew, reaching a high of 793,517 students in 2006-07.

In 2006-07, 35 percent of all students receiving baccalaureate degrees in the state's university system graduated or transferred from a state community college, and 80 percent of freshman and sophomore minority students attended a Florida community college.

The Holcombe report substantiates the community college system's role in meeting critical workforce needs for nurses and teachers. Sixty-seven percent of nursing degrees are awarded by community colleges and nursing graduates increased from 2,600 in 2002 to 4,200 in 2006-07. (MCC tripled the number of nursing graduates in that time period.) The number of students graduating from statewide community college Educator Preparation Institute programs increased by 750 percent over the previous year. (MCC produced 113 of the 733 students graduating from those programs statewide.)

Holcombe's full report can be viewed at this link: Community College Funding Report 3-11-08. Trustee Beverly Beall was recognized by fellow trustees and Pappas for having received the Women's Leadership Initiative "treasure" award for the scholarship fund that she and her husband started. 

Trustees discussed the upcoming schedule of visits by candidates for the MCC presidency. Information about the presidential search is available at

Pappas provided trustees with an update on the college's incident management workshops and ongoing training programs to prepare college faculty and staff for unexpected incidents. Workshops and programs address possible natural, environmental and behavioral incidents and provide guidelines and response scenarios for prevention, intervention, response and aftermath. The incident management team is working with individual departments to develop customized strategies.

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