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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — St. Pete College on Monday celebrated 95 years of educating students.

What You Need To Know

  • School administrators said St. Pete College will educate students for the next 95 years, and beyond
  • School alumni include St. Pete Mayor Ken Welch
  • More Pinellas County headlines

The landmark anniversary was marked by proclamations from St. Petersburg Mayor and SPC alumnus Ken Welch, along with cake and a commitment from school administrators to continue educating the community for the next 95 years, and beyond.

“We believe in growing not just our students, but our employees,” said SPC President Tonjua Williams. “And being a part of the community that we live, work, learn and serve in. So it is truly a privilege for us to celebrate today.”

In addition to looking to the future, SPC is celebrating its past. While 95 years is a milestone for the college, for brothers John and Alan Day, the anniversary is an important part of their family’s history.

Their mother, Helen Ormsby Day, was part of the first class to graduate from then-St. Pete Junior College in 1929, beginning what would become a family tradition of attending the school.

“She was the first one in our family to go to college and graduate,” John said. “Fortunately Alan and I have, and his children have all gone. It was just the natural place to go.”

This “natural place” led to Helen becoming a teacher for the next 35 years. John and Alan followed suit — both becoming educators and retired after long careers.

But since their mother’s death in 2004 at age 96, they’re back helping educate students again through the Helen Ormsby Day 1929 Scholarship in Education. It’s an effort that didn’t go unnoticed at Monday’s SPC day celebration. 

“Since its establishment, 19 scholarships have been awarded in Mrs. Day’s honor to students who want to earn a degree in higher education,” Williams said. “Mr. John and Mr. Alan Day, we just want to thank you for doing what I talked about on Friday. You learned, you earned and you returned.”

When asked what their mother would think about St. Pete College today, the brothers said she would be excited about how far it has come, and where it’s going.

“She would probably be as amazed as we are, because it’s changed a great deal,” John said. “I mean, obviously, they added on two years making it a four-year institution, but the campus itself.”

And with Helen Day and her family’s legacy at SPC secure, Alan said there are likely more Days coming to the school to continue the family tradition.

“There’s a possibility my granddaughter might attend SPC,” he said. “Now that she’s in high school at Gibbs High School.”

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